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  • #2292105

    Favorite user stories for 2004


    by zlitocook ·

    We are about to close 2004 and I need to hear your best or worst user stories. These can be a great help when the job is getting the best of you. Just by reading about how some one ether made your day or just shut the IIS server down, can make others smile or just shake their heads and say I know the feeling. Just let me know the best or worst user and I will share mine too.

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    • #3300865

      Army Reserve Story

      by bfilmfan ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      In keeping with Department of Defense policy on maintaining security, a user reported that his hard disk was no longer able to be read to be wiped. When the help desk called me for advice on how to handle the issue, I informed them policy required the hard disk to be destroyed and proof provided to the security officers.
      So around 3 o’clock there was a request that I and one of the security officers stop by the motor pool.
      Once at the pool, the user walked over with a plastic bag that was fileld with small bits of metal. Asking what this was, he replied, “That hard disk I called you about.”
      I asked, “What happened?”
      He said, “Well you said to destroy it, so I had a tank run over it about 3 times.”
      I collected the bagged remains where they were later enshrined in a case on the director’s wall as an example to not speak too literally to users….

      • #3300837

        That’s classic

        by trockii ·

        In reply to Army Reserve Story

        I had things like that happen all the time while I was active duty with the Air Force. We take forgranted that they will know what we mean when we say “destroy” or “zerorize”.

        • #3300811

          Nuclear secrets

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to That’s classic

          We used to physically destroy, but not with tanks.

          It used to be a job for the night shift when they got bored, or any of us when we needed to vent.

          We would take them apart, put on the safety glasses and smash platters. If you mix them with enough other platters and smash them thoroughly enough, no one can put them back. This is after using a wiping tool. You like to be thorough when nuclear information is involved.


        • #3298541

          Ahh, but….

          by aceskaraoke ·

          In reply to Nuclear secrets

          If you’re too thorough, how can you verify that it’s the original hard drive platters?

        • #3298503
          Avatar photo

          Why would your need too

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Ahh, but….

          When things like this are destroyed they are destroyed and not considered for anything else. Besides you are always under video surveillance when you are doing things like this.


        • #3298477

          Didn’t know that

          by aceskaraoke ·

          In reply to Why would your need too

          Haven’t been in the military and I didn’t know about video surveillance, though it certainly makes sense.

          I’ve probably been watching too many episodes of M*A*S*H, and thinking that it’s an accurate representation of the military.

          If I had been thinking, I would’ve realized that sensitive data in a secure area would be monitored and not left just on the honors system.

          Forgive my naivete.

      • #3300702

        I have a great

        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to Army Reserve Story

        Way to destroy a drive, I work at a bank and had alot of drives that were special. Like ones that had two or three cables connected to them. There is no easy way to remove data from them. On day I was on the back lot with a two pound hammer bashing a hard drive. And a person from accounting was watching me and asked if she could take a few hits. And after that I get requests to destroy computer stuff every day. It makes them feel better.

        • #3298859

          A great fundraiser idea!

          by xtrainer ·

          In reply to I have a great

          I’ve seen old cars and pianos demolished at a dollar a bash. Next time you need an idea for a charity fund raiser, donate an old computer. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy taking a hammer to a PC!

        • #3319179

          I have seen a

          by zlitocook ·

          In reply to A great fundraiser idea!

          Few Japanese programs that do just that. They let the over worked people distroy computer stuff for a few yen and it blows off steam.

        • #3319142
          Avatar photo

          They also have dummies

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to I have seen a

          In their lunch rooms that they can beat up as much as they like these dummies are supposed to represent the Boss and quite a few of them take a real battering.


        • #3317622

          Something I’d love to do

          by hardware queen ·

          In reply to A great fundraiser idea!

          Something I’ve heard of that’s a huge hit is flinging stuff from a catapult for a fee. They say the old one-piece Macs are quite popular. I guess with lead and the EPA and all that, you can’t get away with it anymore. But we techs can have our dreams!

        • #3304629

          Trashing a Mainframe

          by tellangon ·

          In reply to I have a great

          We did the “take a swing with a sledge” thing many years ago when we replaced an old Nixdorf mainframe with a rack of Sun Servers. Although there was a bit of a debate over which equipment should have been bashed, we had everyone vent their frustrations on the mainframe in the parking lot. It was a BIG hit with the team (pardon the pun).

        • #3304575

          Here’s hoping

          by passer_chat ·

          In reply to Trashing a Mainframe

          I live in breathless anticipation of the day we get to do that to the IBM blade servers.

      • #3298829

        On the other hand

        by johnm ·

        In reply to Army Reserve Story

        I had the opposite problem in the Navy. The Intel center was upgrading from a word-processing system to a computer system with wordprocessing capabilities. The original system had a magnetic drum storage and the techs had managed to erase the timing tracks before they did the data tracks. You could never certify that the data had been really cleaned off. Regulations required that the equipment be sent out to be reused. When I demanded a storage/recycling site that was cleared for the highest level that might still be on the drum, I finally got approval for destroying the drum. The next Emergency Destruction training day it got about six thermite grenades and two types of thermite slabs, then was dumped into an oil drum with a load of paper and went through a complete burn cycle. It looked pretty well zeroized after that.

        • #3298784

          More Military Destruction

          by gwiggs ·

          In reply to On the other hand

          We used to use 21 inch platters with our mainframes in the Air Force. Working in computer support, we were required to use a power sander to clean all ‘silica’ off of the platters, only when all the brown stuff was off. When the electric sander broke, we had to use a sanding block and do it manually.

      • #3298783


        by owen ·

        In reply to Army Reserve Story

        I got buddy an XP2600 chip. He had problems with the ZIF lever on his mobo. Took a SCREWdriver to it and scratched the mobo. My good friend Jeff offered to try and fix the mobo. While he’s got the mobo on his worktable he cleans up his shop and takes buddy’s case to the dump. So all buddy has left is the chip. That cost me money.

        • #3298476

          Your good friend?

          by aceskaraoke ·

          In reply to dump

          Your good friend Jeff that tried to fix the board didn’t offer to replace the case he mistakenly took to the dump?

          I’m sorry but, no matter what kind of disarray my workshop’s ever been in, I’ve never accidentally thrown out a whole case, especially one that’s not mine.

          Seems a bit strange that your friend would pick that time to clean up his shop and suddenly forget what your friend’s case looks like and to put said case in a safe area while working on the mobo.

          I would be suspicious of my “good friend”, or at least his intelligence.

      • #3318937

        not speak too literally to users

        by ydanieli ·

        In reply to Army Reserve Story

        Giving remote phone support to a user I instructed him to type the following command: “COPYspaceSpaceTOspace” and to press Enter in the end. The command failed. I asked the user to read the typing back to me and it sounded perfect.
        Then I asked him to read the command I gave him, letter by letter. Sure enough… he typed in the space as the word “SPACE” and typed in the word “TO” as the number “2”. Surprises surprises?.

        • #3298471


          by jakepancake ·

          In reply to not speak too literally to users

          Same thing only it was “underscore”. I couldn’t figure it out until I had him repeat verbatim the line and he gets to the underscore symbol and says…”U.N.D.E.R…”, I could have killed him.

      • #3317664

        HD Destruction

        by kjb15 ·

        In reply to Army Reserve Story

        I like to shoot computer parts. I have a number of hard drives in my office that have been shot with .357, .44, .45, and 12 gauge slug. I also took home over christmas an old 286 we had buried in storage and gave it 5 rounds of 00 buck 12 guage. That was a blast 😉

    • #3300815

      The password

      by scottsman ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I had a director demand that we give him static passwords as he was tired of having to write the new passwords down on sticky notes. An attempt to explain the security dangers of 1. static passwords and 2. sticky notes on his monitor was severly rebuffed. I cannot repeat the language that he used.
      Oh and what position did this director hold? Director of security of course.

      My first reaction was to use his access to the budget to take a vacation, plane tickets and a 5 star hotel all on the government…but I am too pretty for jail and he still would denamd a static password.

      • #3299754

        Political Morons

        by bfilmfan ·

        In reply to The password

        Usually a nice phone call from a phone booth to the FBI and NSA gets rids of these kinds of idiots. Never use your name, but just relate what is going on.

        Something to keep in mind if you ever run into this again…

        • #3298753

          Not so fast

          by bigboss ·

          In reply to Political Morons

          You might get someone worse as replacement.

        • #3298656

          25 cents

          by webwatcher ·

          In reply to Not so fast

          …for another telephone call.

          Merry Christmas.

      • #3300703

        That reminds me of

        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to The password

        A director of MIS who desided that she would keep all her passwords on her and wanted to encrypt them so no one else could read them. This was a Windows 98 network with NT servers a few years ago. So I bought software to encrypt files and other things, it cost $15.000 and was a good buy at the time. When I told her she had to use a password to access the folder she was keeping her passwords in she said I will just use the password file with out the software. 🙂

      • #3298900


        by yelt62 ·

        In reply to The password

        When I was leading up the project to migrate to W2K I wanted to test the executives accounts to make sure the migration went well. Guess what, my VP’s password was his userid. Of course,I logged off immediately. Know how well our security folks do their job.


        • #3319110

          F15 Delete

          by cmachine ·

          In reply to HeHe

          I was part of an inventory dept. at an automotive parts plant. There were 3 of us, one for each shift and for some unknown reason the IT Mgr gave us higher level accounts which made for good reading. Unfortunately the scatterbrain on the nightshift(while he wasn’t sleeping) would go through all the files he had no business looking through including the GM master file which just happens to be run every night. While going through the file he must have got bored and wanted to exit the file and being computer illiterate among other things, he saw the option of F15 Delete at the top of his screen, why not eh? The GM master file started its deletion and the entire system crashed. It took the IT Mgr 36 straight hours to rebuild all system files (this was quite a few years ago) and I’m sure from that point on he was more careful about setting up accounts.

      • #3319261

        Password’s confuse the so called clever

        by it_netsec ·

        In reply to The password

        I’ve had a simplar expericence. I’ve sent an email in response to my “Big” Boss’s request to have everyone send me a new password request that she wanted me to set up. After going around and around with her about how NOT EVEN ME as he one and only system admin should know other employee’s passwords, I finally sent the email with all he basic rules she set up. “Do not start with a 1 or 0 all lowercase and any thing 4-7 letters max and NOT the users first or last names. The first request I got was from someone in Management requesting I make their password “00PHILINMANAGEMENT” now my first thought is this must be a test. This man can’t think I will make this exception for him when the boss over him set these rules. You know he tried to go over my head to get this password? Had me in a meeting cause I disregarded his request and he was upset and felt disrespected for it. Needless to say we went back to people setting up passwords the old way “expire and replace” still with the same rules of NO 0 or 1 to start and between 4-7 letters. I even missed a confrence call because of his foolish meeting.

      • #3298473

        If he’s your boss….

        by aceskaraoke ·

        In reply to The password

        Just make sure that his requests for the static password are in writing, so that when the network gets compromised you’ll have some documentation.

        How many times do you get asked by customers and bosses to do things that are just contrary to common sense? As long as you have documentation and you’ve warned them of the dangers, your conscience is clear and your future employment is guaranteed (cleaning up the results of their poor judgement down the road).

        …and scottman you are never too pretty for jail, haven’t you ever dreamed of being Prom Queen?

    • #3300039

      Look who I’m talking to…

      by featherman ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      In a “former life” so to speak, as a Help Desk representative for a major system component manufacturer, I had occasion to deal with Sys Admins / Net Admins / Storage Admins form various small and large IT shops. One call concerned our hardware and the software used to administer storage volumes attached to it. In order to set a given configuration into hardware, a reboot of the system, and removal of attached devices was required. No amount of rebooting (or any other documented or semi-documented tricks, for that matter) would get this hardware to perform as expected. Running some internal diagnostics indicated that our controller was working fine.

      The customer elected to call me back the next day, as his schedule did not permit him to continue the support call… Well, he did, and this time with the VAR who sold him the original system present. The VAR and I discussed what we had done (on speakerphone, whith the end user present), and the VAR had the user re-try what we had discussed earlier. As soon as the user shut down the system and attempted to remove the devices, a shout rang out from the VAR: it seems that the server had power management enabled… When the customer was “shutting down” the system, he simply put it to sleep. Leaving the system and devices live. Hot (un)plugging a non-hot pluggable device about five times in the process…

      Needless to say, the data recovery folks were very pleased to make this gentleman’s acquaintence…

    • #3299684

      by house ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      We offer web hosting. One of our clients has registered with the domain “hacks n cracks”, or something along those lines. There were a series of phone calls back and forth between us and the user. He kept arguing that he saw the Apache “access denied” page when he attempted to visit the site that he had uploaded. We kept saying “upload your index.html, we can’t see it. We can’t do anything until that file is there.” After much argument between us and the user, we checked out his folder on our server. He was uploading the file ‘’. He thought that html was our little short-form for hotmail. Lol – Hacks n Cracks indeed. 🙂

      • #3299469
        Avatar photo

        Good to see

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to

        That I’m not the only one dealing with “Rocket Scientists” when it comes to customers.

        But you have to have a good laugh when you finally work out what they where trying to do don’t you?


        • #3298851

          Reply To: Favorite user stories for 2004

          by house ·

          In reply to Good to see

          I couldn’t laugh at first because I was in shock. The customer was fairly aggressive with his previous phone calls, so we had to snicker a little bit when we explained the problem.

          After the intial two minutes of dumb faces… we were bustin’ a gut.

    • #3300699

      New things

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      At the bank that I work at we upgraded two servers and compleated the update at the workstations. All users were informed that the updates would keep thier settings and passwords. The upgrade was done and everything went as expected. But we started getting emails that the login for windows was not letting them into the other software. The upgrade was for software the passwords were the same as they used before. I tried to tell them that it was only for the software upgrade but I had to reset all passwords to let them type in new passwords.

    • #3298961


      by black panther ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      1. User rang up and said:-

      I cannot find my icon ( called Proclient )to login on the desktop.

      We said it must be there ( due to policies – they cannot delete it ).

      He said I can see another one similiar but it does not say Proclient it says the same as my password.

      What he had done was single click on the icon instead of double clicking then typed in his password!!!!

      2. Customer rings up and says I cannot log in.

      I said are you using a Dumb Terminal or a PC.

      They said what’s a PC. I said a Personal Computer.

      They said no I use works Computer!!!

      • #3319173

        Great post it reminded me of

        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to Dumb

        When we a group of contractors upgraded FEDMOOG in St Louis, they train and sell their services to auto manufactures. For mechanics, they provide a payper call service. We upgraded Win95, Win98 to XP and coverted all the propritary software to work with XP. All of the help desk calls for the the next week were how do I login or how do I use the program that I use everyday? Every thing was migrated so nothing had changed. They logged in the same way and all programs worked the same way. It turned out that a big wig from a branch office emailed everyone that every thing will change and all employee will need to login and use programs a new way.

    • #3298960


      by black panther ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      1. User rang up and said:-

      I cannot find my icon ( called Proclient )to login on the desktop.

      We said it must be there ( due to policies – they cannot delete it ).

      He said I can see another one similiar but it does not say Proclient it says the same as my password.

      What he had done was single click on the icon instead of double clicking then typed in his password!!!!


    • #3298911

      Crazy but true

      by kmbelk ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      This is a copy of an e-mail sent by a colleague. It certainly caused a riot in the office when I received it. I hope you enjoy.

      “I have a friend who lives out in Sweden and she has a laptop – she went travelling and on her travels seems to have picked up an infestation of some kind or another in her laptop keyboard!!!!

      She thinks its fleas but is not 100% sure, she just knows that “beasties” keep jumping out of her keyboard (this is completely true, its not a wind up).

      She has tried leaving the laptop in a room and set off a bug bomb (those things that you set off to kill mozzies etc) but they are still there! She has tried hoovering them out but that didn’t work either”

      • #3317629


        by dryflies ·

        In reply to Crazy but true

        Were they hardware or software bugs?

      • #3298470

        Did they ever find out what they were?

        by aceskaraoke ·

        In reply to Crazy but true

        Never heard of anybody actually getting infested with any living creature in their computer.

        Though I had one cat who always played with and chewed up my phone cords for my dial-up connection. I used to blame poor phone service and dial-up in general for my problems connecting and my sudden disconnects without warning until I found the damage to said wires.

        I don’t have the cat anymore, but I still have the physical barriers I put up so he couldn’t get to the phone line to play with it. I figured I’ve got kids so I might still need the added security…LOL

      • #3298463

        Spiders, too

        by csclark ·

        In reply to Crazy but true

        I was doing preventative maintenance on a computer lab that included opening the cases to remove the dust. Every single computer had spiders living in them – webs all over the inside. At least we knew there wouldn’t be any other bugs inside them! However, webs do make good dust collecters…

    • #3298908

      The Printer, the user…

      by rvokes ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      My best user story of the year?? well, here goes.

      Whilst on holiday this summer, sat on the beach, reading some IT manual, my mind totally elsewhere. Then THE phone call, the one we all hate…
      user: Help (no hello)I’ve got a problem…
      me: hi, what’s the problem???
      user: I can’t print…I get a printer unavalible error.
      me: ok, have you checked the printer is turned on…
      user: I have got my assistant to check it and she says that it’s on.
      me: has it got paper??
      user: she (the assistant) filled the paper tray
      me: hmmmmm… thinking….
      user: does it make any difference that I’m not at my desk
      me: no, It shouldn’t do, as the wifi works all over the office… you are in the office right??
      user: no, I’m in the airport…
      me: (duh! why didn’t I ask before) ok, why not send the document to your assistant to print it for you…?
      user: I haven’t thought of that… thanks
      me: ok, bye
      moral of this story, when on vacation, always have your wits about you…
      Happy 2005 to all

      • #3298901

        Moral of the story

        by mr wolf ·

        In reply to The Printer, the user…

        I would have thought the moral of the story should have been either:

        1 – don’t take the support phone on holidays, or
        2 – don’t accept support calls when on holidays

      • #3298810

        Who’s the dummy?

        by a_chief ·

        In reply to The Printer, the user…

        You took support phone on your vacation??

        • #3298700

          Not to mention…

          by jean-luc picard ·

          In reply to Who’s the dummy?

          …who reads IT Manuals when sitting on the beach??!?

        • #3304800

          Havent you seen ….

          by lrobertgg ·

          In reply to Not to mention…

          the CDW commercial. They have everyone believing that all we do is read 600 page tech manuals in our spare time.

        • #3298592

          Talk About Printer Problems

          by philospher ·

          In reply to Who’s the dummy?

          I have one for the group discussion. Working in the technology department I recieved a call from a customer with a jammed printer. I proceded to check power connections, windows drivers, and conectivity problems. After troubleshooting for 10 minutes, she confessed that her hand was jammed in the mechcanism. I told her she needed to hang up with me and call 911.

    • #3298907

      Outlook deleted items

      by paul.osborne ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Easy one this; One of the company Directors using his deleted items folder to keep emails he wanted to keep; funnily enough they were cleared out when he ran auto archive.
      Not only this, but they also advised 4 employees to do the same…..

      Also the logistics manager that dragged me into his office because his PC wouldnt boot. The monitor was turned off!

      • #3298773


        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to Outlook deleted items

        I have had that happen any number of times.

        I either get emailed or called with someone saying “Did you do something to my computer? It won’t turn on.” That almost always prompts me to say something along the lines of “Yes. I turned off your monitor. Turn it back on.”

        • #3319111


          by marcodesigns ·

          In reply to Monitor

          Had a user come back from maternity leave, she called to say her computer wasn’t coming on. Asked her if the light was on, on her monitor….after a long pause she asked “What is my monitor?” funny thing is she did the same thing after her 2nd maternity leave!

        • #3298466

          Gene Pool

          by aceskaraoke ·

          In reply to Monitor?

          She asked that question after her second maternity leave? The scary part isn’t the intelligence of the user, but that they are contributing to the gene pool.

          I’m sure Darwin’s turning over in his grave.

          Rather than trying to raise group consciousness, I guess we should get manufacturers to stop making monitors with a power switch at all. Have the monitors auto-on when they detect video output from the CPU, black screen during periods of inactivity, and auto-off when the CPU isn’t sending video. Would be one less frustrating item which should be a no-brainer.

        • #3313785

          Not fair, really

          by passer_chat ·

          In reply to Gene Pool

          You know, I was thinking about this. Cut the woman some slack. Pregnancy is pretty stressful under the best of circumstances – the hormones do nasty things to you, the brain shrinks and neurons die (really), and it all wreaks havoc on your memory as well as the whole way you think – and then after three months of sleep deprivation with a new baby, who generally doesn’t care if it’s 3am – frankly, most people are doing well if they remember their own name, much less whether a monitor needs to be turned on.

          Oh ye who has never made any stupid mistakes after missing lots of sleep, may cast the first stone….

        • #3301422

          My PC won’t turn ON!!

          by lemara086 ·

          In reply to Gene Pool

          They say you learn something new every day- I am glad to learn the right questions to ask a user before helping with any problem, as well as what to be sure and tell them following certain help calls. I have a user who has called three times because after I told her to hold the button for 4 seconds to force shutdown, she occassionally thinks this is how she should turn her PC ON!!!!
          AHHH!!! I cannot relate! But- now I know to tell every user following the 4 second shut down directions: this is only to turn off -NEVER- to turn ON your PC!! LOL

      • #3319182


        by g.brown ·

        In reply to Outlook deleted items

        Lol, that’s so funny .. my father did exactly the same thing afther a fellow workmate advised him that he should do that!! I warned him that he shouldn’t store his emails like that as they are quite likely to get deleted for good, and would he listen, noooooooooo.

      • #3318029

        I see that here also

        by gralfus ·

        In reply to Outlook deleted items

        I ask them, “Do you store your important papers in your trash bucket under the desk?”
        “No, of course not.”
        “Your Deleted Items folder is the trash bucket for Outlook”
        “Well, that’s the way I use it.”
        “That is why your documents are missing now.”
        “Well, how to we get them back?”
        “We don’t. In the future, store them in your personal folder.”

        • #3313969

          Different with Directors tho,

          by paul.osborne ·

          In reply to I see that here also

          Unfortunately though when its a director/CEO that makes the mistake, the only solution is to wade through the backup tapes and create a pst from his recovered deleted items folder….. and half a days work time lost!

        • #3318567

          Shred Box *-Do Not Throw Away-*

          by lemara086 ·

          In reply to I see that here also

          I had my son with me one evening and to keep him busy I told him to go around to everyones desk and shred the box of papers they have under their desk. I thought it would be appreciated as most people really feel above the chore of shredding. Well, much to my surprise- the following day I was reprimanded by not only 1- but numerous users who informed me “I do not REALLY want to shred that stuff- I have to double check each document prior to actaully shredding them” Huh?!? Phew- I’m glad I learned along time ago not to empty anyones “Recycle Bin” but I really did not see this coming!!

    • #3298904

      Coulf not belive this

      by buck ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I was asked by a menber of a sales team to burn a database to a cd. No probs there. They phone me later to complain that the database is now “read only”.

      • #3318984

        Me to I was to

        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to Coulf not belive this

        Burn a copy of all Directors important files and what ever else they needed to cd so that they had a backup. This project had me busy for a week because I had to wait untill they had the time to let me know what they wanted backed up. I compleated the task and had saved a backup to the network share, because the directors do not want their files on the network. They save them to the local hard drive, I was a contractor hired. This is not my idea. So when the director tried to save new files to cd I was called. I tried to use in packet writing but try to explain this to Dilberts boss that is what is going on. Please pass the beer it is going to be a long day;)

      • #3318093

        DB on CD

        by mikex ·

        In reply to Coulf not belive this

        That’s because you didn’t burn it on a Rewritable CD

      • #3298465

        OK that’s funny

        by aceskaraoke ·

        In reply to Coulf not belive this

        In their defense, maybe they’re used to using CD-RW’s or different software?

        I’ve used a few programs that do support multiple writes to the same CD. I can see how they might expect a database CD to work in the same way if that’s the case.

    • #3298903

      Err…what date?

      by pete_g ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Support call from user:
      User: This software won’t let me enter a date.
      Me: What date are you trying to enter?
      User: 31st September.
      Me: Err…How many days has September got?
      User: Ah…

    • #3298902

      Lights Out

      by yelt62 ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Sorry for the confusion, removed!

      • #3298899


        by mmcdonal ·

        In reply to Lights Out

        What does this mean? What is a computer room lights out? Nobdy knew what happened? What is a new opportunity? Why were you afforded another one?

        Speaking as another IT tech, I can say that part of the “problem with users” is the tech’s penchant to assume that everyone knows exactly what they are talking about.

        This is frustrating for anyone in any profession. As an ex-attorney, I know you have to take the time to educate your clients in order for them to appreciate what the heck it is you are doing for them. This raises morale and salaries both.

        • #3298897


          by yelt62 ·

          In reply to Huh?

          I automated the function of the Computer Room Operator to the point that they were no longer required to fill that function. Of course they were redeployed to more appropriate and value added functions.
          I have been in IT for a number of years (16) and when it comes down to “end user” communication sometime too much is detrimental, other times, too little is the same. You just have to determine the end users tolerance to something they don’t really care about or target the communication to those who may.

          “New opportunity” =’s our companies way of saying “here you go, another project for you!”

        • #3298769

          I didn’t understand it either

          by moira ·

          In reply to CRLO

          I must admit I read the original post not understanding what you were talking about. I assumed this was just my lack of knowledge 🙂 good to know someone else didn’t “get it” either.

          It does illustrate the point that communication is a two way thing and that some end users inability to understand something is, while amusing, partly the fault of the IT dept in explaining it clearly.

        • #3298760

          I still don’t get it

          by house ·

          In reply to I didn’t understand it either

          I was a little bit embarassed at first, but I’m glad that I’m not the only one.

          The original post has been edited and removed?!?!? Now we’ll never be able to decipher it. 🙂

    • #3298898

      website trouble!

      by dave ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Used to work for a company that ran online seminars for accountants…

      One of the sales staff wanted to add the site to her favourites, so I told her to type: and then press enter…

      Got a phone call back saying it wasnt working, of course I started to worry, so over I went to see her…

      she had typed as the web address:


      I kid you not!

      • #3319167

        Thats great! But here is

        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to website trouble!

        A user that I have who keeps telling me that she keeps getting spam from companys, and she wants it to stop. She knows that our firewall should block all incoming spam and unwanted email. I looked into her complant and found that she was going to sites that were not blocked by our firewall and signing up for things that reply to the email sent. So she is getting stuff she asked for. And some of the things I should tell my boss about:)

    • #3298892

      Lost Floppy

      by youdnever ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I received a call from a very anxious customer who said his computer had “swallowed a floppy” and it was the only copy of a very important project. On arrival at his office, I took a look at the floppy drive whilst he offered me whatever I wanted to retrieve this vital data. As there was nothing in the drive, I asked him for another disk and it operated just fine. “How can you do that?” he asked “I can’t even get the other one out! -even with a knife”. With a straight face I pointed to a floppy disk under his coffee cup and asked if it might be the missing item. ( It was). A very red faced and embarressed customer was then speechless !. He had spent 40 minutes or so trying to retrieve that disk .

      • #3298838

        That’s funny – similar issue

        by house ·

        In reply to Lost Floppy

        We had a customer bring in their PC to have us take a look at it. The customer complained that the cd-rom would only work half the time, and that he was losing some of his cds after he put them in the cd-rom dirve. The main issue that he had was with dead RamBus memory modules, so we had to open up the case to replace them anyways.

        When we opened up the case, there were 20 to 30 cds inside?!?!? We narrowed the source down to the small slit between the frame of the case and the drive itself, where a couple of cds were still trapped. Needless to say, we did have to replace the memory, so it wasn’t a complete farce. I still don’t understand how someone could sometimes use their drive properly, and other times, shove the cd through the tower itself. 🙂

        • #3298762


          by fresnotech ·

          In reply to That’s funny – similar issue

          I laughed when I read this one. I had heard of drives being off-centered a bit, and the disk beating itself against the plastic tray, thereby destroying the disk, but this is a completely new thing. Thanks for the laugh.

        • #3319206
          Avatar photo

          Well that is different

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to That’s funny – similar issue

          The worst one I’ve ever had with a CD ROM was the owner was using it as a coffee cup holder and wanted it replaced Under Warranty when she broke it.

          I will not relate the conversation here as it was just far too ridiculous to start off with. But suffice to say it started when I got a phone call asking for the Coffee Cup holder to be replaced UG.

          Col 😀

        • #3318750

          And lucrative

          by house ·

          In reply to Well that is different

          Needless to say, we found quite a few interesting disks. He didn’t get them all back. One of my associates is all about “stealing the customer’s porn”. We did get some good stuff though. Unethical? Perhaps, but he deserved it.

      • #3298795

        Been There

        by thumper1 ·

        In reply to Lost Floppy

        Back in the “BN” (Before Network) days, I received a panic phone call from a law firm. One of there secretaries “Lost” one of her 5 1/4″ disks in the system. She tried to insert it in the slot ABOVE the floppy drive. $75.00 service call to retrieve it.

      • #3298763

        Lost Floppy

        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to Lost Floppy

        I would have stopped and looked at him when he asked how you were able to get the other one in there. He did say he used a knife to try to get it out, didn’t he? I know that sometimes there are small issues with floppy drives, but to use a knife is a little overboard isn’t it?

        We’ve gotten to the point that all the new computers we put into the office don’t have floppy drives. We invest about $10 each for people who need to take files to other computers so that they can have USB thumb drives. There aren’t many people, but it save the hassle of a floppy going bad on us.

      • #3298678

        Drive not working

        by hereinoz ·

        In reply to Lost Floppy

        I can remember in the DOS days a call relating to a young office assitant running a backup of the company data to 5.25″ floppies using the DOS backup routine.

        The customer called us and said that the backup had failed, they were not able to insert a Floppy Disk into the drive and therefore were unable to perform their backup. Very irate customer as this was a recent installation and they were just busting for something to go wrong.

        What had happened? Well it seems that the first floppy had been inserted and had worked fine, and then the on-screen prompt had requested that Disk #2 be inserted into the drive.

        There was no mention of removing Disk #1 in the on screen instructions.

        Need I say more? One very embarrassed customer and one young office assistant going on about how the instructions really were not good enough, and how they should have told her to take the first disk out before she put the second one in.


        • #3317334

          While discussing floppies …

          by doctordisk ·

          In reply to Drive not working

          Decades ago, we had a large number of CDC110 computers which used eight inch floppies to load the CP/M operating system.
          I was asked to write instructions to operate the computers. I was told there wasn’t enough detail …
          Final version had a step that from memory read something like: “… remove the floppy disk from its paper envelope, hold it label side up with the label nearest you, and insert it into the drive and …”
          The call came in that after removing the disk from the paper envelope the user could not tell where the label had been …
          Went to the machine and sure enough, she had used a colleague’s pocket knife to very carefully open the paper casing of the disk and had a bare eight-inch diameter *extremely* floppy disk in her hands!

      • #3298358

        A similar issue

        by teeber ·

        In reply to Lost Floppy

        I had a user who called and said they couldn’t get a floppy into the drive. When I got there I watched her try to push the floppy in and it wouldn’t go. When I looked closer I found two floppy’s already jammed into the drive. It seems she was installing a program and it kept telling her to insert the next disk without telling her to remove the previous one. Sometimes you just can’t be too obvious.

    • #3298890

      User Name Silliness

      by john.hart ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      The users here have to change their passwords every three months. I got a call from one of the nurses(I work at a healthcare agency) that after she changed her password she couldn’t log in.

      Figuring she forgot what she changed it to I reset her password. She still couldn’t log in.

      I made my way over to her desk. For user names we let them use their first and last names. Believe it or not she was misspelling her last name.

      • #3298761

        More silliness

        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to User Name Silliness

        At the company that I work for, our higher up admin people have static passwords. They never change. Because of that, they don’t have 100% access to some of the more delicate features, like changing payroll amounts. That is left to our payroll person. Anyway, because of these people and their lack of IT knowledge, we had to give them passwords that are their last name, and some people get that wrong, and it almost always ends up with a call to me wondering what I did to their account.

      • #3319272

        A related problem

        by cubeslave ·

        In reply to User Name Silliness

        Before we upgraded to XP we had a problem here where people would complain they could not log in. When I took a look at their system I would see that 95/98 login prompt with a completely different user name.

        Either I had logged onto the machine to do maintainence, or someone else had needed to use the system.

        Users were so used to the system remembering the USER ID they would just boot and type their password in without looking to see if their user ID was the one windows had remembered.

        • #3304630

          Been there…

          by grand ·

          In reply to A related problem

          We finally used a utility that cleared that info out, so the end users always had to enter their login name.

        • #3299254


          by csclark ·

          In reply to Been there…

          Our users gripe to no end because we make them change their passwords – I don’t want to imagine the ruckus if we actually expected them to remember THEIR USER NAME!!!

      • #3318048

        DUE (dumb user error)

        by maineit ·

        In reply to User Name Silliness

        Back in the days of 5″ floppies, I had a user come to me with one that had somehow been corrupted. I was able to recover the data and handed him his now-functioning floppy back, whereupon he inserted it under the bull-clip of his clipboard and calmly walked away. Needless to say, he called again a few minutes later with the same problem.

    • #3298889

      Users – hate ’em or lothe ’em – you can’t kill them…

      by sc00by_uk ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      We’ve just migrated from NT4 terminal services to 2003 terminal services and it’s all gone pretty well (apart from the damn printers, but that’s another story)

      To save hassle I disabled the RDP service on the old server, whilst leaving the server switched on in case I needed to get some data off it that had been missed in the transfer.

      Everything was good, until I needed to RDP into the old server a couple of weeks after the switch, so I enabled RDP on the old server and we logged on and did what was needed and went home.

      The next day I had no fewer than 4 support calls in the morning wondering where the last 2 weeks of email had gone… 😉 That’ll teach me not to disable things when I’m done with them I guess…

      • #3298849

        Talk about mispelling names

        by rycherulz ·

        In reply to Users – hate ’em or lothe ’em – you can’t kill them…

        I’m a helpdesk/admin support agent, and part of the job is of course, password resets, both for the network and for the AS/400 user accounts. I received this call yesterday from a user, who, shall we say, isn’t the brightest bulb in the box.

        He told me he needed to reset his password, because he had been away for a while, and didn’t remember what it was. No problem. It then took me about 5 minutes of coaxing for him to spell his last name correctly to me.

        “S…A…U…D….. no, that ain’t it. S…A..N… nope, that’s not it either…” and on for several minutes.

        He verified his employee id, so I assume it was the actual guy, and not someone else trying to use his account.

    • #3298888

      xmas tree lights

      by steve ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      whilst having problems with my ADSL line the tech support guy at the other end asked how close my christmas tree lights were?
      about 6 inches apart on the wire was my response.
      apparently they had had a few customers experiencing slow speeds and been unable to connect and switching off the christmas tree lights fixed the problem.
      well you learn something new every day.

      • #3298823

        Christmas Tree Lights and ADSL

        by bhlang ·

        In reply to xmas tree lights

        This is a real problem. Some strings of lights do cause interference with ADSL modems, but if they’re plugged into different electrical circuits in the home, you’ll be fine.

      • #3298819

        Xmas Tree Lights!!!

        by pr0teus ·

        In reply to xmas tree lights

        Did this actually work??
        And was it caused by the lights being plugged into the same socket or any socket in the building?

        I’ve had some crazy problems of late with a client’s DSL access and I’m just about grabbing at straws!!!

        • #3319106

          re: Xmas Tree Lights!!!

          by steve ·

          In reply to Xmas Tree Lights!!!

          the xmas tree lights were not actually an issue in my case but it was the fact that this was offered up as a potential problem that creased me up so much. having spoken to other support staff at my ISP there have been a few instances as have been mentioned earlier in the threads where the lights had caused interference.
          Turning them off rectified the problem.

      • #3298815

        Same here

        by house ·

        In reply to xmas tree lights

        I do tech support for an ISP right now, so I am interested in knowing whether or not the lights were causing problems with dsl sync.

      • #3298808

        ADSL and Christmas Lights

        by pdm45 ·

        In reply to xmas tree lights

        It’s true, here’s a message from BT:

        Important news I001 8th December 2004 – dsl affected by festive lights.

        Important announcement

        ‘Dodgy Christmas lights are being blamed for knocking over broadband connections, with imported flashing lights that don’t meet UK electrical standards fingered as the worst offenders.’

        “It has come to BT’s attention that an extremely small percentage of seasonal lighting, which can be used both internally and externally may cause interference with the broadband service.

        “When the lighting control unit is set to any mode other than a steady state it may generate high levels of radio frequency noise and may cause the broadband service to lose synchronisation.

        “Investigations have revealed that the broadband service may be impacted where the lights do not meet the standards necessary for customer equipment marking.”

        So far, only a few dozen instances of flashing Christmas lights felling broadband have been reported. Incidentally, similar advice had to be issued last year. ‘

        Can you please ensure that this is borne in mind when you are diagnosing … faults for your end-users.

        • #3298764


          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to ADSL and Christmas Lights

          I know as an ex Norteller that we sold equipment to BT to do DSL over power lines – are we sure this isn’t the issue – that I can understand.

          I had problems with computers in the same circuit as air conditioners.


        • #3319205
          Avatar photo

          James Over here AC’s

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Um

          Have to be on their own individual power circuit so they do not cause problems with other items when they switch on and off.

          I didn’t realize that some countries had such lax electricity laws.


        • #3319082

          Well Central air yes

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to James Over here AC’s

          But many older buildings have window units which plug into common circuits.

          The one I remember was at the University of Toronto – they kept claiming their laser printer wasn’t working. Turns out they had it in the same socket as their window air conditioner and when they tried to use both at the same time – blew a fuse.


        • #3319062

          Sometimes, not even central air!

          by csclark ·

          In reply to Well Central air yes

          One of the school districts I worked for had schools that were built in the 1890’s (and yes, they are still in use today!) and when they were wired for electricity, they apparently didn’t have building codes. When central air was installed, who knows what circuit they used. A computer lab was set up in one of these old schools and every day around 2:30 the lab would go down. About that time in the afternoon, it would get hot enough that a second compressor (or something) would kick in. Down would go the power, off would go the pcs. It took us a few weeks of power monitoring and documenting things to prove to building maintenance that there really was an electrical problem. They insisted that not only was the AC on its own circuit, so was the computer lab!

        • #3318964
          Avatar photo

          Actually James`

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Well Central air yes

          Over here even “Window” AC units have to be on a seperate power circuit from everything else and each other as well. The same applies to the split systems and whatever other AC units are used. When any new AC is fitted to a building without AC they have to run a different line to that AC unit. If they are fitting several AC units every one has to have its own line all isolated from each other but of course they still draw their power from the same mains line so it is possible to overload the system if everything starts at once.


        • #3318224

          Well.. technically..

          by glitcha1 ·

          In reply to Actually James`

          NOT (at least I reckon, anyway)

          It depends on the current draw of the AC Unit. There are still a large number of window style units that run on 10 Amp -> and thus can be plugged in or hardwired to an existing circuit.

          They aren’t good for serious cooling but.

        • #3318030

          Power bug

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to Um

          Years ago (25 to be exact) I was commissioning toll equipment on a toll road. One of the coin collecting machines had a power short and I was disconnecting one section at a time, replacing the local fuse and turning on again, to try and isolate the area of the short. During this process coffee break time came and we congregated in the caf with the computer people (working on an IBM 1800, used for traffic monitoring) and discussed our various problems. The computer guys started talking about their cantankerous beastie – no sooner had they got it up and running when the thing shut itself down again- they were hair pulling.
          Turns out that the 1800 monitored its incoming power and when there was more than a 10% drop went into shutdown. Of course the coin machine and the computer were on the same phase and when and when we tried turning on our faulty machine a momentary drop in power to the compuuter occurred. Putting the computer on a different phase solved this problem.

      • #3298759


        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to xmas tree lights

        I had heard of this happening, but no one has ever been able to explain why that might be. If anyone knows, could you try to explain?

        • #3304869

          lights & electrical interference

          by passer_chat ·

          In reply to lights

          Remember any of your lessons on electromagnetism from high school physics?

          Radio waves are just another form of electromagnetism. Near as I can figure, if you have an oscillating electrical current, and a relatively unshielded wire, it is perfectly within the bounds of physics to set up radio waves that will screw with any sufficiently electrically-sensitive equipment in close proximity.

      • #3298754

        not tree lights but pipes

        by jlanus ·

        In reply to xmas tree lights

        This remainds me of a (long before 2004) server, a $25K Compaq powerful 386 that worked fime but, after a few minutes it became painfully slow.
        IT guys went to the server but always found nothing.
        In short, it was that “pipe dream” screensaver that ate all CPU resources when the server was operator free.
        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
        This is not a user story but an IT guy story. I dislike the “users are all dumbs” mood because after so many years serving then I started to understand how they see us IT people. Specially programmers like for example me.
        Actually most of the times, when a user doesn’t get it, I realize that it was not as clear as we IT nerds see it.
        The PC is intended for general use. Everybody, including that aunt of your’s …
        Every guy who can’t make it, and there are many, is a flashing signal of the failure to hit the intended target. As time goes by more and more children who were born near a PC are getting active and more old men are going retired, so using a PC is turning like using an elevator, something you give for granted.
        This only hides the fact that using PCs is not easy. And by “using PCs” I mean operating software (the hardware is innocent).
        I keep this in mind whan I design my programs. I’m sort of a “usability” advocate, seen as having betrayed the IT geeks and not being an user I’m sort of a lonely outsider from everywhere!

        • #3298752

          not tree lights but pipes OOPS!

          by jlanus ·

          In reply to not tree lights but pipes

          I don’t mean at all that this thread is about bashing users.
          Many postings show how you care for them, with affection.
          It’s that after thinking about what I wrote I perceived that it might be offensive. Sorry.

        • #3298677

          Been There (Recently)

          by ljackson ·

          In reply to not tree lights but pipes

          Client called complaining that none of the terminals could log onto a Win2K terminal server. I tried from my office with no luck either. Upon getting to the site and finally getting logged in at the console(5 minutes), I discovered that all of the users had set a screensaver of “3D Pipes” on their sessions. Server was maxed out trying to run 19 instances of that screensaver. All in a day’s work I guess …

        • #3298666

          Terminals are not meant for that

          by house ·

          In reply to Been There (Recently)

          Terminal services is not meant for graphic intensive programs – period. Even a Powerpoint presentation will cause a problem. People tend to “not” understand this concept in a network. I guess that’s why we get paid though.

        • #3317545

          Protect the user.

          by g_bigham ·

          In reply to Terminals are not meant for that

          I usually delete all the “OpenGL” screen savers.

        • #3316684

          That is…

          by house ·

          In reply to Protect the user.

          …a very good idea. It’s funny how the simplest things escape us when we administer a network.

          I feel like a moron now. But I know that I am not the only one.

    • #3298886

      Name Change

      by rdufrene ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I had a very annoying email user complain that when she replied to another user the person’s last name would change to something else. What I discovered was the user had automatic spelling correction turned on and accidently changed the name. Thus, everytime she hit the send button the name would automatically change. LOL

      • #3317542

        Not funny

        by g_bigham ·

        In reply to Name Change

        Well, I guess it really is. My last name gets changed to “Bighead”.

    • #3298884

      Special keyboard treatment

      by hepabolu ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      This story didn’t happen this year, but it’s too much fun not to tell it.
      Every year at the beginning of the academic year, first year student had to take computer courses. One of the programs taught was WordPerfect.

      One day a student came up to me and wanted to check if she had understood it correctly:
      so for a soft return I gently press the Enter key and for a hard return I just hit it hard?

      Can’t remember what the answer was. 🙂

    • #3298879

      Sometimes the Users Aren’t the problem

      by fgarvin ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I have 2 stories, and neither has to do with the typical user. I work in a major Military Installation and work in Domain Admin/Desktop Support. Now for the stories:

      1. An Upper Level Network Unix Administrator was concerned about the security of his system. As a Unix Administrator, he was granted Local Administrator rights on his computer. One day, we received a call saying his system Blue Screened everytime he tried to log on. Thiking that this may be a Corupt Profile, I acccessed his system remotely accross the network and started poking around. I checked security settings on the Winnt folder and discovered that all permissions had been removed except that of the user. Further checking revealed that all permissions on all folders had been replaced the same way. He was so concerned that someone was going to break into his system that he restricted everyone, and everything (Including the system) from accessing itself.

      2. We have been attempting to upgrade our network to Gigabit standards. Our LAN Maintenance Shop replaced several switches in one wing of the building with new Cisco Gig Switches. Suddenly, many systems with Gigabit NICs began displaying problems with connectivity. However, we were able to get the problem resolved by setting the NIC and the Switch to Full duplex 100 mbs. Of course, we did not leave it there, we wan’t to get the network speed up to Gig Standards. The Solution offered by our LAN Shop was to replace the NIC driver on over 3000 systems. This was not something we looked forward to doing, nor did it make any sense. Some of our team began looking into the matter on their own and discovered that the building was wired using 25 pair twisted cable (CAT 3) wire. This is Telephone quality cabling. Now that we had the evidence in hand, we went to our boss and told him. He went up to the LAN shop and told them, and they flatly denied the existence of such cableing. So, the boss came back down to us and said as much. So we showed him again, took the numbers off the wires, looked up the codes on the internet which verified that the wire was in fact Telephone wire and was not to be used for anything other than voice, Token-ring or 10-base-T. In addition, we looked up the IEEE standard for Gigabit networks and printed that up as well. All this eveidence went up to the LAN Shop. Their response is to have Broadcom, Intel and 3 com write new drivers.

      Sometimes the enemy is within.

      • #3298758

        Number 2

        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to Sometimes the Users Aren’t the problem

        The nerve of the lan shop. With the evidence in hand, they still denied they were at fault? I had heard of that possibility, but never believed it. Some people just don’t want to take the blame for anything, and even when pointed to the evidence, will still try to use the tactic of plausible deniability. Nice.

      • #3317660

        You are so right!

        by kaceyr ·

        In reply to Sometimes the Users Aren’t the problem

        I contract to a state government agency that is required to deploy it’s internet presence through another agency (very common in state government) known as the Department of Information Services (DIS).

        It’s a simple relationship. DIS operates the mainframes, internet server farms, inter-department networking, firewalls, etc. And, usually, they do a fine job.

        About 10 months ago we had a incident where each time a web-based application started, it was a crap-shoot between timing out and taking forever to get logged in.

        The agency where I work happens to have a man who is a network genius. This guy knows, and understands, all there is to know from the OSI Transport Layer on down (no kidding, this guy really exists!). He put a sniffer between his computer and the server that we were trying to attach and ran the application.

        This guy documented over FOUR THOUSAND low level transaction failures before the application EVERY PRESENTED A PAGE!

        Armed with this information, he checked the settings on all of our routers, and then checked the documented settings for what the DIS routers were supposed to be. He was mystically (to me) able to determine that the DIS routers were not set as documented and pointed this fact out to the DIS network weenies.

        Not only did the DIS weenies deny that there was any kind of problem on their end, they tried having their Director tell us that we were not allowed to activate sniffers on the network!

        The final resolution was that DIS re-set their routers to match the documentation that they provided to the agencies required to use their services. The kicker is that this decision had to be dictated to DIS by an organization within the state government known as the ISB or Internet Services Board. This group answers DIRECTLY to the Governor, and has the clout to affect budgets.

        Just goes to show you that even when the enemy is within they still present a huge target, right in the wallet!

    • #3298878

      Aging computers

      by robbi_ia ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I work for a non-profit that supports area preschools. As part of the curriculum, back in ’96, the schools bought computers for in the classrooms. They were loaded with children’s software. Now, it’s 2004, and some of the computers are failing. I went on a service call in one of the classrooms for a computer that wouldn’t boot. When I arrived, it was obvious that the hard drive had failed. I pulled a swap computer out of my truck and went in to swap it out. The preschool’s center supervisor asked me why I was replacing the computer, and I told her the hard drive failed. When she asked why it failed, I replied “old age”. Her response? “But they were new when we got them!”

    • #3298874

      home users!

      by husp1 ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I deal with mostly home users and some of the funniest things are normal occurences for me. How about the home user that decides to upgrade there OS from 95 to xp on a pentium 2 with a 2gig harddrive! or the time I had a home network user calling me to say that when she deployed sp2 her network had issues, I inocently said that sp2 had a few bugs in it so I,ll come and look at it for her. upon arrival she was in a state of panic. apperently she tried to get rid of the “bugs” by spraying Raid ant and roach killer into the fan intakes. and of corse my favorite is my little woman highlighting every icon on the desktop then opening them. :mrgreen:

      • #3298860

        Date Ranges

        by simply dope ·

        In reply to home users!

        Support call I received:
        User: My search isn’t pulling back any results.
        Me: (tests search) Ok, it seems to work with me. What’s your date range?
        User: From 10/31/03 to 10/1/03.
        Me: (silence)
        Me: Um, you’ve got the dates backwards.
        USer: Why does that make a difference?

        • #3298791

          More often than you’d think…

          by kaceyr ·

          In reply to Date Ranges

          This happens so often with my users that we now write code to swap the dates when the user specifies the date range backwards.

          We also recompute the last day of the month when they screw that up (almost as often as the reverse order date range).

          Ya gotta love them users!

    • #3298862

      Outlook express – Its helps to hit a buttton

      by timbo_in_nc ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      USER: I can’t receive any email
      ME: Do you get any kind of an error
      USER: No, I just don’t get any email
      so I got to her desk to see what the problem was, I sit down and hit the send/receive button and everything comes in fine. She said you are a genious, how did you do that? I went into her properties and selected the email to send and receive automatically. To make myself look a little better I explained that outlook express had been corupted and I had to reprogram it to send and receive. She was soo impressed, she said I dont know what we would do without you IT people!

      • #3298755


        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to Outlook express – Its helps to hit a buttton

        I do that sometimes to, tell the user that it was something a little more, but normally I say it with just enough sarcasm that they would hopefully figure out that it wasn’t that hard to fix.
        I can’t remember how many times I will visit someone, and tell them what I did, with the sarcasm, and watch as the person’s face figures out that I was being just a tad bit insincere. They are used to the sarcasm now though.

      • #3298647

        You’ll be back!

        by callanykey ·

        In reply to Outlook express – Its helps to hit a buttton

        Two issues.
        1 Why did the OE setting change?
        2 You won’t be a hero next time it changes all by itself!

        I see it as a quick fix not a solution.

      • #3317873

        I would have phrased it a little differently

        by cubeslave ·

        In reply to Outlook express – Its helps to hit a buttton

        When I solve someone’s problem along those lines, I usually say something to the effect of:
        “Somehow (this setting)has gotten changed…”
        “The next time problem try (this)…”

        Passive voice doesn’t assign blame, that is why the politicians love it. Also, I don’t like to put the idea that the person’s system just gets spontaniously corrupted (unless that is what is happening)because that will be their first assumption once somethgin else goes wrong.

    • #3298857

      I can scan clearly now.

      by arahigihs ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I’m an IT Executive at a company where 90% of our users are computer illiterate. Needless to say, my days are filled with great stories. However, the one that stands out most in my mind from 2004 is not the cause of one of the “Technologically Challenged”. We have implemented the use of several Symbol handhelds to move and keep track of our inventory. The user comes to me with a handheld and asks me to look at something. He presses the button to activate the barcode scanner and asks if there is supposed to be a gap in the laser. Sure enough, there is a small break in the laser. Trying not to laugh to hard, he is a good friend of mine after all, I reach over and relocate the elastic tether attached to the stylus. Of course, with this obstruction out of the way, the scanner worked perfectly.

    • #3298856

      “Tyred” PC

      by lee d ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      One of our sales reps had an ageing Compaq Deskpro 2000 as his workstation at home for collecting emails and such, and one day he called up the helpdesk to say it had a fault. So, we asked him to bring the box with him the next time he was due in the office.

      When he came in to us, he had a big grin on his face, and said “You won’t believe what I’ve done this morning!” He then proceeded to tell us that when he was loading his car (which is a large(ish) 4×4 off-road thing) he left the base unit by the boot while he collected the rest of his things. He put his things in the car, and then reversed out of his driveway. As he reversed, he felt the car go over something large and solid. He got out, and sure enough he’d driven over the base unit!

      He handed the unit to us, which initially looked unscathed apart from a huge tyre mark running diagonally across the top. However, when we put it on the desk we discovered it was, well, bent! It rocked quite noticeably when placed on the desk – I guess the metal case cover (which is pretty tricky to remove on the old DP2000’s anyway) had bent under the car’s weight, and because of it’s rigidity had pulled the frame out of shape as well.

      Even more remarkable, though, was when we powered it up: it still worked!!

      The rep found all this highly amusing – he laughed the whole time he was telling us about this – but his boss wasn’t so amused. He made him keep the twisted computer instead of surprising him with the laptop we were replacing it with!

      • #3298750

        Reply To: Favorite user stories for 2004

        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to “Tyred” PC

        Guess it’s a good thing he didn’t get the laptop. Doubt it would have held up under the same pressure.

      • #3319070

        Another “Tyred” PC

        by andymck ·

        In reply to “Tyred” PC

        Our MD done something similar. He got a new PC for his home and a couple of days later we got a call saying it wouldn’t boot. One of the guys ran up to his house to take a look at it and found it looking “tyred”.. literally. He’d drilled holes in the box and fitted wheels to move it around easier…


        • #3318963
          Avatar photo

          Well it’s been a few years now

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Another “Tyred” PC

          But I did see a instance of someone drilling a hole through a 386 CPU & the M’Board just so they could bolt on a heat sink to the CPU so it would run cooler.

          The really funny part was that the person involved really couldn’t understand just why it no longer worked.

          Col 😀

    • #3298852

      In all my years of support……

      by lcave ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Just this week I got a call from a very harried user. She had to have a new keyboard right away! It seems she just couldn’t type certain naming conventions in the correct format because she only had one type of slash on her keyboard. She said that she looked and looked and could only find one slash (the forward slash). I went to her desk and calmly pointed out both slashes.

    • #3298848

      You want my help to what?

      by xtrainer ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      User: Hi! I need some help. I’m trying to burn Microsoft Word on a CD so I can install it at home, but it doesn’t work. When I copy it to my drive at home I can’t get it to run. What do I need to do?
      Me: Let me just understand this. You’re trying to take a copy of Word so you can install it at home.
      User: Yes…
      Me: And you want my help…
      User: Yes…
      Me: Did you know that software is copyrighted?
      User: Well, yes, but…
      Me: So you’re asking me to help you steal copyrighted software…

      • #3298748

        calmly explain

        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to You want my help to what?

        I have had this happen a couple of times to me. A user will come and ask me for software to use at home. Apparently, the boss had said that it was ok. I calmly tell them that I could get them the software, but I would have to order it, and it would come out of their already strapped-for-cash budget. That cools that idea for a little while. I then just have to talk to the boss and explain that if he wants the people to have Word at home, then he might have to break out his checkbook. He drops the idea for a little while, but it doesn’t last long. Someone else will call me and ask for the same thing, and have to do it all over again.

    • #3298847

      Drop Test

      by arahigihs ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Some of our users recently decided to trade desks. Instead of clearing everything off of the desks then relocating them (they are modular desk/cubicles and the desk heights are adjustable) they moved the desks first and were surprised when one of the computers (monitor, tower, keyboard, etc.) scoots right off the desktop and, obeying the law of gravity, falls the 4 feet to the floor.
      The plastic face plate shattered, but the computer still works.

    • #3298844

      Wrong power cable

      by rcsoar4fun ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I support about 400 remote users, some 100 or so miles away. These tend to be critical systems that must be back up within 4 hours of a failure. I get a call on Friday afternoon that one user had moved their PC to a new desk and it would no longer power on. The location was about 75 miles away and I had no desire to go on site. I had the user double check the power cables to which I received a response of “I already checked that” with a tone of “I am NOT stupid”. So I asked the user what color the power cables were. He replied both were black, but one was thicker than the other. I had him swap the power cables between the monitor and CPU. I said the cables look exactly the same but are not interchangeable. He said that was pretty stupid, to which I agreed. It then booted without issue. Of course the power cables were fine, but he had not inserted it all the way. The hardest part about the call was trying to explain the fix to the other techs in the office that heard the call.


      • #3298746


        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to Wrong power cable

        That is a very original way to solve that problem. It kept the user from feeling stupid, and it got them powered on. I’m going to have to remember that one the next time someone in one of our out-of-state offices has a problem.

        • #3319177

          Yeah, handy too

          by g.brown ·

          In reply to Original

          I’ve seen something similar quite a few times. The easiest thing to do (if either the PC or monitor turns on) is to to switch leads. Not only is there that prob of it not being pushed in far enough but:

          It could just be the fuse in the plug.

          The actual wall socket could be broken, it’s true, I’ve seen it twice – once for a pc and also our kettle stopped working one day, so I tried a different socket, took the broke wall socket apart and a wire had come out, talk about shoddy electrical work!!

        • #3319022

          Wait till user tell tech friend

          by lmorin2 ·

          In reply to Yeah, handy too

          Just wait until this user brags about their new found knowledge to a tech friend rofl

    • #3298843


      by lee d ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      So far I’ve read many examples of dumb users, but nothing about those who are just plain gullible. So here’s my gullible user story – it’s a bit old but I think it’s worth telling again.

      One day I got a call on the helpdesk for a user in our labs who was having trouble printing. I went to see her and discovered she had tried many times to print, but to no avail. She told me that she tried everything – replacing the cartridge, reseating the paper in the tray, turning it off and on, and even shouting at it! As she mentioned the verbal abuse (and as I was in the mood to be silly), I said “Aaah, now that’s what you’re doing wrong! These printers are very sensitive, and they prefer it if you talk to them nicely.”

      She looked at me skeptically, so I proceeded to stroke the top of the printer and gently ask it to start working for me. I then re-sent the print to it and – hey presto – it printed out! The user’s face was a mixture of awe and disbelief! After running off several more prints, I told her it would be alright now and to let me know if it stopped again.

      I never heard from her about the printer after that, but I walked past her office a few months later and saw her whispering gently to her printer whilst stroking it! She even passed on this bit of “technical expertise” to other people in the building!!

      • #3298695

        Mars has influence…

        by kiminyme ·

        In reply to Gullible…

        I teach computer science classes at a local business college. We have one large office with lots of cubicles for all the faculty members, and since I’m closer than the IT department is, I generally tend to get asked questions when other faculty members have problems with the computers.

        Over the summer, we were having network issues that caused everything to run more slowly than normal. During a lunch break, a group of us starting talking about how close Mars was to Earth, and I very seriously said that the network problems were caused by the fact that Mars was so close, fully intending for this to be taken as a joke. One of the women, though, took it VERY seriously, and started asking me why Mars would have any influence on our network… We did explain that it was a joke, and she was very embarassed not to have seen that.

    • #3298841

      The CD-ROM ate my mouse

      by rcsoar4fun ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I gave a computer to my aunt, who is more than somewhat technically challenged. I get a message from her one night that the CD-ROM ate her mouse and she wants to know where she can download another one, or maybe by one at Walmart. At this point I am concerned, if anyone can make a CD eat a mouse it is her. I call her back to discover that when inserted a CD from a cereal box into the drive. When it autoran it locked up the computer, causing the mouse pointer to disappear. A reboot and all was fine.


      • #3298809

        my speakers just stopped…..

        by answerman ·

        In reply to The CD-ROM ate my mouse

        I run a little residential and commercial computer service and solutions company….
        User: My speakers just stopped working
        Me: When’s the last time they worked?
        User: Yesterday before I vacuumed.
        Me: Is the light on the speaker on?
        User: Yes
        Me: I’ll be right over.

        Found out the plug came out of the sound card when she vacuumed, and she put it back in the mic input.

        Service Call: $50.00
        Time Spent: 30 seconds
        Distance: 1 mile
        Users that are too embarrassed to admit they might have done something wrong…. PRICELESS!

    • #3298837

      Operator error

      by rmccready ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I support a user who is constantly at odds with her computer. She does not like computers and does not trust or believe them. One day she calls me and says a report she ran was incorrectly reporting our revenue projections. She had run the report several days prior and at that time it was considerably higher than it was today. I told her that it could be do to jobs being cancelled and that the report was correct. She actually had me hold on the line while I heard her adding up all of the computers numbers and she told me she was just trying to make sure the computer was adding properly!

      • #3298727

        What was she adding them up with?

        by singerguy ·

        In reply to Operator error

        If she used a calculator, isn’t that just a dumber version of a computer? Hmmmm. I wonder why she trusts one computer more than another? LOL

    • #3298832

      Time for Coffee!

      by mhasf ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      When teaching a new user how to use her computer terminal, it was getting close to 10:00AM. Both of us being smokers and coffee drinkers, we were getting to that point of withdrawal onset. At this point in her training session, we were reviewing keystroke shortcuts.

      Anyway, we came upon a suitable breaking point, and I told her “…ok, it’s time to get off the computer.” She looked at me with a puzzled look and then looked back at the screen. She exclaimed that she was not [perched] on the computer. It was all I could do to keep from losing it right there and then. So I went on to help her along and said, “No, let’s break now!” She joyfully exclaimed “I know how to do that!”, and very confidently hit the Break key.

      Happy Holidays!!!

      • #3298744


        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to Time for Coffee!

        I was talking to our receptionist, whom I happen to think very highly of no matter how this makes her sound, and she proceded to tell me how she was afraid of hitting the delete key for the longest time. She was afraid that it would delete the whole drive, and there wouldn’t be anything she could do to get it all back. but, she said proudly, I am not anymore. I will even hit Ctrl+alt+delete, which she only has to do when we tell her to do it because something is hosing up her 98 box. Needless to say, it was all I could do not to laugh when she said that to me, but I think I did have a small little smirk on my face.

      • #3299244

        Or not….

        by csclark ·

        In reply to Time for Coffee!

        One of our very illiterate users always tried to get things done without working on his computer, because he had never learned to type and it took him too long to get anything done (someone had told him his fingers were too big and he would never be able type properly!) One day, he was actually working on his computer, when he called me and said it suddenly stopped working. I asked him what happened and he said ‘nothing, it just stopped putting letters on the screen’. The mouse worked fine, only the keyboard had a problem. I shut it down to swap keyboards, and when I picked up the keyboard, coffee poured out onto my lap! He had spilled a whole cup of coffee, cleaned up the mess around the keyboard and computer, but ‘nothing had happened’! I asked him why he didn’t tell me about the spilled coffee and he looked at me and said (with a straight face) ‘Is that important? It’s just a little coffee, and it wasn’t even hot anymore.”

    • #3298828

      Lack of power

      by luschen1611 ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      This isn’t from 2004, but it is the funniest phone call I’ve ever had.

      This happened back when California was having those black outs because of the lack of electricity. This lady calls up and says that her computer would not turn on at all (keep reading….not due to a black out). She would press the power button but nothing would happen. I verified that she was pressing power on the system and not the monitor….checked good. Monitor had a green power light. I asked her to look for the black power cord behind the tower to ensure it was plugged in…….nope, it was unplugged. I asked her if she unplugged the power cord. She said she did! While having a dumbfounded look on my face I calmly asked why she went and unplugged it. Her answer? “I don’t use the CD-Rom at all. And I’m down in California where we are having power outages. So I thought I would unplug the CD-Rom to conserve energy.” I had to put her on hold after that so she wouldn’t hear me laugh. After telling a couple other phone techs who also laughed, and bringing my composer back under control I explained that she needs the power cord for the computer to work….it isn’t just for the CD-Rom. She understood and all was well.

    • #3298813


      by answerman ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      One phrase, one meaning, 80% of the calls to helpdesk are filed under that acronym. And what does it stand for my fellow techs? Simple…..

      P.E.B.K.A.C. =
      Probable Error Between Keyboard And Chair

      • #3298740

        said that before

        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to P.E.B.K.A.C.

        I never had the acronym, but I have definitely used the terminology before. I have even told a user that, but only a user that would know I wasn’t being purposely mean, just making a joke.

        “It seems that the problem was somewhere between the chair and the keyboard.”

        Watch them look between the keyboard and the chair to figure out what I mean, especially if they aren’t sitting in the chair anymore. Normally takes a couple of seconds to get it right.

        • #3298734

          Loose nut

          by it_lobo ·

          In reply to said that before

          I like to tell them the problem was a “loose nut behind the keyboard”. You would not believe how many turn their keyboards over to check the screws!!!

      • #3319113

        And then there is PEBCAK….

        by cre8tive ·

        In reply to P.E.B.K.A.C.

        Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard!!

        • #3319099


          by soulman918 ·

          In reply to And then there is PEBCAK….

          Personally I like I D 10 T. If you tell A user that this is the problem they don’t understand. I’ve used this a couple of time with Users who can take a joke. Once you write it down it is fairly clear…


        • #3319057


          by rcsoar4fun ·

          In reply to Error

          My fav is EEOC : Equipment Exceeds Operator Capacity

        • #3318156

          10% Rule

          by it_lobo ·

          In reply to And then there is PEBCAK….

          You have to be 10% smart then the equipment you are working on.

          This applies to all equipment, even the one who have trouble using a scissors.

          Don’t ask.

      • #3317871

        Error level 13

        by cubeslave ·

        In reply to P.E.B.K.A.C.

        Error level 13 (since the user is sitting within 13 inches of the keyboard), as well as Wetware Failure are other things I have seen user error referred to.

        Wetware failure: User Haulted.

    • #3298805


      by toolhorder ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I do tech support part time for a small non-profit while I?m in grad school. Maybe 75 systems spread out over 50 miles. Many of these systems are located in offices at the users homes. I had one woman bring her system in for a complete rebuild as her kids had used it for file sharing and had infected it with everything possible. I get it re-done in a couple of days and even drive it back to her home and drop it off. She said she would have no trouble hooking it back up. I get a phone call and a stupefied young girl is saying that the computer won?t turn on. ?The wireless isn?t working? she keeps saying. I?m thinking?this thing doesn?t have a wireless card. The woman had brought along the power cord with the box and I didn?t know it and I hadn?t returned it with the computer. Wireless power. Go figure.

      • #3319199

        Don’t accept power leads

        by callanykey ·

        In reply to Wireless

        With this policy there can be no argument when they can’t find the lead.
        It never ceases to amaze me the number of customers that bring the lead after I’ve told them.
        “Just the box, no keyboard, no mouse, no screen, NO POWER LEAD.”

        When they bring it anyway I tell them.
        “If you give me that you won’t see it again.”
        Only then does it sink in!

        It’s not a communication problem. It’s just another classic example of humans failing to deal with computers!

        When a computer is involved, logic is absent!

    • #3298801

      This one is on me

      by dbsteele ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I was helping my accounting manager to do some important reports for head office. We worked late into the night, and were both pretty crabby. This was in the days of 5 1/4 in diskettes, and we had no network. I was working on one PC, she had the master system on hers. I finally finished my part of the work, rushed into her office with my diskette. I inserted it into her computer immediately started laughing hysterically. She thought I had finally cracked.
      What I had done, however, was push the diskette into the gap between the two diskette drives! It was the only copy, so I had to find a screwdriver (no easy task at that time of night) and dismantle her computer before we could finish.

    • #3298794

      I Lost The Thing That Does My Stuff

      by rk bill ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I run the IT/Records Dept. for a State Agency.

      1. User calls – I lost the thing that does my stuff.
      I get to her desk and find that she had closed the MS Office shortcut bar and when prompted “….Do you want the shortcut bar to start automatically when you start windows” apparently answered ‘no’.

      2. User calls – I can’t print.
      I get to her desk and find that she has closed the MS Word standard toolbar.

      • #3298737


        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to I Lost The Thing That Does My Stuff

        I had that toolbar thing happen to me, but the problem was a little more than just closing it. You are aware of how you can drag the toolbar so it isn’t anchored anymore? The General manager had somehow figured out how to drag it, and left it off the screen. I went into word and it showed that the toolbar was on, but I couldn’t find it. The only way I could get it was to change my resolution, and drag it back down. I don’t know how I figured out how to try that, but it got the toolbar back, and the GM doesn’t feel like he’s wasting money to pay me now.

    • #3298792

      Video Camera

      by fagell ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I work for a government agency and we recently implemented video conferencing on the WAN. One of the users workstation with the camera and microphone installed failed in one of our remote offices. So our staff support tekkie had her move it to another WS and then the tekkie reinstalled the software on that WS. She then told her to test it by making a call to another staff member with a camera. The user then called back a few minutes later and explained that she could hear him but he was having trouble hearing her, but he could see her okay. So the tekkie explained that they might have to play around with the volume. If she couldn’t get it to work to call her back. Well the tekkie never heard from her, so she assumed the problem was resolved. Well, a few days later, the tekkie was on site at the remote site, where the user was calling to test the camera. The guy who was receiving the call, explained to the tekkie, that he had solved the problem. When she made her video conference call, he could see her but still could not hear her. So he said to her, maybe you just need to yell into the microphone. So she proceeded to pick up the camera and yell into the top of the camera, which in turn gave him a close up video of her “chest”. Needless to say, he was at first speechless, but handled the situation well. He picked up his microphone and spoke into it in front of his camera and said this is the microphone. She looked over to the “dead” computer next to her and said, oh that is a microphone??? She never moved the microphone from the other ws. LOL

    • #3298788

      Users? What about vendors?

      by pwrightson ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      We have a non-profit customer that also has a small retail store. The store manager was trying to do an inventory, but the POS/inventory system was having an issue. They were using a hand-held to scan the inventory and load it into the POS PC but the files could not be sent to the backend (unix) system.
      Our customer had an open ticket for two weeks with the vendor of the system, who insisted that everything should be working fine and that it was obviously something the customer had done (nice support!) since “well, the server can see the PC”.
      So the customer involves us as we handle their general IT needs. I had called the vendor a couple of times and was trying to understand how the system was supposed to operate – this was our first involvement (and last, hopefully) with this software. I had set up a conference call between myself, the store manager, another one of our consultants and the vendor.

      Me: OK, so let me get this straight. You dump the files from the handheld into the checkout PC, and that is working fine.
      Everyone else: Yes.
      Me: How do the files get onto the server? What process transfers them.
      Vendor: Well, the user moves the files into a folder on the server using Windows Explorer.
      Me: So, you are using samba.
      Vendor: Yes, and it is working fine. When we log into the server, we can see the PC.
      Me: Ah, but that would be using the samba client tools. To push the files from the PC you need the samba server to be running, right?
      30 seconds elapse.
      Me: Hello? Everyone still there?
      Vendor: Yes, we are just discussing it.
      1 minute later.
      Vendor: OK, everything should be working now.
      Store Manager: OK I see it. I am copying the files. Its working.
      Me: So you did not have the samba server running?
      Vendor: OK. I think the issue is resolved. We are going to close this case now. Thank you.

      • #3298775

        Christmas Tree? Try DelTree

        by seanh ·

        In reply to Users? What about vendors?

        One of our vendors(whom we have come to have a great working relationship with) worked on a big NT4 rollout for us a number of years ago. The engineer assigned to work with us is a big fan of batch files! So, after the rollout and a year of students gumming up the servers we asked him to write a batch file to clean out the student directories on all the servers. He did, and successfully tested it on our test server (apparently). Three technicians had run the script on their servers before we could get word out that the cleanserver.bat file with the “deltree” command in it was deleting all files in the root directory. The funny part was that at Christmas his colleagues at his work gave him a Christmas Tree with little “DEL” ornaments on it–a deltree.

        • #3319104

          tickled by the pun

          by soldierjedi ·

          In reply to Christmas Tree? Try DelTree

          This just reminded me of a techie pun that my boss came up with a couple of years ago.

          in order to provide a graphic demonstration of how a cross-section of bundle of Cat5 cables looks, he took some 12″ lengths of UTP, and tied them together in pairs, 3s, 4s and finally strapped the whole lot together, to show how branches of bundles might look.

          After the demo, he stripped 2″ off the ends of the “branches” and untwisted everything. it ended up looking rather organic, and was immediately dubbed a “twisted pair tree”

          OK, not very funny, but the pun tickled us…

    • #3298785

      Network Upgrade

      by paulb7 ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I upgraded one of my customer’s whole network system about 2.5 weeks ago. New HP Proliant ML350 G4 and 24 port switch running Small Business Server 2003. Took the whole weekend. They also upgraded to ADSL supplied by their ISP.

      Got a phone call from a very irate director. Your new )#Q*#Q%(*# system does not work. No internet, can’t log on !! NOTHING !!! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU SELL US AND INSTALL HERE !!!??

      Rush over to check it out. Server says “Cable Unplugged” Check the network cable, everything is fine. Go check the switch, lights are off. Follow the electrical cord to the wall plug, it’s switched off. Switch it back on, everything works OK.

      One of the directors was moving old computer equipment into the store room where the switch is located. He packed everything neatly together and pushed an old 17″ monitor against the switch of the wall plug switching off the electricity & the 24 port switch. Needless to say, many red faces everywhere. Still, no apologies to me for cursing and blaming me for their stupidity.

      Go figure. Looking for a different profession.

    • #3298782

      Couldn’t turn on the computer

      by btang ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I used to pick up help desk calls when I was working for a large coperation. One day a user called and told me that she couldn’t turn on her computer.
      I asked: Is the power cord plugged into the computer?
      She answered: Yes.
      I asked: Did you turn on your computer?
      She answered: Of course I did!
      I asked: What did you see on the screen?
      She answered: A black screen.
      Then I asked her to press the power button but she told me: I tried many times already. My computer is not responding!
      I asked her: Which button did you press?
      She said: The button under the screen.
      LOL – She turned on the monitor instead of the PC tower!

      • #3316729

        Well, I’ll Be . . .

        by a_dangerous_mind ·

        In reply to Couldn’t turn on the computer

        I had one just like this years ago when I was on a help desk. A security guard who had been given a PC by someone else kept calling to complain that it didn’t work. After several calls where he just yelled the brand name back at us, I asked him whether the light was on on the monitor. It was, but he hadn’t turned on the PC itself, of course. When I told him how to do this, I just heard back, “Well, I’ll be . . .”

    • #3298781

      Mouse Troubles

      by gwiggs ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Back in the early ’90s I gave my mother my old 386sx computer. Her first graphic user interface (Windows 3.1). I had just completed my CSCI degree and wanted an excuse to upgrade.

      She hauls the computer across country and set it up. Then she called me, to complain that the mouse wasn’t working. Windows 3.1 wasn’t exactly stable, but when I walked her through some trouble shooting, everything seemed OK.

      Every time I asked her to try the mouse, she would say the the cursor ”jiggled” a little, but the pointer never moved. While I was trying to figure out her problem, I would pick up my mouse and tap it on the desktop. I noticed that this would cause a slight jiggling action.

      When I asked her to describe EXACTLY what she she was doing, she told me that she was picking up the mouse and setting it down on the mouse pad where she wanted the cursor to move to. She had no thought of sliding it, just figured that it was somehow connected to the mouse pad and moved accordingly.

      • #3304614

        Intro to GUI

        by grand ·

        In reply to Mouse Troubles

        Reminds me of a guy when I first started here. He’d never used anything but DOS, so I got stuck trying to teach him how to use a mouse.

        Me: To close the window, move the mouse pointer up to the black “X” in the top right corner.
        User: Like this? (as he places the bottom of the mouse on the monitor glass).

        Of course, this exchange took place after I had to show him that placing his palm on the back of the mouse and his fingers over the buttons would not cause electrical shock, pain or cooties.

    • #3298774

      WIFI signal lost

      by davejesc ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I had a client who had other building users complain that their wireless signal kept going away. It turns out this only occurred when the client was logged onto the network. If they were off or away, everything worked fine.

      Turns out the client had relocated the router onto their desk right next to their mammoth PC monitor.

      It only took a few seconds to realize that the monitor RF was blowing away the WIFI signal – or that the CRT gun magnets were distorting it. When the user was not logged on or at their desk using the computer (monitor on), everything worked fine!

      Relocated the WAP away from this nuclear PC monitor and life was great again.

      Well, it was funny at the time.

    • #3298770


      by warwizard ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      One time I was assisting a Netware admin install his NW 3.12 in his new PE2300 server. (This was a few years ago!) He had a NW 2.2 server on an old DX40 system. Up to this point he had been knowledgeable and able to do all the tasks, so I was surprised when we had the following discussion:

      Me: “Ok put your Netware CD in the drive.”
      Customer: “How do I do that?”
      Me: “press the button on the CDROM drive.”
      Customer: “Ok it opened and closed again!”
      Me: “Press and release the button.”
      Customer: “Ok it stayed open that time. Which side goes up on the CD?”
      Me: “The label goes up.”
      Customer: “Ok, … it’s copying files now.”

      I checked the configuration on his old server it did not have a CDROM drive, this was his first time he had ever seen a CDROM drive. I was impressed that he asked which side went up!

      • #3298742

        Power problems

        by csclark ·

        In reply to CDROM?

        I’ve noticed that most users don’t fully understand the concept of power, at least in reference to computers. At least 90% of the calls I get about computers not coming on properly are because they have no power – either the monitor or cpu is unplugged or the power strip is turned off. These are my two best ones:

        I worked in the administration complex of a local school district, in IT. We had a bad thunderstorm and lightning hit a transformer down the block, which caused the transformer in our parking lot to go, too. Of course, all our power went down. Central office used terminals connected to an AS/400 several miles away. When their terminals went off too, they called us asking why. We told them all power was out, to wait for it to come back. Later, the power came up half-way as they replaced one of the transformers. The lights were flickering on and off. Two minutes later, we start getting calls that the terminal screens are shrinking and expanding, making it hard to work. I asked them what their lights were doing? They said ‘going on and off’. So I asked them what makes them think their terminals will work if the lights won’t? Their answer: the main computer they are connected to has power!

        The second is not technically a power issue, but that’s what they called in. We gave one of our users a laptop to replace her old desktop pc. The laptop came with a docking station, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I showed her how to use the laptop in the dock & out of it. The next morning I get a call that the computer will not power on, but the monitor is on. I go to her desk and the green light is on on the monitor alright, but there is no laptop in the dock. I asked her where the laptop was and she said at home, she didn’t think she needed it here. It didn’t occur to her that the monitor, etc., wouldn’t work without the COMPUTER!

    • #3298766


      by moira ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Why not just explain it properly in the first place? With so many posts, nobody wants to go look on Google to make sense of them.

    • #3298749

      It’s an old story – but it’s the best

      by jwmccoy ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      In a large customer service department – we had terminals on each desk. I received a call that one of them had smoke coming out of it. I went out and sure enough… a pillar of smoke was coming out of the back.

      I asked what had happened. The lady responded, I was just watering plants. Looking at the terminal again, there was a plant on top of it. Apparently – water had entered the terminal and shorted it out. I explained that they shouldn’t put anything at all on their terminals. Much less a plant.

      Upon closer inspection… I noticed that they had watered a plastic plant!!!

      • #3298745


        by house ·

        In reply to It’s an old story – but it’s the best

        I think that it was your last point that really got me. You just have screamed “Alright… everyone out of the (gene) pool!”

        Where do these people come from?

      • #3298739

        Made my day

        by it_lobo ·

        In reply to It’s an old story – but it’s the best

        I was having a boring day, until I read that.

        That was the funniest thing I have read in a long time.

      • #3319166

        HeHeHe HoHoHo

        by g.brown ·

        In reply to It’s an old story – but it’s the best

        That’s great … watering plastic plants on their monitor … stil rofl.

        • #3319139
          Avatar photo

          Well I saw something similar

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to HeHeHe HoHoHo

          But no where as near a good an outcome.

          There was a fern above the computer on a work desk and one day it eventually stopped working all together after several weeks of tripping the electrical relays and removing all power from that circuit.

          When I opened the box I found the M’Board covered by growing ferns apparently the spoors had been sucked in while the unit was running and then settled on everything exposed at night when the computer was turned off. As the humidity also went up at night these spores germinated and began growing when I got to see the computer they where about 1/4 of an inch high and covered the entire M’Board.

          Of course they wanted it repaired but at least it was possible to recover the data and I moved the fern outdoors when I returned the new computer.

          Col 😀

    • #3298736

      Those pesky power strips

      by singerguy ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I went to a small remote office to take care of some routine maintenance items. While there I was told that several users were having trouble with their phones and hooking up their laptops to the network. These users are in a block of desks that free stand in the center of a large room. They are home health nurses who work in the field and this is just a place for them to update their email and check voicemail. Their phones have to be plugged in to AC power if they want anything more than just a dial tone. There is a small switch mounted between the desks that lets them share the one network drop in the room.

      After a few minutes of troubleshooting equipment I found out that they had redone their power strips. Now the wall power went to a new switchable strip that all their Christmas tree lights were plugged into, and then their existing strip was plugged into one of those slots.

      Sure enough, someone had switched off the tree lights the night before by turning off the new power strip, thus killing power for all those desks. I lit the tree and their phones with one flick of the finger, followed by a teaching moment. LOL

      Another power strip story from last week. A user told me her printer had died and that she had “tried everything” to get it to work. I asked her in a teasing voice (she is a good friend) if the printer was plugged in. She replied with slight irritation that of course it was, and everything else plugged into the strip was working, so she knew it wasn’t that.

      The first thing I noticed was that this dual row strip had one side unswitched (where all her other things were plugged in) and the other side switched (where just the printer was plugged in). Yep! Someone had stepped on the very exposed power switch, turning off the power to just her printer.

      I think she was most mad that it took me all of 15 seconds to identify and solve a problem she had been fussing over for hours.

      • #3298722

        Fixing things fast…

        by bhlang ·

        In reply to Those pesky power strips

        Every month, one of my clients has their computers cleaned by a third party on a Saturday. On Monday morning, I get calls from the users. “My sound is gone” or “My Printer doesn’t work” or “My monitor doesn’t work” or my favorite, “The Internet is broken”.

        It looks like the computer cleaners are good at cleaning, but not very good at re-assembling the parts. As far as I’m concerned, they shouldn’t be disassembling anything in the first place, but no matter how often I mention this, they still come and mess things up for me to fix again. Ah well, it makes for an easy day for me…

    • #3298729

      I Can’t Get A Connection

      by rockymtnman ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      We had a call from a new customer one day complaining that they couldn’t get their Internet to work. After talking to the ISP for a while it was decided that they needed to have a professional look at it. They called and we had them bring in the computer. It worked just fine for us but when the customer came back the tech started asking more detailed questions. We found out that they had just gotten a broadband connection put in the house and it came with a cable to plug into a connection on the computer. It looked like a telephone connection so they tried to plug it in. It wouldn’t fit! After some thinking, they thought they solved the problem. They cut off the ‘too large of an end’ and stuck the wire into the hole (a phone jack) on the back of the computer. (There was no ethernet jack.) They didn’t think they needed a connector on it because it now fit into the hole. This is the point they made their first support call.

      • #3298706

        Similar solution

        by csclark ·

        In reply to I Can’t Get A Connection

        I worked with a network admin who decided to play pc tech one day, and replace his hard drive. He got the drive switched out with no problem, but couldn’t get the power cable to plug in. Since two corners on the MOLEX connector were rounded and two square, he filed off the square corners until it fit. All that work, instead of just turning the cable over! And all it got him was a dead power supply to go with his dead hard drive!

      • #3298703

        I can’t find myself…

        by christa.leroux ·

        In reply to I Can’t Get A Connection

        I was consulting on a site where we had installed an ERP system. The customer’s IT director was a little out of it. I came home one Friday after a murderous week on site. Phone rings – it is the IT Director – I can’t find myself in the system…. Me – what do you mean, you can’t find yourself (already having to suppress laughter..) Director: I try and find myself but I’m not there… Me: OK, let me just turn on my laptop here, log in to your system and we’ll see where you are… time goes by with me logging in and checking his user id and password… Me: OK, you log in on that side and tell me step by step what you’re doing.. Director: OK, but I tell you I can’t find myself.. Me, I’m sure we will find you… and you will find yourself, let’s just go slowly and step by step. OK, ready, put in your User ID… Director: OK, I’ve done it… Me – what did you put in.. Director: I put in Steve. Me: well Steve, I know we call you Steve, but is your name not Stephen? Director: Yes, yes, my name is Stephen. Me – well, try it again but this time put in Stephen. Director, Oh boy! I found myself!… I’m here!… Thank you very much! Me: Have a great weekend Stephen!

    • #3298701

      I have three stories.

      by jean-luc picard ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      1. A former colleague told me that an employee wanted “animal screensavers” loaded on her workstation and he did not know what to do. Turned out the employee needed to download HIPAA documents. He heard HIPAA and thought she meant Hippo.

      2. Another employee routinely copies his local drive and network drive to a CD because he “does not trust our network”.

      And of course we all have had those users who could not find the “Any” key!

    • #3298696

      Law Firms from Hell.

      by jean-luc picard ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I once went to a law firm to replace a hard disk that went bye-bye. The secretary and her boss were livid because I could not retrieve the data. When I asked if she ever backed it up she angrily said, “No one ever told me it would break so why should I have backed it up?”

      To compund matters, the attorney snatched the work order from me and proceeded to cross out all of the fine print claiming that it was inaccurate and illegal since I could not restore the data for them.

      I also had a secretary claim she never ate at her desk. Too bad she couldn’t press any keys because there were that many crumbs and peanuts under them! This was back when the IBM PC-AT was hot stuff…:)

      • #3298684

        Format a modem???

        by csrphd ·

        In reply to Law Firms from Hell.

        Hello Everyone,

        3 Stories:

        1) An IT colleague of mine, once called me saying he had a problem with a modem at work and he asked if I could help him format the modem. I couldn’t stop laughing, when I heard this from him. As I later found out from him this was his first job on the IT field. Didn’t stop the teasing from all of us, jeje!

        2) Executive Secretary calls franticly and asks me to go to her desk right away, before her computer gets erased, she said that her computer has a nasty virus that is typing characters by themselves and is making beeping noises. When I get there I notice that edge of her binder is sitting over her keyboard! 🙂 So I calmly pick it up and noise goes away and typing stops. Man I couldn?t stop laughing for weeks. She blushed every time she saw me.

        3) Same as one of the previous posts user calls because smoke is coming out of her monitor. I get there and she was scared to death, she had just watered her plant, she said she never meant to harm the monitor. I told her to not to worry about, that we will put the monitor on the sun to drie out and hopefully it will turn on again. Luckily for her it worked again, jeje!

        Have a good one!

        • #3319191


          by house ·

          In reply to Format a modem???

          …he meant a firmware upgrade. Some modems do have a small OS for configuration. We had upgrade some OvisLink ADSL modems because they were whistling. The firmware upgrade actually worked. Formatting is the wrong term to use though… more like ‘flashing’.

    • #3298683

      Need data, get a freezer

      by rcsoar4fun ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I was out a customer site working on a crashed computer. From the clicks of death it was obvious the HD was toasted. I was working with the company’s sys admin, who assured me it was really important to get the data off the machine. I asked if he had a freezer and I got a very strange look. I took the drive, put it in an antistatic bag and dropped it in the freezer. I then went to lunch. The sys admin thought the entire time it was some sort of bad joke. After lunch I plugged the drive back in and recovered the data without a problem. Until I actually showed him the data he had this look on his face that I was an idiot, moron, or combination of both.


      • #3319186

        Re: Need data, get a freezer

        by rammukund-at-yahoo ·

        In reply to Need data, get a freezer

        Does this really work? I’m interested because a technically semi-literate l’user recently transferred all his data from an old old “security blanket” 4GB HDD to a 80GB one .. done off the LAN so no routine backup was done .. repeatedly formatted the 4GB “for security reasons” .. and then the 80GB went stomach-heavenwards.

        • #3319091


          by rcsoar4fun ·

          In reply to Re: Need data, get a freezer

          Yes this works, it has saved my bacon a ton of times. There were some really good explinations on TR a while back about why it works.


    • #3298658

      he spoke what language??

      by scsadmin ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Hey all, this is just one of the many strange things my users have rung me up about.

      I got a phone call from one of my users (she will stay anonymous here, but isn’t at work =). Here’s the dialog.

      She said ‘I think there maybe something wrong with my computer.’
      ‘Why is that?’ I asked.
      ‘I think it may have a virus.’
      ‘Well we have antivirus software, so why do you think it has a virus?’
      ‘…… well suddenly it started speaking to me… in a foriegn language.’
      ‘…….. What?’
      ‘It started talking to me in indian ….’
      ‘…….. er just hang on and I’ll come check it out.’

      Of course I went straight over to check the computer. Nothing was wrong with it. No virii, I thought maybe some type of speach recognition program but that wasn’t on either….. and it wasn’t speaking indian when I arrived. She still swears a pleasant sounding indian man was talking to her out of the computer.

      cheers and merry christmas

    • #3298649

      The Healer

      by webwatcher ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      In my early days as a tech support, My mentor and I were at a users desk to resolve a video issue.
      After looking at all possible software\OS issues, he opened the case, looked around it, placed his hands inside and uttered in his most evangelical preacher tone “Heal!”. The video was fine after that.
      Walking away, he said “I don’t know a way to reseat a video card that is more fun than that”.

    • #3298648

      Watch where you sit!

      by lucy-luxenburg ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I went out on a service call to rescue a user who was having some problems with her computer. I sat down on her chair and proceded to take care of the problems. When I was finished, I stood up and realized that my pants were sticking to my butt! No! It wasn’t me! I couldn’t believe it. My pants were damp! Nasty! So check those chairs before you sit down!

      • #3319183


        by house ·

        In reply to Watch where you sit!

        That is pretty disturbing.

    • #3319190

      Need more paper…

      by karen_ivy ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Last year, my collegue got a call from a remote user that his printer was getting out various caracters on top of each page and he didn’t know what to do. The user is at a small office 20 miles from the main office. My collegue tried a few things on the phone, but the user didn’t understand and wasn’t able to fix the problem. So he told him to simply unplug the printer and he would go over. The user asked if he could bring some additional paper at the same time, cause he needed some. When he got there, he saw that the user didn’t unplug the printer like told and was still feeding paper to the printer. He had printed something like 500 pages!

      • #3317615

        I had a similar experience…

        by rgtx ·

        In reply to Need more paper…

        …at an office I worked at several years ago. We had a rather incompetent systems analyst working there who like to print huge volumes of useless business process information for the programming staff (me). One day she somehow managed to select the wrong printer driver for one of the networked HP LaserJets and was printing volumes of blank pages (with a few junk characters at the top, like you described). I saw her feeding a second ream of paper into the printer as I walked by. Enjoying her dilemma, I asked her if she wanted me to cancel the print job in the network queue (rather than just doing it). She looked at me and said, “No, I’ll take care of it.” 500 or so sheets of paper later, she finished handling it.

        • #3317549
          Avatar photo

          One of the best print errors that I ran across was

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to I had a similar experience…

          When someone scanned in an image and enlarged it to bigger than an A4 page. Naturally when it come its turn to print the printer just stopped with an error message coming up to rectify this problem the image was scanned in again at the same size and again sent to the printer to print which was still not printing out anything and the Que was growing all the time. The person involved tried this about 20 times and totally stopped all printing that day from everyone who shared that printer. Of course when I got there everything was in chaos and everyone was blaming each other. I removed the problem document from the print Que and everything started working OK but just in case I stayed around and eventually saw the same problem crop up again. After removing the offending document from the Que again I just sat around to see what would happen.

          Eventually after removing all the problem print jobs I went to the person responsible how insisted that she had done this previously with out a problem, so I asked her to show me exactly what she was doing. Instead of just grabbing the image and scanning it in she had it printed in its original form on an A4 sheet and was then enlarging it to 400% no wonder the printer refused to print off the image. I eventually got her to understand that she had to use the original image and enlarge from that but she insisted that it was getting dirty and she thought that the A4 paper looked better. Of course because this was a highly used image she couldn’t save it to a HDD and use it from there when required as that would have used too much space on her HDD “Her words” she only had about 60 GIG free.

          Col 😀

    • #3319189

      MS has 95%

      by stomfi9 ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      According to SBS on Thursday Night Microsoft now has 95% of the market. So all those FOSS computers from Linspire, IBM, RedHat, Novell, HP, SuSE, Mandrake, RedFlag, etc are sharing a measly 5%. At this rate MS will soon have 100% and will achieve world domination.

      • #3319185

        Whatcha talk ’bout willis?

        by house ·

        In reply to MS has 95%

        Microsoft could have 99.9% or 20% of the market for all I care. I use and recommend products based on experience and knowledge. MS has always had that sort of a share. 🙂

      • #3318950

        Game Over

        by hav ·

        In reply to MS has 95%

        When Microsoft achieves world domination, does the game end?

        • #3319259
          Avatar photo

          No they begin

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Game Over

          To try to make their products work properly as once they achieve “World Domination” they have to keep it.

          The European Courts dealt them a bit of a blow last week so MS will have to supply another produce for Europe or withdraw I think it will be the former though.


    • #3319171

      Dumbest of the lot – Legendary newbie experience

      by ivanong ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Had heard this from an ex colleague who used to to do freelance support on accounting apps. This happened quite a while back , but reached yours truly only just. So here goes.

      He was called one day on the phone for tech support on the PC that he had supported the Accounting software on. When all else failed he advise the user to insert the installation disk to re-install a module from the accounting package.

      The user then said they did not have any CD-ROM reader. However my ex. col. was sure it had one cos he had used the machine when he was on site. After some unsuccessful frustrating moments trying to describe to the user where the CDROM drive was, and the user only being able to acknowledge the power button the HDD lights and the Cupholder on top of the PC , my good friend gave up and decided he would make an appearance (and earn some easy cash too).

      When arrived at the scene he realised why. The CD rom drive was in the eject position and in it its centre slotted hole was a nice hot cup of vending machine cocoa drink.

      When telling the user that this was the cdrom drive. The ignorant user said she thought it was like one of those Aircraft/car type store-away trays/holders.

      my colleagues reaction –

      “Shhhhheeeeeeessssshhh”. yes yes …its true beleive or not , believe it.

      I came away with one lesson on user intelligence that seems to say that just when you thought you hit bottom of the barrel , the pit has miles more to go.

    • #3319144

      I kid you not….

      by arleenw ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I was at our family doctor’s office having my son checked for strep and the doctor tells me he’s been having some problems with one of his computers connecting to the network and would I take a look at it for a barter.

      So I go in and sit down at the computer and try logging in and sure enough, no connectivity. I crawl under the desk, the cable is secure so I follow it around an found it was stretched out across the floor and ended about six inches short of the switch.

      When I pointed out the problem, he said he thought well, maybe seeing how he has a wireless ap in the office as well. I think he ought to stick to medicine.

    • #3319124

      an oldie, but goodie

      by gone to another field ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Back in the day of 5-1/4 disks, I was working on a database problem. I asked where the backup disk was…and she replied, “Over there on the file cabinet.” I looked and couldn’t find it. I say…”Where?” “Right there…” Still nothing. She comes over and removes the disk from the SIDE of the METAL filing cabinet where it was stuck with an old car speaker magnet!

      Or, the one last week…
      the server kept crashing several nights a week. I found that the cleaning staff was unplugging the UPS to vacuum and after 20 minutes, it was dying. Ended up having to replace the batteries in the UPS! And forbidding the cleaning crew access to the area!

    • #3319116

      Why do software vendors invite disaster?

      by mikebelding ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      This call was taken by a co-worker
      User: Help, I can’t get my expense program to work.
      Help Desk: Can you describe what happened?
      User: I was working, and it crashed. I went to the programs menu and ran Uni-stall, but now it doesn’t work at all.
      Help Desk: <>

    • #3319108

      more laughs

      by sally ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      more laughs for you
      1. Don’t write down any error message or warning message. Ever! Better still dream up a vague, incomplete and uninformative error message. I.T. will always know what the message was.

      2. When an I.T. person is eating lunch at his desk, walk right up and spill your guts right out (without apology). I.T. exists only to obey and are not entitled to any rest period.

      3.When the photocopier or fax doesn’t work, call computer support. There’s electronics in it.

      4.When the printer won’t print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes. When the printer still won’t print after 20 tries, send the job to EVERY printer in the company. One of them is bound to work.

      5.Remember – NEVER say thank you and NEVER say anything good about the I.T. department, especially to other people. I.T. are not worthy of appreciation.

      6. Remember, ALL problems are urgent. There is absolutely nothing that can wait. Everything is wanted yesterday.

      7. Remember, no matter what problem you have – it is I.T.’s fault.

    • #3319103

      Dell Tech Support Classic

      by andymck ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      On the phone to Dell tech support this morning regarding a gubbed hard disk in an optixplex

      AndyMcK:”The system wont boot and a reinstall can’t write to the disk.”

      Dell Tech:”Give me your email address and I’ll mail you a new hard disk..”



      • #3317494

        I work on Dells, I know

        by jbach67 ·

        In reply to Dell Tech Support Classic

        I work on Dells all day and I have heard a lot of disappointing stories about tech support from my customers. It really discourages me and I hesitate to recommend Dell to consumers.

    • #3319097

      One user SHOT at (and hit) the monitor!

      by rjstein3 ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I work for a contractor, supporting a federal law enforcement agency. While on site to relace the NT boxes with Win2k boxes, I noticed a hole in the plastic bezel of the monitor. Looking closer, I saw what appeared to be the back end of a bullet! I asked the user if it was what I thought it was, and was told the story of how an agent on duty was having a bad day. One particular incedent pushed her over the edge and she drew her 9MM and fired a round at the monitor. It penetrated the casing, lodging in the plastic, and NOT causing the CRT to explode (or implode). The monitor remained functional. I replaced it with a new LCD flat panel. The actual user who had shot the monitor came on shift while I was there and she confirmed and explained the whole deal. Amazing…..

      • #3318027

        remanufactured cartridge

        by ozi eagle ·

        In reply to One user SHOT at (and hit) the monitor!

        She must have been using a remanufactureed cartridge, if it penetrated and got stuck in the bezel plastic. I would expect a 9mm to have a bit more clout.

      • #3318763


        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to One user SHOT at (and hit) the monitor!

        I would keep my hands in clear view and back out of the office. If in trouble drop roll and do not provide a clear target. She sounds like a woman that I like. But I like strong and self reliant woman, as long as she has the keys for the handcuffs:)

    • #3319067

      Bad weather for surfing…

      by andymck ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I heard a user complain this year “I can’t be bothered with the Internet, I can’t get on it when it rains”. Being naturally curious about this I ask why…

      “Well..” she replies, straight faced, “my computer’s upstairs in the bedroom and my telephone socket’s downstairs in the living room. The cable wont reach all the way down the stairs so I hang it out the bedroom window and pull it in the living room window but I don’t like doing that when it rains…”

      What do you say to that?


    • #3318982

      Some thing new for me

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      We just did another major upgrade to our new blade server. We sent a email to all about the upgrade and the changes made to the programs that they use. The login will not change, the interface will not change but how you access the customer information has changed. You will see a new login after accessing customer infomation, all you have to do is type in your second login to access the information. This seems to be a simple proccess but no! We have had to reset a lot of user passwords just to start the day. I love my job.

    • #3318949

      Speaking Naturally

      by hav ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      A user who had Naturally Speaking on her computer complained that windows were opening and flying around on the desk top. When I arrived, I found that she had Naturally Speaking in navigation mode and she was yelling in to the microphone, “STOP THAT! NOW!” etc. The computer was trying to carry out her commands. It just didn’t understand them.

    • #3319258
      Avatar photo

      Well I just got this one yesterday

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I got in a computer for repairs as it was running far too slow. When I booted it I saw that it was a 386 DX 60 with 32 Meg of RAM and running Windows 2000 Server.

      I’m surprised that it booted at all but the complaint was correct it was running extremely slow and the user just couldn’t understand why this was so apparently it worked fine with Windows 3.11 so it should have worked the same with 2000 Server right?

      Col 😀

      • #3317795

        I feel your pain…

        by house ·

        In reply to Well I just got this one yesterday

        …I get people who sign on for high speed internet who…

        1) don’t have a NIC

        2) pc cannot support a NIC

        3) argue that their dialup worked just fine, so they should be able to get high speed.

        * It never occurs to me that someone could still be using a “pre-pentium” machine as their main computer. People get upset when I ask them these questions, so I opt for the fallout of those who complain that they don’t have a NIC. 3.11’s and 95’s are a sensitive topic and are usually interpreted as an insult as opposed to fact.

        • #3317697
          Avatar photo

          Well you do have to admit

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to I feel your pain…

          That these people do make life interesting don’t you?

          Actually I thought that computer was doing well in actually running 2000 Server as I quite honestly didn’t expect it to even boot let alone run.

          Col 😀

        • #3318215

          You bet..

          by glitcha1 ·

          In reply to Well you do have to admit

          I had a user upgrade their windows 98 (6Gb HDD) to windows XP. The computer worked all right, and they also complained about speed.

          The computer was inside it’s 3yr warranty by a month and they wanted me to upgrade the computer for free so it could run XP.

          Why? Do I have a moron magnet stuck on my business promo?

        • #3318196
          Avatar photo

          Don’t you just love people like that?

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to You bet..

          They buy something and then expect it to perform beyond they original specs and of course it is never their fault. The person who supplied it is always at fault because you should have provided something better even though they didn’t want to pay for it.

          I am still waiting for a Court case to come up where I gave a quote for a server and the company owner presented me with a copy of the Weekend Shopper that had an add for computers from $995.00 AU and he asked my why I was trying to charge then in excess of $40,000.00 AU for a server which had $25.000.00 AU of specialist software on it.

          Well they took my quote to this place and got then to build the server and 2 weeks latter I got a call from their insurance company apparently they had suffered a lighting strike and destroyed every computer related product in the building. That company no longer exists as they have long since gone broke and the company who supplied the server has only just been put in the hands of the receiver but what had happened was a 300 W Power Supply had failed and allowed mains voltage into the case destroying everything and then out over the network lines.

          Just to top things off I actually got a copy of the invoice for this unit and it turns out that they actually paid far more for a vastly inferior product but they where saving money!

          Col 😀

        • #3318193

          Love em!

          by glitcha1 ·

          In reply to Don’t you just love people like that?

          Or rather love the size of the invoices I give them to fix crap like that.

          If you pay too much for a quality product the only thing you waste is money.

          Try to save money by shopping on price alone and you have to spend it twice.

          One of my local competitors is selling a “full computer” with 17″ TFT for sub $1K. Can’t wait for the support requests to roll in from those..

        • #3318177
          Avatar photo

          Actually this one is one that I would love not to be involved with

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Love em!

          When I found out from their insurance company who owned the server and was asked to go down and do a full investigation I tried very hard to get out of it all together.

          The builder had claimed a lighting strike when it was returned to them as they obviously did not want to take the responsibility for stuffing up everything and the costs involved. Or they just didn’t know any better as one computer is the same as another isn’t it? Here we are talking about a Dual Xeon Server with on-board SCSI and a heap of SCSI HDD. any one of those alone would blow a 1K budget right out the window let alone the bare M’Board. But I’ll give the company who made it this they did use a decent M’Board although of a lower spec that what I would have used, slower Xeon’s and smaller SCSI’s but then they proceeded to put it into a case with an unbranded PS that was so vastly underrated for the job that it just had to fail, although the failure when it did occur was unexpected I would have thought it would have just died but not so. One of the joys of Switching PS’s I suspose.

          But I really do not want the Court appearance as I do not get paid for it. I’m just hoping that with the demise of both companies the insurance company will reach an agreement before the court sits with the administrator of the company who was destroyed overnight by the substandard server.

          While I know this is part of the job it is one of those areas that I really do not enjoy at all!


        • #3317996


          by house ·

          In reply to Love em!

          …How come you are always in trouble with the law in one way or another? Sure, I’ve had my issues, but you “take the cake”. That’s about the third or fourth legal issue that I’ve seen you mention over the past two months.

          I got into IT to get away from the courts… I suppose there is no escape though.

          Chris 🙂

        • #3317980
          Avatar photo

          Well I left IBM to get away from the responsibility

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Love em!

          And promptly ended up in another legal mess all of which have been none of my making but I do seem to get more than my fair share of these rubbish cases.

          Although to be fair I suspose 3 or 4 instances over a 25 year period isn’t all that many particuarly as I’ve been working as an Independent consultant for the past 5 years or so and I do a lot of insurance work so there has to be the odd one out in all of that I suspose.

          Or maybe I’m just a sadist at heart. Either way I get far more than I ever want to and what is worse I try very hard to avoid them when they do crop up. Maybe I should Lie more to avoid these problems or better still allow one of my staff to take the wrap. Now I’m sure that would go down well with the guys!

          Col 😀

    • #3319212

      I don’t need DOS!

      by numunu ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Way back I was a workgroup admin for my office in the Windows 3.11 days. One day one of the managers came out of hisoffice with an very perplexed look on his face. I ask, “What’s the matter Ron?”

      In his good ole boy Texas accent he say’s, “Somebody’s been messon’ with my DEEfaults. The computer won’t boot.”

      I said,”Ok, I’ll take a look.”

      Sure enough it would boot so I got a DOS disk and started the system that way. While poking around his C: directory I noticed that his DOS folder was missing. I ask, “Ron, where is your DOS directory?”

      He looked at me very innocently and said, “I deleted it. I don’t use DOS, I use Windows.”

      My reaction was simpky, “Ummmmmm…..”

      • #3317978

        Me too

        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to I don’t need DOS!

        I was working for a company that used Windows for work groups. We had all the old computers setup and accessing the network fine. When one day every thing stopped working, we worked it back to the support manager who removed all MS networking from the server because it took up too much drive space.

        • #3317899
          Avatar photo

          I saw something similar with a Y2K Server and a 98 Domain

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Me too

          The office manager of a small business removed every network protocol because she didn’t have them on her home so it was obviously unnecessary.

          Unfortunately I had only supplied the complete system several days prior and I couldn’t really charge for that service call although I should have.


    • #3317796

      Christmas lights = EMI/RFI

      by house ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      …this isn’t really a user story at all, but it is funny. Inspired by the post above that speaks of X-Mas lights that cause EMI/RFI problems that lead to speed and synch issues with ADSL, I forwarded some information to my associates regarding the topic. There were a series of emails back and forth that consisted of them laughing at me, and me defending my point of view with references on issues with DSL. (I am a tech for an ISP)

      When I got to work that day, there were Christmas lights all over my desk – wrapped around my PC, cables, telephone…. everywhere. I couldn’t stop laughing for about 2 hours.

      By the way, I didn’t experience any problems, but I still stand my ground on the subject. 🙂

    • #3317764

      Cheap flooring

      by jeff.allen ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I was at an auction of office equipment recently. They were auctioning, amoung other things, a few dozen ancient PC’s (with very sturdy cases). The price eventually settled at about $1 each. One chap bought most of them. I asked him what he was going to use them for?
      “I am going to ude them to tile my workshop floor.” was his reply!

    • #3317612

      Teachers can be technotards!

      by hardware queen ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Usually the problem is described as, “My whole computer is broken.” Some of the things we’ve witnessed in a school environment:

      Computer won’t power on. The power strip was plugged into itself instead of the wall.

      Computer won’t power on. Someone had moved the monitor and dimmed the brightness all the way.

      A monitor had smoke coming out of it. The teacher had seen a student drop a paperclip into it. She thought it was safe to turn it on because several days had passed since then. Sigh.

      The speech therapist called to ask for help using a TTY for a hearing-impaired student. They could receive calls but could not dial out. I suggested they dial ‘9’ first. Big sigh.

      User has no Internet or email, and tells us the network is down. We know right away that a cable has come loose or a hub needs to be rebooted due to a power blip. Never ceases to amaze us that although they have signed in to Novell daily for 5 years, they don’t notice when their computer goes right to Windows.

      Related to the above “network down” is my alltime favorite. I went to check out the connection, and noticed a wad of electrical tape around the Cat5 cable. And another spot that appeared to have been chewed through. The classroom rabbit had been loose in the night and bit through the cable. The teacher has since been dubbed “Bunny Lady” by the tech department. Sadly, the bunny was found fricasseed one morning, having bitten into a power cable.

    • #3317598

      Uppercase Numbers

      by rgtx ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I had to reset a user’s password, and set it to her user ID, which is a combination of letters and numbers. I told her, over the phone, to enter it in all uppercase. She said that it still wouldn’t let her log in, so after a few more attempts I went to her desk. It turned out she was holding down the Shift key while typing the numeric portion of her user ID.

      She honestly thought that Shift+number was considered an “uppercase number.”

      • #3317566


        by fresnotech ·

        In reply to Uppercase Numbers

        I have seen some fairly intelligent people make that mistake. I don’t get the impression from them that they think it will make the numbers uppercase, it’s more like they are already holding down the shift key for the letters, and forget to let it go when they type the numbers.

        I normally get the call after they have attempted to login once, and by the time I am on my way to show them, they realize that they forgot to let go of the shift key, and are just a bit sheepish in admitting it.

        • #3318158


          by rgtx ·

          In reply to Uppercase

          Yeah, she explained that she was thinking along the lines of using an old manual typewriter. I explained to her, though, that when I say “uppercase” that I mean “capital letters,” not “numbers typed while holding down the shift key.” We had a good laugh over it!

    • #3318218

      Please clean up my computer (Slightly long..)

      by glitcha1 ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      A customer of mine brought in their old computer from home to be used at work. The office manager was put in charge of getting the computer up and running and called me to do the work. Here’s how it panned out…

      I went out on site after arranging a cabling contractor to hook up a new end point out in the service yard for the guys who run the scrap metal processing area.

      For legal compliance they need to be able to verify companies.

      The office manager says to me “Please clean it out and get it setup for the scrap boys”. Going down there they had what you’d expect – girly calendars and such all over the place.

      So I say to the office manager “do you really want me to delete all of the user data off this machine? it will be gone forever.”


      Does the business owner have this machine backed up?

      “He wouldn’t have brought it in if he needed it at home”

      And there is where the problem is… Two weeks later I get the call from the office manager “Where is all the data on the back computer?”

      Well, it’s gone. I deleted it, like you asked me to.

      “No, I didn’t ask you to deleted it. Even if I had, don’t you think you should have asked me about it?”

      “I asked, and I also assumed it was the safest course of action for the unneeded copies of the owners files, considering that the terminal out the back has broadband and the guys have a liking for porn and such.”

      Then she says the best thing I have ever heard – “The guys down the back aren’t computer literate enough to find porn on the internet.”

      My 83 year old grandmother, her first foray onto the internet, found porn. The shock of that might have been what killed her, but I’ll never know!

      • #3318173
        Avatar photo

        Actually I can assure you that

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Please clean up my computer (Slightly long..)

        The old people are very interested in porn and the women are worse than the men.

        I do a bit of volunteer work for a Geriatric Home near by and keep their computers working smoothly but on every occasion that I go there I’m taken aside by several of the inmates and shown the latest porn site that they have discovered.

        Now most of these people are crippled with arthritis and demeture but they always remember the porn sites and even though they can barely move their hands or fingers they always seem able to either type in the URLs or navigate to the sites and the way that the women giggle and carry on is something that has to be seen to be believed.

        Granted the men are not much better but the women win hands down in finding porn sites then share then with all the other inmates. It at least gives me hope when I see these people as I know I have the option to “Grow Old Disgracefully!”


      • #3317979

        Internet porn

        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to Please clean up my computer (Slightly long..)

        Hahaha one of our tellers, she is 68! Wanted to send her grand neice a online card for her birthday. She typed in girls birthday 16 and we have a hardware and software firewall to block porn. She clicked on the first link and had four popups and on installed a internet home page link to goto to it every time she opened internet explorer. It was all porn and she was too scared to tell us becaues it looked like she was surfing for it.

    • #3318014

      Cable in upside down

      by gralfus ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      When I worked for HP in the Palmtop support days, we would get calls every day from users that were irate that they had done everyting right and our stupid palmtop wouldn’t connect to their computers. The ones that really stood out were the upside down cable calls. The connector had a “key” (a significant plastic bump) and shouldn’t have been able to connect any way but in the correct orientation. The HP logo was branded by the bump to give further indication to the user of the correct orientation. We even tried ourselves, but never managed to get it in upside down.

      One day a sysadmin of a large company called and read me the Riot Act and went on and on about his qualifications, and if he couldn’t get it to connect it must be our fault.

      I asked him, “On the connector attached to the palmtop, do you see the HP logo?”

      There was a pause, a groan, and he said “Tell no one that I called.”

    • #3317976

      CTRL +ALT + Del

      by whirlaway ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      CTRL + ALT + DEL not that complicated right?

      I was at a user?s desk the other day and I asked her to restart her computer and log back in.
      We got to the “hit ctrl+alt+del” prompt. She became really perplexed and touched the picture on the monitor that showed ctrl+alt+del. LOL
      I informed her that she needed to press those keys on the KEYBOARD. Unbelievable!

    • #3317912

      Stupid Network tricks (kinda long)

      by rcsoar4fun ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I am the net admin of about 300 hosts. We run a fully switch network with god Cisco 3500 switches. Each machine is plugged directly into a switch, no hubs of any sort of all. One day I got a call that the network was running slow. I started checking, sure enough it was slow. It started to get slower. I checked the switches and all was working fine. I rebooted the switches and router and everything returned to normal. A few minutes later the slow down occurred again. I telneted into the switch and noticed a massive amount of collisions, which should never have occurred. By this point all of the port lights were blinking in time and network traffic had ground to a halt. Using out of band management I tracked down the port where all the collisions were coming from. I tracked this back to a conference room where we had recently placed a small Linksys switch for some training. I unplugged the switch from the network and everything returned to normal. A little investigation showed that a user had taken a network cable and plugged both ends into the switch. Apparently the switch auto configured both ports as uplink ports. I guess its one good reason to make sure your network is well documented.


    • #3317904

      Installation Pro

      by dennis.rhine ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      A few years ago I was working on a network installation for a large communications company. We would configure all hardware and send it out for a team to install.

      One afternoon the team leader called up and was asking questions about the server (a Compaq ProLiant) and I overheard our support rep saying to her: “You need a pencil to press the button… No, not that button… Lower… No, thats a CD-ROM drive, lower… No, thats a floppy drive… On the left… The other left… YES! See, I told you it would power on!”

    • #3318597

      What odd timing…

      by dnvrtechgrrl ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I’m sitting here reading these thinking, “Jeez, I’m glad my job isn’t that insane.” when my accountant runs full speed up to my desk screaming ” You have to get to the satellite office NOW! The T1 line is going in and he’s trying to run it through the digital sender!!!”

      Surely she meant Demarc… right??


    • #3316727

      A number of good ones

      by a_dangerous_mind ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Having worked on a help desk for a while years ago during the last days of MS DOS, I have a few, such as the woman who called and said, “There are flames coming from my printer — what do I do?” My personal favorite is the one where I was working with a very nice woman, when her screen went blank. She then told me, “Oh no, my screen’s gone blank, and all I can see on it is a CURSING FLASHER!” (Google on spoonerism if you can’t figure it out.)

    • #3316635

      ‘Dumb’ Administration

      by techierob ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      This doesn’t apply to this year, but actaully happened last year when I started work at my new job.

      A bright and hopeful network administrator, I was sat down at my desk to discover that the only machine I had to work with was a dumb terminal that only connected to our seperate automotive network – not to our standard PC network. My Supervisor simply motioned towards this piece of antiquated madness and said “off you go”. I spent 2 days simply staring at it and figuring out all the commands (uses similar commands as telnet and DOS). I was also given no documentation or access to the PC network either… What an impossible job; trying to administer something I couldn’t even access. *sigh*

      Things have obviously since changed ;):)

    • #3316593

      My best personal effort.

      by jardinier ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I lovingly assembled a 486 from second-hand parts: CD-ROM, HDD, 5 1/4 in drive and 3 1/2 in drive.

      I installed the OS and other software, and had it all up and running beautifully but decided to check one last time that the power lead to the 3 1/2 drive was secure.

      I didn’t have a clear line of vision, so did it largely by feel. Removed the plug, reinserted it then: Bang! Puff! I had killed every component in the computer.

      Two of the fine pins on the 3 1/2 in drive had been forced together to create a dead short.

      My one consolation when I did things like this was that my mentor, Patrick Li, invariably said: “Yes, I’ve done that too.”

      But the best true tale I have ever encountered was when I was working as a cadet radio engineer at a major electronics company — A.W.A.

      This goes back about 45 years, and the company had an Engineering Products section which was quite separate to the Consumer Products section.

      The work in this section primarily involved assembling powerful transmitters for commercial radio stations.

      Well there was this huge multi-cabinet transmitter that was bound for New Zealand. After everything had been connected up and all the tests made, the units were separated. One “form” (bundle) of wiring was sagging a bit, so an apprentice was asked to install an additional clamp.

      Off it went to New Zealand, and all the units were connected up again, and the power was turned on.
      Poof !!!!! Up it went in a cloud of smoke.

      When drilling a hole in the aluminium panel for a screw to affix the additional clamp, he had drilled right through a bundle of wires on the opposite side of the panel.

      I never did hear what they did to the apprentice, but I guess he would have had trouble gaining employment with that company again.

    • #3316583

      Here’s a collection I picked up somewhere …

      by jardinier ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Anytime you are feeling really stupid about your computer – don’t worry. Check out the following excerpts from the Wall Street Journal. You will soon realize there are some really STUPID computer users out there!!!!!!!!!

      1. Compaq is considering changing the command “Press Any Key” to “Press Enter or Return” because of the flood of calls asking where the “Any” key is.

      2. AST Technical Support had a caller complaining that her mouse was hard to control with the dust cover on. The cover turned out to be the plastic bag it was packaged in.

      3. Another Compaq technician received a call from a man complaining that the system could not read the word processing files from his old diskettes. After trouble shooting for magnets and heat failed to diagnose the problem, it was found the customer had labeled his disks and then rolled them in his typewriter to type the labels.

      4. Another AST customer was asked to send in a copy of her defective diskettes. A few days later a letter arrived from the customer along with Xeroxed copies of her floppies.

      5. A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppy back in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to hold on, and then was heard putting the phone down and slamming the door.

      6. Another customer called Compaq Tech Support to say her brand new computer wouldn’t work. She said she unpacked the unit, plugged it in, and sat there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen.
      When asked what happened when she pushed the power switch, she replied “what power switch?.

      7. From a Novell NetWare System Operater:
      Caller: Hello is this Tech Support?
      Tech: Yes it is, how may I help you?
      Caller: The cup holder on my PC is broken and I am within my warrenty period. How do I go about getting that fixed?
      Tech: I’m sorry, but did you say cup holder?
      Caller: Yes. It’s attached to the front of my computer.
      Tech : Please excuse me if I seem a bit stumped, but it’s because I am. Did you receive this as part of a promotional at a trade show? How did you get this cup holder? Does it have a trademark on it?
      Caller: It came with my computer. I don’t know anything about a promotional and I haven’t been to a trade show. It just says “4X” on it.
      At this point the tech had to mute the caller because he couldn’t stand it. The caller had been using the load drawer for the CD-ROM drive as a cup holder and it had snapped off !!!

    • #3316582

      Abbott and Costello:

      by jardinier ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Some of you may have heard this one before, but for those who haven’t:


      ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
      Costello: Thanks. I’m setting up an office in my den, and I’m thinking about buying a computer.
      Abbott: Mac?
      Costello: No, the name’s Lou.
      Abbott: Your computer?
      Costello: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.
      Abbott: Mac?
      Costello: I told you, my name’s Lou.
      Abbott: What about Windows?
      Costello: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
      Abbott: Do you want a computer with windows?
      Costello: I don’t know. What will I see when I look in the windows?
      Abbott: Wallpaper.
      Costello: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
      Abbott: Software for windows?
      Costello: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What have you got?
      Abbott: Office.
      Costello: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
      Abbott: I just did.
      Costello: You just did what?
      Abbott: Recommend something.
      Costello: You recommended something?
      Abbott: Yes.
      Costello: For my office?
      Abbott: Yes.
      Costello: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
      Abbott: Office.
      Costello: Yes, for my office!
      Abbott: I recommend office with windows.
      Costello: I already have an office and it has windows! OK, let?s just say, I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
      Abbott: Word.
      Costello: What word?
      Abbott: Word in Office.
      Costello: The only word in office is office.
      Abbott: The Word in Office for Windows.
      Costello: Which word in office for windows?
      Abbott: The Word you get when you click the blue “W.”
      Costello: I’m going to click your blue “w” if you don’t start with some straight answers. OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the Internet?
      Abbott: Yes, you want Real One.
      Costello: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need!
      Abbott: Real One.
      Costello: If its a long movie I also want to see reel 2, 3 & 4. Can I watch them?
      Abbott: Of course.
      Costello: Great, with what?
      Abbott: Real One.
      Costello: OK, I’m at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?
      Abbott: You click the blue “1.”
      Costello: I click the blue one what?
      Abbott: The blue “1.”
      Costello: Is that different from the blue w?
      Abbott: The blue 1 is Real One and the blue W is Word.
      Costello: What word?
      Abbott: The Word in Office for Windows.
      Costello: But there’s three words in “office for windows”!
      Abbott: No, just one. but its the most popular Word ; in the world.
      Costello: It is?
      Abbott: Yes, but to be fair, there aren’t many other Words left. It pretty much wiped out all the other Words out there.
      Costello: And that word is real one?
      Abbott: Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn’t even Part of Office.
      Costello: Stop! Don’t start that again. What about financial bookkeeping you have anything I can track my money with?
      Abbott: Money.
      Costello: That’s right. What do you have?
      Abbott: Money.
      Costello: I need money to track my money?
      Abbott: It comes bundled with your computer.
      Costello: What’s bundled to my computer?
      Abbott: Money.
      Costello: Money comes with my computer?
      Abbott: Yes. No extra charge.
      Costello: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
      Abbott: One copy.
      Costello: Isn’t it illegal to copy money?
      Abbott: Microsoft gave us a license to copy money.
      Costello: They can give you a license to copy money?
      Abbott: Why not? THEY OWN IT! (LATER)
      Costello: How do I turn my computer off?
      Abbott: Click on “START”

      • #3316581


        by house ·

        In reply to Abbott and Costello:

        I’ve never heard that one before. 🙂

        Although, someone did tell me that they have the new “Ethernet Virus Acrobat” after I kindly explained to them that their computer was hi-jacked by a backdoor bot.

    • #3316490

      2004 was hilarious

      by avy ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I had just finished working on the Finance Director’s pc and logged off. I was sure to tell him that when he logs on he needs to enter his username and password. A few minutes later he ran into the IT Mgr office making a scene and stating that he cannot log on. It turns out he entered his username and password in the password field.

      One Port Hub
      The IT Mgr burst into the IT department stating that a network printer was purchased for one of the plants however there were no more ports available on the hub at the plant. He then advised us to purchase a one port hub for the plant. I was sure to advise him that there was no such thing but he kept insisting that one be bought. The network admin and I simply told him that we would get right on it.

      A certain user insisted that she was getting email but her new mail was not showing up in her inbox. She sated that a message notifying her that she had new mail would pop up but there was no new mail. It turns out that she had sorted her inbox such that new items would appear at the bottom of the list. Since she had over 1000 old messages in her inbox, it was hard for her to get to her new messages.

      • #3317456
        Avatar photo


        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to 2004 was hilarious

        Now exactly what would you do with a one port hub?

        It makes the mind boggle doesn’t it?

        Col 😀

        • #3298450

          Still laughing

          by avy ·

          In reply to Interesting

          I have shared that ‘joke’ with everyone I know (IT and non-IT inclined) and we are still laughing at that one.

        • #3298448


          by jessie ·

          In reply to Interesting

          You would, after all, think that HUB implied, in it’s name, more than one port…

        • #3294369

          Use for one port hub

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to Interesting

          Isn’t it obvious? you hook it up to your ‘Write-Only-Memory’ (WOM) drive.

        • #3294278
          Avatar photo

          Wouldn’t it be easier

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Use for one port hub

          Just to add another Ethernet card to a box?

          Not necessarily a computer just a cardboard box would work fine.

          Col 😀

        • #3318505
          Avatar photo

          Well this got me

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Use for one port hub

          The wholesalers just opened yesterday after the Christmas/New Year Break and they have a special on “One Port Hubs” God only knows where they got these things from or why. But I did get a laugh out of it.

          Col 😀

      • #3304865

        Great post I love the

        by zlitocook ·

        In reply to 2004 was hilarious

        One port hub. We have a great network setup at the location I am at. It has a T1 connection and great down load speeds. But the president of the bank who has been to all the computer security meetings from MS has great ideas for our network. We need to encrypt all our data and emails. We need a certification from everyone we get email from and we need to log and store every thing on the network! Well all servers we have are the cheapest you can buy and have 20 or 30 gig hard drives. I told him about this and he told me to do it every one else is. Walmart door man is looking real good right now:)

        • #3304588

          Some areas are doing it

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Great post I love the

          I was with a government organization for some time, and I can tell you the federal of government of Canada uses Entrust, has digital certificates for every employee with email, and has a process for cross certification. You can’t send any information back and forth which might compromise the privacy act without encrypting the message and/or the attachment.

          Its not that big of a deal.


    • #3317435

      admin disasters

      by sbrooks ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      There’s a lot of funny stuff here, but I have to agree with some ppl that end users are not always the cause of problems.

      Many years ago (DOS, WFW) I worked for a large Government Corporation (Australia) in a large building with 500+ workers. Here are some tyical experiences.

      1) user: Help my computer won’t start.
      me: what does it do.
      user: it says to replace disk and press a key.

      Sure enough on the screen it says “non-boootable disk, please replace and press any key”. Seems simple enough,I see he has a floppy in the drive.

      me: show me what you did.

      He pulls out the disk, puts it back in and presses a key, same message comes up.

      user: it doesn’t matter how many time I replace it, it comes back with the same message.

      I pull the floppy out, press a key and up it starts, then explain to the user that the message actually means to remove the floppy, not replace it, so is it his fault or the rather obscure error message?

      2)(same office, different user, on an excel spreadsheet)
      user: Help my cursor keys have stopped working
      me: show me what you mean (I have learnt over the years that getting users to expplain what is happening is a waste of time if you can actually watch them)
      user: (pressing up arrow) see it won’t go up anymore
      me: that’s because you are at the top of the spreadsheet
      user: oh….

      Same building, different computer, database app powered by remote server using handheld data acquisition tools. After a power blackout causes the computer to reboot (no UPS’s anywhere!)

      user: can you fix this, the server won’t accept put data

      So I check, the server responds with a message that the database is in use by another user, strange as this is the only terminal that accesses it. I go to windows networkng to see if I can access the database working directory on the server, and there are 50-60 remote computers available, NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania etc (I am in Perth, 5000+klms away! As I said it is a BIG Corporation) I have access to the ENTIRE corporate structure, servers, Datacentres etc. But I find, not JUST access, I have read/write privelages, HOLY CRAP! This terminal is on 24 hours a day, logged in by a low level office worker (not me thank god!), in the open available at the press of a key to 500+ workers, AND SOME OF THEM USE IT TO PLAY PATIENCE! LOL

      So I find the Perth datacentre, track down the database folders and sure enough there is a zero byte lock file in the folder, I delete it (see I said I had full accces, the datacentre is about 5klms away) and presto, the database starts accepting data again. Because the computer is on and logged in 24/7m, with the databse app running, every time there is a power failure at our site the database gets locked because the server never deletes the lock file! A badly writen app on a badly administered network. Not the users fault at all. Now I am working for my own business and I get the usual USB cords pushed into ethernet sockets, sound not working (the mute key was pressed, easiest hours pay I had ever earned LOL), VGA cable pulled without undoing screws leaving bare wire (honestly I just thought it was tight!) etc.

      • #3298483

        Basic Training

        by rgtx ·

        In reply to admin disasters

        From all my years of technical support I’ve come to realize that the solution to a lot of our problems would be to give users some basic training on using their computers: name the parts (CPU, monitor, cables, etc.), how to use floppy disks, the difference between their “local hard drive” and a network drive…things like that. Of course, who has the time???

        I’ve often fantasized about there being a “Basic Computer Operation Certification” of some sort. In order to qualify for a position that uses a computer, an applicant must present a copy of the certificate, or pass a simple computer-operation aptitude test. If a job applicant has to be certified or experienced in their particular field of expertise, why not require basic computer skills if using a computer is essential to the job?

        • #3298446

          Training? We don’t have TIME!!!

          by jessie ·

          In reply to Basic Training

          I worked for a company during their rollout of Windows XP. Installed on all new desktops, was a tutorial program, which when we were setting the users up, we would point out for them, show them how to start the program, even gave them WRITTEN instructions on how to access and use the tutorial program.

          Most users said something like, “Oh we’re way too busy to take time out for training.”

          To which, my response was always, “Do you have time for the hundreds of little errors you’re going to make because you didn’t have time for training?”

          Training?!?!?! We don’t need no STEENKIN TRAINING!!!

        • #3313979

          Every user should have to have a computer driving license

          by don.lemare ·

          In reply to Training? We don’t have TIME!!!

          Redirect them to this site and tell them it is mandantory.

        • #3313782

          GREAT idea

          by passer_chat ·

          In reply to Every user should have to have a computer driving license

          International Computer Driving License? Brilliant!!!

        • #3317144


          by hargerd ·

          In reply to GREAT idea

          Over the pond we’ve had the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) for a couple of years now and provides a Pan-European Standard for computer proficiency

          Something that could possibly be adopted and adapted for use internationally

          Details at http://WWW.ECDL.COM

        • #3325316

          Also advanced ECDL now

          by moira ·

          In reply to ECDL

          The ECDL is just basic competence really, doesn’t actually prevent the kind of users who’ve provided us with such laughs here.

          More worthwhile is the recently introduced Advanced modules, on a par with MS Office exams. In fact I’m doing the advanced Access exam tomorrow (today?). I’ve already got the Word and Excel. These jump two levels and are much harder 🙁

        • #3298307

          Correct terms

          by gralfus ·

          In reply to Basic Training

          Do you feel that CPU is the proper term for the computer, or is the CPU the main chip on the motherboard? I figure that the CPU is the chip and the whole box, mobo, and drives make up “the computer”.

          I find users calling the computer “the hard drive” more often than anything else, though I get “CPU” occasionally.

          The reason most of them don’t learn is that most don’t want to be bothered with learning about it. They want a magic box that does what they want it to do.

    • #3317243

      First one for 2005

      by house ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      This is a collection of replies to an email regarding a support issue. The names and addresses have been removed for obvious reasons.

      > This morning she called her mother she can hear herself echo(her mom), sometimes hears themselves echo. This happens quite frequently.

      > Did you reply to this… If not customer would like a response. Customer says that our long distance service has blown 2 of her hard drives. She says thats what the techs have told her. She says its causing interference with her computer. I told her that was not possible.

      > There is not much I can do about the echo. You can have the customer try using a different phone. Some phones don’t work as well with voip. Does it only happen when calling one person? or all people? The hard drive issue has nothing to do with us

      > She’s taking us to court? (city name) is probably prone to power fluctuations. If she is not using a line conditioner or ups, that is most likely her problem. I would also like to know who installed the second drive after the first one failed. Maybe it was her X-Mas lights. LOL

      > lol.. Her husband KNOWS it’s us. He has been working on computers since 1982. So I asked him to explain to me how it happens. He said that when he uses our LD, it creates a loop back and the signal comes into the modem and fries his hard drives.

      > LOL. What a concept. That doesn’t make any sense at all. The most powerful virus ever known to man. 1982? Maybe the punch cards and tape reels can’t handle the heat inside the case.

      > Lmao.

      * You have to have a little fun when dealing with this crap.

      • #3298304

        Did you see that old movie?

        by gralfus ·

        In reply to First one for 2005

        There was a movie from the 80’s, I think, where this evil genius would kill people by sending high voltage across the telephone lines and fry those who picked up their phones. Your story reminded me of it, and how ludicrous it was.

        • #3298296

          No, I didn’t

          by house ·

          In reply to Did you see that old movie?

          Although, I assume that the gentleman who was making these accusations may have. Perhaps, he thought he was watching the discovery channel, when in fact it was Space TV. This sort of inquiry usually catches us off guard. We don’t know whether to laugh or feel sorry for the guy. 🙂

    • #3298312

      My computer isn’t good enough

      by california dead head ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      User: Can you get me a computer like Jim’s down the hall. His seems to be better than mine.
      Me: Both the computers are identical they were purchased at the same time.
      User: Jim’s has alot more stuff on the screen.
      Me: I looked at Jim’s computer and he had a number of shortcuts to folders and apps. I added shortcuts to folders and apps and websites to the users desktop. Now that he had more stuff on his desktop than Jim he was happy

      • #3304708

        Why is mine not as fast as…..

        by it_lobo ·

        In reply to My computer isn’t good enough

        I have this use who keeps comparing his computer, (Dell Dim. 2400 2.8GHz, 256MB of RAM and an intergrated video card) with to one of our engineers computers (Dell Percision 370, 3.0Ghz, 2GB of RAM and a nVidia Quadro FX 1300) and wondering why his is not as fast or why he has all the cool programs.

        Ya, these are close in specs.

        I have tried to explain to him the difference, but he thinks one computer is the same as another.

        • #3304646

          Put it to him this way —

          by passer_chat ·

          In reply to Why is mine not as fast as…..

          “Why doesn’t a Ford Focus go as fast as a Lotus Esprit? After all, they’re both cars, the same basic thing.” Suggest that, in a similar way, what’s under the hood counts for something…

        • #3304535
          Avatar photo

          Well they both have the Dell Logo on them

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Why is mine not as fast as…..

          So there shouldn’t be any difference right?

          You have just got to love the end users particuarly when they are responsible for buying the equipment and then start complaining why it doesn’t work as well as some one else’s who has much higher specs. After all the boxes look similar so they should work the same right?

          Col 😀

    • #3298310

      Is there paper in the printer

      by california dead head ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Is there paper in the printer?? Enough said

    • #3304861

      Speaking of electromagnetism…

      by passer_chat ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      This actually happened a few years ago, but since I’ve seen a few old stories recycled here I thought I would revive it. Truly, I have never run across anything quite so weird.

      This was back in the bad old days when I was working 2nd line support. A contractor who had just started with the company put in a helpdesk call complaining that her computer would just randomly bluescreen, several times a day. The helpdesk ran through the usual troubleshooting checks, and then passed it on to us as a mystery. I went out and had a look at the computer, and it seemed fine, but I did a bit of routine maintenance and told her to call me if it kept happening. She called the next day right after it bluescreened; I asked her what she had been doing, tried troubleshooting the applications she had open, but again, everything seemed fine. I asked her to keep a log of what she had open and what she was doing every time it bluescreened for a couple of days, to see if there was a combination of events that was the trigger. But it truly did appear to be random.

      So we backed up her data, formatted the hard drive, and rebuilt the machine, squeaky clean. No good, though; still bluescreening. That was when we moved on to hardware. She was doing some high-end graphics work, so the first thought was that the computer just wasn’t up to it. We tripled the amount of memory. Didn’t work, though; still bluescreening. We replaced every card in the box, graphics, network, even sound, one at a time; still bluescreening. We swapped out the HD and gave her a brand new, clean build, high capacity drive. Made no difference. Getting desperate, we bought her a brand new highest-spec-available-straight-out-of-the-box system; no good. We moved her to a different desk, with a different network connection and power supply. And her system was STILL bluescreening, at random, several times a day.

      By this time I had been working with this poor user for a couple of months, had gotten to know her quite well, and discovered that we only lived one street away from each other, so we had started a morning carpool in to work. And this finally enabled me to find the problem.

      We were headed in to work one morning in her car, when I noticed that her car’s clock was messed up and blinking nonsense, and I mentioned it to her. “Oh, yeah,” she replied casually. “That kind of thing happens all the time around me. I can’t wear a wristwatch, either, they only last about a week.”

      When we got in to work, the very first thing I did was zip down to the hardware guys and wheedle a grounding wrist strap out of them; took it back up to the user, and made her ground herself on a metal desk support. Voila – the computer completely and utterly failed to bluescreen all day.

      So that became mandatory for her; sit down, ground yourself, THEN turn on the computer. And the computer only ever bluescreened if she forgot the grounding strap.

      Beat THAT for “hard to diagnose”.

      • #3304740

        Reply To: Favorite user stories for 2004

        by rcsoar4fun ·

        In reply to Speaking of electromagnetism…

        We have a tech just like that in the office. I have seen her walk into a room and BSOD a machine. Maybe a bad choice of careers.


        • #3304649


          by passer_chat ·

          In reply to Reply To: Favorite user stories for 2004

          “Maybe” a bad choice of careers??

          Hmmm. Is there any way to permanently ground her? :-/

          I’ve known another tech like that, but it was his own fault. At the first place I worked there was a tech who insisted on wearing those nasty cheap polyester suits – you could see him generating static as he walked, and he ‘sparked’ off practically every surface he touched. All he had to do to kill a machine was touch the mouse. But would he accept that there was a connection…?

      • #3304534
        Avatar photo

        Actually I have something similar although not as extreme

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Speaking of electromagnetism…

        I have one end user who just can not use the mouse pad on his LT the pointer keeps jumping all around the place out of control.

        When I use it it works perfectly and as he is not in a position where he can ground himself all the time I’ve settled for a PS2 Mouse and I’ve traced the problem back to all the synthetic clothes that he wears apparently they are building up static and wreaking havoc with the hardware but what is even better is he is a salesman and regally “Zaps” people when he shakes their hand. After getting a massive static discharge from him they are still willing to buy from him maybe they are scared of what will happen if they do not buy the gear.

        Here we are talking heavy earthmoving equipment costing several hundred thousand dollars as a starting point. One can never tell.


        • #3299288

          Were do you….

          by it_lobo ·

          In reply to Actually I have something similar although not as extreme

          Work??? My company might be doing some business with yours.

        • #3299186
          Avatar photo

          The Other Side of the Pond

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Were do you….

          In AU so I don’t think so but these people do prove interesting and you might say that they have an “Electric” Personality.

          Col 😀

        • #3299016


          by house ·

          In reply to The Other Side of the Pond

          I’m almost positive that I’ve killed my share of RAM in my day. Let’s just say that when I’m at home, I’m a little more cautious than at work. If only they knew. Good warranties go a long way.

        • #3313745
          Avatar photo

          You mean that we all haven’t had our

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Colin

          Fair share of “Stuff Ups?”

          The worst one recently was when I returned a M’Board that was faulty, the guy at the counter said it’s the CPU not the M’Board so I pulled out the CPU in its original casing and then it suddenly became the RAM which was in an anti-static bag in my shirt pocket. Well faced with overwhelming evidence they just had to test the M’Board which was faulty and replace it but of course they didn’t repack the CPU properly and when I got back to the site I found all the pins down one side on a new 3.2 GIG P4 bent over.

          Of course it was my fault as the company would never have packed the CPU incorrectly would they? It is about the only thing you can do to any Intel CPU and not get a replacement and what makes it look even worse is the fact that it is something that a first year apprentice would not do.

          Faced with the dilemma of just what to do next as I had previously upset the guy at the warranty department and gone as far as to make an official complaint in writing over of all things a case fan which I had got the previous day and he insisted that I had not returned it in the original packaging then proceeded to waste 3 hours of my time for a $15.00 AU part. I thought he was clever in trying to wreck that CPU but another 4 hours with a 5 tho feeler gage under a 100 X magnifying lit glass I got all the pins straight and fitted the CPU to the Socket and it worked.

          However the Guy that I really felt sorry for was someone who pulled a new CPU out of its packaging and had bent pins of course they wouldn’t accept that it came that way until he brought another one and opened the box without removing the plastic and then demanded a replacement CPU for the damaged one that he had just bought. The plastic was intact unopened and they still tried to blame it on him until they opened another one and found exactly the same thing. As I left I heard the words ring out “Well since I’m so incompetent and am unable to even open a box without destroying a CPU what does that make you?”

          Next Monday I have to take back a 2.5 inch HDD so I’ll be wasting a lot of time waiting for a replacement I can just imagine what is going to happen perhaps some of the back ordered items that where not available at close of business for the Christmas New Year break will arrive while I’m waiting.


        • #3313773

          A ‘charged’ experience, indeed

          by passer_chat ·

          In reply to The Other Side of the Pond

          “…you might say that they have an “Electric” Personality.”

          Some of them are quite sparkling people. It’s really an electrifying experience to meet someone ‘power’-ful like that.

          (Name-determination? The user in my story above has the last name “Element”. No, seriously.)

        • #3299253


          by csclark ·

          In reply to Actually I have something similar although not as extreme

          When I first started working on computers, I also repaired copiers. One copier at a very low volume school kept dying on a regular basis. Every time I had to replace the main controller board. We finally narrowed it down to one teacher – she would touch the control panel and instant death to the copier! The rest of the teachers got together and refused to let her touch it again. They rotated doing her copies for her. Never had a service call on that machine again.

    • #3304564

      Failure on the net…

      by japerez ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Several years ago a big federal institution stablished in my town. As they manage large amounts of information, immediately installed an ethernet network based on coax (which was the available solution by these days). Everything was ok: routers, hubs and servers work excellent… until one day the net stop working. Figure out: dozens of calls, yellings, and ugly faces all around. The dept in charge sent many techs to inspect cable segments, nics and equipment. It took a pair of hours to realize that in a basement, the cleaning personnel took the cable to plug it into a TV set!
      After a quick repair, everithing return to normallity…
      Many people found it fun… except for the Networking Dept.

      • #3299039

        Stupid cable

        by rcsoar4fun ·

        In reply to Failure on the net…

        “Stupid cable TV, all we get is the Ethernet channel!”


    • #3304556

      How to Charge?

      by dnvrtechgrrl ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      My marketing rep wanted to take his Sony Clie with him to a presentation he was conducting here in town. He sends me an email wanting to know how to keep his handheld charged while at the other site.

      I simply tell him to take his cradle. It’s not only the connection to the computer but it’s also the unit that charges the battery.

      Three hours later I receive another email that no matter how long the “charger” is plugged in, the Clie won’t charge, and he’s losing all his data.

      I run over to his office to find what?

      An old Nokia cell phone charger jammed into the headphone jack of the handheld…

      I smiled at him, said “I can’t fix that.”, and walked away as quickly as I could. At some point he’d read the email regarding the cradle and it would all “click.”

    • #3299273

      A few gems from the corporate sector

      by saintjohnhawke ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Another case of techie gone luser.
      This is what happens when you have solely behavioral interviews given to candidates by non-technical administrative personnel.

      Our Database Administrator somehow managed to get hired on to manage several hundred thousand records in a set of SQL tables with no knowledge of SQL. He managed to find his way into the back end query administrator and perform an update statment without a where instead of an insert and blank out the whole table, except for the one entry. When everyone was suddenly locked out of all of their documents and applications in the middle of a business day, we asked him to look into it. Rather than fess up, he stayed on the phone with the software vendors for 8 hours pretending he knew nothing about the issue. When caught by the log files and the empty security table he still wouldn’t admit it. A few major blunders later we hired his replacement.

      His replacement at one point insisted that the software vendor was at fault for a poorly executed table import which had caused some datatype conflicts. Being completely certain it was the vendor’s fault, he produced the ‘offending query’ constructed by the software vendor for him, which had ‘obviously’, being the only query the vendor had written, caused the data to import incorrectly.
      It was a completely unrelated SELECT statement from a different table set.
      *rolls eyes*

      • #3299035

        Database admins

        by rcsoar4fun ·

        In reply to A few gems from the corporate sector

        I’m not sure where they find people like this, but they seem to abound. I was working with as a consultant with a local DBA who was new to her job. I told her we needed to create a view within her Oracle to show me a certain table. Shouldn’t be a big deal, but 3.5 years later I still get a call every 6 months asking me how to do it.


    • #3299169

      Portable internet

      by jahhbone ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      Back when I first got into this field I was doing tech support for a local ISP. At least once or twice a day we would get calls asking for the internet on a CD or inquiring about the cost of purchasing a cd with the internet on it.A couple of the techs came up with some interesting homemade CD’s containing “The Internet” but we were never allowed to distribute them…

      • #3299063
        Avatar photo

        OK I’ll recycle this one

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Portable internet

        Several years ago I was asked to supply a modem to a person who was recommended to me by one of my clients.

        Within a day of picking it up he was back complaining that “It didn’t work” so I took it pluged it into a computer in front of him and tested it. It worked perfectly without a hitch.

        An hour latter he was on the phone again but this time was not quite so nice and was very upset. So I got his address and went down to see what he had done wrong. When I got to his house I found the modem sitting on top of the TV not pluged into anything and a copy of one of the big ISP CD’s that clearly read “All you need to get onto the Internet is a Modem and this CD!” He naturally didn’t have a computer so I just gave him a refund and suggested he contact the ISP who has sent out he complementary CD and make a formal complaint.

        Some people just are not worth the trouble to enforce your rights and this was one of them.

        Col 😀

    • #3313853

      Some help desk ticket typos

      by a_dangerous_mind ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      There are several good ones I remember:

      “Not enough disk space when trying to install a virus.” — or could it have been antivirus?

      “Password reset needed after returning to work from maturity leave.” — Can you imagine asking for this one: Boss, I need some time off to grow up.

      • #3313763

        Don’t knock it…

        by passer_chat ·

        In reply to Some help desk ticket typos

        I think “maturity leave” for some of the customers I’ve worked with would be a dam’ good idea!

        On the helpdesk ticket side – I’ve had tickets through saying such helpful and detailed things like “Critical alarm, server down – please check” with no further information. The computer rooms I currently look after contain a total of 217 servers, spread across three different locations. And yes, the helpdesk does know this! If only my amazing psychic powers worked properly, eh?

        • #3313641
          Avatar photo

          Obviously you forgot

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Don’t knock it…

          Your E/ISP pill that day right?

          I’ve seen this type of thing far too often you are just expected to know what & where a problem is without the proper data. Well at least they keep you working don’t they?

          Col 😀

        • #3301630

          Asking the right questions is training , aptitude and attitude

          by a_dangerous_mind ·

          In reply to Obviously you forgot

          I’ve found that it does take some training to get help desk reps to ask the right questions and get the right information when taking a user problem down. Those who really have the aptitude and attitude for the job usually catch on that this helps resolve the problem quicker.

          It is unfortunate that there are those who think of support people as hardware/software psychics who can instantly divine what a problem is when they hear that there is a problem. When I was on a corporate help desk, usually we found the frequent and most obnoxious callers on the corporate termination list eventually, since their frequent and obnoxious calls were often a symptom of lack of aptitude for their jobs and an attitude problem in dealing with other people in a professional and respectful manner.

        • #3328059

          Knowing where the problem is

          by dave_adams ·

          In reply to Don’t knock it…

          I work in a company which recently (6 months) switched to a contract, out of state ?help desk? service. Every time I call, I have to jump through a long answering message, 3 steps of phone choices, tell them what corporation I work for, what division I work for, my building name, my office name, my user name, my real name, my computer name, my account, my email name, and finally the nature of the problem. Then they call the tech rep who has the office next to me to fix the problem. The phone call usually takes ~10 minutes ? evening when the ?problem? is straight forward (e.g. needing keyboard replacement due to leaking roof). I could send an email/phone message to the tech telling him the same thing in less than 30 seconds.

          This is more ridiculous because I am the only person in the only office in the building. A good HELP DESK service would use a database to link to my record after getting my user-name.

        • #3328039
          Avatar photo

          Come on that would be too easy

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Knowing where the problem is

          After all the outsourcing was to save money right?

          You just have to learn to live with these things as they are all to common, just be thankful that there isn’t a language barrier as well to contend with!

          COL 😀

    • #3313783

      Power Outage

      by k.h. ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      I once had several users call me for tech support because their building lost power, and for uh, should was say, some “unknown” reason, they could not get their computers to work or get onto the Internet. I literally had to ask them if they had any electrical power to their office, and they said “nope, our lights won’t even turn on”….I paused…then your computers won’t turn on because you’ve lost power,I said…they gave me a long pause and then laughed…sorry they called to bug me with a stupid question, they said. I didn’t mind, it makes the day go by fast with humorous experiences like this.
      When power was restored, they were happy and surfing again.

    • #3313768

      No so intelligent Co-Worker

      by cmschube ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      A co-worker of mine came up to me one day frantically and said, “I can’t Remote Desktop to a machine. This guy needs information of his PC that I just picked up.” Sounded like a decent challenge. I asked him to show me where that machine was located. He walked me over to the machine, and there it was, sitting on a cart, not hooked up at all, not even plugged into an electrical outlet. I looked at him, and then at the machine, and back and him, and walked away shaking my head. This is the same guy who asked me once, while getting DVD Author errors in WINDVD, “Why would the DVD need to authorize itself when you put it in”. Classic.

    • #3325461

      Monitor Dots

      by cindym ·

      In reply to Favorite user stories for 2004

      A user called to tell me she had dots on her screen, can I send someone to look at them. I ask if they are in every program, has she rebooted, etc.. She called back the next day to tell me the dots were still there, in fact there were more of them! I paid a visit to her workstation and sure enough there were dots on her screen. I watched as she leaned forward and said ‘watch, when I touch them they go away”. Dust on the screen. It was all I could do not to laugh in front of her. We dusted her screen and the dot problem has not returned!

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