Yes, I know how esoteric and specific can a blogpost get, eh?

I’d only had my new HP ML350e series servers in a homelab until one day disaster struck. I accidentally broke a server key in the lock on one of the servers.

The ML350e has one of those key setups where you cannot leave the front door unlocked. When you unlock the server you can’t remove the key. The key also locks the outer-panel which is used to get to the main system for upgrades – and physically secures the server (bear in mind anyone with genuine physical access can pull the power cords and disconnect the network!). I’d prefer to leave the server unlocked, so I loose the key I can still have access. The trouble is in an unlocked mode, you cannot remove the key. I’d left the keys hanging in the locks with the front door pushed shut (Actually, I sometimes do this with my house door/key. Yes, I’m that forgetful. My mum calls me the absent minded professor).

With the server stood vertically, and side-by-side. It wasn’t long before shifting of the server caused one to bang into another, and bend the cheap and nasty key. Of course, I bent it back into shape. The third time this happened it sheered off right off. I tried to the pull remainder of the keyout, and only succeed in pushing it in further. I know. Utter Face Palm…


So how to get the key out? First I consulted the internet. This guys is great…

So sprayed the lock with the workmans friend – WD40. And then stuck this very thin screwdriver into the lock along side the key. The screwdriver is the kind you might use to unscrew the screws on an iPhone or such like. I found a place where it would slip down the side of the broken key – and then pulled it very quickly. I did this couple of times. The frictional force of the mini-screwdriver as it was removed dislodge the key enough so I could see the end of it. I bit more leverage with screwdriver helped bring the key out enough that I could use some tweezers to remove it… RESULT!


Moral? Lock the server. Secure the keys. Don’t bend keys, they sometimes don’t bend back. If your too abscent minded not to loose keys, loop them to the back of the server, or staple them to your forehead.