Funny and Humorous Technical Support Tales and Stories

Submitted Tales From Technical Support

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Read me the prompt
Posted 07/12/2014 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I need the IP address to help VPN users: easiest way is to start a command prompt. Why, oh why, do most users insist on reading me the entire prompt string?

I thought they were professionals
Posted 07/12/2014 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am old enough to have learned to type (sorta: I use 4 fingers) on a manual typewriter. However, I do know all the keys. I support administrative professionals, among other users. Yet, I have had to point out the location of the backslash, square brackets, and even the tab key!

Whatever you say
Posted 07/15/2014 by Scarlet Manuka

This is something that happened to me many years ago. Our church's 286 computer running Windows 3.0 was way past the end of its useful life, and I'd managed to persuade them to let me put together a more modern replacement system running Windows 98. Of course the budget for this was tiny so I was trying to do this as cheaply as possible, so I sourced the various components from several different places.

When I put everything together I had a terrible time - it would repeatedly blue-screen during the Windows installation process, and when I eventually got it to install I got frequent blue-screens during operation. I did what troubleshooting I could, but not having much in the way of compatible replacement parts (and not yet being experienced enough to immediately suspect the memory) I took the system back to the place I'd bought the motherboard from to try to get an exchange.

I'd removed the drives and so on, and unscrewed the motherboard so I could take it in. Then I decided I'd just take it in the case, but I didn't bother reattaching it. When the people at the computer shop saw that they immediately started lecturing me that this was why it wasn't working, despite my repeated attempts to explain that I had attached it properly when I was actually trying to use it.

Their testing pointed to the memory being the problem. They offered to sell me more memory, but I explained that I'd rather just exchange the memory at the (different) place where I'd bought it. But then they insisted on exchanging the motherboard as I'd initially requested, even though I said that I'd be happy to take the old one back since their tests had indicated that it was OK.

But they also insisted that the motherboard could have been damaged by me not having attached it properly, so they made me sign a note saying that it hadn't been installed properly and that I would be responsible if there were problems with it. (I was young and not confident enough to protest at this, as I certainly would today.) I never got a call from them so I guess whoever wound up buying that motherboard didn't have any trouble with it!

And yes, once I exchanged the faulty memory everything worked much better.

Oh, yeah, that might help
Posted 07/15/2014 by Scarlet Manuka

I must say that the technical support I've received from my current ISP has always been pretty good quality. When I first signed up with them they often had long wait times but they're not too bad these days.

I thought I'd post this tale of a time when I called them with a puzzling problem, which turned out to be a PEBKAC issue.

Our account is in my name, and my wife has a secondary mailbox on it. I normally use my ISP's webmail interface so I can read mail from either work or home, whereas my wife prefers to use a mail client - at the time of this incident, Eudora (she's using Outlook now).

So my wife called me in to the office to say that she couldn't get her email. I checked, and Eudora was reporting that it couldn't connect to the mail server. General Internet browsing was fine, so there clearly wasn't a connection problem on our end. Check the ISP's website for the mail server settings, they match what's in Eudora, should be fine.

So I call tech support and ask if there's a problem with their mail server. The support guy says no, it's fine. I describe my symptoms and we do some other tests - I can ping the server OK but I can't talk to it on port 25, it's very strange.

After several minutes of troubleshooting I notice an icon in the notification area and have a vague memory of the same thing happening a long time ago...

"I think I found the problem.... I was working remotely from home earlier, and I just realised I'm still logged into my work's VPN."

Disconnected from the VPN, and voilą, Eudora can talk to the mailserver now. I hadn't cottoned on to this before because it had been so long since we'd had this issue (of course, normally when I shut down my remote desktop session I also log out of the VPN - I'd forgotten to do that last step this time).

I must say the tech was very professional and courteous as we closed the call. Though what he said afterwards I shall never know :)

But I'm Afraid That Will BREAK It!
Posted 07/20/2014 by Dudette Loves Her Dell

What is this with the spouse, the college student (well, he did loose an important paper when the computer rebooted after updating while he was out of the room on a bio break), an older acquaintance, and a couple of older relatives who absolutely refuse to run Windows Update?

The reason, I am told, is that they are afraid that running Windows Update will "break" either the hardware (not possible, as far as I know) or some piece of software that they absolutely must have (spouse is a teacher and the software runs the projector that runs their Power Point presentations to the class). The older acquaintance would skip running Windows Update until the next time I came over to her house to run it for her...

DS has been reminded to run Windows Update deliberately and reboot, then start working on anything he's doing for school, and back it up frequently - to his hard drive and a flash drive. I keep having to dig out "new" flash drives, as he's mislaid three now (fortunately, 256MB, 512MB, and a 1GB flash drive were cheap to replace with ones of higher capacity).

But what is this fear of updating and running the antivirus and other "housecleaning" programs? And why do they quit doing it once it becomes "their" computer? I can set it up, transfer the information from the last computer, and get it current, but I'm not planning on running Windows Update for you once in a while....

It's easier to keep the protection current than it is to clean up what happens when the computer hasn't had an anti-virus update in six months...

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July 2014
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