Funny and Humorous Technical Support Tales and Stories

Submitted Tales From Technical Support

Tales From Technical Support Content

Using Resources To His Best Ability
Posted 06/01/1998 by Mike Mee

Customer: I have a photographic scanner built into my Hewlett Packard machine, and I would like to scan in a document.

Me: I am afraid sir, that as this scanner is designed for photographs only (6 inch x 4 inch) and therefore you will not be able to fit the document in.

Customer: I've already scanned in the document .....

Me: How ..... ?

Customer: I folded the document into 4 sections and now I have scanned it in and want to save it to disk.

Me: Completely overcome with mirth at customers "ingenuity" talked him through saving the file to disk :)

Some Things You Just Can't Explain
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I don't remember where or how I came across this little tid-bit,

but it is now yours to do whatever you want with it.

I enjoy your site. Makes for a good day of reading.

Support: "Ridge Hall computer assistant. May I help you?"

Customer: "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."

Support: "What sort of trouble?"

Customer: "Well, I was just typing along and all of a sudden the words went away."

Support: "Went away?"

Customer: "They disappeared."

Support: "Humm so what does your screen look like now?"

Customer: "Nothing."

Support: "Nothing?"

Customer: "It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."

Support: "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"

Customer: "How do I tell?"

Support: "Can you see the C:\ prompt on the screen?"

Customer: "What's a sea-prompt?"

Support: "Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"

Customer: "There isn't any cursor: I told you it wouldn't accept anything I type."

Support: "Does your monitor have a power indicator?"

Customer: "What's a monitor?"

Support: "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. does it have a

little light that tells you when it's on?"

Customer: "I don't know."

Support: "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"

Customer: "Yes, I think so."

Support: "Great! Follow the cord to the plug and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."

Customer: "Yes, it is."

Support: "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"

Customer: "No."

Support: "Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."

Customer: "Okay, here it is."

Support: "Follow it for me and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."

Customer: "I can't reach."

Support: "Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"

Customer: "No."

Support: "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"

Customer: "Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle; it's because it's dark."

Support: "Dark?"

Customer: "Yes, the office light is off and the only light I have is coming in from the window."

Support: "Well, turn on the office light then."

Customer: "I can't."

Support: "No? Why not?"

Customer: "Because there's a power outage."

Support: "A powerA power outage? Aha! Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"

Customer: "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."

Support: "Good! Go get them and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."

Customer: "Really? Is it that bad?"

Support: "Yes, I'm afraid it is."

Customer: "Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"

Support: "Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer!"

Very truly yours,

Michael Richardson

My computer works in I mode but not in 'O' mode
Posted 06/01/1998 by David Walker

Customer with Corporate IBM RS6000 rings software vendor -

TS. So whats your problem ?

Cu. My computer works in I mode but not in O mode

TS. How do you switch between modes

Cu. I just do

TS. ... Just looking it up, sorry can't see anything about I mode and O mode, can you leave it in I mode for the time being ?

Cu yes - ok, but you'll get back to me ?

TS yes

Week later

TS Sorry still don't know what I mode is we're sending an engineer out ?

Cu OK - thanks


EN OK, can you show me this I mode and O mode

Cu Well, yes - you just flick this red button on the front up and that puts it in O mode, but it stops working

EN OK - I'm off then ...

Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

As I was going through the open calls from our helpdesk I came upon one that stopped me in my tracks. It read as follows: There is a fire in one of the printers CALL 911. I thought that I had seen them all up until that point.

Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Got a call at the store...

(2 days after a new computer sale)

caller:Hi my computer wont turn on??? can you help?

me:Ok. what happened

caller:Well it worked till i cleaned it

me:that should not be a problem..

(10 more min. of chating about the pc)

me:Ok just bring it here and I will look at it.

(20 min later she got here, and then I remembered her

she was about 75 and never had anything electronic)

caller: here you go...

me: it smells funny?? how did you wash it?

caller: I just unpluged it and put it in.

me: PUT IT IN WHAT????!!!!??

caller: The Dishwasher....


a convenient place to keep floppies
Posted 06/01/1998 by Jim Randell

I'm Systems Manager and have some pretty good stories, but the best Id ever heard comes from a guy I used to work with.

He was doing sales at a retail computer store when one of his customers comes in and says that files keep disappearing from his floppies. My friend offered several suggestions (disk utility programs, etc.) and the customer went home to try them out. He came back the next day saying that none of the suggestions worked, He even brought back some disks for my friend to look at. My friend examined the disks with a certain disk utility program and found fragments of files. My friend asked the customer, where exactly he keeps these disks. The customer replied "in the kitchen at my desk, well, next to my desk is the refrigerator, I keep them stuck to the frige with magnets"

REALLY Good at Following Directions
Posted 06/01/1998 by Greg Smith

I used to do phone support for a local ISP. At one point,

we switched phone providers, so all our dialup numbers

changed. We sent out mass email to all our customers with

instructions for changing the dialup number in various

software packages. All of our numbers ended with the digits

"2000", with a different exchange for each dialup location.

So the email began with a list of all the numbers for

all our dialup areas. After that, were generic instructions

for changing their settings. These instructions referenced

the number as "XYZ-2000, where XYZ is your local exchange".

So naturally, a week or so after the mailing, I received a

call that went something like this:

user: "Hello, I just changed my dialup number like it said

in your e-mail, and now I can't seem to get connected at

the new number."

me: "Okay, what number did you specify."

user: "I did it exactly like it said in the e-mail, I know

I didn't do it wrong!"

me: "I see. Why don't we look at your settings and make

sure the changes were saved."

*she opens up her dial software*

user: "There, see?! It says XYZ-2000, just like you told


And these people are teachers?
Posted 06/01/1998 by Scott Borlick

I used to work tech support for a company that made electrical components. One day I got a call from a woman who wanted to know where the floppy disk went in ther computer. Why initial reaction was "huh?" She said didn't know where to put the disk. I asked her what kind of computer she had, thinking maybe there was an internal zip drive, or a slot loading cd-rom, and she was just confused. She told me what she was using, and it just so happened I had the same model sitting on a table next to me. There was only one slot on the front of the computer. I verified this with her, and told her that's where the disk went. She said "ok, I hope this works," put the disk in, and, miracle of miracles, it worked just fine.

Dialect difficulty
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Some years ago I worked as an Instructor when DSS offices were getting on-line computers for

the first time. We had classes of fourteen students, all novices at using keyboards, let

alone computers. One of my colleaues had possibly the stongest Geordie accent I have ever

heard. She got away with it quite well in the North-east, but once she was working as far

away as Leeds, real communication problems set in. On day one of one course, leading her

class through a very silmple operation she told them, "Now we press wor Enter Key". Fourteen

students had the utmost difficulty finding the key labelled "Worrenter"

Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in a computer retail store in New Zealand, a few months back I had a lady call me

after purchasing a PCMCIA modem for her laptop complaining she didn't have all the parts to

connect into the telephone socket & insisted we do something about it, I opened a box & went

through it step by step to what should be in the box & all the parts were there, when

explaining to her how everything works & what piece should plug in where & how it equated to

her telephone, her responce was "oh you mean this cable" & the phone line promptly went dead.

Reset my what??
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I had purchased a motherboard from a local computer shop, which gave a 30 day return policy on it. After I had it for about 20-25 days, it started to go downhill fast. Now remember, This was back in the DOS/win3.1 days. By the time I got it ripped back out of my system to take back, about all I could do was boot into DOS. Even loading the mouse driver would hang or throw up an EMM386 exception if it was loaded. Having bought it on impulse, I wasn't that pleased with it when it did work, so I go to return it. I walk back into the shop I got it from and set it on the back counter.

Me: I'd like to return this motherboard. It has pretty much died on me.

Tech: Well, we'll just hook it up back here and see if it works. What exactly went wrong with it?

(I tell him the tale, worked fine for 2 weeks, starts crashing, now won't even load a mouse driver)

Tech: Well, I been in this business for 15 years and I see this same problem alot. When you replace a motherboard, you really need to reset your hard drive.

Me: Huh? Are you talking about setting up the drive type in the CMOS or reformatting or what? (Truth was I had repartitioned and reformatted when I put in the new board)

Tech: No, no, like I said, you have to reset your hard drive. I've been doing this for years, trust me, if you don't reset your hard drive when you swap motherboard, you run into all kinds of problems.

Me: What the bloody... (trailing off as I realize I don't want to know what he is talking about, not to mention barely contained laughter)

(The other tech at the place has now got the board hooked up with nothing but a video card and a floppy)

2nd Tech: Works just fine, take a look...

(monitor sitting with nothing but Starting MSDOS... and an A:\ prompt on it...)

Me(thinking): Play dumb...

Me: Uh, ok I guess, I still want my money back tho.

(Refund in hand, managing not to laugh still, I head out for the door. Really needing to say something tho, I turn...)

Me: Thanks guys, I better get home, its about time to reboot my monitor and reset my hard drive again.

I still wonder if they ever put that board back on the shelf...

Where am I?
Posted 06/01/1998 by Will

I work at a local Internet Service Provider that provides access to several rural communities in our area. We have several dial-in numbers for users to call, for although everyone is in the same area code, calling in to our home location is a long distance call.

When I got this call we were having problems with the authentication server in two of our rural communities, so we were trying to isolate those area calls from the others to save effort... no point in trying to fix someone's service on their home computer if they wouldn't be able to access the net anyway, right? This is a COMMON call:

Me: (ISP name), this is Will how can I help you?

User: Uh Hi I can't get into your internet.

Me: (my internet? I didn't know I owned it.) Well, sir, where are you calling from?

User: My phone.

(I had to pause for a sec to contain myself)

Me: No, sir, where are you calling from, as in location.

User: OH! My house.

(frustration sets in)

Me: Sir, what city is your house in?

User: I don't live in town. I live out in the country.

(which could be anywhere withing 50 miles radius from here)

Me: Are you NEAR any cities, towns or such?

User: (getting agitated) Yes...

Me: (after a second pause, waiting for him to tell me) ... and that city is....

User: Oh you wanna know where I live?

Me: YES... we have different numbers that we service, sir. Which one are you contacting?

User: (silence)

Me: (after a few seconds) Sir, what number are you dialing to get the internet.

User: 1-800-xxx-xxxx (the number for our ISP)

I spent the next 20 minutes trying to get this guy to tell me what city he was calling from, only to find he was in fact from one of the trouble areas and I wouldn't be able to help him anyway!

Posted 06/01/1998 by Erin

I work in Tech Support for a Major ISP. One day I recieved

a call and a very good point from a customer!

Customer: *panicking* This is my first night at work alone and

my boss told me to shut down the computer! They told me to

shut it down using the shut down menu and to absolutely NOT

under any circumstances push the power button because I'd

lose information!

Me: *calmly* Ok so you need me to show you how to shut it


Customer: *now crying* YES!

Me: Ok, it's problem...use your mouse and click on

the Start button in the bottem left hand corner....



Me: Ohhhhhhh ma'am that is how you shut it down...

*we continued the shutdown and she was calm by the end and

she said...."why in Gods name did they do something so stupid

as to put the 'end in the beginning'" I couldn't argue...*

Finally found the darn 'Any' key...
Posted 06/01/1998 by Ulysses Cruz

Several years ago, I worked in the support department of a large oil and natural gas company.

My boss and I were constantly constantly plagued by the "Where's the 'any' key?" question. Well, one day I was reading a computer magazine, and came accross an add for a company that made custom key caps (you know different colors, etc.) I got an idea and took it to my boss...

To make a long story short, a week later we spent the day going around the building putting our new 'Any' (normal sized 'A' tiny 'ny') key caps over the 'A' keys on users computers. We never got asked that question again :P

No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a well known tech support company doing trouble shooting over the phone...

This one is a little note for all tech supporter's that end up with the novice user..

If you know the customer is being pretty ignorant and can't find the "any" key tell them it is

in between the *escape* key and the *F1* key. If the customer tells you they don't have one. Then refer them back to the sales man that sold him the unit for selling them a bogus keyboard...

Hopefully, you won't be the tech that gets the call back!

Men and Mice
Posted 06/01/1998 by Lennart Lundberg

"Support desk may i help you?"

Yeah... i'm having a bit of a problem here... there's something

wrong with my monitor i think.

"What seems to be the problem?"

Well... the mousepointer wont go all the way out to the sides

of the screen.

"Does the screen appear to have the right resolution?"

Yeah... but see... when it comes to the end of the mousemat...

the pointer is still far away from the right hand side of the screen.


"Return Address"
Posted 06/01/1998 by Heather Morris

I had a customer email me asking me why nobody could reply to her email. When I clicked "reply", her return address was "123 Main Street Missoula, Montana"

Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I do tech support for an all in one product. The product has to be connected directly to a computer and a phone line.

Customer: Hello can you help me hook up my product.

Me: Sure thing

Customer: I have one phone jack and I need to use it for the fax, the computer, and the phone.

Me:Alright we can do that. I'll tell you how. First you have to have the all in one connected to the phone

Customer made some noise and click.... silence.

She had unplugged her phone with me still on it.

Bury the dog
Posted 06/01/1998 by Tamara Carroll

Hello, Tech Support?


I was in the middle of typing a document and my screen went blank.

Did you have a power outage?

No, but there were sparks coming from my computer just before the screen went blank.

Sparks? What else can you tell me, ma'am?

Well, you see the other day I took the cover off to put in a new tape drive and I forgot to put it back on. My dog was upset 'cause I haven't been paying attention to him, and he came over and peed on the cpu - now the dog's dead and I HAVE to get this report out in three hours!! How do I get my document back?

Lady, go bury your dog. . .you might as well bury your computer, too. . .it's hosed!

Click where?
Posted 06/01/1998 by Tamara Carroll

A lady called in and was having problems with her spreasheet program. After several minutes of listening to her tell me how much she hated this program because it was not "user friendly" as she had been told in the store, I managed to get her back to troubleshooting.

I had her type a few values into the spreadsheet, then asked her to click on the box in the upper righthand corner of the screen. Over the phone I hear "tink tink tink". It's then I realize what she's trying to do.

"Ma'am" I said, "Please put the mouse back on the desk. Slide it back and forth. . .do you see that arrow? Good. Put the ARROW over the box and click the LEFT MOUSE BUTTON"

I hear a surprised "Oohhh. .so *that's* how that works" and then a click as she hangs up the phone!

We take Sears cards or cash...
Posted 06/01/1998 by Peter Kuti

I was working at a major electronics stores repair center here in Kansas City when I got this PC. The complaint read that the owner couldn't put 3.5" floppies in the drive. I unpacked the unit and, sure enough, I couldn't put a 3.5" disk in the drive. I got out my flashlight and looked in the drive, thinking the shutter from a floppy came off a disk and got jammed in the drive. There was no shutter but there was something in the drive. I removed the drive from the PC, took the drive apart and found a Sears credit card in the drive. I put the drive back together, reinstalled it in the PC, and it worked fine. As I was moving the case around to reinstall the floppy, I heard something sliding around the bottom of the case. I looked, and found 5 pennies, 3 dimes, 3 nickles and a quarter. I removed the change from the pc. Luckily, this was a tower unit and not a desktop. Imagine the fireworks that could happen if a quarter shorted a couple of leads... Anyway, I called the user and told her that I found the problem.. Before I told her what it was, I asked her if she had any kids. She said "Yes, 2. Why do you ask?" I then told her what I found in the floppy drive and the case. She said "THAT'S what happened to that card. I thought it was stolen!" She then told me to keep the change I found. I suggested she teach her kids not to "feed" the computer anymore. She chuckled and said she would. I then had to break the news to her that this repair wasn't covered by warranty but I would charge her the minimum labor charge ($19.95). She agreed, and was still chuckling when we hung up.

Posted 06/01/1998 by Jennifer

I was working with a customer one day because his OS wouldn't boot. Because the system was installed on FAT and I wanted to replace some files, I told him to go to his win95 box and sys a disk. He does that and he then tries to boot off this disk on his broken computer. he gets non system disk error. We go through the process a dozen more times and he keeps getting the same error. The call is going into its third hour and we still can boot from the dos boot disk.

I am at my wits end. I am running around trying to get advice. I get back on the phone with the custome and he says..."listen, this is obviously a very paritcular problem, is there someone more knowlegalbe I could talk to..." I tell him to hang on and start pulling my hair out and calling him every name in the book while he is on hold. When I get back after I have calmed down, I walk through it with the customer again! We go through the entire process...we sys the disk, then I hear some typing going on...I ask what he is doing...

He says..."I am doing attrib -s-h-r so that when I do dir i can see all 3 files listed on the disk. If I don't do that, I only see one. "

I tell him NOT to do that and we boot fine to the disk. I replace some files and nothing helped. I said I would do more research and get back to him.

I try for 3 weeks to reach him. Finally I called and he was there and I ask how the problem is going.

he replies..."oh...yeah I should have called you. I just rebooted and it was fine"


No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

(customer) I think your cdrom boot floppies are great and everything for loading the cdrom drive in dos,

but do they make those on cd?

Cassette or CD?
Posted 06/01/1998 by Adam Knight

I was talking to a friend of mine who worked for a small computer store back home during the

year and he related the following story to me:

One day a man walked into the store and asked if he could buy a computer. My friend

proceeded to ask this man, who had a very southern accent, what accessories he would like

with it, what speed, etc. to which he gets a response saying that he basically does not know

what he needs. So after a little questioning he has a basic idea of what he's supposed to

offer this man. So he then relates that he would probably be happy with a Pentium 166 (a

year ago, 1997), about 48MB of RAM, a 2GB hard disk, etc. until he gets to the point where

he said: "...and a 16-speed CD-ROM." The man smiled and laughed and said, "Aww.. I don't

have much use for the CD player, can I get one with a cassette deck?"

He passed the customer off to a friend so he could let it all out in the back room.

The overfilled desktop
Posted 06/01/1998 by Archangel-X

Now, I'm not a tech, but I am reasonably well versed in computers,

and whenever something happens to a family member's PC, it

is I who gets stuck with the task of fixing. Now about 2 years ago,

I had sold my old 486 to a cousin of mine, who knew/knows very little

about computers, yet swears is an expert. She called me up telling me

that her "screen" had become too full in WIN95. Puzzled I kept asking

her questions, and all i could get out of her was that "there are

too many icons". So i go to her house and turn on her PC. Turns out she

had been saving EVERYTHING from text documents, to graphics, in her Desktop

folder! So of course her desktop had become full of shortcuts to

these documents, over 100 of them in fact, since she does a lot of written docs.

So much for her expertise in computers, and all her crap about

her being the office "know-it-all" where she works. :-/

No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by John Brownlie

Agent. What modem are you using to connect...

Customer. The one on this CD...

Its not just the users . . .
Posted 06/01/1998 by Sheila Moore

Today our help desk received a call from a user who could not access his telephone voice mail. We investigated and found the answer, so I called him. He wasn't there, so I left the solution on his voice mail!

Sometimes we forget, we can be pretty stupid, too.

Network Admin / PC-tech.
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Man

Background info: The guy called and wanted some help to install Windows 95 into his computer.

I helped him to boot up correctly and install all necessary

drivers for his CDROM...

Me: now goto the CDROM by typing "E:"

Him: Ok, Im there now.

Me: good, to install Windows you need to...

Him (interrupted me): I just did a "dir" and I discovered

that there is only one file named "install"(.exe). Do I have

to type the whole filename, or is it enough with "install"?

Me (got surprised): you could type install, that would work.

Him: Ok, how do I spell it?

Id to put that guy on hold for a while ;)

Posted 06/01/1998 by brad

An irate customer called our helpdesk demanding a new

keyboard as our s/w was not compatible

not compatible I asked - how do you mean?

I've just bought your s/w and am trying to install

the s/w but when I bought it you did not tell me that

it would not work with my keyboard

what kind of keyboard is it ?

windows 95

what is happening

When I'm installing the s/w it says

press any key to continue - but there is no "any key button"

on my keyboard.

No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A woman called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer.

The tech asked her if she was "running it under Windows." The

woman then responded, "No, my desk is next to the door. But that is a

good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a

window, and his is working fine."


Tech Support: "How much free space do you have on your hard drive?"

Customer: "Well, my wife likes to get up there on that Internet, and she

downloaded ten hours of free space. Is that enough?"


Tech Support: "Ok Bob, let's press the control and escape keys at the

same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now

type the letter 'P' to bring up the Program Manager."

Customer: "I don't have a 'P'."

Tech Support: "On your keyboard, Bob."

Customer: "What do you mean?"

Tech Support: "'P' on your keyboard, Bob."

Customer: "I'm not going to do that!"


Overheard in a computer shop:

Customer: "I'd like a mouse mat, please."

Salesperson: "Certainly sir, we've got a large variety."

Customer: "But will they be compatible with my computer?"


I once received a fax with a note on the bottom to fax the

document back to the sender when I was finished with it, because he

needed to keep it.


Customer: "Can you copy the Internet for me on this diskette?"


I work for a local ISP. Frequently we receive phone calls that go

something like this:

Customer: "Hi. Is this the Internet?"


Some people pay for their online services with checks made payable

to "The Internet."


Customer: "So that'll get me connected to the Internet, right?"

Tech Support: "Yeah."

Customer: "And that's the latest version of the Internet, right?"

Tech Support: "Uhh...uh...uh...yeah."


Tech Support: "All double-click on the File Manager icon."

Customer: "That's why I hate this Windows-because of the icons-I'm a

Protestant, and I don't believe in icons."

Tech Support: "Well, that's just an industry term sir. I don't believe it

was meant to-"

Customer: "I don't care about any 'Industry Terms'. I don't believe in


Tech Support: "Well...why don't you click on the 'little picture' of a

file 'little picture' ok?"

Customer: [click]


Customer: "My computer crashed!"

Tech Support: "It crashed?"

Customer: "Yeah, it won't let me play my game."

Tech Support: "All right, hit Control-Alt-Delete to reboot."

Customer: "No, it didn't crash-it crashed."

Tech Support: "Huh?"

Customer: "I crashed my game. That's what I said before. Now it doesn't


Turned out, the user was playing Lunar Lander and crashed his spaceship.

Tech Support: "Click on 'File,' then 'New Game.'"

Customer: [pause] "Wow! How'd you learn how to do that?"

No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by Stephen Eickhoff

Yeah, we're all tired of hearing about the "any" key and people

thinking that the monitor's power switch turned on the computer.

I used to get those every day on the helpdesk. The funniest I heard

(or most frightening) was received by a co-worker. He asked the

woman to to type in some text in a box in Windows and then hit enter.

She said, "Which key is that?" He had to hand the call over to

someone else, he was already frustrated with her enough. This woman

had been using PCs (not a Mac, I know they have a "return" key) for

quite some time and she didn't know what the enter key was. I wonder

what kind of work she got done all day without hitting the enter


Then there's my friend. I'm really impressed with his curiousity in computers,

so I recently helped him optimize his system (at his request), and

everything was running fine when I left him. One of the things I asked

him to do was REM out a cardsoft driver for a PCMCIA hard drive.

Who uses those damn things anyway? Next day he's calling me about his

modem not working, and he's getting error messages in autoexec.bat.

Turns out he'd deleted the entire CARDSOFT to free up disk space.

I'd told him several times while working with him to just REM out

that one driver, that he needed the others for his modem, and all

he remembered is that one Cardsoft driver was useless, let's delete

the whole thing! I guess he got confused with all the technical talk

I was spewing.

The entertaining customer
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Ever have that 1 customer that calls in and everytime someone talks to them it's like being in the Twilite Zone? Well I work for an ISP and we keep logs of people that we speek with and a summery of what they say the problem is and what we did to fix it so the next time they call we know what's going on or what's been done.

This is a log of one of our "special" customers and all the different situations each of our techs had to deal with so to speek (I personally haven't spoken to him but have looked up his username). This was directly copied and pasted, only things that have been changed were his name, things dealing directly with us, and a few corrected mispellings that I could find.

Posted on: 10/09/97 04:26:00 PM

Reason: I have no idea what the heck he is talking about. Clicking OurISP icon and getting MSN. Obviously doesn't know computers.

Result: Attempted to explain the whole computer thing.


Posted on: 10/25/97 06:35:00 PM

Reason: Intellgent java creatures have taken over my computer

Result: Huh? Call Sun Micro System and talk to them


Posted on: 11/01/97 11:04:00 PM

Reason: Not him again....

Result: wants to know how to quit MSN??? superhuman virus again GAWD WHY ME! now wants to know if we have any software database where he can get files go to a book store.


Posted on: 12/04/97 01:53:00 PM

Reason: error message: protocal is not configured properly.

Result: cant get him to cooperate, he just talks and talks and talks, told help desk and they are going to see if they can find someone to deal with him


Posted on: 12/04/97 03:18:00 PM

Reason: genral settings

Result: spent an hour just trying to check settings

Comments: this guy is pretty crazy... thinks his browsers are alive, his connectoids killed his call center icon.. refered to netscape as a creature


Posted on: 12/05/97 10:00:00 AM

Reason: He doesnt know, keeps asking if we have a news service

Result: helped him setup newsgroups, guy is WHACKED! he keeps refering to his computer as if its alive referes to netscape as his sweetheart


Posted on: 12/05/97 11:47:00 AM

Reason: i was wondering when i would get to talk to this guy... 'his greatest joy' (netscape) was lost during a virus. can't load ie4.

Result: referring to the virus as 'them' and his software as 'him'. this is most entertaining. :) lol minimize=cocoon


Posted on: 12/06/97 01:45:00 PM

Reason: virus ate up anti virus program...

Result: how to use yahoo..


Posted on: 12/27/97 04:29:00 PM

Reason: Oh my god not him! Started to tell me his problem but then had to hang up

Result: lucked out! woo-hoo!


Posted on: 01/06/98 12:18:00 AM

Reason: last couple days-memory errors,connect problems ok now though

Result: rambling

Comments: "Ive got this little guy called netmedic, i dont know if youve met him, im not sure i can trust him"

Posted on: 01/08/98 09:09:00 PM

Reason: his netmedic friend is giving his netscape problems

Result: told him uninstall it


Posted on: 01/09/98 12:58:00 PM

Reason: Oh God, not this one!

Result: Never found out what the problem was. Kept saying that Netscape was mad at him.


Posted on: 04/03/98 06:49:00 PM

Reason: server asked him to do something and he didn't so the server grabbed the browser and through it against the wall, he was was squeezing the crap out of him

Result: I have no clue, two files followed him from site to site now they are on his machine.


Posted on: 04/23/98 04:44:00 PM

Reason: babbling, says the microsoft's server killed two of his browsers, says they entered his ship, "he materalized himself on the page"

Result: sounds like he doesnt have all his oars in the water, told him to email


Posted on: 04/29/98 06:46:00 PM

Reason: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

Result: had a problem... had him try connecting, no problem...he started talking about mutating viruses.


Posted on: 04/29/98 07:50:00 PM

Reason: cant get web pages (from his desktop). says all five netscapes are not flying.

Result: assisted in aerodynamics. added dns in dun and config'd network. great now he is having problems with his ship and signals

Comments: he picked username "Xxxxx" cuz that is the name of any magical creature especially in James Stewart movies

Posted on: 05/03/98 05:07:00 PM

Reason: cool! I got Xxxxx! How can I help you Xxxxx? Well blah blah blah!!!! (Not really sure what the problem is)

Result: talked a bit, explained a few things about life and computers and life with computers. one problem after another, this is fun.

Comments: I actually like this guy, he has character!

Posted on: 05/11/98 09:47:00 PM

Reason: having problems with win 98 beta. gets msg computer not answering

Result: checked DUN settings and corrected told him to try that, and that we don't support win98

Comments: said the control panel walks around in win 98, I would like to see that feature.

Posted on: 05/17/98 01:34:00 PM

Reason: questions about 56k modems - I think

Result: answered, I hope

Comments: he's surprisingly coherent today

Posted on: 06/01/98 02:37:00 AM

Reason: he couldnt connect

Result: i got him fixed and listened to him talk about about the java creatures for about an hour


My coffee cup holder is broken....
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Working for an ISP you the get the stranged people on the phone.....One time i had a man on the phone who received a present from his sone..A brand new computer. But the man never used a PC before. So one time he called us. But he was not a member, but he read our phonenumber in a magazine..

me: Sir, how can I help you....

member: Yes, i want to order a new cofee cup holder, because mine broke down.

me: excuse me?

member: A coffee cup holder you know!

me: No, i am sorry, we are a ISP.. A we do not deliver a coffee cup holder..

member: But you have to help me, every time I push that little button on my computer nothing is comming out!

me: You have a coffee cup holder on you does it look like...?

member: it is a little tray what is comming out of the computer with a hole in the middle...And i put a too big coffee cup on it, and now it broke down.

me: gnif, gnif....But if i thinking correctly that is not a coffee cup holder, but that is your cd-rom drive, where you have to put a CD our CD..

member: Ohhhh.... is that a CD-Rom i know why it has those other buttons and a light...

me: Sir, shell i send you the FLOPPY DISK version....that is a disk what you can put in that little slide.....( laughing not loud )

member: huh...okay..goodday...

me : bye

This was the funniest story i ever heard in my carreer as a tech

Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Me: Thanks for calling XXXX, my name is Clany, how may I help you today?

Caller: Hi, I just strted downloading the Internet, and I am having problems.

Me: OK, call me back in a few years when you are finished.

Closed for Good!
Posted 06/01/1998 by Nancy Kelln

Me: Good Morning ISP Tech Support.

Client: Hello, I just installed your software and my computer isn't connecting to the internet.

Me: Did you hear it dial??

Client: Nope.

Me: What operating system are you running?

Client: I don't know?

(After a long time and a lot of questions we established that it was Windows 3.1)

Me: So what window do you have open now?

Client: It has some icons on it, Netscape, Cool Talk, Read Me.

Me: Ok lets close that window.

Client: How do I do that?

Me: Click the X in the top right corner.

Client: I don't have an X because my Office Tool Bar is over top of it.

Me: Ok then click on file and then close.

Client: Ok I closed Netscape.

Me: (Confused) Netscape was open???

Client: Yes.

Me: (Still confused) Well what is on the screen now?

Client: Some icons - Cool Talk and Read me..

Me: (Really confused) Well where did Netscape go?

Client: (Getting frustrated) Well I closed it?

Me: (Really really confused) Well how did you "close" it?

Client: I clicked on file and then delete?

Me: You clicked file and then DELETE???

Client: Yes - I didn't have a close so I tried delete..

Me: Is this how you close all your programs?

Client: Yes it is..

Me: Can you ever fine them again when you try to go back to them?

Client: No I never can..

Me: Well sir when you close programs that way you are actually deleting them from the computer.

I suggest that we uninstall the ISP Software and then reinstall it again. Just to make sure that

we get any left over files removed.

Client: We can't do that. I have already installed the software and the uninstall will delete it.

I don't want it deleted that will just erase everything I have already done!

Some people just don't get it!!!!

Mac or PC?
Posted 06/01/1998 by Omid Yasharel

Me: Hello (my companies name)

man: Hi, i have trouble printing with my computer.

Me: Ok sir, what kind of computer do you have?

man: Its an IBM G3.

Me: An IBM G3? Are you sure its not a Mac?

man: no, its an IBM.

Me: Do you see a little apple on the top left hand corner of your screen?

man: No.

Me: It looks colorful like a rainbow and it looks like someone took a bite from it.

man: no nothing, i am looking all over the screen, there is no colorful apple. I AM TELLING YOU ITS AN IBM.

Me: what does the screen look like?

man: it looks like any other screen.

Me: what is on the screen, do you see any icons?

man: No, the screen is turned off.

ME: (At this point i wanted to srangle the guy) Sir can you turn on your monitor.

man: Sure.

Me: now, do you see an apple on the top left corner of the screen?

Man: YES.

me: Sir your computer is an Apple Macintosh G3, not an IBM.

Man: ohh, are you sure, my friend told me its an IBM.

me: (then i fixed the printer problem)

Idiots guide
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

the customer had a guide to win95 in front of her, and after much frustration, called us at tech support.

The question she asked me was :-

How do I get into windows?

I asked what she could see on the screen, and the answer came :-


Laptop model
Posted 06/01/1998 by Nicolas

After reading a few of your stories, I couldn't resist sending this one.

All the names will be kept secret to protect the famous people involved.

I was working on a show. My job was to demonstrate a Web site for a big press company.

The same company was about to edit a software based on a top model. After hearing

for 3 days the demo of the product, we really hoped that she would finally visit the

show and come and see it. Well, she eventually fulfilled our hopes. Surrounded by

bodyguards, people calling her by her first name and a few gawpers, here she was.

She stood in front of the Mac. Her picture was filling all the space on the 17' screen

and there was a "Preview" button. So she asked "Ok, now, what do I do ?". And someone

told her to take the mouse. What she did. She grabbed the mouse on the table and was

holding it as if it had been some lipstick. Someone helpful said "Now click on preview".

And still holding the mouse above the table, she clicked on it, doing nothing as she was

not at all controlling the pointer. The girl who was in charge of the demo of this CD-Rom

said "No, not like that". So the model realized that she was probably doing it wrong, that

she was probably being ridiculous, so she put down the mouse quickly and went away laughing

and a bit ashamed. Someone less payed clicked on the Preview button, and we heard another

time "Hi I'm..."

No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Customer : I've got a defect on my computer.

Me : What's the problem

Customer : My coffee holder on the pc is defect

Me : What ?

Customer : Ehh well when i push a button on the pc

a tray comes out. That's where i put in

my cup of coffee.

Me : Ehh sorry that's no coffee cup holder

but a cd player.

Customer : Ohh but it's still broken.

Me : Ok i will send a engineer.

Insufficient Memory
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This isn't exactly a "tech tale," but visitors to your site might find it amusing...

Although I'm reasonably competent with computers now, that certainly wasn't the case a few years ago when I was still running a 386 system with 4MB of RAM anda 40MB hard drive. The problem occurred when I purchased a modem to dial into my university's server; I also installed the software that had come with the modem. Or at least I tried to; I kept getting an error message to the effect that there wasn't enough memory. So I went into my hard drive and began to delete old document files, programs I hadn't used in awhile...all to no avail, even though I knew there was more free space on the hard drive than the program needed. Finally I called a more computer-literate friend, who explained to me that the program wanted more RAM, not hard drive space...after he stopped laughing, that is.

Sounds of silence...
Posted 06/01/1998 by Steve

I work in a large international computer company Tech

Support Department. We support a number of products in

this section, including CD Writers.This is the best call

yet. It was taken by a collegue :

A customer called and asked why, when he put our CD

Recordable Media into his stereo CD player itwould display

a "No Audio" message. I asked him if he had copied any

audio onto the cd-r expecting him to say "yes". He replied


He then said he also tried with our CD Re-Writable media and

the same thing happened. It also occurred with other brands

of media.

The following is exactly what we spoke about...

Me: "How do you expect to hear audio if you haven't recorded

audio on there ?"

Customer: "I don't know ?"

Me: "Have you ever put a blank Video Tape in your Video

Recorder ?".

Customer: "Yes!"

Me: "what happens ?"

Customer: "Nothing".

Me: "Precisely ....there is nothing on it, thus you won't

hear or see anything...same goes with CD-R media....does it

make sense to you ?"

Customer: "Yes".

I thought I'd finally got the message across, when the

customer came back with this :

Customer: "but why does CD-RW media do the same thing as


Me: "As I explained earlier.....there's nothing on it".

Customer: "OK...bye".

This inspires me to continually head butt walls.

IT TAC Desktop Support
Posted 06/01/1998 by D. B. Cooper

I didn't get this call, my coworker just over the partition from me had this call.

Sam (my coworker) got a call from a customer trying to dial into our network from home.

During the conversation Sam heard what sounded like someone being rude and talking in the customers other ear.

Sam asked the customer if there was someone there with them, the customer replied "No, that's my bird".

Later during the conversation Sam heard a modem making the dial in and connect noise.

Sam asked if the customer had a second computer and was dialing in.

Once again the customer replied "No, that's my bird".

Hello I'm here to help....
Posted 06/01/1998 by Brian Kilpatrick

During the course of a truncated contract assignment for GE

I was forced to work with a MS zombie clone who said quite

self assuredly that "IBM will shit the bucket in 5 years"

Funny fo anyone that has a clue.. but unrelated to said story...

I got a call from one of our other 'support' persons at a

remote site. He called because the guy from the place they were

leasing an HP printer from had come to replace it. Well

of course the printer had a network card in it that needed

to be setup to print on the network. I had to tell him

to set it up with the settings in the old one and it should

come up fine. (common sense here).

Briefly afterward I got a call back, (of course or it wouldnt

be a story). The 'tech' from the lease place said i had to

set it up over the network because the old printer wouldnt power

up. I then had to explain that such an action was impossible

because the printer has no network identity until you set it

up locally. *duh* I then had to tell the printer tech to

just swap network cards. This of course was protested.

I said "Oh well nothing I can do, why dont you try swapping

the cards?" , He irately agreed. It of course worked, he

had a humble tone in his voice when he called back to confirm.

TO this day it amazes me how imcomptenet ppl manage to keep

jobs while the talented get stepped on. *shrug*

Maybe its reverse evolution.

How can I get this disk out ?
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am not a tech myself, but I had to tell you this.

We were at ADP-class. Every student had their own PC,

and we were making somekind of WORD-projects, or something.

Well, there was this girl, who just had saved her document to the disk, and wanted it out from the machine.

"How do I get this disk out?" She asked, and before anyone

could help her; "Klick" the screen went dark...

She thought that the POWER-button is the one to get the disk out.

I've Lost My Hymen
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Lady: Hello, I have a problem.

Tech Support: What sort of problem do you have ?

Lady: I've lost my hymen.

Tech Support: (Attempting not to ROFLOL) And what

Indications do you have that make you think you have lost

your hymen ?

Lady: I get a message on the screen.

Tech Support: Err... do you mean HIMEM ?

Lady: Oh, uh, yeah. Ooooo well the message goes by so fast.

Tech Support: Uh-huh....

Why do they let them breed?
Posted 06/01/1998 by Charles

Me: Thank you for calling AT&T Wordlnet. My name is Charles, how may I help you?

CST: I think my software is corrupted.

Me: What makes you say that, sir?

CST: I'm missing letters from my program.

Me: Letters, sir? Which letters?

CST: (irate) I don't know, I can't see them!

Me: Do you get an error message?

CST: No. Just the letters are missing.

Me: Perhaps if you can read to me what you do have, I can see if you're missing anything.

CST: I have an icon on my screen and all it says is "Connect to AT&T Worl..."!

Me: ???????

Me: Sir, Win95 will truncate or cut off a label if it is too long to display on your screen. The "..." is Win95's way of letting you know there is more information. If you highlight the icon by clicking on it once, you should see the full label.

CST: I don't know. Will it help if I reinstall?

Me: No sir. This is handled by Win95. Our installation software has no control over that.

CST: I'm not sure. I didn't have this problem with AOL. Goodbye.

Me: Thank you for using AT&T.

WANTED: Official Internet Typist
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I got this question this afternoon while doing email-based tech support (not everyone does it

on the phone): Who physically "types" the information available on the World Wide

Web/Internet? How does one apply to become a "typist" for different


I didn't hear you....
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I had been having problems with an SGI machine not booting. It was reporting a SCSI device

error on the boot disk. I placed a call with Technical Support at SGI, and before long an

engineer rang back. The call went:

me: I can't boot the system - it reports (error).

Engineer: OK. Remove the disk. Can you tell me the

manufacturer and model type.

me: Hang on ..... yep, it's (make) and (model).

Engineer: Right. Bang the disk edge onto a desk.

me: Sorry?

Engineer: Bang the disk edge onto a desk.

me: OK (bangs disk)

Engineer: I didn't hear you bang the disk. Do it again, but


me: Errr, OK (bangs harder).

Engineer: Harder!

me: (bangs the disk so hard that it puts a dent in the

desktop - I'm not kidding you either)

Engineer: OK, that's better. Now put the disk back in and


Did this, and the machine actually booted OK. The disk

was one of a faulty batch which suffered from sticking drive heads. A new drive was despatched, but in the time before it arrived on site, it was not unusual to see me

smashing this disk on the nearest desk just to get the machine to boot!

Try not to use slang....
Posted 06/01/1998 by James Roskell

In our early days when the company was not as big as it was,

and our support team had no formal training, our phoneline

support was covered by the chap who has subsequently gone on

to live in a darkened room and to look after out networks. ;)

As a result, he tended to use a lot of 'slang' terms and made

that fateful mistake of *assuming* the user new what he was

talking about.

One day, he recieved a phonecall from a user who simply could

not connect to us (we're an ISP). Trying to gather what he was

dealing with, my colleague started with the following line of


Support: "What type of box do u have?" (meaning what type of


User: "A cardboard one. Why?"

Support: "Er, no. What type of modem do you have?"

User: "Im not sure. Shall I take it out of the box and find


At this point, my colleague considered suicide, but instead

muted his phone, took a sharp intake of breath, counted to

ten and then proceed to spend an hour with the chap explaining

how to connect his modem to his PC. Which was in a different

room to his phone.... But thats another story! ;-)



2 ISP's are better than 1
Posted 06/01/1998 by Matt Aslin

User: I am having problems accessing my AOL account.

Tech: Ma'am you will need to call AOL for that problem.

User: I did, and they told me to call you.

Tech: Why did they tell you this?

User: I am having problems with Windows 95 dialing [local ISP].

Tech: Why are you using this ISP to connect to AOL?

User: So I don't have to pay the long distance for AOL.

Note: All this lady used her AOL account for was e-mail and there was almost no way she could have been saving money vs using AOL's 800 number

Tech: Ma'am, you do understand that the local ISP provides e-mail service.

User: I know how to use AOL, and that's what I am going to use.

Tech: Yes Ma'am.

Note: I hope that no one thinks I am condoning or supporting the crappy business practices of AOL.

Where did Windows go?
Posted 06/01/1998 by David L. Macy

Thank you for calling (company). May I get your Support

I.D. number please?

Where do I find that?

Just press Ctrl, Alt and the letter 'S' as in Sam all at the

same time.

Nothing happened.

Are you in Windows right now?

That may have something to do with my problem.

OK, what's going on?

I think I accedentally formatted my hard drive.

(I slap my forehead and think 'DOH!')

Yeah, that might do it. Do you have your First Aid Recovery


Resisting the Urge
Posted 06/01/1998 by Grig Larson

I haven't worked retail for years. Yet, still, when in a

store, and I hear some salesperson bark out acronyms without

knowing what they really stand for, and makes me want to jump

in and rescue the poor soul listening to Mr. Goofus. Yesterday, in a large

electronics store, I heard these phrases from sepearte employees:

"Yes ma'am. The more RAM you have, the faster your computer

goes. This system has Pentium II 333 RAM."

"Included in this package is a 28.8 bps monitor..."

"Will I need an extra phone line for that?"

"No, sir. This system has a modem and no need for a phone line."

"Everything's in the box, just plug it in, and it's ready."

"Do I need a monitor?"

"Yes, we sell that separately. Do you want a printer, too?"

"This computer comes with a free upgrade of Windows 98 when you buy the Buyer's Plus Package."

"What else comes with the package?"

"Ummm... I don't know. A mousepad, I think."

"This system is 110% hacker proof."

"A parallel cable? Sorry, we don't sell typewriters."

I can't C what's wrong....
Posted 06/01/1998 by Nick

I worked doing software testing and tech support for a development company, and supported some of our developers as well as our customers. One day, one of our C programmers, who I shall call Fred, came into the office in a state of...agitation:

Me: Hi Fred, what's up?

Fred: The network card isn't working on my PC and I'm sick of it. I'm not doing ANYTHING MORE until it's fixed.

Me: OK, how can you tell the network card's stuffed, Fred?

Fred: The green light on the card isn't lit.

Me: OK, I'll come and have a look at it, we can replace the card if it's not working.

I go through with him to his office, and bend my experienced (ha ha) eye upon his PC.

Me: Turn the PC on, Fred.

As if by magic, a green light appeared.....

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

You have to be a UNIX techie to get this one, but here goes.

I had an American customer ring up the UK helpdesk. She was complaining that our software wasn't running, and that it must have been incompatible with something on her UNIX system. This was a little confusing to say the least!

Further investigation revealed that her database subsystems were missing - even stranger, as these by default were in

the same location as our software (which seemed to be intact).

In turned out that the database subsystem had been installed in /opt (which is a 'standard' area for applications to be installed if a vendor supplied one does

not exist - it does in our software. Unfortunately in HP, a whole bunch of other stuff is in there too). Not too unusual, but for the fact that /opt was empty!

After querying her some more, I found that the user had installed some other (unknown) package into /opt/(whatever), and decided that she didn't want to keep it. Rather than using an uninstall script or deleting the software from it's install location, she decided the best thing to do was to delete the whole of /opt!

Worse than that, the backup she had to restore from was an old one, and did not contain all of the installed applications.

Oh, and she WAS the System Administrator.

No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I've made a few 'mistakes' in my time while trying to support people. The most annoying was the time I could

NOT get the system I was working on to sense that it had a modem attached to the COM2 port. I went through everything I could think of except the most obvious - make sure that the port wasn't disabled in the BIOS! Even more annoying when you consider the fact that the boot up screen displays available ports, and COM2 wasn't on the list!!

I spend so much time telling others to check the obvious that I didn't think of doing it myself. Several wasted hours and a late night - I won't forget that one in a hurry.

Disk Receipts
Posted 06/01/1998 by Grig Larson

I once did tech support for a large ISP that used to send

out free disks to local people. I am not sure who set up

the mailing lists, but occassionally, someone would get a

disk who didn't even have a computer. 99.9% of those people

would just toss them or use them for coasters. Except one


Tech: Hello, this is ISP, how may I help you?

Cust: I got one of your disks in the mail, and I don't even have a computer you dum-dums!

Tech: Sorry, you must have been on the mailing list by accident. You can just toss it or give it to a friend who has a computer.

Cust: I don't have any friends who have one. I want a refund!

Tech: Ma'am, you were not charged for it. Just throw it away, then.

Cust: Oh no you don't! I read the cover, I know you are charging me (and then read our fee schedule). I want that money back, you crooks!

Tech: I assure you, we cannot bill you if you did not agree to the service. We couldn't--

Cust: [shocked] Don't you tell ME what you can or cannot do! You people just want to bilk us old folks! Now I want your name, your boss's name, a complete refund, plus a reciept!

Tech: I assure you, no one has--

Cust: I want a receipt! Are you even listening?

as she? Finally, she caused such a fervor and started blabbing legal stuff, we transferred her to the legal department. I'm not sure what they did.

Scary Giant in the War Room
Posted 06/01/1998 by Grig Larson

A friend of mine works in "The Bridge" at his company, a large room that looks like something out of a 1990's science fiction film. Everything is sleek, aerodynamic, and dark in color. He says it's a showpiece for visiting clients. What goes on behind the locked doors is something else, however.

Being a LD carrier (one of the "Big Three"), they have a room behind The Bridge with huge racks of modems, servers, and workstations called "The War Room." In the War Room, there is a guy named "Carl" (name changed for reasons explained next). "Carl" was transferred to the War Room many years ago because he has been with this company forever, and because of a union contract, he cannot be fired. His job originally was to "move equipment" which until recently did not include sensitive computer equipment (no one is sure what he used to move, but it is guessed large non-fragile items). Because of union rules, no one is allowed to move any equipment except someone from Carl's union, so when a server or mainframe has to be moved, Carl is contracted to move it. The trouble is, Carl doesn't know or seem to care that what he is moving is sensitive computer equipment. He will toss, bang, or kick anything he feels like, and many times, he has irreparably damaged systems because he has done things like scoot them around the room with his foot, carry them by open drive bays, or toss them. Carl is an older man, large in stature, and looks like a shipyard worker. If you try and ask him to be more careful, he will become angry, and give reasons like, "They are made of metal, if it ain't dented, it ain't broke," or "I don't tell you how to program, don't tell me how to lift!" He seems to be very bitter, and usually doesn't talk to people, even if talked to first. He has his own office at the other end of the building, and no one is sure what he does there when not involved in a job, because he doesn't have his own computer and his office door is always closed. The techs fear Carl and the company cannot fire him. So anytime equipment has to be moved, it is unofficially assumed that it will be damaged. Until recently, some techs would pack the computer in a box, but someone squealed to the union, and now Carl has to do the packing, unless he feels it is not necessary. If he sees a pre-packed item, he will refuse to mov

e it.

Carl retires in five years. The techs call this "Independence Day."

No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Another tale from my times repairing computers...

This time a rather embarressed guy walked into the shop

with a BBC Micro and a Microvitec monitor. He explained that he'd plugged this 'new' monitor into his BBC, but when he switched it on the back of the BBC 'exploded'.

A little prompting uncovered the reason for this:

He'd ordered the monitor from abroad, and it had been damaged in transit. He'd attempted to put it back together, albeit incorrectly!

I had to replace a number of components and copious lengths of track before I could get it running again.

I remember him cursing himself for attempting the job in the first place, but more so for cursing when he got the final repair bill!

State-of-the-art diskette holder
Posted 06/01/1998 by Walt Sndier Jr

When I was in the seventh grade (back in the day of 5.25" floppies and no hard drives), I was the computer teacher's pet. The teacher and I were buddies and he moonlighted as a service tech for a family-owned company on the weekends. (Mind you, I was about 12 at the time.)

We had a contract with a large corp building and the teacher and I were upstairs when a lady came up to us complaining that her computer was broken. He was working on somrthing and could not be bothered, so he sent me down.

We took the elevator down, and I had to listen to all this snickers such as "my son is going to fix my computer". I was highly amused.

I get to her workstation and try to boot the computer, but something was wrong with the disk. I borrowed her neighbor's disk, copied it, and tested it several times. Once I was satisfied (and totally boggled as to what happened to the other disk), I went back upstairs. The teacher and I went out to lunch (and I told hime what happened) and when we returned to the building, we were greeted by the same disgruntled lady saying that I was a stupid pre-teen (more or less) and I didn't know what I was doing.

Teach told me to take care of the problem again, and the second disk was same as the other... wierd I thought. I asked her what she was doing, and she told me that she put the disk away like she did every time. She insisted that she knew what she was doing.

Over the next two days (Monday was a school holiday) my teacher fixed problems around the building, and I dealt with Conanette, the Disk Destroyer. She was insisting that I had no clue with what I was doing, but my teacher had confidence in me. Finally, Monday after lunch (after I copied her diskette the sixth time), I got the bright idea to tell her to show me EXACTLY what she did at the end of the day and before lunch.

Obiently (and obviously over the fact that I was less than half her age), she ejected the disk, placed it in the jacket, and wheeled her chair over to the filing cabinet where I stared in fear. She picked up a (15" speaker I think) magnet off of the filing cabinet, placed the disk in its place, then replaced the magnet!!

I asked her why she did that... she told me that she always used to loose her disk, but she always knew where it was when it was on the filing cabinet.

Did we ever think of reading the dirrections for care on the back of the jacket?? I'll bet you she bleaches her colors to this day!!

My machine won't work.
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I used to work part-time in a shop while at school repairing computers. A kid brought in his old Spectrum, and proceeded to tell me that he'd plugged it in and switched it on, at which point he said that it refused to come on. He then mumbled about a funny smell and 'a little bit of blue smoke'. He also went on to tell me that his old power supply was broken, and that his father had given him another one that he'd found.

Closer inspection found that he's plugged in a 12V AC power supply into the tape jack, neatly frying the ALU to such an extent that the chip had burnt in half and destroyed the circuit board beneath it!

Even so, I still managed to patch the board and get it working!!

The speed of light is causing bad response!
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Once again I find problems with our intranet link - it's running like a dog, and I certainly don't expect a Frame Relay link to be performing worse than a 2 channel ISDN link. So, I mail our internal support group, and this is the

reply I received from the account manager:


As long as there's not other traffic on the line, ping will always be limited to the propogation delays associated with the routers and C&W's backbone and the speed of light through the network.


I replied (one of the technical guys as opposed to the account manager):

xxx's last Email regarding the speed of light being a limiting factor in poor response times raised a smile:

c=299,792,458 m/s

Ec=39,350,000 m

It takes 0.13 seconds for light to travel around the world (and we aren't even trying to go that far) :-)

It eventually turned out that the link had been mis-configured by the ISP somewhere along the line!

No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

We occasionally hire PC's for training purposes from a local company. The idea is that they deliver a pre-configured PC to my specification. This time, however, the network card had been incorrectly configured (being a combo card, it was set to use the BNC instead of the UTP port). Due to an oversite, no configuration program had been supplied, so I couldn't alter the settings - I had to call out the supplier's engineer. I explained to him what the problem was, only to be patronised and basically told that I didn't know what I was talking about.

"Fine", I said, "come on over and fix it then".

Some hour and a half after the engineer arrived, and having swapped out the card for another (which was also configured incorrectly) I could stand no more - I politely moved him out of the way, ran up the configuration program, and had the card working in 2 minutes flat.

I then just smiled at him, gave him his disk back, and said

"Don't call me, I'll call you"!

No Title
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

As I work in a support role, I also get roped into problems with family and friends computers as well.

The funniest so far was when my father rang me up after I switched him to a new ISP, ranting and raving that Email wasn't working. He'd composed his mail and then posted it, but some time later when he'd checked the mail was still in his out-tray. I asked him if he'd connected since he'd posted the mail - he said that he didn't think he had to, and that the mail would go automatically!

My machine won't talk to the network...
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

We were running a training course in-house, with a whole

bunch of people in. When I arrived on the afternoon shift, the instructor and the other guy I work with were waiting to pounce on me as I walked in the door.

"One of the computers won't talk on the network, and we need it running NOW!" stated the instructor.

"I checked the Comms stack, the server, and I was just about to re-install the X-server software" said my colleague.

"Hmm - it was working OK last night - let me have a look-see before we do anything that drastic" I said.

All I did to solve the problem was wonder in, and plug the UTP cable back into the network card - the user had managed to yank it out!

The moral - never overlook the obvious!

My computer keeps shutting down....
Posted 06/01/1998 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I was standing next to my boss as he tried to explain his latest 'problem'. As he did so, the screen saver kicked in (basically it just blacks the screen).

"And that's another thing, this damned computer just keeps shutting down on me... see, it's gone again!"

Trying not to laugh, I pointed out it was only the screen saver......

The connection
Posted 06/01/1998 by Randy Mills

[This call was done before the advent of WebTV]

Customer: My freind is on the internet. I want to see his web pages.

Me: Ok. I'll need a bit of information. do you know what type of browser you are using?

C: What's a browser?

M: A browser is a program that you use to view web pages on your computer.

C: You mean I need a computer?

Tales From Technical Support Index

Tales from the Techs
June 1998
  1. Using Resources To His Best Ability

  2. Some Things You Just Can't Explain

  3. My computer works in I mode but not in 'O' mode

  4. 911

  5. CLEANING???????

  6. a convenient place to keep floppies

  7. REALLY Good at Following Directions

  8. And these people are teachers?

  9. Dialect difficulty

  10. Modems!

  11. Reset my what??

  12. Where am I?

  13. Start?

  14. Finally found the darn 'Any' key...

  15. No Title

  16. Men and Mice

  17. "Return Address"

  18. Click.....

  19. Bury the dog

  20. Click where?

  21. We take Sears cards or cash...

  22. attrib

  23. No Title

  24. Cassette or CD?

  25. The overfilled desktop

  26. No Title

  27. Its not just the users . . .

  28. Network Admin / PC-tech.

  29. keyboard

  30. No Title

  31. No Title

  32. The entertaining customer

  33. My coffee cup holder is broken....

  34. Download

  35. Closed for Good!

  36. Mac or PC?

  37. Idiots guide

  38. Laptop model

  39. No Title

  40. Insufficient Memory

  41. Sounds of silence...

  42. IT TAC Desktop Support

  43. Hello I'm here to help....

  44. How can I get this disk out ?

  45. I've Lost My Hymen

  46. Why do they let them breed?

  47. WANTED: Official Internet Typist

  48. I didn't hear you....

  49. Try not to use slang....

  50. 2 ISP's are better than 1

  51. Where did Windows go?

  52. Resisting the Urge

  53. I can't C what's wrong....

  54. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

  55. No Title

  56. Disk Receipts

  57. Scary Giant in the War Room

  58. No Title

  59. State-of-the-art diskette holder

  60. My machine won't work.

  61. The speed of light is causing bad response!

  62. No Title

  63. No Title

  64. My machine won't talk to the network...

  65. My computer keeps shutting down....

  66. The connection

Past Tales from the Techs:
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