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Quick Fix: Lost QNAP Key for Hard Drive Tray

December 31, 2013
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I was called out to a “small business” customer location on Monday to replace a failed disk drive in a QNAP TS-239 Pro II 2-bay NAS Server.  When I arrived onsite I noticed that the drive bay had been locked.  After searching throughout the office for 30-minutes the customer was unable to locate the key.  I contacted QNAP support and was told that all of the QNAP NAS appliances use the same key, unfortunately the customer didn’t have any other QNAP equipment in the office.  QNAP support offered to ship a new set of keys for a flat fee of $12, however the customer couldn’t wait any longer so we came up with a creative solution to “unlock” the hard drive tray.

I obtained the following items before beginning:

  1. one Bic pen cap, needs to be the old-school pointed tip Bic pen
  2. one 5mm allen wrench
  3. one lighter

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Fortunately there were plenty of pens in the office, an allen wrench from some office furniture, and a grill lighter for the outdoor BBQ.

Step 1 – Heat the tip of the pen with the lighter, if you heat it too much you will damage the cap and will need another so take your time.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I found that using the allen wrench to hold the tip was the most efficient way to do this.

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Step 2 – Once the plastic is semi-soft slowly push the allen wrench through the bottom up through the top.  It may take a few tries for you to find the right amount of heat application.  I slowly pushed it through and let the plastic melt on the allen key.  See the finished product (below).

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Step 3 – When finished the tip of the pen should be the diameter of the lock, insert the key into the lock mechanism and twist counter-clockwise to unlock it.  It took me three tries and a little of jiggling but it finally grabbed and I was able to unlock the drive tray.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Reese permalink
    March 22, 2014 3:27 pm

    Thanks! You saved me!

    • jacek permalink
      September 16, 2014 9:12 am

      It wasn’t easily, but I opened. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Shumanfu permalink
    March 26, 2014 6:30 am

    Thx for the tip but I could never get the cap to mould the way I wanted.
    I did it by using a straw with stickytape around it to reinforce; took off the face place to expose the locking arm; then juggled the straw around and pushed the arm in when it was unlocked.
    Removing the cover voids your warranty tho:(

  3. grand1ma permalink
    May 6, 2014 3:47 pm

    Thanks a million!

  4. nishi permalink
    May 13, 2014 1:27 pm

    Unbelievable. I tested this on a server with hdd drawer that came from france whitout the key and it worked. Thank you. It really saved me.

  5. Vaibhav permalink
    February 11, 2015 4:50 am

    Even i lost keys of QNAP device Best solution is – Take sketch pen with front end or backed.It is very much easy to disconnect HDD from device.

  6. July 25, 2015 12:25 am

    Totally saved me! I felt kind of strange sitting in my car at the Office Depot parking lot with a pack of multicolor Bic pens in my lap, a lighter in one hand, and an allen wrench with a purple pen cap on the end trying to melt it without making a mess. The lady that pulled up next to me looked over and gave a look of disgust. Ask me if I care. No sir! I was able to unlock the tray of a clients failed disk and replace it before they lost another disk! Thank you!

  7. November 12, 2015 12:41 pm

    Inspired by your approach I simply cut the top of a bic pen, pushed it into the keyhole, and opened it by wiggling a little bit. – Thanks alot!

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