No matter how organized you are, no matter how fast you are at troubleshooting, no matter how many hours you work, your overall productivity often hinges on one thing: your users. In this article, I will share 10 things you might want to teach your users not to do in order to save yourself unnecessary support time.

1. Do not add too many new fonts.
Secretaries, desktop publishers, writers, graphic designers, and engineers tend to love installing new fonts, but too many fonts can severely degrade Windows performance and even cause system crashes. Teach your users how to remove unneeded fonts before adding new ones. Running Windows with more than 500 fonts can be a recipe for disaster.

2. Leave the CD-ROM drive hole alone.
Many CD-ROM drives come with a small hole in front, which we techs know is the emergency eject button. A paper clip can do wonders in the hand of a tech, but in the hand of a user, it can spell disaster—especially if the CD drive is active. The hole is certainly not a temporary storage for a paper clip that was just used as a toothpick!

3. Do not layer floppy disk labels.
Floppy drives offer a pretty narrow space for a diskette to be inserted. Teach your users not to keep sticking new labels on top of the old ones. After about three layers, floppy disks can get jammed in the drive, resulting in a support call.

What’s on your list?

Post a comment below or send us a note and tell us what’s on your list of common mistakes that users make.

4. Post-its do not belong on CDs.
Those Post-its do come in small sizes, don’t they? What gets me are users who actually insert CDs into their CD-ROM drives with the Post-its on them! You get the picture.

5. Do not create too many Windows nested folders.
Users in sales tend to create many subfolders or nested folders in Windows. If you think 15 nested levels might be excessive, think again. Many salespeople work with regions and products. Their products folder contains a regions folder, which contains a continents folder, etc. Now imagine further nested folders such as countries, states, counties, cities, companies, upper mgmt, mid-mgmt, lower-mgmt, line-mgmt1, line-mgmt2, line-mgmt3, office workers2, and so on. Tell your users to keep their nested folders at a more manageable number.

6. Do not store speakers near the monitor.
Teach your users that those purple and green “thingies” on their monitor screens are due to magnetic interference from their speakers. And no, it’s not an excuse for them to get a larger monitor.

7. Do not insert disks if the labels are loose.
Teach your users to reattach those loose labels. Otherwise, they can tear off in the drive and result in a support call.

8. Do not stick Post-its over the Reset button.
Sticking Post-its on the computer’s front panel is fine. Just don’t stick them over the Reset button. In time, someone eventually presses the Reset button while pointing at or retrieving the Post-it.

9. Do not clean keyboards with the computer on.
Duh! It’s sad to say, but it happens all the time.

10. Do not store CDs in bags or purses.
Inevitably, these bags or purses sit in cars that are out in the sun. A heat-warped CD is a ticket to a damaged CD-ROM drive, even if it’s just a wee bit warped.

11. Leave the mouse ball alone.
Know that rubbery heavy ball found in a mouse? It is not made for use as a miniature billiard ball. Nor is it to be used as a golf ball during lunch breaks. It won’t work if it gets dirty or loses its spherical shape. (I know the title said there would only be 10 mistakes, but I threw in this extra one as a bonus.)

Be proactive
These tips can save you valuable time on wasted support calls, but only if your users know about them. Don’t simply wait until a problem occurs to warn your users about the danger of these mistakes. Be proactive. Warn your users now to avoid these mistakes and prevent problems.