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Commercial Locksmith FAQ

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Here at Top Locksmith, we provide service to tons of both residential and commercial clients every day. Here’s a list of the most common inquiries that we receive regarding our full spectrum of commercial locksmith services.

 

How long will it take for one of your locksmiths to get to my business?

It will almost always take between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the location of your commercial property. Top’s locksmith are mobile based – meaning they are situated in mobile locksmith vans equipped with the latest and greatest equipment to provide you exemplary service in an efficient and quick manner.

 

Do I need to understand what type of locks my business implements?

The experts at Top Locksmith are knowledgeable about all manners and brand of locks, and can assess the specific make and models of your existing locks, diagnose your security needs, and help provide you solutions without any need for you to have knowledge about the lock products themselves – although, it might help if you remembered if there have been any lock related services provided to your business in the recent past.

 

How long will it take for one of your locksmiths to open my door?

Depending on the door, the lock, and the specifics of the issue, it can take our locksmiths 10-25 minutes to open a door – but rest assured that we will get it open, always.

 

Will your services damage my office lock?

The majority of lock opening methods that utilize bump keys won’t’ cause any damage to the lock. However, in extreme cases, the lock will need to be drilled and then replaced – a service which the Top experts can quickly and professionally carry out on the spot.

 

Will opening up my commercial business’ safe open up the interior property?

Absolutely not! The experts at Top make sure to be as careful as possible when handling your property, ensuring that all of your valuables stay unharmed during the safe opening process. That being said, it’s not a bad idea to mention any fragile items that may be housed in the safe before any service is carried out.

 

Will opening up my commercial safe damage the safe itself?

It’s likely that your safe will need to be replaced after it is opened, as its security infrastructure has been compromised, and it’s ability to securely protect your property has been diminished. This is the common likelihood with safe opening operations.

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Broken Key Copying Questions

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locks, Locksmith

If people experience key breakage, they might wonder if it’s still possible to create a copy of it if it’s the only key left in the house. There’s tons of variables that affect the ability to make a copy of a broken key, so here’s a guide to them, as prepared by the key copying experts at Top Locksmith.

 

So is it possible to copy a broken key?

 

Yes, usually. It’s usually possible that we can gather enough information about the key’s unique structure from single parts of it in order to make a full replacement. This of course depends on what state the broken key is in. It’s important to get a qualified expert to perform this operation, as unskilled locksmiths may further damage the broken key in attempting to copy it, lessening the chances of creating a working copy.

 

Cost of broken key copying

This depends on variables, most importantly how much the key blank costs. The price of the key blank depends on what kind of lock it’s for, and if it’s an automobile transponder key – which requires additional transponder chip programming. Another aspect of the cost is how much extra labor the copying will take, which increases if the breaks are uneven or strange.

 

Should I remove the broken key from the lock before trying to copy it?

The easiest way to copy a broken key requires all pieces of the key, but sometimes a key will break off so the entire groove blade is stuck inside the lock. There’s other ways to copy keys that don’t require the entire key, but they are more difficult and expensive. A licensed locksmith can help you extract a broken key out of a lock easily whether it’s a car or a house key.

 

Can I copy any type of broken key?

Yes, but usually broken luxury car keys or house keys with special patented keyways only available to certain licensed sellers can give you trouble – however these keys usually are issued with a special key code card, so if you have that, there’s nothing to worry about.

 

Do you need both parts of a broken key to copy it?

Nope! The important thing is that you have all aspects of the key’s groove blade, although if you have the key code instead you can still make a copy. You can also copy a spare key, and if you don’t have a spare, you can decode the lock – which is a more expensive operation, but one that a truly talented locksmith expert can easily complete.

 

Can you copy patented broken keys?

Yes this is possible, but can be very difficult. Always get a licensed locksmith expert to carry out this operation, as patented keys can be very complex and have anti decoding measures. However, with a code card, as mentioned above, this operation will be much easier.

 

Can I copy a fob key?

Smart keys use digital signaling instead of a mechanical blade to open up locks. If a fob key breaks, it can’t be fixed by your typical everyday locksmith. You might need a spare key in order to make a copy – however the process of getting a new fob key will require programming of a brand new key, rather than copying an already broken one, due to it being software based.

 

Can you copy transponder keys?

This depends on what part of the key is broken. If the blade of the transponder key is broken it can be copied. If the transponder chip is broken, you can’t copy it, but you can replace it by programming a brand new key with the help of a working transponder signal that utilizes the diagnostics computer housed within your vehicle. Each brand of car has a different process of programming transponder keys, so as a disclaimer, the ease of replacing a broken transponder key really depends on what make and model of automobile we’re working with – however, what you should know is that regardless of the car, if you have a broken transponder key you can have a new, working one in your hands with our help.

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Comparing Smart and Traditional Locks

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locks

Technology has shaken the lock and security industry up quite a bit in recent years, with major advancements made to lock technology that has remained stable for centuries – and technically, millenia. In this blog entry, the experts at Top Locksmith will help provide our readers some detail as to the major differences between traditional locks and smart locks, with a highlighted emphasis on the advantages and disadvantages of them both.

 

Traditional Locks

Traditional locks come in a wide variety of constructions. Basically, the term refers to all locks that don’t operate automatically, and need to be manually controlled in order to lock. These locks, today, often include deadbolt locks, knob locks, and mortise locks. They are often activated by turning a key, twisting a thumbturn, or pressing a button – and deactivated with similar manual gestures.

 

How Traditional Locks Work

Most of these locks are operated with keys, that activate the locking technology, locking or unlocking the entire thing. These include pin tumbler locks, rim locks, and mortise locks. For example, pin tumbler locks are some of the most common locks used in normal homes. It works with a collection of springed pins that are placed inside cylinders. The cylinders have a series of both key pins and driver pins. When the matching key is placed inside it, the key pins are raised, moving the driver pins up, and alighting them at the shear line – allowing the key to turn to lock or unlock the door. The wrong key will misalign the pins, preventing the lock from being able to be opened.

 

Security of Traditional Locks

This varies! Some traditional locks are secure, and some are really not. Deadbolts, for example, of the single or double cylinder varieties, are known as being very secure – but only when used correctly. Deadbolts are graded by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on a scale of 1-3, with Grade 1 being the strongest.

 

There’s many ways to improve the existing security of a traditional lock by adding on enhancements like solid metal striking plates, or extending the deadbolt throws or screws. Many locks can resist forced entry attempts like lock bumping or picking. However, a lock is only as strong as it is properly installed. You need to make sure that the frame is secure, and that the lock is firmly and perfectly installed to make the most of it.

 

Smart Locks

Smart locks are automated traditional locks, at least in their most simple varieties. They allow for lock mechanism to be activated electronically and sometimes at a remote distance. They have a different human-interface process than non electronic traditional locks. Smart locks, as opposed to non smart electronic locks, can usually be operated via an app or program on a smartphone, as well as have cross-operation with other kinds of smart devices. Smart locks keep a usage record of their access history, and provide much more practical comfort than traditional locks, as they eliminate the need to search for keys. However, they may not be as secure, as their manufacturers place an emphasis on convenience, rather than plainly security – but this isn’t ALWAYS the case.

 

How Smart Locks work

Smart locks require the receipt of a cryptographic key code in order to lock or unlock. The keys for operating smart locks can come in many forms. Some are special key fobs that are automatically sensed when they are in proximity of the lock. Some are controlled through software on one’s phone. Smart locks can be integrated with other smart home security devices to only operate in turn with a series of authentication processes with other devices.

 

Smart Lock Security

Smart locks do offer the security benefit of remote monitoring and tracking of the lock usage, as well as the option to lock your doors even while you are away. However, they do not often change the manual construction of traditional locks, so they aren’t making any major physical improvements to security. Most smart locks work with deadbolts, meaning yes, they are way more secure than a simple Euro cylinder lock, however sometimes this means that they have limited options for interface – meaning that sometimes they can’t work with lever handles, or cannot work with double cylinder deadbolts. Sometimes smart locks require their own brand’s hardware to be installed to work. Since it’s harder to make custom modifications to smart locks, they might be more vulnerable to burglar bypass methods that these modifications would offer protection from. Additionally, they are somewhat vulnerable to cyber attacks – but it should remain said that the average neighborhood burglar isn’t going to be hacking into your smart lock software to access your home.

 

There’s many benefits to both traditional and smart locks. Traditional locks offer the ability to broad customization and integration of multiple security layers, while smart locks offer the fantastic option of being able to monitor one’s lock access history, as well as activate locks from a far distance. Which one is best, is really up to you, based on your particular security needs.

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Best New Smart Home Devices

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locks

In this new year of 2017, there’s tons of fantastic options for home automation that allow people to integrate their homes with fantastic levels of convenience. However, there’s been a over-saturation of home automation devices – making it somewhat difficult for homeowners to determine what devices are the best for purchasing. Here’s Top Locksmith‘s guide to the best smart devices – so you can simplify your search.

 

Ring Doorbell

This doorbell fuses doorbells with a CCTV system via Wi-Fi, notifying homeowners whenever anybody presses the doorbell or walks up to the door. It’s simple to install, and heat and rain resistant. It works with a mobile application for full control from a distance, and has live streaming capabilities.

 

Schlage Sense Smart Lock

This smart lock detects when anybody opens the door via keypad or it’s build in key, and has a siren that sounds if the door experiences a forced entry attempt. It contains an ANSI Grade 1 deadbolt, the highest security grade in the industry. It offers full mobile control through the Schlage Sense application – and has a high degree of durability and strength to protect your home.

 

Nest Thermostat

This thermostat connects with all cooling and heating systems, including electric, air, solar, gas, and even geothermal. This thermostat is ‘learning’, meaning it will adapt to your habits after a few days of your custom settings, and automatically apply them, so you never have to manually set them again. It can be integrated with other smart devices, and notify you of any potential dangers inside your residence.

 

Amazon Echo

This device works as a speaker as well as a voice activated home automation device, that can control your front door or smart thermostat, as well as place Amazon deliveries. This is a newcomer to the game, but already immensely popular.

 

Phillips Hue

This lighting automation bulb allows for full control of home lighting wirelessly, with a range of customization options that include varied light intensity, as well as timing scheduling – even for separate bulbs.

 

iSmart Alarm

This smart home security system connects via WiFi to allow for remote access and control. It comes with a group of motion sensors and monitors that send information back to a central hub controller that notifies you if there’s any unexpected movement or entry attempts in your home. It can be easily installed, as well as programmed with any automation or scheduling rules that you may prefer.

 

Nest Protect

THis smoke alarm works with the Nest Thermostat, notifying you of any smoke or carbon monoxide way in advance of most normal smoke alarms. It’s easy to set up, and can be monitored via smartphone or tablet. You can choose options for wireless alarms, or even one wired into your homes existing circuits.

 

Nest Cam

This camera is easily installed, and has high quality video that can be watched live via smartphone. It can be connected with all other nest devices, and even offers two way voice chat, allowing you to communicate with people inside your home even when you’re not there. All it  needs is to be placed on an included stand or a wall mount, and it’s good to go.

 

Samsung SmartThings

This control unit can work with multiple home automation devices, and can be programmed with customizable automation protocols that link up various control factors through multiple devices. It’s strong back up battery and full connectivity with Amazon Echo, Apple Watch, and many different devices allows homeowners maximum convenience to control an array of home automation devices from a single location.

 

Belkin WeMo

This device plugs into power outlets and allows for remote control of any plug-in appliance, from toasters and lights, to televisions. You can program times for devices to turn on and off, to save on your electric bill, and it can be pared with other home automation devices – with pretty much infinite potential configurations.

 

Honda Miimo

This lawn mowing machine basically cuts grass on your lawn for you. Simply program it, put it down, and it will automatically mow your lawn while avoiding any obstacles. It’s pretty amazing to see us moving closer to a time when automated and robotic devices will eliminate the need for human labor in simple household tasks.

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Add On Lock Devices

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Baltimore Locksmith, Home Safety, Locks

We at Top Locksmith understand the priority and importance of keeping one’s home and family safe. Besides making sure your deadbolted shut at night, there’s a few other successful tactics that you can implement to make sure that your family remains as safe and secure as possible.

 

The initial steps should involve an upgrade of the entire lock infrastructure in your home. Many locks in American homes can be easily picked or bumped through criminal tampering. If you install a pick proof high security lock, you can help make your family much safer as well as greatly reducing the ease with which a criminal could break into your home. Your friendly assistant at Top Locksmith will be able to help you choose the exact right lock for your particular needs – highlighting burglar resistance abilities.

 

Door Devils

 

One device that works fantastically at securing doors is known as the Door Devil. It fits inside the jamb of the door, preventing it from being able to get kicked in. This is an effective security strategy – though one might not think burglars would be dumb enough to attempt kicking in a door – since many actually do, especially if they get frustrated at their lack of ability to effectively outsmart your impervious lock system.

 

Electronic Home Security

 

Another add on device that can greatly contribute to home security is an electronic home security system. These systems have wide variety in terms of their features and offerings for families or businesses. Many of them are attached to your entry door, so that when the door is opened when the alarm is armed, a loud alarm will ring out – which works to scare away any potential intruder (as it alerts everyone nearby with its piercing sound) as well as automatically contacting local law enforcement agencies, or the security company. Other features include motion sensors which can detect any motion inside the home, door knob sensors, or window sensors. Window alarms are always a good idea as windows are a common entry method for burglars. Finally, the installation of CCTV monitoring camera systems are never a  bad idea, as they can help you make sure that nobody is tampering with or trying to enter your home at any time you feel like checking.

 

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Keeping Door Locks Working Correctly

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locks, Locks Installation, Locksmith

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Door locks are the last defensive barrier that keeps your family safe from potential burglars. Most people don’t know that locks require a high degree of maintenance, similar to every other home based mechanical system. Regardless of what type of high security lock you have in your home, by following these tips you can make sure that every single door is operating at peak condition.

 

Keep locks clean and well lubricated

Few people know that door locks need to be periodically cleaned out – but only with the right tools. On an annual basis, lubricate doors with a graphite lubricant or dry lubricant. Spray the lubricant inside the lock, and move a key inside and outside it a few times to get rid of any excess gunk. Door locks should be wiped down with a wet rag every now and then in order to remove dust that can accumulate and clog it up. We don’t recommend using any other sort of cleaner rather than a gentle detergent, because it can take off the lock’s finish and damage it. High security locks, biometric locks, keyless door locks, and electronic locks usually come with specific cleaning procedures, so make sure to only clean it according to the specifications that came with it – and if you don’t know these, contact the manufacturer to ask.

 

Make key copies

Whenever you get a brand new lock installed, save one of the original keys in order to make copies. Keys usually experience wear and tear before locks do, and usually key replacements are warranted – but as your keys wear, it’s structure can shift, and if it is then copied, the new key won’t as work as well with the door as it should. If you want a truly functioning key, make sure to keep an extra copy of the original in order to make copies.

 

Hang and properly align doors

If your door is attached improperly, it’s lock will not fully activate, or may not work at all. Small misalignments in door hanging can be subtle and hard to notice, but even the smallest misalignment is magnified within the lock as pressure, warping, and mechanical distortion. If your door is binding or sagging, it puts way too much stress on the lock, and eventually causes issues that can prevent you from entering or exiting your home through that door. It’s important to notice that the space between the door frame and the door itself are consistently even throughout the perimeter of the door, and is less than 1/4th of an inch wide.

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Benefits of Using a Keypad Lock

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locks, Locks Installation

keypad-lock

There’s many benefits for consumers in using a keypad lock as opposed to a normal door lock. Today, the amount of homes that use keypad locks are increasing – even to rival their usage by commercial locations!

Keypad locks have become commercial and residential lifesavers due to their plethora of practical benefits. A few of the major benefits of using keypad locks in home or business settings are:

A lack of need to carry keys

Keypad locks are keyless  meaning the process of locking one is very different than the typical door locking technique. Keypad locks almost work like machines or dispensers at a bank – all you need to do is type in your specific keypad access code that only you know in order to unlock or lock your doors. There’s zero need to worry about misplaced, lost, or stolen keys – or even a need to remember where you placed them in the first place.

Serious home security improvements

All keypad locking mechanisms are built with advanced machinery, making it nearly impossible for criminals to break into your home. Business and residential owners of property will never have to worry about burglaries again – since the only individuals who will have the ability to enter their home are those who know the custom access code.

Customizable Access Codes

We just want to stress that these locks offer users the options to program in their own custom access codes; you won’t have to worry about the brand providing default codes that make rounds within the community, that burglars might get their hands on. With the ability to program in custom codes of infinite length and complexity, you can ensure that your doors are as secure as they ever have been.

Simplicity and Durability

These locks are made out of advanced technology with an emphasis on ergonomics, aesthetics, and practicality. You can trust in your keypad lock to provide you years of faithful reliability, making them a perfect choice for homeowners seeking a lock that’s both easy to install, and will last them for years to come.

Wireless Keypad Installations in Baltimore, Bethesda, and Maryland

There’s a major amount of specific designs for keypad locks on the market today. It’s important to ensure that you’re installing locks made by a professional brand, from a professional installation provider if you truly want to end up with a lock that will both be reliable and provide lasting service. If you’re looking for true professionals to install your keypad locks, look no further than Top Locksmith, the best lock installation and repair service throughout the entire Baltimore County region.

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Traveling Suitcase / Luggage Security Tips

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When you’re traveling, you can’t be too safe with your luggage. TSA employees have been known to rifle through and steal from luggage – not to mention shifty fellow passengers. Since paranoia isn’t a great way to start a vacation, it’s a much better idea to make sure to adopt a collection of security strategies in order to have peace of mind in knowing your luggage is secure.

Keep all your things together

Keep your important stuff together in a sealed Ziploc bag, or a dedicated pocket that you will never veer from. The benefits of having a single location for your valuables is helpful because it will allow you to make sure you have all your important belongings quickly, rather than having to rifle through them and possibly missing something.

 

Announce what you’re giving over temporarily to security

Before handing a wallet, or any bag over to a gate or security employee, make sure to announce “this is my bag, it contains my money, cards, etc..” – if they hear you mention you know exactly what’s in the bag, they will be much less willing to take the risk of possibly stealing from you.

 

Always carry a credit card and your ID

These are the essential items that can save you in the unfortunate (and unlikely- if you follow these tips!) event of a robbery or theft. Almost anything else is replaceable, but a credit card and ID will allow you to find shelter, housing, or additional flights to go back home. While we’re at it, keep your cell phone on your body at all times.

 

Keep your cash and wallet in your carry on bag

Keep your wallet as deeply inside your carry on bag as possible so that the only way any thief could find it would be to thoroughly and conspicuously search and remove items from your bag.

 

Wear all jewelry and/or expensive watches on your body

If you’re traveling with any jewelry or wearable heirlooms make sure to wear it on your body at all times. Don’t trust anyone including airport employees to behave according to the law if they find a small – but incredibly precious – ring or necklace. By keeping valuables on your body at all times, you’re ensuring their protection.

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Gate Security

Gate Security

 

Gates can offer a great deal of security, depending on how they are installed, their style, and how they are maintained. Of course, gates will always be more secure when they are locked, however for the most part just the site of a gate is a fantastic deterrent for prospective criminals. Short gates that any human can step over are not effective deterrents – the more secure the gate appears (and functions) the higher its security.  There’s a few kinds of gates that aren’t worth investing in at all. Here are some.

 

Gates with small Holes

Small holes inside the gate allow criminals who are passing by to look inside your property to assess its security, as well as potentially open the lock through the openings with tools thin enough to pass through them.

 

Gates with large holes

This should be obvious, but a gate with a large hole is merely cosmetic, rather than functional. It allows criminals to reach inside the gate, look inside it to assess your security, or open it from the outside.

 

Short Gates

Short gates require reinforcement with locks, however if your gate is so short that it can be stepped over, any lock won’t help at all. Even gates that are short enough to see over are a risk, as anybody can reach over it and access the lock or handle.

 

Things to keep in mind about your Gate:

  • Don’t have valuables in plain sight of the gate
  • Latches without locks can be opened by anyone reaching over the gate
  • Door Knobs that allow for unkeyed egresses can be turned  by someone reaching over the gate.
  • Locks must be combined with keys, combinations, or remotes to be effective.

 

There’s a few ways to increase security on your gate; while barbed wire, or the like, is surely effective, it’s aesthetic drawbacks make it a seriously unappealing option. Another option is to grow roses along the walls of your home; while looking beautiful, the rose’s thorns will operate as a form of elegant barbed wire. Don’t get a gate outfit with hand or foot holds – get a tall, flat, smooth gate that’s sturdy enough that it can’t get kicked in. Security cameras will also help you figure out if anybody unruly is trying to enter your home; consider placing multiple cameras in both obscured and obvious places to maximize both your functionality, and the deterrents surrounding your security system.

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Expert Car Lockout Advice

Car lockouts happen pretty often; when it does happen, the most important thing to do is breath and think carefully about what you’re going to do. Once you feel somewhat more relaxed (or less panicked) ask yourself if you have a spare key. I hope you do have one. Having a spare key in these sort of situations can be a total lifesaver. If you don’t have one, remind yourself to make one after this is all over. If you do have one, simply grab it and you can be back on the road.

 

The majority of cars lock all the doors at once once the lock button on the keyfob is pressed, but sometimes only the driver’s side door locks, or the stick locks can even jam. Make sure to check all your car doors to make sure they’re truly locked. Then see if the trunk is open; if you have a hatchback, you can get into the main part of your car though the trunk. If this works for you, you’re very lucky indeed.

 

DIY Approaches

If none of the solutions I just listed work, you’re going to have to implement some creative solutions. Calling a car locksmith can certainly help, but I’ll talk about that later. Right now, you can attempt this simple and cheap solutions that can get you back in your car. First, analyze your surroundings, and see if you can obtain any tools (thin rigid metal pieces) that can allow you to break into your car or unlock it. If you don’t have anything like this (even a shoelace with a loop can suffice), you might have to go to the hardware store to pick up materials. DIY tips work better than one might assume – you just need the right equipment.

 

Calling for Professional Assistance

If DIY tips aren’t working, your car is very secure indeed. The best thing to do at this time is to call a professional locksmith who provides the best in line service. They can come firectly to your location, and even make you a spare key on the spot. They are experts in broken key extraction, and can perform services in seconds that might take much longer in DIY attempts. If time is of the essence, calling a professional locksmith is the best possible thing you can do to get back inside your vehicle.

 

Custom Tips

  • Keep key copies in the places that you’re at the most often. Have a car key copy at your house and at your workplace. This helps make it impossible for you to suffer a lockout at work or at home – it also helps if you’re on the road, but not far from either your home or your office.
  • Always give a close friend a spare key, as this is a great thing to do if you’re nearby that person’s home, and can save you the money or time it would take to attempt a DIY entry or call a locksmith.
  • Try wearing spare keys on your body – you can wear one as a necklace, integrating it into your favorite lightweight chain, or make sure that you keep it in a specific pocket. This ensures that even if you lose your original set of keys, that you’ll always have a spare set nearby your person.
  • Even if you have an electronic key fob, try opening your car manually every now and then to make sure it’s working correctly. By testing to see if the key is operating properly, you are eliminating the chances of getting locked out due to the combination of a low key fob battery and a slightly bent key (or in incidences of extreme temperature, the bulging or shrinking of the metal key.) This is especially important for owners of somewhat older vehicles that can suffer degradation of the internal lock mechanisms.

 

It’s always important to be prepared; with a backup plan you can get back on the road instantly, rather than be frustrated trying to figure out what to do. You never know when you’re going to suffer a lockout, but by following the tips that I illustrated in this article, getting locked out won’t cause you that much trouble, even when it happens.

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