This paper is intended to demonstrate how the parameters for the surface preparation of magnesium alloys for adhesive bonding can be optimized. The effects of different laser parameters are analyzed by using a combination of advanced sample preparation and ultra-high resolution scanning electron microscopy on a nanoscale level and a specific combination of mechanical tests on the macroscopic level. These data allow a discussion of the physical principles and the key parameters influencing the interaction of laser radiation with the magnesium surface.