IBM

What's your pet peeve user-support issue?

Is there an issue that keeps coming up, regardless of what you try to do to stop it? Share it with the TR members.

Is there an issue that keeps coming up, regardless of what you try to do to stop it? Share it with the TR members.

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Over the years of providing support for a small office, an issue that's always been a recurring one is the mysteriously disappearing folder. In my case, for a variety of reasons, the data files and folders have always been made available for all employees with full read and write permissions, so everyone had the ability to create, delete, rename, move, or whatever all files and folders on the data server. Of course, I've always maintained multiple iterations of data backups to cover myself in case of error or disaster, but those have never been accessible to anyone but me.

Almost on a monthly basis someone has come to me asking about a project folder that's suddenly disappeared. It's not likely that someone deleted it, either accidentally or intentionally (although that has happened), but, as the plea might go, "It was there yesterday, and today it's gone." Almost without exception, I do a search of the data server and find that the folder has been moved into another project folder, where it then resided as a subfolder. It's pretty simple to move it back to where it belongs.

I would suspect that someone had somehow unintentionally highlighted the folder -- or sometimes multiple folders -- and with a quick flick and click of the mouse, something was suddenly moved into another folder. Trying to recreate exactly how that might happen accidentally is something that's been somewhat elusive. I suppose it's because I'm paying attention, and it's not really possible to force an accident. I would guess that paying attention are the key words here.

Numerous warnings over the years have possibly resulted in it happening less frequently, but that would be something I couldn't possibly measure. However, the warnings have not resulted in it never happening again. Moreover, every time I've mentioned the issue, I've always followed up with an illustration and explanation on how to use the search function, find the disappearing folder, and move it back to where it belongs.

That's certainly not a huge thing, and it's a simple one to solve. But I guess what makes it one of my pet peeve issues is that it's such a recurring one, regardless of what I might say or do.

Sure, it could be worse, but I thought it might be a good illustration and lead-in to the question, what’s your pet peeve user-support issue?

123 comments
dphopkins
dphopkins

I get reports of computer problems where the explanation is "computer not working". Nothing else, no hint as to what in the computer isn't working. I have resorted to going to the computer, turning it on, once it boots with no errors, shutting it down and replying to the person that computer worked fine when I turned it on. Invariably, I will get another message as to an exact problem (which they couldn't provide when asked before). I like to give them the analogy of taking a car to the shop because the number 3 button on the radio doesn't work and telling the mechanics "the car just isn't working". Too bad I can't charge them for this type of thing.

.Martin.
.Martin.

keyboards not working because they have so much food in them. ewww.

Jacky Howe
Jacky Howe

limewire! I just know that it's Virus Removal time again. ;)

cajun2core
cajun2core

#1 Customer calls and says the system crashed two weeks ago or was slow two weeks ago. It is very important to find out what happened! Can you tell me why my system was slow two weeks ago?!? #2. Customer who calls in a fit saying that they have a major problem. You spend hours looking into it, staying late and figure it out. When you call them back though, all you get is Voice mail. You find out the next day that they went home. Just how important and urgent was this issue?

talisman.langley
talisman.langley

I have problems B, C, D, Z, and Q, and just thought I'd wait til you showed up". And then they're inevitably angry if you quite simply don't have the time to fix the other five issues at that point in time. (I've run into this a couple of times, as I manage far flung field offices and have to schedule some tech visits.)

MimiRocket
MimiRocket

I work for a 9 person office and am a de facto IT person. Basically, I use my brain so I have to fix people's computers. Computer hard drive is shot - waiting for replacement part. Hooked up spare older computer so user can access server. By the way, dropped everything I was doing to do this and spend hours with dell on-line chat - remember, this is not my job. As expected older computer runs slower and takes awhile to load profile. User has hissy fit literally throwing hands up in the air and threatens to just leave becaue it's a bit slow. It was ten minutes of his time, six hours of mine. Besides, is only using Word, how bad could it be? Please, do go home. A favorite: It's plugged in, better ask de facto IT person. It's the freaking coffee maker!!!!! Receptionist who reboots the mission critical server everytime something looks funny on her or someone else's screen. I have no fear of retribution from someone reading this because they would never go on-line to read technical articles to try to understand their computer issues. Though I guess that would be pretty bad if they did.

ramoncanfixit
ramoncanfixit

oh look it's 4:55pm time to go home, ring ring, help my world is over aaagghhh ;)

bus66vw
bus66vw

disabling services that are needed After hours of trying to fix a clients computer they finally admit they have been fooling around with msconfig. No, they did not research what they turned off first.

maplourde
maplourde

It drives me crazy when users call for help and when you ask them a question or to do something respond with "That's irrelevant". By this point I usually ask them if they called me for help or I called them and ask them to humor me. Or the user that's too busy to walk five feet to reset the printer - they want you to drive 45 minutes in the middle of the night to do it for them!

mark.barl
mark.barl

Laptop Users in General. I think that there should be a test to make sure that dumb people don't have laptops. not strictly on topic but funny. In my previous job, we had a problem with a Virus that was self replicating on the network and randomly shutting machines down all over the country. (Think it was blaster) Traced it to a laptop user. I phoned her up and told her to disconnect her machine from the network while I drove the 2 hours to where she was to fix it. Found said laptop with vast amounts of crapware and shareware games installed by her kids. Along with itunes and the like. She watched while I uninstalled all these programmes, degunked her machine and lectured her on company policy regarding installation of non company software, whilst also mentioning the chaos that it had caused.

wlburnettejr
wlburnettejr

I hate it when users tell you how important it is to their ability to do their job that the fax machine/computer/printer/network, etc. be functioning properly. Oh really? It's important that you be able to use the equipment the company has provided to do your job? No kidding... is that why we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment and staff to support it??? Huh, and all this time I was thinking the equipment was just for decoration and our support staff techs were just there to surf the internet all day...

wlburnettejr
wlburnettejr

I oversee the local support techs for three regions for my company. We don't have a formal ticketing system, but we have email distribution lists for each region that users have been instructed to use to report issues- computerhelp@, techhelp@, etc. Time and again users will email issues to an individual tech rather than use the list, which often results in issues going unaddressed due to that tech being out sick or on vacation. I periodically send email out to all users to remind them to report issues by sending an email to that support address for their region, but no matter how many times I tell them, some users just won't use the list, or can't remember the address. Then they will complain that I.T. is not helping them. Drives me nuts...

Juan Ferzara
Juan Ferzara

"I ABSOLUTLEY(sic) have to use Photoshop" "Where are my MP3" "That marvelous program I downloaded" "I can?t access my email from (Yahoo, Hotmail)" "I installed(!) that program and now my computer won?t boot" (related to #3) And the winner: "How could I have Virus?".

MikeGall
MikeGall

A common one, happens about once a day. At my work we use a piece of software that has a poorly written license manager. Sometimes the clients don't release the license properly on their end. Their system won't pull a new license but can't use it's old one and the error it gives is something along the lines of "No available licenses, please close any sessions that are not needed anymore and try again". Well you guessed it, rather than rebooting their system, they send a staff mail to everyone asking them to close the application to free up the license. The problem is completely on their client not due to being out of licenses. They've been told repeatedly that they need to log out and back in to clear the error but that doesn't stop them from being stubborn and spamming everyone.

dcuthill
dcuthill

Small Business Owners buying Vista Home PCs from Department Stores and expecting them to just work with their existing XP Pro Network.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I don't care what some bimbo on the radio said, do NOT make system changes or install some "really neat" free utility.

jdclyde
jdclyde

yeah, it is the [i]computer[/i] that is stupid, lets go with that..... ;\ Funny how you can have 20 systems, all setup exactly the same, and the only one that crashes regularly is with (l)user X. Move (l)user X to a different system, and it still crashes. hmmmm.

Fregeus
Fregeus

Like I have complete control of every router, switches, link out there. And when you tell them you cannot fix it, you're incompetent. TCB

mredgar2005
mredgar2005

You're right on the money - pissed the living bejesus out of me. What's even worse is, they'll call you about a silly question like where the save button is, but they'll start off with "I'm having ALL sorts of computer problems, i Can't work like this!!!" ::click-clack.

Toretto84
Toretto84

I hate it when this happens... which is almost every time I go on-site with a customer. Most of them have the brains to WRITE DOWN the problems (I've got a customer who will just say what they are in rapid order, often leaving me clueless) but when they do, the problem descriptions are vague at best, like... 1. e-mail doesn't work 2. Virus scanner ???????????? 3. I think the server needs to be rebooted. Worst of all is that, almost EVERY TIME I got to go to these customers near the end of the day... :-|

blonde2
blonde2

FAAAARRKK! why do they like surprises so much? didn't they have proper birthday parties when they were kids?

jasilvasy
jasilvasy

Yes, we get that a lot. It sounds like our management isn't the only group that won't renew our 1-800-psychic licenses. It's like - and you were going to tell me when? Then there is the one who called one day to say her PC was acting funny. I guess it was; she had opened an email and clicked on the link, so she got the I Love You virus. Had we warned her? Of course, her and everyone else. Had we advised her that she should be backing up her data and updating those signatures from our server? Naturally, every time we updated the signatures. Had she read those loving sent messages? About 50/50. Asked why she opened the email we specifically said NOT to open, and then clicked on the link we said was bad, she said, "I wanted to see what it was?" She then had the good grace to complain because it took 30 work-hours to get her PC back up and functioning safely.

jdclyde
jdclyde

End of the day, see where the call is coming from, and would have to go to the bathroom real quickly...... [i] "Sorry I missed your call, case of explosive diarrhea, sure you understand...... " ;

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I won't be here when you get here because my day is over, but my computer had better be fixed when I come in tomorrow...

Beviesteele
Beviesteele

We had one who decided to "clean off her hard drive." She cleaned it alright. She deleted the Windows directory, cause "she didn't need it" and then wondered why her computer wouldn't start.

rflanary
rflanary

simple fix. remove admin rights and use group polices.

blotto5
blotto5

howd they know how to get into msconfig? most people i help dont even know to use run or will immediately x out of that the minute they see all that advanced stuff.

Alysonh
Alysonh

Chair to Keyboard Interface Error

Dyalect
Dyalect

I think you guys hit every nail on the head. But without these moments we would not have laughs or jobs!!! Count your blessings. A few ID-10-T errors keep things interesting. I have a new one. My computer keeps shutting off in the morning. Let me see what you are doing. (user holds down power button and does NOT let go) Yup, that will shut it off everytime. :) -- JD

justinrichardson
justinrichardson

I get that one a lot. I finally put the kibosh on that and said I just won't set them up if it is done anymore, because it just won't work and I am not going to go through a ton of stuff just to try to make it work. Plus, we don't need every computer in the company to be a different model. Do you know how much of a PITA that is when something stops working?? We also had a manager that went and bought little inkjet printers because they thought we needed them and they were on sale. We have a $4,000 Xerox color laser; why on earth would we need a POS dinky inkjet, and one that is different from all of our models at remote sites for that?

Toretto84
Toretto84

I'm the jack-of-all trades for a small IT company and we've rolled out quite a few Vista networks (granted, nothing really big). It happened TWICE that the manager ordered Vista Home Premium machines, and then said "What do you mean, why do we need Vista Business?" But he's a good guy, his only problem is not letting me make the purchases / let me do the bidding on contracts ;-)

dmeyer
dmeyer

Users who want to tell you how to fix a problem that they called you about

blotto5
blotto5

i think we got a bit of a problem exists between keyboard and chair issue. not to worry though if it happens enough times she might throw the computer out the window and get fired. problem solved.

blonde2
blonde2

yes! yes! yes! Users are friggin STUPID STUPID IDIOTS! I have to vent here, because I am not allowed to bash them in the head. If I were allowed to, there would be a lot less irritations in my life because they would have passed on to a better life, hopefully.

jdclyde
jdclyde

they can't get my email or I can't get theirs..... That is right, no intelligent person would ever think it could be at the other end, right?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I tell them the problem is out of town. When they look at me funny, I just say that our part of the internet is working fine, it's the internet in [insert location of their favorite sports team's major rival here] that's causing the problem. Finish with "You know how THEY are..." Problem solved. You've reinforced the user's dislike of his favorite team's rival [u]and[/u] given him ammunition with which he can make of himself a complete fool.

blonde2
blonde2

yes, this is a famous one! Thye run off to their friggin coffee at a restaurant - especially our sales reps -which they classify as work and you have to spend your lunchtime fixing the crap because 'they have urgent work' to do. they are never on site for you to be able fix the damn thing - lazying off somewhere with coffee and lunch and wtf and the day they decide to do you a favor and come in to work then you'd better damn freakin fix it!! eeeeaaarrrggghhhh!!

jdclyde
jdclyde

[b]WHAT[/b] doesn't work?????

jedmonds905
jedmonds905

Probably did a quick skim of a PC World article and charged off a cliff before understanting what they were doing. Most of the users I dealt with in a previous position had enough sense to stay out of areas they didn't have experience in using. Sometimes the best lessons are learned the hardway.

ozchorlton
ozchorlton

My main source of errors is PEBKAC - Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair !

talisman.langley
talisman.langley

who not only do that, they tell you a host of unrelated information, "I learned this by poking around on my computer," topped off with, "I think you can fix it by [insert completely unrelated, possibly non-computer stuff here], and can you check the flux capacitor while you're at it?" (I have a "whole cup of coffee" user - I can get through an entire cappuccino before he's done talking about whatever it is he's talking about that has ZERO to do with his problem.)

blonde2
blonde2

yeah, they call you to fix it and they stand watching over your shoulder, commenting as if they know how to fix it. Some users let you do your work, but my word! the ones that think they should have been in IT REALLY REALLY peeves me off!I suppose when you in IT you have to make small talk with users when fixin it but there are some of them that can be just OVERBEARING!!

Fregeus
Fregeus

"The Internet is down, I can't get to hotmail..." "My customer cannot get my email, fix it". Euh, its because I can't (dumbass) "Not my problem, just fix it!" Seen a few of those too. I actually was sent to a customer's place of business once to fix their Internet connection so they could receive the email. It turned out to be a DNS issue. TCB Edited to add last comment

pysces83
pysces83

We have a staff member (quite senior in position) who yells "the email system is broken again!!" across the office to me when she's made a typo in an email address and it's bounced back as undeliverable. I've tried to show her how to enter people's contact details into Outlook's "Contacts" for people she regularly emails, thus avoiding the typo thing but she won't have it - as far as she believes it's the mail server's fault and the maddening thing is she tells other people "sorry I couldn't send you that document via email - our system was broken" which gives others the impression our system is unreliable.

picmajik
picmajik

I am going to have to use that one--plenty of Georgia/Georgia Tech/Alabama fans around here to add fuel to the fire.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The stated problem was BROKE. The corrective action provided was FIXED. I was asked to be more specific and amended it to "fixed what was broke." Client wasn't happy, but my boss fell out laughing.

blotto5
blotto5

I've been there before. I guess i learned alot of what i know about computers through trial and error with a lot of error i think ive wrecked alot of my computers learning what i know. o well thats what computer techs are for now that i actually am one.

blotto5
blotto5

wow i've always thought that but ive never heard sum1 put it that way lol

Darryl~
Darryl~

to the intended receipent under the helpdesk account (cc to the original sender) with a little note attached saying something along the lines of "this email was returned by our mail server as undeliverable, it appears the email address has been stored in the contact list incorrectly" ;)

jdclyde
jdclyde

"Oh, here is the problem, you accidentally typed in the address wrong. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help out!" Not said in a Steve Burns tone at all, but said loud enough that EVERYONE knows the real reason. I refuse to allow someone to cast their stupidity upon my systems.

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