Funny and Humorous Technical Support Tales and Stories

Submitted Tales From Technical Support

Tales From Technical Support Content

bizzare hardware
Posted 09/01/2000 by Dean

I work for an isp (helpdesk of course) and had a standard setup call one day that went ok right up until the point of getting the user to right-click on the connection icon

me: ok, now using the right mouse button click once on the connection icon

user: done

me: now click properties at the bottom of the menu that has appeared

user: there is no properties

now i thought the user had simply missed the icon

me: ok give it another go and just make sure the pointer is definately on the icon

user: nope still no properties

it went on like this for a while then it got weird

me: [silent moment] ok is the icon highlighted at all ?

user: err i guess so

me: you guess so?

user: yeah well its kind of highlighted

me: ok give it one more go and tell me if the icon changes color

user: [angry] No theres still no properties !!!

me: [heard the user banging mouse on the desk while this was going on] ok explain to me _exactly_ what your doing ?

user: Im putting the mouse On the icon you sent me and clicking the dam right mouse button !!

me: [confused] the icon we sent you ?

user: Yes on the dam form !!!!

me: the icon on the form we sent you ? ..... the one with your user name and password on it .... ?

user: yes!!!!!


continued setup and managed to avoid the peice of paper issue..... but i still to this day cant figure how you could think a peice of paper interacts with windows in that way......

REALLY bad support.
Posted 09/01/2000 by Graham W. Boyes

Today I got a call from a client. Just to give you a little background on him, he's one of my favorites. Really nice chap, not so competent with computers but can easily follow instructions. Never had any coffee cup incidents or anything like that. He tells me he has a brand-new De - (whoops, I almost said Dell, it's a good thing I didn't say Dell) computer with a hard drive that crashed after only eight days of use. So Dell, I mean, the company he bought the computer from sends someone out to put in a new one. The guy comes over and he does, but "doesn't want to" sit around for a few hours installing all the software and stuff (apparently he got tired after doing Windows 98) so my client wants me to do this. I think, "Great, install Microsoft Word and Norton AntiVirus and I'm done."


-The driver for the video card is incorrect so it won't display more than 16 colours at 640X480

-Printer driver is not installed

-Scanner software is not installed (okay, those last two aren't really big)

-Sound card driver is not installed

-Ethernet adapter driver is not installed

-Keyboard layout is incorrect so when you type a '/' it says 'e'.

Yikes. Okay, I can certainly easily fix it, but shouldn't this be De-, I mean the computer manufacturer's job!?

For the sound card, the driver wasn't even included on the CD so I had to go on the internet to download one. Fortunately this wasn't the case with the Ethernet adapter, as it normally is!!!

Unfortunately for him he will be getting a nasty bill.

Help desk help
Posted 09/01/2000 by James Samaroden

I work for a rather large cable ISP, and as such we periodically need to contact a higher power. On this particular occasion, despite being a TSR, I answered a CSR line and learnt that a subscriber who had recently moved to our system was still being automatically debited from the her old system.

I don't have access to other systems, so I email helpdesk with the her old account number, address, name and everything else I could think of, assuming that the auto-withdrawl on the account hadn't been disabled and that the problem would be easily solved.

another email,

another email,

another email.....

Then one more, I had confused the helpdesk by asking two question in the same email, then they needed the bank account number the amount of the withdrawl institute number..... and then - they couldn't find it so they wanted the date they the auto-withdrawl started on and the last date money was taken out.

one day...

two days.......

Then it came to Friday evening and I wanted to a solution for the subscriber so I phone a CSR in the other office and had them look up the name of the subscriber. They were still on billing so I had them disconected, and email helpdesk saying "thanks - I talked to someone in ______ and they told me the account was on. Problen solved"

Odd considering that was my first thought and the first thing in my first email was check account number XXXXXXX.

My computer
Posted 09/01/2000 by Ali

I work for an ISP in middleeast at Technical is a funny tale to tell .

me:Hell sir , how can i help you

customer:My internet is not working.

me: ok sir ,ill go through your settings.

Customer : ok

Me: double Click on My Computer

Customer: long silence.

Me: sir , did you click on My Computer

Customer: How the hell am i going to come and click on you computer.

Me : puts the customer on hold and breaks into laughter .......

crazy people ....

Constantly busy?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

The stupidest question I'm asked constantly while walking a client through setting up a dial up connection:

Here where it says phone number, that's my phone number that goes there, right?

Because calling yourself from home seems less silly when you have a computer do it.

But I know almost ALL of the letters...
Posted 09/01/2000 by Bruce Nelson

I've been in recovery for almost a decade now after having done national (and occasionally international) telephone support for a now defunct software house that specialized in psychological testing and billing packages. So it's a given that ALL of our customers had an advanced degree, and most had several.

I would have thought this was a prank call from an associate, but I don't know of anyone who hates me this much....

This psychiatrist (which means you're an M.D. AND a Ph.D, right?) calls for help to restore her backups from diskette. This is usually not taken as a good sign, but after confirming that her system was so hosed that this was advisable, we forged on. SO we went to the Restore option in the billing program, selected it, and it came back with a "File not found" error. (As this was in the pre-Windows era, all this option did was to shell out to DOS and load the DOS RESTORE command (RESTORE.EXE).

So we figured out that somehow the RESTORE program had been deleted - along with the rest of the DOS directory, as it rurned out. That's OK - we'll copy RESTORE.EXE from the original diskette, and get the rest back from the backups. Armed with DOS diskette in Drive A:, we proceed. PROBLEM! This Ph.D. was not able to type a 15-stroke command line without screwing it up. So, lowest common denominator, here we come.

We went for the shotgun approach. Ok, type "COPY A:R*.*" and hit (ENTER)" - but still, File not found. After several more attempts to accomplish this (and having passed the one hour mark on this call, so far), we drop deeper. After about the twentieth attempt at permutations of the above, as she was dutifuly typing it AGAIN, she happened to say (to herself, I think) "hmmmm, now the ASTERISK is that little line thing, where was it?...." - so, after a brief stroke (on my part), then a segue into how SHIFT keys work ("yes, HOLD DOWN the SHIFT key AND NOW press the "8" on top of the "U" and "I" keys")...success (sort of, but that's another story).

How do you get to be a Ph.D. AND an M.D. without finding out that what you thought was an ASTERISK all these years is actually called a HYPHEN or a DASH by the rest of the world? Let alone how a SHIFT key works? (I didn't want to insult her intelligence by telling her to type a "Capital 8", right?). Forget computer-literate, but let's at least try for TYPEWRITER literate...

Of course, once we got RESTORE.EXE back, things went just peachy - until we got asked for backup disks. It accepted the first disk, chugged away for a while, then requested Disk #2. I asked her to remove Disk#1, and put in Disk#2. To which she replied "oh, Disk#2 is already in there" - I'd heard no diskette-swapping noises over the phone, so I asked her to explain what she meant.

It seems her monthly backup procedure was to select the BACKUP option from the menu, put in a diskette when asked, then wait, then when the program paused and asked for a second disk, pop the diskette out of Drive A:, then PUT THE SAME DISK RIGHT BACK IN (early DOS version of BACKUP weren't real idiot-proof, so it didn't object). She had been merrily putting her 15 diskette backup set ALL ON THE SAME DISKETTE for MONTHS. When asked to explain, she allowed as she only had one diskette in the office.....

And it's still too painful for me to go into what happened when we needed to reinstall her billing software. Didn't go well.

After requesting that copies of her original program diskettes (which she said she knew how to do) be Fed Ex'd to me, I received the next day an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper - with a Xerox snaphot of each of her diskettes. But, as this was a Ph.D., she was smart enough to see that they said DOUBLE-SIDED on the label, so I got pictures of the back of each one, as well as the front.

Giving up on disk copies, we went back and tried to use the original diskettes as a last resort...until I found out that her nephew told her "You have to FORMAT a diskette before you can use it". She remembered (Ph.D., remember?) to do this dutifully. Since we were going to "use" these billing software diskettes, she even figured out that you needed to remove that annoying write-protect tab in order to successfully FORMAT these pesky original disks for this billing software. (Needless to say, the original diskettes were now all blank). Too bad, she could have used these for backup diskettes....

This was when I truly understood the wisdom in the observation "Just when you think that you have plumbed the depths of the Well of Human Stupidity, some son-of-a-bitch will come along and remind you that the Well is, indeed, bottomless".

And this person was being paid (a LOT!) to tell someone else whether they had problems North of their necks???? And can prescribe drugs, too????

PC Technician
Posted 09/01/2000 by Chris Moyer

Our company has several remote sites around the country. Our help desk

in Pennsylvania received a call one day about one of our Windows 98

computers in California that could not log onto the domain. We did all

the standard troubleshooting techniques that we could think of, such as

pinging, rebooting, checking the network settings, etc. We made the

user delete and retype his user name, password, and domain several times

thinking caps lock was possibly on. Nothing resolved it, so we figured

that a piece of hardware in the computer was failing. We had them send

the computer back to us for repair. When I received the computer I

unpacked it, hooked it up, and turned it on. As soon as the login

window appeared I could see the problem immediately. Our domain name is

"Main", and in the domain line was typed "_Main", where the underscore

represents a space. They had accidentally hit the space bar before

typing Main, and when they were deleting it during troubleshooting all

they were doing was hitting the backspace key 4 times! Once the space

was removed it logged onto the network just fine.

Too many MS products
Posted 09/01/2000 by Chris Moyer

We were trying to update our software inventory with which of our users

had MS Project 98 installed on their PCs. We sent an email to everyone

asking them to please reply if they have the program installed.

Everybody wrote back either "Yes" or "No", except for one user. Her

response to the email was "I don't think I have MS Project installed,

but I do have something called MS-DOS Prompt. Is that the same thing?"

Empty disk
Posted 09/01/2000 by Hugo Lia

A customer lost the configuration diskettes that came with the printer. So he ask me if I could get a copy of them. I searched in my driver's tray and found the drivers needed. So I told him I needed two empty disks to copy the drivers.

He searched in his pocked and handed me the required disks.

I noticed that the disks had labels attached, so I asked the customer:

"Are you sure they are empty?"

The customer raised the disk to the ceiling lamp as if he was looking through it and reply:

"Yes. They are empty."

The Speed Meter
Posted 09/01/2000 by Mark

Hi guys, Marx here again (I actually misspelled my name, it's Mark, oh well). I work for a computer magazine which has a troubleshooting line (see "Hybernated" in July).

So, I was sitting next to the guy who operates the ts line, writing an article, when the phone rang. The ts guy (let's call him Zac) answers, and guess what. It's the guy from "hybernated" again. With Zac's permission, I pressed the SP-Phone button...

Zac : So, what seems to be the problem, sir?

Cus : It takes too much time for my computer to turn on.

Zac (seemingly confused) : You mean it's booting for too long?

Cus : Yes. For about a minute and a half.

Zac : That's quite normal...

Cus : What do you mean normal? C64's are now called primitive but they can at least be ready when you turn them on!

Zac (had a bad day and is really tired) : Okay sir, imagine that we measure booting time with a speed meter just like the one in your car. Now, with C64's the meter reached its maximum, then broke, thus went further, straight back to zero and now we have to start all over again.

I had to leave immediately to avoid bursting out with laughter. Sure, Zac wasn't behaving all that good either, but this joke is still one of the office's top10...

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by James Leatham

My client ordered a Powerbook battery weeks before a business trip. The day before the trip the irate client reminded me of the order. (Where was the 'I'm going in 3 days' call?)

It was already at the distributors'. I just had to get it.

The next day I picked the battery up at 7:30 am, and delivered it at 8:00 am on my way to work.

The irate client phoned at 10 am saying the battery didn't fit in their Powerbook 540.

I picked it up myself and knew it was correct.

"Look at the bottom. See the contacts?"


"Does it look like there's a cap?"


"Does it look like part of it slides off?


"Can you compare it to the old battery?"

"Oh. Oh yes. There was a cover. Thanks."


In store service technician
Posted 09/01/2000 by Adam Brown

I work at a national electronics retailer as an In Store Technician. I am the front line against the dummies that do foolish things. We never do phone tech (my condolences to those that do), so my customers are always with me face to face.

My crew and I were having a really tough day with a lot of mean customers. I was taking my turn at the check in window of abuse. A man that owns an IBM came stomping up to the window and slams down his PC onto the counter. He then began to yell at me about his worthless piece of trash not powering on, how it's my fault, and how I am going to fix it in front of him because he is an MCSE and he insists it is unrepairable. He then begins to question my parentage (my mother is a good woman dammit!) and tells me how stupid I am. I have not yet even touched the machine or said hi to him. Yet, I have already decided to myself that this man will pay for this. I didn't know how, but he was going to pay. My co-workers were all staring at me in confusion because they know I don't tolerate this kind of treatment. I start saying "Yes sir. Right away sir. You're so right, sir."

This was immediately following a storm, and any PC tech knows that if a PC doesn't power on right after a storm, yank the modem and then test. So I opened up the case and was struck by a brilliant idea. I started sniffing everywhere (with my co-workers still watching) inside the case and around it. I donned a look on my face like I was just struck by inspiration and yelled "I found it!" I yanked out the modem, plugged in the PC and it powered on right away.

The customer looked at me astounded and asked how I knew it was the modem. I said "By the smell." He said, "That's impossible!" I picked up the modem, started sniffing it and I said, "It's not impossible, I can smell it right here. It's that metallic, acrid kind of smell." He insisted on smelling it himself, and I gave it over of course. He then started sniffing it all over the card. I told him it would get sharper at the back (right where the aluminum plate is) and he fell for it. He started sniffing it and yelling back excitedly, "I can smell it! I really can! You are so f*ing amazing! This is unbelievable!"

Right now, my coworkers are in the background rolling, laughing uncontrollably. I have a crowd of people at the window that are all snickering, but the man is so excited to have found a bad modem by the smell of it that he is ignoring everyone else.

We got him fixed up of course with a new modem and sent him on his way. All the while, he carried the modem around sniffing it, and muttering to himself. So much for an MCSE I guess.

Thanks for letting me tell my story. If you have to edit it for length, I understand.

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by J

I am a college student, majoring in computers & info technology (of course!!) Since I am the only computer geek in the family, I get called quite often. My mother decided that she was going back to school as a graduate student and that she needed a laptop. No problem I said, I'll sell you mine and buy a new one. Alright, that works fine. When I went over to teach her how to use it, I explained to her that this particular model (older ThinkPad) DOES NOT have a CD-ROM drive. Well she really got all hot and bothered over that one. At first she seemed to accept that the machine didn't have CD capability then the more she thought about it the more she got upset. Finally about 20 minutes later she was on the verge of crying and I told her look, if you really feel you will need a CD-ROM drive then I will sell you the backpack CD-ROM I bought when I got this laptop. She looked at me and said, will I need a CD-ROM? I had to leave, I just couldn't take it anymore. And she wonders why I hate trying to explain things to her...

Posted 09/01/2000 by Heather

The neighbour moved his computer and rang to say the screen was blank.

OK, says me, check the lead is screwed in firmly and call back if it still doesn't work.

A few days later I was over there and idly asked about the computer. Dead and Abandoned.

Hm... first step check the plug, second step get vice grips from garage and exert great force to undo it, third step gently try to unbend the pin, fourth step suggest they take monitor in for replacement of cable and plug.

He wasn't getting his e-mail
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work evening shifts in an ISP's tech support center in the South. Part of the package our customers receive is free e-mail through our servers.

Tonight an elderly fellow called because he'd had trouble sending e-mail since joining us. He was also only receiving some of the messages his children sent, not all. (Hanging in the background: he was still using his e-mail address with another service, until he was satisfied with us. Of course, he wasn't quite satisfied yet.) There was no error message when he checked mail, but nothing came through.

We checked his e-mail settings, servers, username, password FJ*****, and so on and nothing helped. I was about to send a report to 'the e-mail support team' (aka "somebody take this off my hands"), and offered to give him another e-mail address until we got the first one working. He chose a new address, and when I asked for the password he wanted, his answer was "The same as the other one, SJ*****. That's capital S as in Sam, J as in Jim..."

I set up the account (and quietly changed his other password to match this), and got it set up. When he had it check his mail, he discovered a lot of messages had just arrived, some from days earlier when he and his children had been testing it. All the mail had been waiting for him to log in.

Stay with me, it gets better.

To make sure it was working again, I sent a test message to all 3 accounts and he received "both" of them. Yes, both meaning two. On a hunch, I had him check the account he'd had problems with. Outlook Express has a checkbox to enable sending and receiving mail... you guessed it. Disabled. That explained why he hadn't been getting the login error - he hadn't been logging in!

I can only imagine if one of our trainees had gotten him...

These are SMART people???
Posted 09/01/2000 by Temp from Hell

I'm just finishing up a long-term temp assignment working in member services for a software company. This software is so complicated that less than half the people who work here even know how to use it. They teach entire university courses on it, so anyone who uses it has to have half a brain, right? Yeah, sure.

The company has a program where you use your software license number to sign up for member benefits. You can do so in several ways, but one of them is to sign up online. The web page explains that you need to type "ver" at the [name of software] prompt to obtain your license number. The next item on the page is a text box to enter the license number. It's unbelievable how many of these mental giants type "ver" into that box!

I just got email back from another one who had entered the installation passcode into the box instead of his license number. I sent him an email explaining the bit about typing "ver" at the prompt. He replied, "I do not understand, I went to the prompt were the CD was but it returned the Windows version. Beyond that there is no initial installation, I have yet to install the disk."

I'm sure glad that, being a temp, I get to pass these on to customer service - and even gladder the assignment is almost over!!!

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This call just happened to me a second ago and I thought it would be worth adding.

I work for an ISP in the UK and help run the second line support for it. Usually the dumb questions get filtered out before I get to them but this one slipped through the net.

Me: Good afternoon doodah support, how can I help.

Caller: Hello, I have been trying to send an email all day and I am sure the address is correct, but they keep getting returned.

Me: Uhuh, and when the message returns does it have an error message attached?

Caller: um, yeh,...(pause) it says something about 'Unknown Host'

Me: Ok that usually means what it says the domain that you are sending to does not exist,let me have the address you are trying to send to and I will check it out for you.

Got the name and did a whois on it and lo and behold it was a domain that has not been registered.

Caller: Uhuh, well I tried calling 192 (for all you non Brits 192 is our directory enquiries number for our main telco, used to find phone numbers) but they could not help me with email.

Me: Riiiiight, I am not surprised that they cannot help, 192 is for UK based phone numbers, not to find an email address that may reside anywhere in the world.

Caller: Is there a book or directory that I could get with email addresses.

Me: (starting to think that this was a wind up) ummmm,.. no, there are millions of computers on the Internet with many, many millions of email addresses prelevant globally.

Caller: (Starting to sound annoyed) Well how are you ment to find an email address.

Me: Well, you could check with the company that you are trying to mail to or have a look on the Internet for a homepage or directory service. Making sure that the domain name is correct will also help.

Caller: And how am I supposed to do that (sounding more annoyed)

Me: (Thinking, how to put this) Well you could try going to Network Solutions and doing a loo...


By this time I had guessed (correctly as it happens) the domain that she was after and told her to try it.

She then started ranting and raving (and frothing at the mouth I think) and shouting how had I managed to find the domain, and would not accept that there was not a book of all the email addresses in it. Then hung the phone up.

I have this picture in my mind of cartloads of directories with the biggest index's in the world.


A Testament to the southern lifestyle
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

While working for a major ISP in the south east a recived a call from a woman after installins some new software on her computer while waiting for her computer I overheard:

wife: hot outside?

husband: yep (husband takes off his shirt I assume)

wife: jesus thats a horrible bruse, what'd you get that from?

husbsnd: shotgun...

The "DO NOT PUSH" button
Posted 09/01/2000 by breech

I know some people are dumb, but dumb has a new definition.

In our building, you have to have a card to swipe when you enter areas of the building, and you have to push a button marked "push here to exit" to get back out. Simple enough.

Well, theres one door in the Computer Room, that has a 'push here to exit' button and above it is a standard "FIRE ALARM".. big red box that you have to push in then down to set off. Well, the dumbass from the company that stores off-site backup tapes set off the fire alarm a few weeks ago at that door, thinking thats how to get out. Yeah, thats dumb, but people make mistakes.

Theres yet ANOTHER button far to the left of that door and behind a rack of mainframe tapes. Its big, red, has a metal cover over it and says "DO NOT PUSH, POWER OFF SWITCH".

Guess what! SOME DUMBASS FROM XEROX PUSHED IT. Power to the 2 Accelar 8000's, 450T's switches, NOC, and computer operations's systems went off. Not to mention it killed the power to the stuff in the basement.. various routers, the BCN router (which hosts 16 WAN sites) AND the Lucent equipment, so the phones in the ENTIRE building died too. Bye bye Gigabit, bye bye internet router, bye bye remote sites, bye bye systems monitoring, bye bye phones.

So we lost power and brought down the whole network for 2 hours. Power to the lights and everything else was still up, but just every thing connected to that UPS system went down. The servers were on another UPS system... The novell servers were beeping like hell because they couldn't talk to each other.

Note to self: push this button when quitting.

email down , read e-mail
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

One day in my fine cube land our mail server went down for 5 hours and all the supervisors ran around telling us the mail server was down (except for mine). You could send mail but couldn't recieve (different servers)

When the mail server came back up I check my e-mail and my supervisor send out 10 messages saying the mail server was down and giving different times it would be back up.

hmm...... wonder what he does when the telephone goes out call someone?

The Aliens are communicating
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I worked for a Satellite installation company.

When one of my CO-workers indicated that one of our

Field Tech had a problem with a trouble call.

The technician was replacing parts on a vandalized dish

In September of 1998 when the vandal returned.

Here is what happened.

The vandal decided to return while the tech was on the roof trying to install the equipment. Claiming that the Satellite Dish was illegally transmitting signals to an alien ship in orbit, and it was stealing his brain. The vandal proceeded to cut the cabling and knock the dish over. The Tech heroically tried to stop him, but brandishing a knife the vandal thwarted our hero's efforts. Meanwhile on the ground below, while our tech and the vandal were engaged in a life and death struggle, a lone policeman stood waiting for backup. Needless to say the tech will be ordering new parts.

Those Damn Cookie Messages....
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This is the reason that I love stupid complaint letters. I've put this E-mail on my Idiot's Wall of Fame.

To: Technical Support

From: 'Unhappy Customer'

It would be nice to be able to do business ON LINE with you guys without having to select yes or no through 4 cookie windows each time I want to select on a transaction. I can not believe that your IT people can not come up with a better way to do business on line. I am looking for another bank to business with since your internet experts can not do better job. It is very annoying. Feel free to call me ... I will be happy to explain... Get a clue!

~One Unhappy Customer

[How I *wanted* to respond]:

To: Idiot customer

From: Tech support

Dear Mr. Moron,

Thank you for your recent E-mail. I am sorry that you are annoyed by having to choose to accept cookies each time one is sent. This is, of course, our fault because we designed the site so poorly. If only there were some way for you to choose to accept all cookies... alas, there is not. Fortunately, we are the only online banking institution, and in fact, the only site on the internet that uses cookies, so you won't have this same problem if you find a different bank.


Tech Support

The Geniuses of Tomorrow
Posted 09/01/2000 by The_Shadow

I work for a rather well known educational establishment and one day

I picked up the phone to hear the voice of a first year student on the other end.

Me: "Hello **** (phone number)"

She: "Hello, I'm a first year student who wants to go on to second year, but

I've applied for a grant and they've told me that I'm not getting any

fees or maintenance allowance.."

I knew something was wrong at this point because my particular department

didn't actually deal with students.

Me: "So, they told you to phone ******? (department name)"

She: "Oh, you mean this isn't the ******? (place she was looking for)"

Me: "Ah no, I think you'll find if you dial **** that'll get you through to *****"

She: "What? right now?"

Me: "Umm, well yeah, if you want to talk to someone in that office"

Few seconds of silence


Me: "Ok, you need to put the phone down first..."

Just think, someday she may be the one that pushes the big red button...

The E-mail is Down
Posted 09/01/2000 by Graham W. Boyes

A (l)user had been out of town for the past month. She wanted to check her e-mail even though she had been gone for a month and would return three days later. I, stupidly and without question walked her through signing up for a web-based account and configured the external e-mail thingy so the web-based account would check her regular POP account. Okay, all works, customer happy. I even made sure to explain that when she got home she could check her e-mail just like normal on her own computer with no change to settings or anything.

Few days later another call. She can't get any e-mail with the web-based client at all. So I telnet into the account - Woh! No messages! So I explain that she isn't getting any e-mail because no one sent her any. "Sure they did!" She responded. "They're right here!" She shows me her regular client with several unread messages.

I explain when she receives e-mail with one client it would remove the messages from the server so that the other client would not be able to receive any e-mail. She told me that was incorrect, and explained to me exactly how e-mail, heck, how the entire Internet works! (Don't ya love when they do that?) I blinked, momentarily stunned, recovered and explained that the web-based client should be used only when she was travelling, it's not usually a good idea to use two at once.

She responded, "But it's so EASY!"

Pinball Pig
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This isn't a computer story but it's definatly a tech tale.

10 years ago I use to work for a vending company in the pinball department. I would handle calls from the surronding tri-state area and talk people through their problems.

Backround info: Most companies we deal with have an owner plus 1 or 2 techs that are able to solder and take voltage readings.

Me: Hello. *company name*, pinball service. How may I help you?

Her: The game starts but the ball won't flip out.

Me: (guessing a blown fuse) Do the flippers function?

Her: What are they?

Me: (The things you hit the ball with, you dink!) The two small bats above the outhole you use to move the ball with.

Her: What's an outhole?

Me: (Oh Geez! I must have a smalltime shopowner here) Is your tech available?

Her: What do you mean? I am the tech!

Me: You're the tech?

Her: (Angrily, like she has been waiting all day for this) Just cause I'm a woman doesn't mean you can dismiss me!

Me: But you don't seem to know where anything on a pinball machine is.

Her: I know that you're a pig! *click*

Me: Huh?

She never called back so I don't know what her problem was. Well, besides me.

Tech Translator
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

The call started off simply with a user wanting instructions on how to remove our software. After giving her the basics I asked "Ok.. You think you can figure all of that out" and she replied with "Ohhh I'm not going to be the one doing this.. This is for our onsite Tech.. He doesn't speak English"

No More Popups
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Our current advertising campaign emphasizes that with our

ISP service there are no popup ads. One of the ads even has

a woman saying, disgustedly, "I hate popups!" I guess we

deserve what follows.

Him: I'm still getting popup ads.

Me: What do you mean, sir.

Him: Whenever I'm on the web I still get popup ads.

Me: Do you mean that you get popup ads when you are in

sites like Yahoo?

Him: Yes, almost everywhere I go I still get popups.

Me: I'm sorry sir, we can't control the content of web

sites other than our own.

Him: But your ad specifically said I would not get popup

ads. The only reason I subscribed to you guys was to get

stop getting these ads.

Its magic!!!
Posted 09/01/2000 by Dennis

I work at a university helpdesk, and for people that are supposed to be in college I get many ID10T errors. THis guy comes in and says he applied for and got internet access from the school but it has never worked. I look in our records and he is authorized. We have availible to everyone a CD that has any software and dns settings they may need to get on the net. This guy was just going home and clicking on the IE icon thinking the computer would know what to do. What a day!

you want me to do WHAT!?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Frederic

I work as a tech in a Telco companie in Montreal.

One day while the operation & R&D department were testing this new program for voice over internet (kinda like netmeeting) One of the directors sent me an email saying:

The sound card in my computer is not listed in the TESTED HARDWARE list of the program. I feel it could run much smooter with one of those sound card. Please change my soundcard.........

ME (In this great moment wisdom/human stupidity(depends how you see it)) WHAT! WHAT! WHAT?! he wants me to do what!? this guy has a notebook!


I called him back and said: I cant change the sound card but if you want you can do it by yourself. Ill send you a screwdriver a soldering iron and a SoundBlaster you figure it out. He understood.




"Jingles" Strikes Again
Posted 09/01/2000 by Greg Durkin

"Jingles" styles himself as "a specialist librarian with IT skills.

He was doing a course in FrontPage and was asked to bring in a

photo or drawing of a basketball player to be scanned and added

to the sample web page being built by the class.

On the due date, a colleague asked him if he had his picture ready

for scanning at that evening's class. His reply was, "Uhh, they only

have two scanners there, and there's always a wait, so I have

photocopied it here."

He still doesn't know why we all laughed!

Technical Support
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work on the Computer Help Desk at a mid-size company

which specializes in agricultural products.

One afternoon I answered the phone as I usually do:

"Good afternoon. You've reached the Help Desk. My name is

XXXX. How can I help you?"

The caller launched into a lengthy explanation of how they

had used a certain type of sheep dip on their ewes and

needed to know whether it was safe for the ewes to nurse

the lambs.

Stunned I looked around at my co-workers trying to figure

out who was playing a practical joke on me but they all

appeared busy with legitimate work. I hastily explained

that the caller had reached the *Computer* Help Desk at

XXX company at which point the call became adamant that NO,

he had reached the correct number and wanted assistance!

Seeing as I couldn't actually help him with his problem,

I decided to try and help him figure out whereh he had

gone wrong in his attempts to gain support. After some

digging I found out that the customer had contacted

information to get the number of my company based upon

the name and location listed on the product label (which

consequently had the CORRECT support number listed on

the back!) Information had provided my company's main

site number. The customer dialed this number and asked

for *Technical Support*...

Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

We have this new Chemistry grad. student who claimed to have a Mechanical Engineering degree as undergrad. Since he didn't have a computer at that time, the prof. allowed the grad student to use his at the prof's offce. One day this grad student come to the lab with a horrifying look, saying that he couldn't get the CD out of the CD rom.

What he had done was: ejected the tray, FORCED the CD into the crack instead of putting the CD ON the tray, and closed the tray. When he realized it wasn't the way to do it, he tried to take the CD out by turning the tower case up-side-down and shake, and sticking a forcep into the the CD rom to try to take the CD out.

Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am the network administrator for a mail order co, the head of fiance of refused to approve finance for a UPS. The dyslexic office cleaner begins her work and removes the plug marked do not switch off or remove, this plug just happens to power the network server. Anyway on restart bang goes the hard disc and the mirrored disc and a whole days work is lost, we had to re-instate from the previous days back-up. Net result we now have the mother of all UPSs on the network.

What does that have to do with anything ?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Kyabetsu

I work for a cable modem isp and took this call the other day.



*just after greeting and pulling up account*

M= And Mrs. Blank, what operating system are you using ?

C= Uh..., I think there's been a mistake, I wanted the cable modem department, not the computer department..

M= Er, this is the correct department, can you please tell me what operating system your using Mrs Blank ?

C= Well why should I tell you that ?

M= (beginning to get pissed off) Mrs Blank, do you know what operating system you're using ?

C= Yes, but I don't see what that has to do with anything.

M= (hoping now that she just has a billing question or something and I can transfer her) OK, what exactly are you having trouble with today ?

C= I can't get connected.

M= (@#$@!@!) OK, i'm gonna need to go ahead and find out what operating system you're using.

C= Well that's for my computer, I don't see why it matters, my modem and computer are two different things right ?

M= (can't believe she is still refusing to give up that tiny piece of info) Yes, they are two different things, however they work together for you to go online. It is important for me to know what OS you're using.

C= Well aren't they pretty much the same ? It just doesn't seem like something you need to know.

M= (loves it when cust tells me what they think I do or do not need to know =)Ok Mrs Blank, I cannot help you untill I know what OS you're using, some of them are very different from each other and we aren't going to do anything untill you tell me.

C= ....(pause) It's win 98

M= OK, now we can take care of this for you, (goes on to fix problem)

I just don't get it, if you call up with a question to an auto mechanic and they ask for the make/model of your car, would you tell them the make and then say they don't need to know the model but expect them to accurately answer your question anyway ? Um....NO.

Yah..that might have something to do with it
Posted 09/01/2000 by Kyabetsu

I work for a cable modem isp, and got a call from a guy who could not receive his email. So we go through all the usual things, making sure he is connected and can browse etc. I asked if he had installed or downloaded anything to his pc recently and he says no (they always do !!!) and ask how long he has been having this problem, he says since last night.

So after going into outlook express, we see that he can send mail, but isn't receiving any, and gets an error when clicking send/receive. We look through all his account properties, everything ok in there. We telnet to the mail server and see that he has quite a few msgs waiting to be picked up.

At this point we remove the account and add it back, still no go. So i'm about to ask a super for suggestions(being that i'm a fairly new tech and think I might be doing something wrong) when the cust says : Oh, maybe it has something to do with that firewall I installed last night...

Uh..yah, that might have something to do with it (@#@$!$!)

I'm glad he could completely ignore me when I asked at the very beginning of the call if he recently installed anything, and then suddenly have a spark of intelligence 45 min later =p

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by Alan

I work for a Satellite uplink company. One of the services that goes through us is a news service, that has both audio and data. The service is 9 years old, so the data feed is a simple 9600 baud ascii feed over RS232. It was designed so that an old citizen 120D dot matrix could be attached to it at the far end. The problem comes when the end users decide that a ptr isn't good enough and stick a data capture system on instead (no 2 systems the same). Anyway we aren't meant to support the capture systems, but we do try and help.

All this means that one of the first questions we ask is "Is the data going into a prtr or a PC data capture system."

An unbelivable number of times the reply we get back from the user is "I don't know"

We have decided that most journo's are blind as well as fitting cat ID 10 T

Just a little print-out...
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

We were going to transfer all computers in ine of the company building to a new tree (we're running Novell NetWare). Proir to the change, we sent out a letter telling the users that they would not be able to use the old mail system anymore, cause we were going to use GroupWise. So if there were some old mails they would like to keep, they should print them out. So one day, a guy came to us and told he had some problems with his comp(aq)uter. "Yeah, I just started a little print job, I'd like to print out my old mails. And now there are some windows here that won't go away".

118 of them.

Almost everyone with a word attachment.

So every time we tried to cancel the print, another word window popped up with another document and another "printing" message.

We decided to reboot his comp()uter and let him keep his old mail app. so he could read the mails.

Password dustoff
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter



M: Help desk, ******

H: I can't seem to log in, I get 'incorrect password'.

The pwd is supposed to be 'monday'.

M: In lowercase?

H: Yes, I've tried it, I've also dusted off my keyboard, but

it didn't work either...

Eventually, we fixed the problem, but I think this really described his computer knowledge quite good;)

too stupid to argue with
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I recentlyhad a caller tell me that he could not use the modem init I gave him because his keyboard did not have the number 28 on it

like I said - too stupid to argue with

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

As a secretary in a large bank in Chicago, I often found myself the first one asked when one of the people I worked for had a tech problem. (I think that this was because it was either beneath the dignity of the person involved to actually talk to tech support themselves or they just didn't understand enough to explain the problem.)

One person gave her secretary a disk which had been on her desk when she spilled her coffee. I'm guessing she didn't want to damage her own computer, but thought it would work okay on her secretary's computer. Needless to say, it wasn't a pretty outcome.

One of the people I worked for (an MBA, no less) asked me on several occasions to "fix" the justification of the document he was working on. Invariably I would turn on Reveal Codes (using WordPerfect) and see that, yes, he had put an Indent at the END of the line, causing the line to stretch all the way across the screen. Each time I explained this simple procedure and yet... another memo, another call to his computer. Gee... wonder how he's doing his memos since I left...

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a communications company in a feild ops office, part of my job is tech dispatch to oh-so-brilliant customers who have phone problems. Today I had a real genius caller:

Me: Good morning,&*(^%$% communications me speaking, how can I help you?

Caller: My confrence key does not work.

Me: Ok, (get customer info, company name extension etc.)

Caller: I need to make a confrence call now!! Send me a tech!!!

Me: Ok, m'am ths is easily solved remotly, can you please tell me what key that button is?

Caller: They are not numbered on my phone!! ISend me a tech NOW you idiot!!

Me:I'm trying to help you, please do not talk to me like that, count up from the bottem right of your phone and tell me where confrence is.

Caller: 4th key, you can't help, SEND A TECH!!

Me: (Growing angry, pull up customers phone config,4th key should be programmed autodial) Are you sure it's the 4th key?

Caller: God damn it yes I can count!!

Me: When was it changed from autodial? I don't have record of it in my system.

Caller: I changed it 5 mins before I called you. I need a tech.

Me:( she changed it? not possible, seeing now what's wrong)

How did you change it?

Caller: I pulled the little key off typed a new label "conf" and replaced the label. I need a tech.

Me: Um m'am the key needs to be programmmed as confrence call, that's a software change WE make. I can have that done for you but it is a software charge.

Caller: Well!! No one told me that!! click

Just how she thought that putting a labeled piece of paper on her phone would change the programming is beyond me..

And just one more..

New Years eve Dec.31 1999.About 10am.

Caller: My phone is "acting up" Is it the Y2K bug? I bet it is!

Me: Umm, the Y2K bug could not effect anything until the year 2000 hits.

Caller:Well, you are wrong, I know it's that that's causing it.

Well, maybe if she lived in Australia that could have been it.

I love this site, keep it up, and to my techs, if they are reading this, you guys are the best!

New Company Pricing Plan.
Posted 09/01/2000 by pylorns

We get too many stupid calls, so we decided we'd make a pricing plan for our technical support similar to that of an auto insurance agencies. Its not complete, but I am sure you'll get the sick humor in it.

As of __, 2000, ________ Software Technical support will be changing its pricing plans. Support will now be charged on a yearly basis, with incremental charges per year depending on call frequency. And store age.

Charges are:

Standard Year (10-20-10), requiring minimal technical support calls per year. This includes finding bugs that are problems that the software has caused, and a $100 deductible on user error. Maximum 10 calls for user error, 20 calls for reporting software bugs, 10 calls for training.

Store Age (year)

1 2 3 4 5+

$750/yr. $725 $700 $675 $500

Extended Coverage (limited liability) 20-50-10. This includes finding bugs that are problems that the software has caused, and a $50 deductible on user error.

Store (year)

1 2 3 4 5

$1,200 $1,175 $1,100 $1,000 $800

This does not include any serious issues that cause complete use of technical support staff. When complete use of technical support staff is ever incurred by a single company at one point in time, that company will have a rate increase to the next level of support on the next billing period.


5% discount for taking a standard computer literacy test and provide proof from test scores. Based on computer aptitude test.

5% discount for reporting bugs to us that are not already known. If they are known, discount does not apply, and if they are known and posted on the company web page and you did not take the time to look it up before calling, there will be a 25% increase in your pricing method for the next billing period.

10% *Discount if you op to take the Software training courses; prices set by our training staff.*

*If you buy the software and do not pay for training, yet call technical support for your training questions. You will be charged a standard year rate per incident ($500).

If your call frequency is more than a 10-20-10 plan, you will be accessed for the next step up for future years. And, you will be charged on a per incident rate + 10% increase if you do exceed your coverage limit before the next billing period.

Shaking monitor
Posted 09/01/2000 by Jack In Syracuse

I was working onsite for a major medical company along with one of our other techs. He had worked himself from a hardware tech up to deskside support, while I was currently still doing hardware. One day he gets a call from one of the production control rooms about a monitor that had a shaking screen. He went and looked at it and later told me to take a monitor up there and replace it. Since this control room was on the 5th floor of a building with no elevators, I decided to check it out myself before hauling a 17" monitor up all those stairs. Upon arrival in the room I spotted the problem right away. They had set the computer up with the monitor on a countertop right next to the main power leads going from the control room to the machines in the building. The power leads were five 4" electrical condiut runs. No wonder the monitor had a shaky picture, all that power flowing through so close to it. I ended up telling the head of IT for this site, that it didn't matter what monitor I put there, it would have a problem and they should look at moving it from where it is to the other side of the room.

Being a female tech.
Posted 09/01/2000 by Christine

Ah, being a female tech is hard, hard work... I have a few incidents in my mind that make me grumble...

1) The computer store I

I was putting together a computer for my manager, and I bought a cheap AGP card from a local computer store. I tried this card in both my computer and his and it wouldn't produce video... so, I determined it might be defective and went to return it to the store. The first thing the guy behind the counter asked was "Are you sure you have an AGP slot?" ARGH...

2) The computer store II

I was upgrading the motherboard and processor on a computer that belonged to a friend of my dad's and I couldn't get it to boot. I did the standard troubleshooting steps of remove all the devices, etc... but nothing. Finally I took it back to the store. Their service department was closed, but the manager said he'd take a look at it. Unfortunately, it turned out to be my fault. Even though I had used the same brand and model board 3-4 times before that, I jumpered it wrong and was giving too much voltage to the processor. Whoops. The bad part was that this stupid little fat guy was sitting behind the counter just silently giggling at me... I told him, "You know, sometimes you miss things and it helps to get another set of eyes in there!" and he responded, "Well, I don't let ANYONE touch my computer!" I just don't think he could handle the fact that a female could also know these things. It WAS a stupid mistake to jumper the board wrong, but my dad's friend said he wouldn't have stopped me if I reached across the counter and slapped him. :)

3) The caller.

I also work in Tech Support for a brokerage firm that has a web site and a proprietary software product. I get a call on a miserable Sunday morning from a customer.

He has AOL (shudder) and he's having trouble getting past the user agreement (scroll to the bottom, click Agree), but he says he "stuck there". Apparently he does not see the buttons. (They're images, they didn't load, still, easy to resolve)

I suggest him to start by clicking "Refresh". Since AOL's buttons don't come with text labels, I direct him to exactly where the button is, then he says "OK", and pauses for a moment. I assume we're waiting for the screen to reload. After what I assume is enough time, I ask "Did that help?"

He says, "What are you talking about? I'm not online! You should have asked me that right off the bat!" (OK, 99.5 percent of the time, if the customer is actually looking at the screen, they're online as well, so I didn't ask.)

So, I paused for a moment, deciding that since he only has one phone line, I should run through the basics of clearing the cache and making sure he's got the option to "show pictures" turned on... so, I say "OK, then, in that case, why don't I take you through a few different settings to make sure when you get off the phone, it will work."

But, I guess my pausing was too much for him. He said "Well, you're hesitating! I don't think you know what you're talking about... can I speak to someone else?"

I say, "Everyone on my team appears to be on calls, but I..."

He cuts me off again, "Yeah, I want to speak to one of your colleagues...preferably a man."

I had never had this kind of blatant sexism before, and was thoroughly shocked. Without thinking, I replied, "Excuse me?".. you could hear the anger in my voice.

He said, "You heard me!" You've never seen anyone get put on hold so fast!!

In retrospect, this shouldn't have affected me as much as it did, but I am frequently told I'm the most technically-literate person on my team, and this ignorant, 60-year-old f*** was obviously way out of line here. I could hardly talk in logical thoughts to my manager to tell him what had happened.

So, anyway, it's long, but I wanted to rant. I know that there are very few women in IT, but we're coming, baby, so hold on to your britches!

Power in the hands of the inept
Posted 09/01/2000 by Waxmaker

This is about an incredibly stupid CEO of a marketing company that I used to work for. Here's just one example. The company was an all-Macintosh shop, and, as is typical, most people left their hard drives labelled "Hard Drive" by default (much the same way that Windoze users leave their computer icon labelled "My Computer"). Also, because it was primarily a graphics shop, and the users swapped project files around a lot, they tended to leave their "guest" access wide open for their whole computer (takes too much time to set up a seperate public folder, right?)

You probably already know where I'm going with this.

Now, when you access the network and mount somebody else's drive on a Mac, that person's hard drive icon appears on your desktop right below your own computer's icon. Well, the CEO was playing around on the network one day, somehow mounted the chief graphic designer's computer's hard drive on his desktop and opened the icon up thinking it was his own computer's hard drive (both icons were labelled "Hard Drive"). Naturally, he sees lots of unfamiliar files (mostly huge graphic project files).

Also naturally (for him), he doesn't do the logical thing and assume he's looking at somebody else's drive. No, he starts getting angry and irritated because SOMEONE has DARED to load all sorts of CRAP on HIS COMPUTER without telling him about it! He grimly drags and drops each file into the trash can and empties it out.

Meanwhile, the chief graphic designer starts screaming for us techs from HIS office because his files are disappearing from his computer's hard drive right before his eyes! We finally pieced together what had happened, but managed to recover very little of several weeks' worth of his work.

Support THIS
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in technical support for an ISP. A few months ago a call came in from a gentleman who was having difficulty connecting with his modem account. He had purchased an IMac because he "likes the way it looks." He used it only for email and web browsing. However, he was unfamiliar with the Mac OS and preferred Win98. Therefore, after shelling out cash for the pretty IMac, he purchased an expensive PC emulator and Win98 so that he could run Win98 on the IMac. I explained that this was not a configuration which we are able to support, and took a few unsuccessful stabs at getting it to work. I then suggested that he might have better luck if he were to purchase a Mac emulator for Win98 and run Outlook Express and Internet Explorer for the Mac (on the emulated Win98 system on his Mac). I don't think he realized I was joking.

I can't BELIEVE I hadn't thought of that...
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in technical support for an ISP. A few weeks ago I took a call from an employee of a small business client. She angrily explained that they had been unable to connect to the Internet (with their modem accounts) ALL DAY. She also stated that the police had arrived at the company several times. It took only a quick glance at her DUN settings to ascertain the cause of both problems: Someone had set each of their computers to dial "911" instead of our modem access numbers.

Password paranoia
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I'm a technician with an average sized ISP in country Victoria, Australia. Just a few days ago, we were in the middle of rebooting our client server when I had a customer ring up experiencing difficulty with email.

We use a nice simple, and very quick little program to access the email server to check waiting mail. It needs the username and password to do so, but coz the client server was rebooting, I could not check that out via our client manager. So of course, I ask the customer.

"Why do you need to know that?" She asked, "So I can access your waiting mail and see if there is a problem there" was my answer. "Well I never give out my password" Hello, I work for your ISP, you've just gone through our phone system and selected Technical support so you have to know I'm legitimate, and you don't want to give me your password? Dumbfounded I tell her "Without your password I am unable to check your waiting email, I normally would have it but we are rebooting our client manager". She still refuses, I talk to her for about another 2 minutes untill the client manger reboots, then confirm her password with her, check her mail and solve her problem.

Now, I'm all for password security, but that's just paranoid.

Dumb Terminal or Dumb User?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Sometimes old stories are best! Read On:

We use to have old "Dumb" 3270 terminals hooked into an IBM mainframe. I use to have to help users when they encountered problems. One day the phone rang....

Customer: You got to get down here! This $@$#@ tube is shocking the @#$% out of me!

Support: What is the terminal doing?

Customer: The %*&@ tube goes off and I have to reach around in the back and press the silver button to get it going again and when I push that button, it shocks the !@#$ out of me!

Support: Well, it shouldn't do that. Leave it alone and I will come down and take a look at it.

Ten minutes later in user's office:

Support: Explain to me what is happening.

Customer: Well, every so often the tube goes off and I have to reach around in the back and press that silver button and when I do, I get shocked! Sometimes I have to do it two or three times!

I walked around the desk and looked at the "button" to discover that it really wasn't a button but the end of a fuse. The fuse holder cap had fallen off and vibrations on the desk would slowly jiggle the fuse loose until the tube would go off. The customer would reach around it and use his finger to complete the circuit and receive a healthy shock!

Support (Out of curiosity): How long has this been happening?

Customer: Oh, probably for the last six months.

I got him a new fuse holder cap since the shock treatments were not helping him in the least!

Stubborn to the end
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A couple of months after converting from Macs to Windows NT machines, a customer called in with a problem. One of the support people aked him to "Right Click" on something. He then replied, "Sorry, I can't do that!" "Sure you can" the tech continued, "Just right click on it." "You don't understand", he continued, " I am a solid 100% Mac user, I refuse to right click!"

What do you say?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Coleen

I am an admin for a small network. For most of the day I do Help Desk-type things for our users and salesmen. One day I get a frantic call from one of our Purchasing Agents. I'm Me and PA is the Purchasing Agent.

Me: Coleen **** speaking.

PA: Hey! You have to come in here. My computer is freaking out! I don’t know what is wrong with it!

Me: What is it doing?

PA: I don’t know! I went to lunch and when I came back all this crazy stuff was on the screen!

Me: OK. I will be right there.

I walk down the hall to her office. She is standing there with her back against the wall like the thing was about to blow up. I almost start laughing when I see what is on her screen. I asked her if she had touched any keys when she came back from lunch and she said no. She didn’t want to mess anything up. At this point I hit the space bar and told her it was a screen saver and she could go back to work. I think I laughed for 2 hours after that.

At least he feels better now...
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a major packaging manufacturer doing phone support, and you know I'm nuts because I'm in my second decade of doing phone support.

I've always prided myself on going the extra mile, so when a power user showed up at my desk (not on my phone) with a nice new laptop and a nice,but very ancient HP 520C that wouldn't install...well, I figured I'd help her on the spot. So...I downloaded HP drivers, I scavenged up an INF file, I checked and rechecked, and for the life of me I figured out that the equally ancient parallel cable must've died as the port and data settings were definitely correct. After an hour of futzing with the laptop and printer, I was unable to get the thing to work, so I sent it off to deskside support with a rather imperious request that they get a "known good" parallel cable to test the thing with.

No problem, except I got a mail from the deskside tech that started "with all respect since you're only a coupla years younger than my mom..." PRINTERS PRINT MUCH BETTER WHEN NOT SET TO PRINT OFFLINE!!!

My response was a sub-sandwich, on me, from a local sub joint...which was actually a bribe to hopefully prevent him from informing the entire data center support team of what a moron their high priced specialist such luck...I'm amazed he quit talking long enough to eat that 6 dollar sandwich...

Sign me..."at 40, is senility a valid excuse??"

Start button?
Posted 09/01/2000 by M.F.

I got this call while doing techsupport for a large ISP.

For some reason I needed the customer to click on her start

button, I can't remember why (probably could have saved

myself the agony if I had just taken a different approach to

the problem :)

m: Ok, click on your Start button, please...

c: My Start button?

m: Yeah, your Windows Start button, it should be in the

bottom left hand corner of your monitor...

c: Uuhh, no, I don't see a Start button

m: (thinking that the startbar might be set to the 'hidden'

option) Do you see the digital clock in the lower right

hand corner?

c: yes, i see that

m: To the left of that clock, are there small icons?

c: yeah, there are

m: If you look to the left of those icons, is there a

horizontal grey bar there?

c: yes

m: If you follow that bar all the way to the left, do you

see a button there that says 'Start' on it?

c: ummm... (after a long pause) No, I don't see any Start


m: (baffeled) Are you absolutly sure?

c: I don't see a start button there!

m: Do you see ANY button on the screen at all that has the

word 'Start' on it??

c: No, I don't see anything!

m: On your keybord, do you see any key with a windows logo

on it?

c: (pause) No...

(I figure I'll try one last question)

m: What would you do if I asked you to shut down your

computer right now?

c: Well, I'd go to my Start button, select Shut down, ...

m: (I collapse on my desk) Ok, now click on that Start


c: Ooooh THAT Start button..

Perfectly understandable, don't we all have at least 50

invisible start buttons to choose from...


HELP! My printer don't work.
Posted 09/01/2000 by Emil Stuenes

Hello all technicians.

I'm working as a support technican for a mayor Printer manufactor... (Well it's Hewlett-Packard, for those who wanna know).. Well. I got a call from a customer who had her printer connected thru an Agfa SnapScan, and she got an error message saying as simple as: Couln't print to lpt1. The reason for this is ofcourse the scanner. After some basic troubleshooting,(checking driver, and systemsettings e.g. system.ini, and win.ini.) I decide to disconnect scanner, and run printer directly to computer... Easy I thought.. NOPE. I used 40 minutes to try to get her to know wich cables to disconnect. This is what I told her:

"Disconnect the cable wich is going from the printer to the scanner, at the scanner port. Then disconnect the cable going from the scanner to the computer, at the computer port. Then you take the cable going from the printer and insert it into the computer." Now; She new it was a 25 pin cable, but no mather how many time I tryed to tell her this, she couldn't get it. She first disconnected the monitor, and complained that her monitor was now broken.

Got it back in place, and then she disconnected the powersupply from the scanner, and so it went on for 40 mins. Put the customer on hold, to ask my mentor how to explain to the customer, that she had to get a friend or someone that knew, or had the sligtest idea, how to connect it to the computer, come over and take a look at it.

When I came back, the customer was luckily gone.

I went out for a smoke, and when I came back, my phone rings again... Our reception called with the same customer... And I explained that I didn't wanna talk to her. Then lobbyist says: "She hang up". Two minutes later, the tech. in front of me got the customer... She is acctually talking to her while I'm writing this... Poor tech...

So. From now on I think that people buying printers, should have to take an IQ test before purcasing.

clueless user
Posted 09/01/2000 by Dean

This was borrowed from the USAF Trvia and Humor web page..


My neighbor works in the operations department in the central office of a large bank. Employees in the field call him when they have problems with their computers. One night he got a call from a woman in one of the branch banks who had this question: "I've got smoke coming from the back of my terminal. Do you guys have a fire downtown?"

internet addicts
Posted 09/01/2000 by dean

Another one pulled from the USAF web page...Top Signs of Net Addiction


1. You wake up at 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom and stop to check your e-mail on the way back to bed.

2. You get a tattoo that reads "This body best viewed with Netscape Navigator 1.1 or higher."

3. You name your children Eudora, Mozilla and Dotcom.

4. You turn off your modem and get this awful empty feeling, like you just pulled the plug on a loved one.

5. You spend half of the plane trip with your laptop on your lap...and your child in the overhead compartment.

6. You decide to stay in college for an additional year or two, just for the free Internet access.

7. You laugh at people with 2400-baud modems.

8. You start using smileys in your snail mail.

9. Your hard drive crashes. You haven't logged in for two hours. You start to twitch. You pick up the phone and manually dial your ISP's access number. You try to hum to communicate with the modem. And you succeed.

CD is not Floppy!
Posted 09/01/2000 by Michael Hooks

I work for an insurance company. We have software for the users

to sell our products. I was hard enough to convince the users

to move up to a Windows based Illustration software then the

old DOS program they had been using for many years. But as time

progressed the users warmed to the new program.It stated out

as a seven floppy disk install..Simple.And all was

well, until..

We released our first version on CD ROM.

I got the call from a elderly gentleman who claimed that our

program CD had ruined his machine!

He had claimed that he put the CD in the machine and now the

machine wouldn't even boot!

Indeed,after having the user describe to me what was on his

screen,his computer would not boot. BUT the Descripton was a

DOS prompt telling the user

"Non system disk or Disk Error"

I helped him retrace his Steps to the point where he put the

CD in the machine.

I asked the user to check his drive, thinking that he had left

a 3.5 in the drive. It was empty.

I then asked the user to remove the CD from the Machine.

The user replied that it was "Stuck" and that he couldn't

lift the latch (?)

The User had shoved the CD rom into the older 5.25 drive!

And he had managed to close the latch.

In his despiration, he had shut the machine off.

Obviously, the machine wanted to boot off of that 5.25.

The user declined my offer to walk him through the Bios to

turn the drive off.

You're Wrong!
Posted 09/01/2000 by Doug Davison

I am the office manager for an ISP. I also get to do the help desk. One day a new customer comes in and signs up. I take all of the information from her concerning her account name and operating system. She claims she has windows 97. I tell her, "No, it has to be either win95, or win98". She argues about it for a few minutes. I finaly aske her how old the computer is. She says she just got it that day from BRANDX. Good! It's windows98. I give her the required diskette, and instruction sheet, and off she goes.

On the following day, same customer calls up, saying she can't get online. so I start to walk her through the troubleshooting process.

ME: In the upper left corner of the screen you will find the 'My Computer' icon. Double click on it.

HER: Ok, it's done.

ME: Now find and double click on the 'dial up networking icon'

HER: There isn't one.

ME: There has to be.

HER: Well, there isn't.

ME: ok, get out the BRANDX recovery disk, put it into the cd-rom drive and restart the computer. It will re-install everything and then our disk will work correctly.

HER: You mean I have to do all of that to get on the internet?

ME: Yes, as the stuff your computer needs was not installed correctly at the factory.

HER: 'sullenly' Well, ok, I'll try it.

About half an hour later she comes in, demanding a refund. She wasn't going to go through running a restoration on her new computer, so she just didn't need the internet.

On her way out the door she admited that the 'dial up networking' icon was there, she just hadn't maximized the screen so she could see it.

I told her, ok, so we can get you on the internet in a few minutes.

she said, no, if you want me to mess up my computer when it doesn't need it, I don't want your service.

Don't you just love people who can't admit they are wrong? Even when they KNOW they are?

Our Lamer of the Week
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in Tech may think users are stupid (which some *are*) but the following story happened to one of our own techs...

In his attempts to setup the new helpdesk PC he encountered the following problem:

Tech One: (opens CD drive) Wow ... I've never seen a CD-Rom like this before. This is *really* bizarre - I have never seen this the whole time I have been a technician

Tech Two: hmmmm...that is strange.

Tech One: Yeah - this is whacky !!! It looks like it has been installed upside-down !!!!

Tech Two: ummm....the PC is upside-down !!!!

Helpdesk: (burst out in fits of laughter....Tech Two starts crying...Tech One slinks off in shame...)

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A friend of mine who does tech support for a local communications company got a call from a guy who could not seem to get to a web address. She worked with him for nearly 3 hours before finding out that he was putting the address in the search bar instead of the address window.

Time Clock Troubles
Posted 09/01/2000 by Chris

I work for a P.O.S. (Point Of Sale) help desk. This call just came in and it made me fall out of my chair laughing. (C = Customer, M = Me):

C - Hi, I need to change the time on my registers.

Me - Ok, is there a problem with the current time? (dialed in and clock seemed ok)

C - Yeah, the clocks on the registers don't match what our time clock says.

M - Excuse me? How far off is it?

C - It's five minutes off and it's causing a problem. We have employees clocking in too early. We'd like it changed.

(put them on mute while I turn around laughing and tell my coworkers, who immediatly bust out laughing too)

M - (adjusted time on server) Ok, I've adjusted the time by five minutes, you should be ok now. just makes you wonder..... :)

Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a law firm in help desk support. There was a lawyer who took a laptop home for the weekend so that she could do some work and check her email from home.

I was the lucky guy to be on call that weekend. I received a call from this lawyer who was having problems receiving her email. She was getting an error message that the mail client could not connect to the server.

I asked her if her dial up session had been disconnected. What dial up session she asked? Hence the problem. She hadn't dialed in. She hadn't even plugged the phone line into the laptop.

I asked her if she had read the laminated sheet that came with the laptop explaining in clear english (with full colour photographs) how to dial into the office? Of course she hadn't.

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I went to a doctor's house (He's retired) to replace a floppy drive. He indicated that the drive wouldn't accept disks and that a replacement was needed. Upon arriving I found him trying to insert floppy disks into the ZIP drive.

Not for fragile minds...
Posted 09/01/2000 by Mike LeBlanc

I currently work tech support for a major national ISP that deals with regular dialup and ADSL (I work for the ADSL division). I also work the graveyard shift which makes for some interesting calls, but one call stands out among the others. It was about 3:30AM when I got a call from a very calm gentleman, I had finished troubleshooting his problem and all that was left was to reboot the system so I told the customer that i'll put him on hold while I talk to my supervisor and that I should be back just in time for when his system was up and running. Now this was a total lie and a plot so I could have time to write my report for him (I did this very often)...But instead of putting him on hold I simply put him on mute, so I could hear him but he couldn't hear me. Well while I was writting my report I could hear his computer boot up with it's beeps etc..but in the background I could hear his TV, and I could also hear that he was watching some pornographic movie. He then proceeded to pump up the volume of the TV, almost at the same I was on the floor laughing my head off. My coworkers proceeded to listen in as well and they all had a laugh at it. The worst part was that I had to finish the call with a straight face. But I have to admit this guy was pretty responsive though.

Event inside I-T
Posted 09/01/2000 by Martin

Im working for a iternationnal Aerospace Buissness and this one make me almost fall of my chair. I was remotly connect to 4 user pc's and on conference call with them, when my coworker from are helpdesk send me that pop-up on my screen...!

To: Help Desk/********/*********@*****.com

cc: (are director)

Subject: HELP ! - Request

PLEASE HELP ! I have a request.

I have noticed something very strange with my computer- I seem to feel strange - kind of sick - when i sit in front of it,

and if I get up and walk away i feel better. So there must be something wrong with the computer. I thought it would go away

but it hasnt, and this has been happening for a couple of weeks now. It HAS GOT to be something wrong with the

computer, because when I am away from it I dont feel like this.

I even shifted the CPU to be facing away from me, but it hasnt helped.

I am really beginning to be worried as to what kind of adverse health effect this may be having.

Please, this is serious. Can you PLEASE change my computer as soon as possible.

Also, I need an A drive for my laptop; the previous one that I returned had an A drive, but the laptop that replaced it

doesnt have one, and its extremely inconvenient - if I make even a small change to files either at home on the laptop or here,

I have to bring the laptop back and forth, I cant update the 2 versions by simply using the A drive as I used to.

(her laptop his a brend new dell cpi)

my response to him was..!



Posted 09/01/2000 by wichaard

I work as a tech tale for a company that produces isdn controllers.

One day I get a call, and I ask him for the product identification code from the back of the cd jewel case (beacuse a lot of people don't know if it an isa or pci card). He asks me what I mean by jewel case, and I tell him that it is the plastic thing the cd was in. He asks me what a cd is and I tell him it looks like an lp just smaller and usually silver.

The guy really answers that he throw it away because he thought it was just the filling for the jewel case, so it won't break.

Man, are we living in the 21st century, or not?

Not that kind of incident
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a community college as a part-time help desk person for the computer services department. Most of the job entails one of three things: answering computer questions, doing simple troubleshooting, or taking reports of broken computers and peripherals. When I can't solve a problem over the phone, I give the user a trouble ticket number, which we call an incident number.

A month or two back, someone added a new feature to the staff web directory: a link to a page containing (among other things) what computer equipment the staff person has and is getting, as well as a list of incidents in our database that the person called in and the date when they were closed.

This happened one evening after that (paraphrased, of course):

Me: Help Desk, this is /me speaking, how may I help you?

Caller: Yes, I found these pages with something called an incident report. What's that?

(I looked at the phone display at that point, seeing that it was an off-campus number, and figured it was some confused staff member)

Me: Yes, that's a list of incidents that have been called into the help desk. Repairs and installs and things like that.

Caller: I was looking for (name of some staff person) with a search engine, and this page turned up. What kind of incidents are these?

Me: (finally realizing this is not a staff member) Incidents have to do with computer problems, installs, and repairs. They have to do with the computer services department.

Sufficient to say, the man didn't sound too thrilled about that. I think he expected the incidents to be from public safety, not computer services.

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by david

Back in the windows 3.1 days, I had a customer call me, complaining

that his system was running slow. Thinking he had too many things running

at once slowing the machine down, I asked him if he had anything

running in the background. A slight pause, then he said, 'well,

just a tv..." Actually, I think a reboot fixed him anyway.

Bad coffee or bad monitor?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This is a story that was told to me from other IBMers...

Supposedly a lady was being sent multiple defective monitors.

She claimed that the screen would shimmer, primarily in the morning

and a replacement monitor would have this problem eventually. I don't know

how they found out, but evidently the customer would put her cup of

coffee in front of the monitor and the steam rising from the cup

would cause the shimmering affect on her display.

color-coded confusion
Posted 09/01/2000 by david

I was second level support, and a call was escalated to me. This customer

was sent several sets of speakers and having problems getting them to work.

Since the computer model in question had a complicated modem/sound card setup,

I thought I was in for major problems, but decided to check out the simple stuff first.

I had the customer check all cabling and wouldn't you know, the colour coded speaker

connection was plugged into the wrong colour coded speaker output jack! Everything worked

fine after that. I could only apologize for other techs not being so thorough and wondering

why the cutomer didnt bother to check themselves.

servers changed over night
Posted 09/01/2000 by zeke

I work for an ISP dealing with 9 of the southern states, & I get a call from one of the guys there & it goes as follows:

"thanks for calling ****, my name is Zeke how can I help u?"

"I'm unable to get webpages"

"Can I have ur email address please?"

"yes it's ****"

"ok we'r not showing any problems in ur area sir, have u added anything to ur comp lately?"


"have u downloaded anything?"

"No, I haven't changed a thing on my comp"

"when did the problem start happening?"

"last night"

"& u haven't changed anything since the last time u'v connected?"


"ok lets check the settings to make sure everything is ok"


"double click on my computer"


"double click on DUN"


"do u see the **** icon?"


"right click on it"


"in the menu that pops up click on properties"


"do u see the phone # in here?"


"ok under that there's a small box that says use area code, counry code or dialing properties do u see it?"


"is there a check in it?"


"take the check out please."

"but I'v ALWAYS connected using that"

"sir it's trying to dial long distance"

"but it never shows a 1 in front of the phone #"

"with that box checked it is trying to dial long distance"


"ok sir just take the check out of that box"

"I don't see y I have to but ok"

"now click on server types"


(cust getting upset & I'm getting frustraged)

"ok what do u have checked in here?"

"enable software compression & tcp/ip"

"ok click on the tcp/ip settings button"

"ok, I have everything server assigned"

"u have a dot where it says server assigned name server addresses?"


"can u change that to specify name server address please"

"but it's always been like this & I'v never had a problem b4"

"well with this being at server assigned ur not going to be able to get webpages"

"have ur servers changed?"

"no sir they haven't"

"well I'v always been able to get pages & connected to the internet with the settings I'v had for over a year so there's something with ur service that has changed"

"sir nothing with our service has changed for months, ok now we need to add in the DNS #'s"

"I don't know y after a year of ur service I all of a sudden need to change these settings, when I changed from my old comp to this one I set everything up EXACT to what was on the old one"

"how long have u had this new comp?"

"about a week"

"ok now for the primary DNS # u need & for the secondary u need"

(very upset)"ok"

"now click "OK" all they way out & close all the windows u have open"

"I still think u'v changed something in the servers since I'v been able to connect just fine with my settings left like that for a year, u HAD to have changed something in the servers last night"

"yes sir we changed our servers last night now u NEED to have those settings to connect now & they put that in last night"


"thank u for calling **** have a nice day"

after that call I had to go in AUX & laugh.

Posted 09/01/2000 by Dave

Most everyone is accustomed to the $400 rebate from M$N if you sign up for 3 years. It doesn't take a "mathematician" to see that the three year contract will cost $790 (3yrs at $21.95/mo.), or does it?

Get this:

Customer calls in, I get his Credit Card info and see that he has two accounts. I ask the customer what I can help with. He says he'd like to cancel his 3yr contract and keep the newly created acct. So I give my normal warning that he'll owe %70 of the remaining balance ($21.95*34months*%70) which was $522.41. Customer then informs me that he hasn't even gotten his rebate yet, after two months. I ask a supervisor and I'm informed of two juicy pieces of info. One being, that the rebates don't come unless the account is paid for 2 months. Secondly, if they don't cash the rebate, they can cancel without a fee. Wow! The customer is off the hook and can keep his new account, as long as he returns the rebate. I tell the customer this expecting him to cancel the contract immediatly (commom sense). The customer (a self proclaimed mathematician) said that he'd just keep both accounts so he can get the rebate. His logic follows :

"Well, $400 is a rather large sum of money to have. I can cancel later and just owe $122.41 instead, if I want. I mean, that means I can be online for quite some time, if you divide $522.41 by 12... "

Okay, his logic is lost on me, since he wants to keep BOTH internet access accounts open. Hmm... what's wrong here? I tried convincing him out of it (as best I could, while keeping my job) but he and his wife won out and decided to keep both accounts open. So Microsoft stands to collect $790 plus $21.95 a month from this couple, while they 'win' with a $400 rebate. :) Go figure.

Fitting into someone else small shoes.
Posted 09/01/2000 by Charli[eE]dstrom

I work as a Wide Area technician dealing with everyting from dialup modems to large frame-relay links.

I was forced to call my wisconsin ISP tech support at home when I had a problem connecting to their service. Unfortunately it was at night when I knew I would get the high school kids.

I explained the problem to the tech, the modem dials, they connect then the software negotiates the id and password and then is connected. But I can't access anything outside of the ISP subnet. I can see other people connected to the ISP but can't see the rest of the internet. So it basically boiled down to a problem with the ISP and it seem very clear, or so I thought.

The only responce the tech would give me is to download the latest Windows updates from the Microsoft web site. I tried in vain to explain that I have already shown that I can connect but there is a routing problem with their equipment. He insisted the problem is that my sotware on windows needs updating and to download them.

Ok thanks for your help, I told him. Next day I called thier billing department and immediately canceled my account. When they asked why, I simply stated, I prefer an ISP with better communications skills.

Car anoliges and Computers
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This was told to me from a fellow tech.

The tech saied he was on a call and the customer had a 128Mhz computer and her husband had a Pentum 3 computer. She wanted to know the difference between the two.

The tech said that the Pentum 3 was a Cadallic and the 128 was a Yugo.

The tech then went on to fix the problem with her 128 and after a few mins he heard a crash in the background.

He asked what happened and the customer told him that the "Cadallic drove off a bridge"

Yes Maam We'll do that just for you
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I do tech support for a large company, and I get calls on a daily basis from the biggest losers on the face of this earth. I don't know how these people dress themselves in the morning, none the less turn their PCs on. Anyway, one day a "manager" from our finance department calls me and says that she is having trouble sending an Excel attachment via e mail. Anyway, the file that she was trying to send was 30MB in size. Our company has a 10MB limit on sending attachments unless the user you are sending it to is located on the same Exchange server as the sender, then the rules can be bypassed and the user can virtually send humongous attachments. This lady insisted to me that she had sent the file to another user the previous day, and I immediately explained that she may very well have if the user was located on the same server. I got the recipient's name from her and she was in fact on the same server, and I explained the 10MB rule to my user. She insisted that we increase the size of attachments on all 7 of our Exchange servers. If it was my last day of work, I would have said "Listen asshole, who the %$#@ are you? God?" People are just morons.

What kind of printer?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Former Tech Support

I worked in tech. support before moving up to department manager (although now I really only get to deal with the rotten cases). This happened back when I was still in support. Our company uses HP Laserjet printers and we have just about every model. For those of you who may not know, HP is notorious for needing a different toner cartridge for almost every model. As a result, we have toner cartridges "up the wazoo" and it makes for interesting times when someone needs a new one.

One day a lady came to the door (m=me, u=user, c=colleague)

u: I need a new toner cartridge (very politely).

m: No problem. What kind of printer do you have?

u: It's an HP (still very polite).

m: Uhh, what model of HP?

u: It's an HP Laserjet (still polite).

m: What model of HP Laserjet? We have several, and they all need different toner cartridges.

u: (starting to get snippy) I told you, it's an HP Laserjet! I just need a toner cartridge for it!

m: Can you go look at the fron of the printer, please, and come back and tell me the model?

u: I'm telling you, it's an HP Laserjet!

m: Hmmm... Is it a 4 or 4Plus? 4L? 5...?

u: It's an HP Laserjet!!

This would have gone on until I was huddled in a corner, swatting at imaginary flies and mumbling to myself about HP Laserjets, if my colleague had not happened by:

u: Hello Mr. XXX

c: Hello Mrs. XXX, what is the problem?

u: I need a toner for my printer and I can't get one!

m: She doesn't seem to know the model.

c: Okay, Mrs. XXX, I'll get the toner cartridge for you (aside to me: "It's a Laserjet 4").

As glad as I was to get out of that situation, I could have throttled him for not telling her what model her printer was, so she would know it for the next time. How can we be expected to keep track of who has what printer when we have about 150 of them in Heaven knows how many models?

Password Changes
Posted 09/01/2000 by Magik

I've been doing end user network support for years, but there's one thing I've never been able to figure out:

When changing a password, why do users have such a difficult time understanding the concept of CONFIRM PASSWORD?

(How many times have we told the user "You have to type the new password twice!" and they still screw it up!)

'Nuf said!

Posted 09/01/2000 by Jody Hawkins

Okay, so I don't have a true tech story to relate, but i have something just as funny that is computer based. I am a director of IS for a utility company and get bored easily. To keep up my interests, I go to the local B** B** store and mess with their techs.

This particular day was the best yet. I approached the young pimple faced tech about purchasing a "super fast, really cool" computer. I told him that I wanted it to do everything and that money was no object. He proceeded to show me the newest machine they had in stock. Great I thought, it had a DVD in it. Now was my fun time. I asked him what DVD meant. He said it meant i could wacth movies on the computer. I exclamed NO! he said yes, you can buy them or rent them at stores. I asked him one more question before he started laughing so hard that he couldn't answer...

"How can I fit my big tapes in there, it doesnt look like my VCR?"

The (really) dumb teacher
Posted 09/01/2000 by Nicholas and Simon

This is not one of those over-the-phone tales, but a story about a teacher. A really dumb teacher. A really really dumb teacher called Mr X. (Dark scary music plays in the background.)

He was going on the internet, but didn't realise the internet was not yet set up. He was presented with a 'Cannot find DNS server' error message.

And so he went into Find and searched for DNS, and came up with 'HayDNS folder'. (maybe 'HayDN' should have used an apostrophie...). After finding nothing there, he, being so very smart, recalled seeing many things with 'server' in them in Chooser. So he immediately went into it, and wondered why me and two other computer-literate friends burst out laughing.

And they tell us WE'RE there to learn...

St00pid sysadmin
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I just red the tale "Stupid Sysadmin? Can it be?" from back in March '99 and that reminded me of our old "sysadmin" in school.

Well there was not very much sys to admin there, but he was literally incompetent. In one case, we were installing NIC's in some computers to put in the network when he came by.


US:us(me and some friends)

SA:These won't work.


SA:You see, this is 100Mbit cards, and we're running a 10 Mbit network.

US:Yes it will work, this is a 10Mbit card.

SA:No, you see, 100Mbit cards has two lights on the back, while 10Mbit has one. So this is 100Mbit cards.

We wouldn't even start to explain it to him, cause we knew he would just be ignorant(as always). That guy had been a sysadmin since before DOS, and as far as I know, he's still stuck in these times.

...This is a memory upgrade?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Larry Williams

As a hobby I sometimes build PC systems for friends,

family, and so on, but this is the story I'll never forget:

Sold a 486-50 (back when that was state of the art) to a

friend of a friend, let's call him "Bob"

(phone call)

Me: Hello?

Bob: The memory sockets on that machine you sold me are

bad, I want to return the machine! I can't add more memory.

(I had tested all the sockets and they had worked fine)

Me: Well, bring it in, and let me try it, if that's OK.

Bob: OK.

I try to boot it, and the box reports the floppy and hard

drives are gone (????) So I open it up, and find:

The pins on the memory sockets have been bent, the floppy

drive has the cable reversed, the hard drive cable has been

jammed on the hard drive, upside down with half the pins

showing, the modem is about half the way out of the slot

(I'm thinking: What the S*** went on here???!!!!)

Me: What did you do to this?

Bob: I let "Mike" try to add the memory.

Me: Mike?

Bob: Yeah, Mike's a computer expert where he works.

Four hours later, and no, it wasn't obvious the floppy cable

was pin 1 on the wrong side, AND finding the backplane for

the motherboard has been unhooked. I get my final shock:

The machine FINALLY boots, but seems WAY too slow.

And I think "Oh, no way would this loser changed the BIOS

settings too...?"

Yep. All the BIOS setting were changed to the highest

number of wait states for memory, caches off, etc.

In other words, slower than an unpressed Turbo switch.

This guy is the computer expert where he works?

I got the pins on the memory socket lined up with some

small tools and Bob comments "Mike doesn't have small tools

like that, do you need them?"

Yes, you do. "Mike just used a big screwdriver to put the

memory in." (another mystery solved.)

Added the extra memory (which just "clicks" into place)

closed the case, signed a label, and stuck it over a case


"What's the label for?"

And I said, "That's so I'll know if 'Captain Dipstick' opens

this case again, your warranty is TOAST!"

Bob (the friend of a friend) tells my friend the story.

Freind's response? "You let Mike open the case? Don't

do that, he's an idiot!"

Posted 09/01/2000 by Scott

A coworker working on web-submitted tech support cracked us up with this one.

Someone submitted a report to computer tech support stating that their fluorescent lamp had burned out and needed a replacement bulb. Not only that, they gave an ip address!

Must have been one of those Unix lamps, where you have to log in. :-]

OK, ma'am, is this light bulb outage affecting everyone, or is it localized to your lamp?

Compatibility?? What's that??
Posted 09/01/2000 by Thomas

Thankyou for calling **** Software support, can I get your service tag number please?

Yeah. It's *****

Thank you. What seems to be your problem?

Well, I typed up this document in Word, and I can't get it to work now.

You mean you have some corruption in it, Ma'am?

Well, I don't know what that means . . .

It means that the file has gotten messed up somehow. If there is corruption, you'll see a lot of funny little characters in the title or in the document itself.

Oh, yeah, I've seen that before. but no, it won't even load, I get a message that says "cannot read file" or something like that.

And are you trying to use it on the same computer that you typed it up on?

No. I did it on my computer, and I'm trying to use it on my husband's computer. It works fine on mine, but it won't load on my husband's.

And your husband's computer does have Word, correct?


Okay, let's see if there is a problem with the installation. Go ahead and grab the disks that came with the computer.

Okay, hold on, let me find them . . .

{about ten minutes pass}

Ma'am?? Are you there?

Yeah, I couldn't find the disks . . .

Okay, do you have the ones that came with your computer?

Yeah, I have them right here.

Okay, insert disk number one into the drive

{a few minutes pass}

Same message. "cannot read file"

Okay, let me transfer you to hardware to see if you have an operating system problem. Your computer is a **** {PC}, correct??

Yeah, does it matter that my husband's is a Mac??

Couldn't possibly be....
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am now a consultant for a telecommunications company, but remember fondly some of the support calls I took when I started my career as a TSR on the ISP Helpdesk.

One day when clearing the email support queue, I came across an email from a distraught customer, accusing our company (Telecommunications and ISP) of overcharging him for Internet calls.

It turns out the we were charging him $4.99 a minute for calls to Guana or some such country when he was on the net.

Going the "extra mile" I called the customer, and upon investigation I found a little program called "New Zealand.exe" that created the offending DUN connection.

This little gem of scurilous connectivity is freely available from many Porn sites.

I related the probable origin of this to the customer, who immediately came back with a response I will carry to my grave:

"There is no-one in my household who would be doing anything with pornography, young man. No-one else touches the computer except my family, and we are ALL devout christians...

I am the pastor of the local church, and I know it couldn't have been my wife or my 14 year old son..."

(I worked hard to stifle a laugh at this point)

Deciding to spare the pastors faith in his family, I chose not to make mention of "History"...

but I suspect he understood anyway!!

So that's what that button does!
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a cable TV company, one day the following call came through:

(C=customer M=me)

C: I've got no pictures on my TV.

M: No pictures? What about sound?

C: No.

M: Hang on, let me just check a couple of things for you.

(I check the customer's area for faults and come back to him)

M: I can't see any area faults there. What exactly can you see on your TV?

C: A green screen.

M: Uh huh. What about the front of the cable box?

C: Just a red light.

M: Right. What happens if you press the power button?

C: Ah! It works now! I suppose it was the thunder we had earlier causing it?

M: Uh... yeah!

I put a note on the customer's account explaining that I'd helped him turn his set top box on.

And the winner is....
Posted 09/01/2000 by One-Fang

I'm sure we all have a favourite deadhead in the office.

Here's my story....

Firstly, I'm a level-headed techie. I'm patient, I'm lovely,

I groan when I read tales here about you guys killing yourselves

laughing or having to mute, because I wouldn't have to.

This is not self-congratulatory, it's important for the

last paragraph. :)

She teaches educational technology (using computers in

schools) at the College I work at. She's caused a string

of techtales tales....


She didn't know how to do 'something' in powerpoint.

Our techs aren't MOUS or anything, but took a look. Bit

beyond us so we looked in the library for a ppt how-to book.

Got one out.

She wrote it.

It had the answer in it.


She created how-to sheets for scanning for her students.

She sat in the lab at the scanner, making screenshots

and putting together the documentation. She complained

the PC wasn't working properly. Tech takes a look. Tech

determines she's looking at her screen shot. Tech tells her.

She disbelieves tech. It took quite some convincing to get

her to believe she'd been clicking a screen shot.


Said screen shots are done, documentation done, testing

time (at least she tests it!). She's in the lab again,

working off her notes. She gets stuck. She calls tech. She's

thoroughly confused by the screen she sees cos it's not

what her notes say. Doesn't know what to do.

Tech determines she forgot to add the command "Now click

on the Accept button to do the scan" to her notes. So she's

still looking at the preview when the notes say she'd be

back at the image. She WROTE those notes and she couldn't

figure that out!


Later that same day....

I am in the corridor on the way to tech staff meeting. I

meet her in the corridor. She chats. I say I'm on my way

to staff meeting. She mentions someone else who'd done

something silly that day. She comments how we techs must

have a lot of fun laughing together over some of our users.

Even *I* very nearly couldn't hold the laughter in. She

is our biggest Dunderhead and she doesn't even know it!

Don't tell your sister.
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I'm no longer in tech support at work but still do it for family and friends. This story isn't about computers but it had me laughing despite myself.

Last night my mother called with the question. "How do I put a tape in the VCR?"

Seems she was babysitting my nephew and wanted to watch a movie. My mother is very techniphobic and doesn't have a VCR herself so it wasn't a completely surprising question.

After explaining that the narrow side with the printed label should face towards her and the side with the two cirlces should be down I told her to try again.

"It's still not working" she said starting to sound panicky.

"That's odd," I said and went over the instructions again.

"It still won't go in," she nearly wailed.

About this time a light went on in my head.

"Is there a tape already in the VCR?"

"How do I tell?"

"Push the eject button."

A pause. "Yes, there was. Uh-oh I think your sister was taping something? Now what do I do?"

"Put the tape back in a push 'record'."

Another pause. "Please don't tell your sister..."

No, Mom, but don't you think she'll notice the gap in the movie she was taping?

Out of what???
Posted 09/01/2000 by Rob

I am a systems analyst for a major IT company. One day I received a call about a laser printer not printing. I figure no problem it's just out of toner. I sent a customer engineer out to replace the toner. A couple of days later, I called the user to make sure that everything had been taken care of for her. She stated that everything was fine and thanked me for my help. "The printer works fine now. The guy who came out changed a box inside of the printer. It was out of lasers." Thank goodness for the mute button on my phone...

'Net by osmosis?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Ayla

I work as a computer generalist at my university, and we had a real gem a few weeks back. We have a campus-wide ethernet network, and when new students move onto campus they have the option of either trying to install the ethernet card themselves or having one of our techs come up to their room to do it.

We got a call from a girl who decided to try to install her card problem, many students have, the cards are plug-and-play and pratically install themselves. Couldnt get it to work. We had to check all of her settings, things were set right, but it still wouldnt recognize the card. So we send someone up to her room.

The poor guy was laughing so hard when he came back that we all thought he was going to choke.

Appareantly the girl had plugged the cable into the wall jack, and then plugged the other end into her ethernet card, and proceeded to LAY THE CARD ON TOP OF THE TOWER! She just couldnt grasp the concept that the card had to go *inside* her computer!

I guess she thought that the internet fairy's would magically transfer the information into her hard drive. =)

Connect, don't connect, connect...
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I thought hard about which story from my 17 years of various computer activities would be the best for this forum.

Turns out the winner happened just 6 months ago or so:

I had this supposedly (according to himself) knowledgeable person for whom our company had made a web page. (I was in charge of the project).

At regular intervals I'd go to his office to discuss the project and watch the progress over his dialup connection.

His attitude was always something along the lines of "him being the best computer wizard in the world" and "he only asked us to do his pages because he didn't have time for it himself".

Anyway, every time I got there we sat down with him in front of the computer and every time he'd fire up his dial-up connection to call his ISP. Now we were dealing with a Swedish install of Windows here, where "connect" is "anslut" and "cancel" is "avsluta". Notice the similarity between these words.

Each and everytime he'd spend at least 10 minutes pressing "anslut" (connect) and then pressing what he though was the same word again (although he really pressed "avsluta" (cancel) and ended up cancelling the dialup attempt. So he'd go on pressing connect, cancel, connect, cancel for several minutes, never realising the words weren't identical, until I offered to try and almost invariably succeeded.

The most irritating part is, that this "computer wizard" insisted that when this happened our server was always down because the pages were on our server although we weren't even his ISP.

He'd then assume this "you're so dumb you do not even realise your server is down" -attitude which would really, really irritate me every time.

Another example of his wizardry was perhaps the weirdest install of Windows 95 I've ever seen. His Internet Explorer ALWAYS crashed when fired up. He had installed the wrong display drivers and somehow couldn't get more than a 56Hz refresh rate on a 1280*1024 -display. His windows was also installed in a directory called "windows.000", which caused not quite so few programs to malfunction.

He also insisted on having his brochures scanned for the web. The only problem was, that they were up to 36 pages long, contained a million pictures and a million lines of fine print. He didn't see a problem though, when we told him his pdf:s were all at least 15 MB in size.

Just my two cents.


Webpages and Beyond...
Posted 09/01/2000 by Benjamin A. Shelton

I work for a small ISP in the southwestern US at both the help desk and as the webmaster. Incidentally, since we are a small company, I also serve as the primary "tech-helper" for users attempting to publish their web pages. Notice I said *attempting*. Anyhow, here's a story that happened to me a few months back:

One particular user on our service was a compulsive complainer. No matter what happened or how, it was *always* our fault. She was the type that could have Elmer's glued her CD drive bay shut and complain that it was her ISP's fault... Well, it just so happened that this user decided that she needed a web page for a class she was taking. This, of course, soon became a headache for us considering the "assignment" she had to do was due the next weekday -- and, if we didn't help her then AND there, it would be our fault. Tell me, does ANYONE remember what High School teachers say about procrastination? I know I do, but I'm only 19...

So, one fine Saturday evening, I sat down in front of my computer and decided to check my personal e-mail and webmaster e-mail. Guess what: her's was in there. Even better -- it was titled READ ASAP. I'm the type that usually "round-files" anything that says "READ ASAP" but, noticing it was from her, I read it in anticipation of a BIG headache. Naturally, she was complaining about something... this time being unable to publish her webpage because of "lack of space." Wow, what a surprise! So, before sending a reply to her message, I decided to check out her directory on the webserver (she was using MS Frontpage 2000). As I was pulling up the DIR listings, one of the most amusing sights confronted me: she had attempted to publish her ENTIRE C drive. After laughing for a good ten minutes, I took the liberty of cleaning out the directory and soon wrote her a message.

Mrs. ________

I have discovered why you have been unable to properly publish your page. There is good news and there is bad news. Fortunately, there is more good news than bad.

Good news: FrontPage was publishing to the server without difficulty. You also stopped it before reaching C:\Windows

Now for the bad news...

...And this woman wants to become a Ph.D???

Thanks for letting me tell this story -- love the site, love the stories and to all fellow tech-supporters out there... KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

Too much info !
Posted 09/01/2000 by Mike Collins

After troubleshooting some network settings on a customers system I had her reboot the computer. During the wait for the computer to come back up the woman suddenly says "While we are waiting, let me tell you a little story......" I answered "Sure"! thinking I was going to get to hear a joke or something funny. Then I heard this..... "I am over 50 years old" (still doing good at this point) "I met this guy on the internet and I left my husband to go live with him, my hubby is 21 years older than I am." (I am starting to think "Oh Oh!" by now) she continues with "This guy used Viagra...and let me tell you... IT DOESN'T WORK !!", "I stayed with him for 9 days and went back home, me and hubby fought for 3 days, but we will be ok eventually." In the meantime I am sitting there with my mouth open thinking, ummmm, OK! She ends the convo with.."I just wanted to share that with you, by the way, the computer is back up again, what do you want me to do now?"

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by C. Cusack

I work for a company that has offices in towns all over the country. One user received a new laptop computer as a replacement for his desktop. As you may know, laptops don't have a separate numeric keypad activated when the "NUM Lock" is turned on. About a day after this person received the laptop, he sent the following email:

Subject: he3*

C3ear3y 5 a0 d65ng s60eth5ng wr6ng as 5 can't get r5d 6f the n40bers 5n the 3etter sect56n 6f the 2eyb6ard.

*3ease adv5se what sh643d d6.

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This is one from the other side of the fence, though I have worked in tech support.

I recently bought a computer which had a second hand sound card, no drivers supplied, no big deal, I opened up the case, and determined the make and model of the sound card, went to the website of the manufacturer, downloaded the appropriate drivers, and low and behold it didn't work, I e-mailed the manufacturer, to assure I had the correct drivers, (and that it was compatable with my system), I state in my e-mail that "I tried using the drivers loacated here: ftp://company_name/pub/support/drivers/make/, are these correct, if not which drivers should be used?"

Simple enough question, I get the responce back about 2 days later saying:

"Sorry about the confusion, but the drivers you need to download are located here: ftp://company_name/pub/support/drivers/make/"

This is the exact same set of drivers I had explained did not work, did the tech even bother to read my e-mail?

I really do wonder sometimes about hardware techs (As I used to do software tech support)

At least the place where I bought the sound card gave me an exchange.

Top Tech Questions
Posted 09/01/2000 by Hadez

1. Where can I get a new cup holder, you know that thing that says 4x on it?

2. My mouse won't work. Oh wait that is my cell phone.

3. I start my computer and I can't surf the internet.

4. Where's the any key? (oldie but goodie)

5. What is non system disk?

6. Where is the best place to find porno?

7. How do I check e-mail?

8. My computer says I performed an illegal operation. Will the police come to my house?

9. Can you teach me how to upgrade?

10. Do you have the latest version of the internet?

I am not a tech support guy, but I have to help the adults in my cisco class. On the punch tool to punch wires into the patch panel, you have an option of 2 blades. One that cuts the end of the wire sticking off the end and one that doesn't. Well, when the adults were punching down their wires into the patch panel, they were cutting off the wrong side of the UTP cable causing the connection to be uhmm. Well. you get the idea.

New wireless technology?
Posted 09/01/2000 by One-Fang

EU wanted to do some work at home and had enquired of me

where to get a laptop. Couple days before she had it booked

she phoned me again.....

Our EUs log on to a WinNT Domain to access network stuff.

She was under the impression that if she booked a laptop

and took it home, she could turn it on, log in, and work

on all files in all programs she had on her desktop.

Took quite a while to convince her that she couldn't use

software that wasn't installed on the machine, let alone

going into what a network was! I spent half an hour there,

talking about networks and networking, dialup, even pulling

the network cable from the back of her PC and showing her

she couldn't access network things.

She was amazed by the concept of a standalone. She thought

if she took a laptop home and, say, typed rude things about

the boss, people would be able to see it.

The network *is* the PC......

Second query, same day....

Since the laptop won't have Endnote on it, can she just type

stuff in Word then import it to Endnote?

This EU had recently had Endnote installed, with the warning

that I knew nothing about using it. She got left the manual

for a while to familiarise herself.

Begrudgingly, I agreed to look around the menus and see what

I could find. Eventually found the import instructions, but

they were "too complicated" for her, so I had to figure them

out then give her the step-by-step DV (dummy version).

Posted 09/01/2000 by One-Fang

EU is the postal dispatch person. She's a lovely person,

must be past retirement age a wee while ago now. You know

the kind....

She'd been sent info from the courier firm about their website where she could track packages, check prices, etc. She wanted help - she couldn't get to the website.

Turns out she couldn't get there because some kind soul had shown her how to search with Hotbot. Now she tries to go to any site by typing the URL into the Hotbot search box.

Okay, so we sort that out. We even bookmark it for her. :)

So she wants help navigating the site. I spent about 20 mins

just going over and over the instructions that were written on the page she was viewing. Thought she had it till she had another go - she entered her data into the field, and sat there looking at it. And sat there. And sat there. Eventually I reminded her to click "Track".

I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.......

tales from sales
Posted 09/01/2000 by Benjamin Asbeck

A few years ago I was working for a little company that I'll just call "Best Bait-n-Switch". I started in sales and was later moved to the tech bench, but let me tell you that I met some really bizarre people.

There was one incident that very built individual that stood probably about 6'5" came in one day seeking information on the webcams. This might not seem too unusual until you know that this person was built like a football player, had 5 o'clock shadow, was wearing a lovely dress and carrying a purse. I don't want to know what he planned on using the webcam for.

There was another incident where I was informing a customer about the computers (and I won't even get into how the customers couldn't seem to read the cards in front of the systems). He asked a simple question that required a simple answer. "What is that big box next to the screen for, and how much would it be to leave that out". I spent the next half hour trying to get him to understand that the box was the computer and that it was different from the monitor.

I could go on all day, but to keep it short I'll only mention one other incident in sales. A family came in wanting to purchase the latest greatest system in the store for the least amount of money as possible. This happened right about the time that MMX technology was introduced, so the fastest system we carried was probably a 200MHz or 233MHz Pentium. Well, they informed me that "they didn't want no pendulam computer....they had to have a 4 8 6 computer because that's where the speed is!!!" (argh!!!) I had a fun time with them :)

phone? what's a phone?
Posted 09/01/2000 by Tech Support

I work for a fairly large ISP in the midwest. I always get my fair share of calls... here is one that I just almost cried on:

(sometime into the call...)

me: Sir, do you have a secound phone line?

user: Yes I do

me: Ok sir do you have another phone handy?

user: Yes I have two phone lines but I am using one and my computer is on the other.

me: Yes sir I understand that but do you have another phone that you can plug into that wall so that we can test this your access number?

user: Well it should be working, I am on the phone with you and my computer is still plugged into the other one.

me: No sir I mean a physical phone that you buy from a store. The kind of phone that you can pick up the reciever and dial a phone number on?

user: Well I got this one from the phone company.

me: (pause) Ok sir, completely disregard everything I just said.

Well at least I don't feel bad for his phone company.

Computer Stuper Store
Posted 09/01/2000 by Swedish Chef

I decided I was finally going to upgrade my PII 200 to a AMD

K7 600 with lots of bells and whistles. Being a nice guy, I

offered the old system to my sister. I did, however, have to

replace the CPU fan before giving it to her, as the old one

was in the process of dying. This led me to a wonderful

encounter at my local computer Stupor Store.

I entered and approached an employee

Me: "Could you tell me where I could find CPU fans, please?"

Him: "I'm not certain - you'll want to check with him" Indicating

another employee

Me to 2nd employee: "I'm looking for CPU fans. Where do you

keep them?"

2nd emp: "They would be in the Upgrades department. Ask at the

upgrades desk." Indicating the appropriate area.

Trudging over to the upgrades desk, I encounter the first employee

behind the desk!

Me: "Your colleague informs me that you keep the CPU fans over here.

Where are they?"

Him: "Let me check".

Returning with a powersupply in hand he states "I don't have

just the fan - it comes all together like this."

Me: "That's fine if I were looking for a power supply, but I'm

not. I'm looking for a CPU fan. It's about 1 1/2 inches square

and fits over the Central Processing Unit."

He turns the power supply around and indicates the fan behind

the vent "Yes, but it's in the case here. We don't sell them

seperately. Only electrical engineers should open these."

Me: "Again, if I were asking for a powersupply fan, then you would

be correct. However, I am looking for a CPU fan for a Pentium II

chip. NOT a power supply fan. Since you don't know the difference,

please get me someone who does so they can tell me where I can

find the damn things."

Him, looking rather offended: "Okay, but they're just going to

tell you the same thing!"

Returns with a lady that he indicates is the manager. I explain

what I am looking for and she immediately points me to the appropriate

shelf are. I thank her and kindly ask her to educate her techs

on the difference between a CPU fan and a power supply (while the

original idiot is standing behind her, still holding the power


All this, and we don't even get paid!
Posted 09/01/2000 by Jake Somerson

I'm in High School, and I have a class called "Technology Assistant." That basically means I help teachers with computers or the 130 laptops the school just bought (for a school of 300) to go from class to class when teachers need them for their class. (By the way, whenever we tell the school we need a certain piece of hardware or software, they give us a sob story about how they don't have much money, and haven't had much money for a while, the laptops were just under a grant... However, a few months ago, they replaced all of the carpeting with flooring! ARRGHHH!!!!! Can you say "Double Standard?") Going back to my story, some of the teachers are so computer-illiterate that they almost think to delete a file from a laptop, you turn it upside down and shake it! Also, we have to be nice to the teachers at all times, and not make them feel like they don't know anything about computers. And, most of the computer-illiterate people don't want to let on that they might not know EVERYTHING, so there are several ways of dealing with it.

First, the people who try to find error in everything that I do.

Example :

(m=me, t=teacher)

[on the laptops, which have a mouse system where there is a pencil eraser to move the pointer, a top button for a left click, and a bottom button for a right click]

m: ok, now move the pointer up to the icon My Computer and right click.

t: AHA! There is no right click, only a bottom click! I know more than you!

(That's not what literally happens, but I hope you get the picture.)

And then there are the people who are SURE that they are doing everything right, because someone told them that was the right way. (I can't help wondering if it was the teacher in the last example who told them.)

m: so, to open a file while you're in Word, click the little folder, or go to FILE, and click OPEN.

t: that's not the right way, Mr. what's-his-name told me so

m: does Mr. What's-his-name's way work?

t: no, that's why I called you down here. You can make it work, can't you?

m: (wanting to say "Well Mr. whats-his-name is a dumb@$$) Well, Mr. What's-his-name must have been a little confused. Just do things this way.

t: well, ok...

And then, there's much more of this fun through the whole school year. Yippee!!!!!!!

Color me stupid
Posted 09/01/2000 by Laurens Lueks

While I was in college, I had a teacher who gave lessons in programming and database design. He was a bit confused all of the time. Walking around, thinking out loud etc. Once he was working on his PC while the class was working on some assignment. Since we were always watching the guy we saw him look at the screen, press some buttons, again looking at the screen and then walking away.

He came back with the SysOp for the school and we heard him say "You see there is a problem with this copy of WordPerfect. At home I have a blue background and here it is black."

The SysOp looked around in dispair. Sir, you are working on a computer with a monochrome screen.

The teacher said: Yes?????

The SysOp just walked away, while we were laughing. Leaving the teacher in dispair.

Blank out
Posted 09/01/2000 by Laurens Lueks

My company makes software for small and big companies. For a customer of ours we programmed and installed a complete cash-register solution. As part of it they had a service contract. We were called all of the time.

One call:

C: I have a problem

S: Ok, let's hear it

C: I look at the screen, but I don't see anything

S: Ok, is the screen on?

C: Yes it is

S: Ok, are all cables connected to the monitor?

C: Yes they are

S: When you press a button on the keyboard, do you see anything?

C: No.

S: Is the computer on?

C: I just told you it was on.

This wend on for some time, after which i decided I would go to them and show them where the computer was.

When I arrived I showed him the computer and turned it on.

He couldn't believe it was neccasary to have the computer turned on.

I started to crie.

MD Hit points +10
Posted 09/01/2000 by Minzy Ozmin

I work for a company as on site tech support engineer, you get some frustrated and difficult people at times, however on this occasion, I had a very difficult person VDP we call them. And to top it all he happens to be an MD.

I get a call,

MD My PC is not working and I need it fixed now!!

ME Ok sir but before I come down and check it out

lets just make sure we go through the basics.

MD I dont need someone telling me I cant use a PC

just get down here and sort it out.

ME Ok sir I shall come and see you in 5 minutes,

I arrive at his office and he is on the phone

so I knock on the door and walk in as you do..

he was on the phone and all i can see is him

waving his arms about as a lunatic, as I didn't

understand what he was refering to I proceeded

deal with his PC as I approached the desk he

he very rudely ask's me to leave the rrom and

wait outside. Now i get it he wanted me to stay


So I went out and waited for the MD to finish

call, however as I was standing outside, I spied

his mains switch was off. (chuckle chuckle).

MD Come in sort this piece of shit out I am fed up

with this f*&^ing thing not working.

ME Calmy walks over to the mains switch trows the

switch on, power the pc and hey presto, we have

a working PC. Not saying a word to the MD I

walk out with some dignity and pride.......

Keep your cat out of my computer
Posted 09/01/2000 by Mike Colburn

Having worked for the AOL helpdesk for over 12 months I thought I heard it all, until she called....

Hello Techsupport..Everytime I connect to AOL my computer goes DING and then my cat falls off the printer! (She was using the DOS version, no "WELCOME" sound)


USER: YES FLUFFY falls off the printer

ME: (Thinking what does this have to do with AOL?)

ME: Let me get this straight your cat is on the printer, you connect to AOL, it goes DING, your cat get's scared and falls off?

USER: That's right!

ME: You know the printer isn't a good place to let your cat sleep anyway. Hair will get into the printer and gunk it up!!

USER: Ok I know but she loves it up there and it's warm.

ME: OK.. (So I walked her through turning off the sounds, and the cat slept hapily ever after)

---- THE END ----

The Phantom and the Network
Posted 09/01/2000 by Mike C

Everyday around 4pm our network went down. We put packet sniffers on, we turned off events, we put voltage meters on... the works, we couldn't figure it out. For months this went on...

One afternoon (around 4pm) the network went down, I was standing near the receptionist desk. She said, "see, I can't save my word doc now".

I sat down at her desk to try and help and noticed her shoes sitting next to the desk. I said "Oh getting comfortable are we?".

She says "Yeah everyday around this time I kick them off and give myself a little foot message".

I say "foot message?"

She says "yeah.. I roll that cable there under my feet, it feels real good, you should try it..."

I look down and it was our network cable (COAX) that she was rubbing her feet with.

Needless-to-say we replaced the cable, and tacked it up against the wall.. And the network didn't go down anymore!!!

=== THE END ===

No Title
Posted 09/01/2000 by anne

Client is an old friend with whom I have been arguing lately, so he buys a new computer without consulting me. We kiss and make up. He then calls because he can't get Tomb Raider working on his new Win2K machine. He simply _has_ to spend some time with Ms. Croft soon. I tell him that I don't do Win2K, but I'll do a little research on the topic and get back to him. All indications point to him using System Commander to install Win98 for his games on top of Win2K. I've used SC in the past, and feel confident that he can handle it. I tell him that the instructions are pretty straightforward and that he's bright enough to figure it out, but to call if he needs help.

A week or so later, he calls, saying that SC installed fine, but won't work correctly. SC tech support has given him a dozen or so things to try, but none have worked. I decide that the best path is a full reinstall of SC. The manual says that SC _can't_ be installed from Win2k, so you have to make a DOS or Win 95/98 boot disk. SC won't install correctly to Win2K if you don't use a boot disk.

I ask for his boot disk.

"What do I need _that_ for?" he replies.

How he got SC to install at all, and how the tech folks at VCom missed this one, is beyond me. 15 minutes later, after I made a boot disk with my laptop, Win98 was happily installing itself. I'm waiting until he begs (or his wife is cooking her olive chicken) before going back to install his drivers.

Porn and the elderly
Posted 09/01/2000 by Rod

While taking a tech support call for a small ISP in Texas I encountered an elderly man with a horrible problem. He said "Every time I get on the internet I get this error!" after further questioning I actually got him to read his "error". His homepage was changed to a porn site and he had no idea how he was going to get it off of there. Imagine the embarassment of not being able to connect to the internet with Grandma around. Having to scramble to type in a immediately after connecting or the shear terror that one of the grandkids would click the little "house" on his browser. After putting the customer on hold and laughing my ass off I actually got him to re-read his so called "error" AND I RECORDED IT! I have the wav file but It won't let me paste it on here.

14 million lines and still counting
Posted 09/01/2000 by Marten Kemp

I spent a while as a console operator in a *large* mainframe

environment (about a dozen or so mainframew). One night we

started getting messages from one of the main complexes about

the system spool space filling up. This machine has 17 gig

(6 3390-3 volumes) for spooling and the operating system

will go down and require *hours* to get back up if it fills

up. We found out that a careless programmer started an

instrunction trace (like using DEBUG) on a database server,

initiated a major database update, then forgot about it.

It had been running for A DAY AND A HALF when we got the

the messages. We looked in the system directory for the

user's name and called him at 3:00am for permission to shut

down the server. We really didn't need permission but we

felt anyone this clueless NEEDED to be awakened in the

middle of the night.

This is really a story about a disaster prevented by the

stellar operations staff but it illustrates the point that

the clueless are *everywhere*.

-- Marten Kemp, former VM operator (among other things)

Tales From Technical Support Index

Tales from the Techs
September 2000
  1. bizzare hardware

  2. REALLY bad support.

  3. Help desk help

  4. My computer

  5. Constantly busy?

  6. But I know almost ALL of the letters...

  7. PC Technician

  8. Too many MS products

  9. Empty disk

  10. The Speed Meter

  11. No Title

  12. In store service technician

  13. No Title

  14. Monitors!

  15. He wasn't getting his e-mail

  16. These are SMART people???

  17. No Title

  18. A Testament to the southern lifestyle

  19. The "DO NOT PUSH" button

  20. email down , read e-mail

  21. The Aliens are communicating

  22. Those Damn Cookie Messages....

  23. The Geniuses of Tomorrow

  24. The E-mail is Down

  25. Pinball Pig

  26. Tech Translator

  27. No More Popups

  28. Its magic!!!

  29. you want me to do WHAT!?

  30. "Jingles" Strikes Again

  31. Technical Support

  32. Engineer??

  33. Hoover

  34. What does that have to do with anything ?

  35. Yah..that might have something to do with it

  36. No Title

  37. Just a little print-out...

  38. Password dustoff

  39. too stupid to argue with

  40. No Title

  41. No Title

  42. New Company Pricing Plan.

  43. Shaking monitor

  44. Being a female tech.

  45. Power in the hands of the inept

  46. Support THIS

  47. I can't BELIEVE I hadn't thought of that...

  48. Password paranoia

  49. Dumb Terminal or Dumb User?

  50. Stubborn to the end

  51. What do you say?

  52. At least he feels better now...

  53. Start button?

  54. HELP! My printer don't work.

  55. clueless user

  56. internet addicts

  57. CD is not Floppy!

  58. You're Wrong!

  59. Our Lamer of the Week

  60. No Title

  61. Time Clock Troubles

  62. RTFM

  63. No Title

  64. Not for fragile minds...

  65. Event inside I-T

  66. CD?

  67. Not that kind of incident

  68. No Title

  69. Bad coffee or bad monitor?

  70. color-coded confusion

  71. servers changed over night

  72. Mathematician

  73. Fitting into someone else small shoes.

  74. Car anoliges and Computers

  75. Yes Maam We'll do that just for you

  76. What kind of printer?

  77. Password Changes

  78. DVD vs VHS

  79. The (really) dumb teacher

  80. St00pid sysadmin

  81. ...This is a memory upgrade?

  82. wrong

  83. Compatibility?? What's that??

  84. Couldn't possibly be....

  85. So that's what that button does!

  86. And the winner is....

  87. Don't tell your sister.

  88. Out of what???

  89. 'Net by osmosis?

  90. Connect, don't connect, connect...

  91. Webpages and Beyond...

  92. Too much info !

  93. No Title

  94. No Title

  95. Top Tech Questions

  96. New wireless technology?

  97. Infuriating

  98. tales from sales

  99. phone? what's a phone?

  100. Computer Stuper Store

  101. All this, and we don't even get paid!

  102. Color me stupid

  103. Blank out

  104. MD Hit points +10

  105. Keep your cat out of my computer

  106. The Phantom and the Network

  107. No Title

  108. Porn and the elderly

  109. 14 million lines and still counting

Past Tales from the Techs:
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