Funny and Humorous Technical Support Tales and Stories

Submitted Tales From Technical Support

Tales From Technical Support Content

Telling a tale
Posted 12/01/2000 by Jason

I forwarded the following story to my wife via e-mail from this site. I was at work, she was at home

I got the Internet Now What

When the internet explosion was just starting i started an

isp well one day we set this new customer all up with

a dialup account at the shop on his home computer.

after we show him how to connect, he says ok takes his computer home.

25 mins later he calls us....

Cust: "My internet does not work"

Tech: "whats the symptoms, it was fine when it left here"

Cust: "well a box comes up and says 'conneced 24800' is

that all the internet does?"

I guess we made it too easy for some people to get online!

Thanks to: Anonymous Tech Supporter

she replied back "duh"

I replied "gotta open internet explorer"

she replied back "I got it open, now what!?!?!?"

DUH!!!!! :)

Drag And Drop?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Ashley

I'm not a tech support professional but I am one of those people who, knowing a bit about computers, gets roped in to helping and supporting friends and family. My most regular user is my mother who I set up ten years ago with her Macintosh Classic II (black and white, 4 megs of RAM and a 40 MB hard disk). Now as a user she is easy to support, always follows instructions and never fiddles with settings or control panels or programs she doesn't understand which is why in 10 years she has never had a crash or a freeze, never needed to do a restore or a reinstall of anything (and also why she is still, after ten years, a beginner - but thats Ok I guess).

She does have a couple of bad habits though, one is her insisence that she doesn't need a newer computer as this does "all she will ever need it to do" (despite calling me and my iMac in everytime she wants anything in colour etc. etc.) and the other is that she leads me into thinking she has grasped a concept then drops in one last comment in that belies her total lack of understanding of the subject. Here's her latest example:

In my quest to drag her at least into the nineties I take my old SCSI zip drive over as a present (I have iMac which is USB, right?) and she marvels at how the icon shows up on her desktop just like a regular floppy disk but with 100 times as much space on it. To prove my point I drag her entire hard disk icon (Mac equivalent of "My Computer") onto the zip disk icon and we watch it copy the lot, system and all. "Marvellous" she says, "Now I won't need three or four floppy disks to back up my documents, just this one . . . AND I get all the programs and system files too!". I sit back pleased at how well she has grasped the principle but then she leaves me cold with: "Now I can back up my whole computer onto a zip disk, can you show me how to back up my printer as well?"

I am very careful of using phrases like "drag and drop" with her in earshot, my imagination scares me.

I have a Gateway.....
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A friend of mine who was working for this ISP told me this story of a call she took one night. Found it rather humorous....

Customer calls up with connection problems. My friend has her check her TCP/IP. Afterwards she tells her to go back to her desktop. The caller stops my friend and says "Wait, I don't have a desktop, I have a Gateway....".

I think you can imagine out the rest of the call went...

computer illiterate morticians
Posted 12/01/2000 by akasha

A few years back I use to work at a mortuary. I always knew when something was going on with one of the computers there because I'd hear someone call out my name. One morning I heard my name called out. The switchboard operator couldn't get her computer to work. I bent over and turned on the monitor. What do you know, it worked!

way too stupid
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This was related to me as an actual tale and the tech guy, working for a sizeable firm, was actually fired from his job after the call was listened to by whoever monitors those calls for quality control.

Hello, tech support? I Just got this (model) a week or so ago, and was working tonight and now I can't see the cursor on the screen any more. One minute it was there, and the next minute it was gone.

Okay, sir. Is your work still onscreen?

No. that went away too.

You need to check to see if the cable from the monitor is still plugged securely into the computer.

(at this point, the tech can hear the caller scoot the chair back and grunt a little as he gets under or behind his desk.)

It's so hard to see here. I can't tell cause it's so dark.

Can you turn on another light?


You can't?


Can you swivel the computer around so you can see the cables in the rear?

Yeah, but it won't make a difference. I still won't be able to see them.

Why is that, Sir?

Cause the lights are all out.

Can you turn them on?

No. I told you that.

Why won't the lights go on?

Cause the power went out 10 or 15 minutes ago.

(Lights come on and the tech realizes no one's home.)

Okay sir, I think i know what's wrong. Do you still have the original boxes that the computer came in?


Well, you need to pack the computer back up and return it to the dealer where you purchased it.

Well, what do I tell him when I get there?

Ask him politely to refund your money because you're too stupid to own a computer! (Tech hangs up)

Flashing EPROM
Posted 12/01/2000 by Andrea

12/28/2000 A customer called in with a Network Interfaces Card that was causing his system to hang on boot. The theory that he had about what was causing the computer to hang on boot:

Me: "Good morning thanks for calling ***** Network Interface Support, my name is Andrea."

Customer: "Goodmorning Andrea. I have a 3***** NIC. Could you help me reflash the EPROM on it?"

*muting the button to laugh.*

Me:"Sir we don't do that here, but I can refer you to Lanworks. They'll be back in after the holidays."

Customer:"Oh well I think I have some sort of IRQ thing going on. The EPROM on your NIC card is interfering with the math coprocessor on my soundcard."

Me:"Sir, I have a feeling that the reason your system is hanging is because the boot-PROM on the card is turned on. I think it would be best if we disabled it."

Customer:"I paid extra for that feature. I'm NOT disabling it. Besides I'm a lawyer and don't have that kind of time. What else can I do?"

Me:"Well Sir, we can go into DOS Level config and DIAGS."

Customer:"Well I'm not in front of the computer, I'm at work right now so can you tell me how to do that? How do I disable the Math coprocessor on the soundcard?"

Me:"Well Sir it would be of great help if you called back while you were at the computer. And we need to try some tests before we can determine anything is wrong with the card. Okay, but still can I falsh my EPROM?"

Some people just never get it.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I got a call tonight from someone asking if the cable modem network was up and running. Well, of course it is.

??: Well, okay, because I just changed the Ethernet card in my computer. The old one was working fine, but the new one doesn't work.

Me: Okay, then let's

??: (click)

You have to reset the cable modem if you change your Ethernet card here. It's been four hours and he hasn't called back yet.

Sometimes Tech Support is an Id0IT
Posted 12/01/2000 by Mary

OK, I have been reading tech stories for awhile and I never though I would be writing one in. But this one deserves to be written. I just got DSL service and in setting everything up found that I couldn't accsess the News Server. So I dial up tech support and I get this woman.( ) are my thoughts.

Me: *all the info she needs.*

Her: What is the problem?

Me: I can't connect to the news server. I keep getting a "502 Permission Denied."

Her: Ok lets check the settings on your news server properties.

Me: Ok there.

Her: what does it say for the NNTP Server?

Me: blah blah

Her: Ok lets make a new news server.

Me: (Why the heck are we doing this?) OK

Her: Ok, does it say Disply name?


Her: What does it say?


Her: It should say your last name, put your last name in there.

Me: OK, it says my last name too.(I didn't change a thing, I know your display name could be "I am an tech idiot" and that would be what would come out in your From field in your emails or posts)

*At this point I was thinking this is going to go no where*

A few minutes later after making that new news account it didn't work:

Her: OK lets make a new email account?

Me: A new email account? I already have one and it works fine, the news server doesn't work. (Maybe she forgot!)

Her: I know, let's try anyways

Me: Ok

*We go through this entire setup for an email account, but one part stuck out*

Her: type in your user name, it would be

Me: The entire thing? With the (I know your not supposed to do this either.)

Her: Yes

Me: OK (Did it just to know that she was nuts and I was right, tried to get my email and it came up with the wrong user id window...took out the and it worked fine.)

Her: You know the news thing is not really anything, you can go to another web site....go to IE and type in (I did to amuze her)

Me: OK

Her: Hit enter

Me: I already did and I am already there.

Her: Oh ok, well as you can see there is a lot of news there, and you can get news at a lot of different web pages just like this.

By now I knew she was an idiot..I mean, we were in the news server area and now she thinks she can tell me that I can get news by going to a web site when all I want is newsgroups! I agreed with her the rest of the phone call trying not to laugh and then hung up, called back and got a different tech support person who must have thought I was pretty dumb about the internet when I asked him, "Do you know what a newsgroup and news server is?"

By the way, the problem was that the block of IP address I was using was out of the newsgroup loop and had to manually put back in.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Bob Allen

I work the Help Desk for a multi-billion dollar jewelry compnay.

We had a crashed hard drive come in. Supposedly, it had critical data on it.

The upper management decided to remove the platter from the bad drive, open up a brand new drive, put the platter in the new drive, and run it. And of course, grind grind grind...

Now, they want to send the platter, just the platter, to a data recovery company, at a cost of many of thousands of dollars.

So the tally is now: 2 hard drives, 6 hours of management time, plus the cost of the recovery. And the user is still offline.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by monte

I had a call once where the guy wanted to know why the modem didnt work after he just washed it in the dishwasher.

Sometimes It takes a Woman
Posted 12/01/2000 by mercysakes

I have a 233mmx pentium wanna be type computer. It had Win95 on it and I was perfectly happy with that. I like Win95 pretty well and am comfortable with it. But, for my birthday my mother bought me a digital camera, that runs on USB.

I get the camera and install the program files for it and take some pictures and go to download them. It won't work, so I switch USB ports, thinking I hooked it up to the wrong port. Still nothing so I call their Tech Support line, (Long distance mind you). I explain to the man what is wrong. He talks me through deleting the files and starting all over again, 3 times. Nothing works. Has me move the USB plug back and forth 3 or 4 times. Nope. Finally decides to email me a link to a different twain program, that will fix the problem. I download the program, still no go. So I call back, new tech new answers. Reboot, re-install files, try again. Nope not going to work. He then tells me I probably need to use the other cord for the seriel port. Well, my computer doesn't have a spare seriel port to use that my cord will fit. So he sends me to buy an adapter to make it work. Which I do and the camera still won't work. By now I am thinking that this camera just isn't going to work. He decides my cord is bad and they'll mail me a new one. So I wait 3 days for the new cord. Get it, all excited. Guess what? Still doesn't work. So I call back, still long distance, (6th or 7th time now!!) This time a get a girl. I tell her everything that's happened and all the fixes we've tried. She sighs really loudly and says, "Did any of these men tell you that Win95 really isn't too USB compatible?" Nope, not a one of them did. She asks if I know anyone who has Win98 update disc I can use or could I go buy one and then says to me. Call me back when you get this fixed up. I tell her I will, but it's getting very expensive calling them, so she sighs again... "Don't you have our 800 number?" Nope, didn't know there was one... so, she gives me the 800 number, so I go and get a Win98 disk and update my files and re-install my twain program and guess what? It all worked!! I called her back, on the 800 line and thanked her profusely for her time and for having the presence of mind to tell me that Win95 just wasn'

t going to work for me anymore. uuuuggggghhhhhhhh

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Okay,I've got three classic tales for you.The first involves a rather old woman,who called our tech line because her program would crash when she tried to print.Our program is a big piece of crap---it crashes if there are too many files in its temp folder.Anyway,I got her into "My Computer",and got her to the program's main directory.I asked her if she saw a folder labeled "Temp",and she said no.She spent 5 minutes looking for it,and couldn't see it. Our program also barfs if there is no temp directory,so I walked her through creating one. She got an error that said the folder already exsisted.She said she could only see icons on her screen---she couldn't see any text below the icons. Well,I sent her to the mystical DOS prompt,and attempted to clean her temp folder from there. She went to her dos prompt,but she only saw a black window with no writing in it. Right before I started to pull my hair out,she put me on hold.Apparently,she had left her reading glasses at her son's house,and he had stopped by to drop them off.She put on her glasses,and ta-da! All of the tex came back. :((br)

The other 2 tales are pretty short in comparison.One woman called to complain that our software had messed up her CD-Rom drive.She put our CD in the drive,and the drive wouldn't open after that,and it made wear scaping noises. I had her shut down her computer,and walked her through opening her CD-Rom with a paperclip. She found 4 CD's stacked on top of each other in her drive,and all of them had pretty circular scratches on them.(br)

The third tale isn't really related to a tech problem,as much as it's a sign that the computer revolution has reached the hills of Tenessee. Every now and then,we get a call from a man in the mountains of Tenessee.He has a very thick southern accent,and is computer illiterate. For one thing,he's been using our software for 8 years now,and still doesn't know the difference between his floppy drive and his CD-Rom drive.We always have to tell him that his floppy drive is the small slot in the middle of the case,and that floppy disks go in the drive metal-side first,with the label pointed up. That's just the tip of the iceberg,though.If we tell him to double-click on an icon,he'll say "So,you won't me to poke this picture a couple times?". And our response,of course,is "Yeah,poke that thing a couple times... " :)

Psycic Help Desk
Posted 12/01/2000 by knowan

At my current position, we answer the phone with "IT Help Desk, knowan speaking, can I have your name and telephone number please?"

One day, a user called up having trouble dialing in to our secure server. I was checking the modem and network settings on her laptop when the following conversation occured. Please note that I worked for an ISP for a year before accepting my current position, so I can go through network settings and DUN with my eyes closed.

Me: (in network control panel). "Now I'd like you to click on TCP/IP, and then on the properties button."

Her: Okay

Me: Now you'll see an error message saying "You have asked to change", ect. Just click on okay at the bottom.

Her: All right.

Me: Now on your screen you should see that there is a dot on "obtain an IP address automatically", correct?

Her: Yes

Me: Okay, now up on the top of this screen, I'd like you to click on DNS Configuration.

Her: Can you see my computer?

Me: Pardon me?

Her: I was just wondering if you can see what's on my computer. You seem to know everything that's on the screen.

-Now normally I would tell her something along the lines of "no mam, I've just been doing this several times a day for years and have managed to memorize the options on each screen" but today I was feeling silly. Plus it was close to the end of my last shift before Christmas, and the lines were dead that day.-

Me: Yes mam, I can. When you first called here I believe that I answered the phone with "Psycic Help Desk, knowan speaking".

Her: Oh?

Me: Yes mam. As a matter of fact your company is being billed $2.50 per minute for this phone call. Is there anything else that you would like to know?

Her: Oh really, what else can you tell me?

Me: Well, for instance I can tell that you are currently wearing a green sweater.

Her: That's right!

-You'll note here that I said it was just before Christmas. It was also a cold day, and I took a gamble that she was dressed in Christmas colors.-

Me: (pulling up info from her file) I also know that your login ID is *******, you phone number is 555-5555 and that you are using an IBM Thinkpad. I can also sense that you recently had trouble remembering your password and it had to be reset.

Her: That's right!

-This went on for quite a while. At the end of the call, not only did I get her connected, but I also convinced her that I really was psycic. I can just picture the next time that she calls, we'll ask her why she called and she'll reply with "You're the psycic one, why don't you tell me!".

Hot Time on Hold
Posted 12/01/2000 by Lesly Graham

We're an outsourcing company that supports many different

companies, including several large ISPs. One of our Techs

had just put a woman on hold when he started hearing the

most interesting conversation.

He popped his head up over the cubical wall and announced

to the rest of the crew that he had a really live one! "She

just flashed her husband her ______ and asked him if he wanted


One of the other Supervisors beat me to the speaker phone

and the whole crew listened in with delight as we heard the

couple carrying on, with such comments like "do you like what

you see...?" and "you've been working on THAT all day long..."

The Tech asked us how he was supposed to be able to go back

to the call without cracking up, and we suggested that he come

back onto line very loudly and obviously, so she would

know he "was back" and then tell her that it would be a few

more minutes before he had all the information - we were hoping

if we gave the randy couple a little more time, they might get

even more involved.

As our Tech put her back on hold, the sounds of moans,

giggling, and a certain 'slurping' sound told us that the

couple had indeed decided to take advantage of the extra hold

time. We let this go on for several minutes until we heard

the couple starting to wonder just how long they'd be on hold.

When our Tech came back online, it was amazing what a good

mood the customer seemed to be in, and how friendly she was!

We almost thought we might soon be eavesdropping on

an attempt to get a hot steamy phone conversation going as

well, but our Tech fixed her problem and finished the call

before she could get too warmed up. The strain of listening

to this call, without bursting into laughter had everyone

almost hurting, and the poor tech who had kept such a straight

face on during the call just lost it after he hung up.

As this ISP happens to be in one of the colder parts of the

country, we're all joking now that we should try putting their

customers on hold more often - it might truly help to bring

a lot of couples "together", not to mention giving some

bored technicians a great laugh!

Beyond clueless
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Part of my job is dispatch for a telcom companys customers. All businesses, no residential. The other day I recieve a trouble call, customers fax line is dead,no dialtone or anything. I open a trouble ticket, dispatch a tech and it goes to the back of my mind.

Next morning, pick up complete tickedt to close and read description of fix from tech: "fax machine not plugged in, not even taken out of box. Told customer to plug in." ????

I about died laughing - this customer is an international law firm!! Go figure.

Cant Receive email...
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am working as a technical support. One day a Lady walk in to our showroom to buy a computer. Finally, she decide to buy a "internet ready" or multimedia computer. In the next day we deliver the computer to her. She looked very happy to received her new computer. After installing the computer and give some briefing on how to used the computer, we went back to office. On the way back to office, the Lady call my handphone. She was very angry and called me a lier. I asked her why, she said she can't send and receive email. I almost cry and told her,"Lady, you're not even apply for internet account, how can you receive email ?????"

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in the tech support department of a large ISP. I often speak with first time internet users, and I try my

best to explain everything in detail for them. I recently had a call from a member who had called at least 4 times

with the same problem (authentication error or error 691) The techs she had spoke to earlier had performed all of the

usual steps: Verifying the password, Checking dialer settings, checking access number, ect. I diden't know what

else to check, so I decided to start with the basics again. After checking all settings again I had the member delete

and re-type the email address and password to make sure it was exactly correct. As she typed it she verbalized every-

thing she said. As she typed the email address she said "X-X-X-X-A-T-X-X-X-.-N-E-T. I then politly showed her where

the @ sign was and shared a great laugh with some of my co-workers.

But I can get Wireless Web, right?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Tom Nig

This really isn't a tech tool, but it's hella funny. My friend bought a circa 1990 Motorola MicroTAC analog cellular phone on eBay. He's like, I can get SprintPCS on this, right? And I said, "No man, SprintPCS is a digital/analog network, and you need a digital phone." He looks at it and he's like, "But I can get Wireless Web on it, right?" My other friend and I were laughing for hecka hours. The friend that bought the phone was like, "I don't know anything about cell phones and the auction was going to end..." Hahahah!

Geography Lesson
Posted 12/01/2000 by Cyrus360

I work for a cable company in the 24 hour repair dept. When a customer calls in, I sometimes ask what town they are calling from to see if there are outages reported there. Here's a conversation which is disturbingly repeated several times a day.

Me:Thanks for calling xxx cable how may i help you?

Cust:My cable is not working, is there an outage in my neighborhood?

Me:I can check for you. What town are you calling from?


Me:No, I asked what town please.

Cust:10th ave and 43rd st.

Me: OK let me ask again. What town are you calling from?

Cust:My cable has been out for 4 hours now. What the hells going on?

Me:Well, I would be more than happy to help you if you tell me what town youre calling from.


Me:You live in Washington, Washington? Ive never heard of that town before.

Cust:Its in Mercer Island.

Me:Oh, OK, what was I thinking?

$160 gear.
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

My job at a small computer store includes repairing printers.

One of our bigger customers needed an Oki 321 wide carriage printer fixed ASAP.

The problem wasn't the printer, but the optional bottom feed wide-carriage tractor assembly. The gear between the shaft that turns the tractors and the gear that touches the gears in the printer was stripped. I have no idea how they broke it.

So....I get on the net, look up the parts needed at the Oki parts website. There's an 'idle gear' listed between the top feed optional wide-carriage tractor and the bottom feed optional wide-carriage tractor and I think, 'What the heck, $5 plus shipping, I'll take a chance that's it.' It wasn't. Well, I tried to save the client money.

So...back to the website. Bottom feed wide-carriage tractor assembly: No longer available. I examine the broken assembly and I see that it's the optional top feed wide-carriage tractor assembly plus a set of plastic legs to lift the printer enough to allow the tractors to clear the table. The legs are ok, so all I need to order is the optional top feed wide-carriage tractor assembly.

So...back to the website. With the part number I call the parts department and order the part. I call later about the order status. I hear an 'oops'. They say they'll call back. I call a day or so later. It's backordered 4 months! The tech support department gives me a part number of what they hope is the needed gear. The order department must have some leeway with minor parts. They send it free! I get it two days later. It's a gear from the printer, not the optional wide-carriage bottom feed tractor assembly.

So...back to the website. If I can't get the parts for the wide-carriage printer, how about the narrow-carriage equivalent? I ask the tech department to compare the gears of the wide and narrow optional tractors. He says they look the same. (I hope he didn't get in trouble for telling me that!) I order the optional top feed narrow-carriage tractor assembly. It arrives in two days. Except for the width, the assemblys are identical. The gear I need is easily removed and installed on the wide carriage tractor assembly. The printer is fixed! I take it to the customer on my day off. (The day before the day before Christmas.) The client's bill: $160 plus tax. Suggested Retail Price for the assembly plus one hour labor.

I should have charged $8 more for the gear I ordered that wasn't correct, but I thought $160 was enough.

(Please correct spelling and punctuation.)

PC Wizard's Wand
Posted 12/01/2000 by Jimbo

I was LAN administrator for discount retail chain about a year ago. Being retail, we had buyers for the things we sold. But we also had a buyer for specifically for things we used internally. He prided on being as cheap as possible, and often felt that he should be involved in ALL purchases (such as new mainframes, etc.) Once while in a meeting with the IT dept. and vendors of a software package for the mainframe, he asked if we could just p0urchase the previous release at a cheaper price.

My tale about him is thus:

The 'red' part of his monitor had quit working. He didn't bother to call for support, a new monitor would cost at least $150. He was busy changing the colors of his desktop and such when I went into his office to ask an unrelated question. As I watched him change colors around to where he could see things, I noticed that the monitor plug was partially disconnected from the video card. Using a bit of flare, I took out my pocket screwdriver. I explain that it's really a PC Wizard's Magic Wand. "Abra Cadabra", and as I tap the top of the monitor with the "magic wand", I push the monitor cable back in. He was impressed. Later after he left that evening, I used the wand to screw the connector onto the video card to keep it from coming loose again.

Drunk Guy
Posted 12/01/2000 by Tech Monkey

I got this call last year a few days after X-mas.

Me: Thank you for calling ____ tech support may I have the serial number from your computer.

User: (Drunken Redneck)Aww shit, you mean I have to get that.

Me: Yes sir.

User: (hysterically laughing)Look son, I just bought this computer and it won't work.

Me: Ok sir, let's see if we can get it working, but first I need serial number from it.

He then gives me the model number of his monitor

Me: Acutally sir, that is from your monitor, It will be on the back of the Tower on the barcode.

He then gives me the S/N from his monitor...this goes on for a while until, until I give up

Me: So how can I help you today sir.

User: The damn thing won't turn on, I have tried EVERTHING!

So I take him through about 10 mins of troubleshooting, him cussing and complaining all the way through.

Me: Does the monitor light come on

User: What's that

Me: The part that looks like a TV

User: I just press the button, then it turns green like it wants to come on then goes orange.

Me: (kinda pissed and amused at the same time) Sir you have to turn the TOWER on first.

User: What's that

Me: The main part of the computer with the disk drives on it.

User: Oh I don't use that part of it, I just keep it in the closet.

Me: Well sir you need that part


He rants on for a while, then have have him hook his computer and turn it on.

Me: Know what's happening

User: Aww Jesus Chirst, I's got me going to Windows 98. I don't want that.

After having a good laugh on mute, I calmly explained to the User that this is what it's suppossed to do, and then recommend him to take computer classes or read a book.

2 Tales
Posted 12/01/2000 by Dolores

Years ago I came across the story of the woman who had her mouse on the floor so she could treadle it like a sewing machine.

And then there was the one who washed the keyboard in sudsy water in the bathtub.


A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
Posted 12/01/2000 by John Hobson

At a company where I used to be a Unix system administrator, it was policy to give the root password to the manager who "owned" a particular system, whether they knew Unix or not, or whether they really needed it or not.

Now, on HP-UX, most users run Korn shell, (/usr/bin/ksh). However, root runs a special version of Bourne shell in /sbin/sh -- this is so that root will have at least a minimal shell even in single-user mode. The manager who was in charge of one of our production database servers thought that it would be nicer if root had Korn shell as its default shell, so he went in as root, and changed the shell field in the root record of /etc/passwd from /sbin/sh to /sbin/ksh. Then he logged off. When someone next tried to log in as root, they got the error "No shell" and were promptly kicked out. Trying to su to root gave the same result.

I had to bring this production database box -- serving over 200 users -- down to single user mode to fix this (I booted off a CD) in the middle of the working day. People were screaming bloody murder.

You have a both KUA.Net & MSN at Outlook Express
Posted 12/01/2000 by Shane

This email was sent to our Tech Support Email....

Maybe you can figure out what her problem is because were not sure!!!!!!!!

You have a new both KUA.Net and MSN at Outlook Express. You are a CD-ROM to MSN for me? I already have a KUA.Net at Outlook Express at home; I have a CD-ROM at Internet Explorers 5, Outlook Express 5, KUA.Net Member. I have a yet new one MSN at Outlook Express CD-ROM for me?

The Computer Literate Teacher
Posted 12/01/2000 by The Tech from Hades

I am a student at a highschool in a redneck city community. We only have about 20,000 people in town. Since I am one of the few people who knows computers well, I am often asked questions by the teachers. Sometimes it is a simple change of a toner cartridge or a why does scandisk keep coming up on bootup. But here is my favorite:

A history teacher at my school who is a self proclaimed computer literate guy was having problems one morning with e-mail. I walked in his room and goes on to tell me how when he sends a file to other teachers, they can't read it. It is a ms works word processor file, why he didn't just write it in e-mail or copy and paste it over beats the hell out of me. The teachers replied complaining they couldn't open the file when they double clicked on it because the computer gave them the "open file with:" screen. I told him to take me through the exact process. When he goes to save his document in works, he proceedes to name the file and then change the file exstention to his liking! I explain to him how windows uses a registry database to keep track of what file exstentions are associated with what programs. Then of course he proceedes to prove me wrong by telling me, "Well it works fine for me. They are just computer illiterate." Nothing makes me more mad when someone asks you for help and then they tell you your wrong.

Did you say there were busy signals?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Travis

Me: Thanks for calling tech support, this is Travis. Can I get your username please?

Customer: Yes, my username is (username).

Me: Ok let me look you up here. Ok and you're located in Shenandoah County?

Customer: Yes. Is the internet broken out here?

Me: ::tentatively:: Well, it depends. In Virginia people are getting a lot of busy signals. Are you getting a busy signal when you try to dialup?

Customer: No, I don't get a busy signal. It just doesn't connect.

Me: Ok...what do you click on to connect?

Customer: I, on internet.

Me: ::already annoyed:: It says that? It says internet??

Customer: Yes, it says (ISP Name).

Me: Didn't you just say it said internet?

Customer: Yes, I click on (ISP Name).

Me: ::thinking "Ok well progress is progress I guess.":: Ok, and what kind of error message does it give you?

Customer: It doesn't give me a message, it just doesn't connect!

Me: No error message at all? What does it do? How do you know that you're not connected if it doesn't say anything? ::start looking up the customers online history::

Customer: Because it says it's busy!!

Me: ............::15 seconds of silence::.............

Customer: Hello?

Me: Yes, I said that some people in Virginia are experiencing busy signals.

Customer: Oh! Ok I'll just wait then and maybe it'll start working! ::click::

"Think we've found the problem"
Posted 12/01/2000 by Daniel Cummings

Whilst working as an server admin/tech support/developer (nice mix!), I received a call from one of the companies satellite homes (I was in the main home). Seems they could dial into our network, but couldn't check their email.

I asked them to click on the Outlook Express icon and they said it wasn't there, so I got them to open up Explorer and guided them to where the executeable (b)should(/b) have been. No executeable, no directory.

This home is 2 hours drive away, when I get there (I don't drive, so someone else took me), I spoke to a different person. When I asked if they'd done anything just prior to the problem, he said :

"I went to Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add-Remove Programs..."

This guy has a degree in psychology but can't understand that uninstalling software stops it from working!

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Something really quick that just happened to me...

Me: Thankyou for calling..yada,yada...can I get your name and account number?

Cust: Uh...Erm...I have no idea what my name or account number is.

Okay, the account number I can see. It happens alot. But your name?! Most people can get that one on the first try.

P.S. Love the site. Really helps me pass the time.

3 Contestants for IDIOT OF THE WEEK
Posted 12/01/2000 by alix

1. Client opens helpdesk call, asks how to turn on hand-held scanner. Answer: Hit the 3/4" bright yellow button marked "On".

2. Client opens helpdesk call, asks how to turn off IBM 43P. Client is the site's SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR.

3. Client opens helpdesk call, CPU is beeping. After 10 minutes of questioning, we determine that actually the UPS is beeping, not the CPU. Again, client is the site's SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR.

And the winner:

Client opens helpdesk call, IBM server has begun making noise like a weedeater in a bucket. It was intermittent for a few minutes, but is now louder and steady. Question: since it is winter break and server is not being used, should they turn it off? Answer: That would be a good idea, unless they have some grass that needs trimming...

Your program is down!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Christine

I work for a brokerage firm, and we have a software product we developed to allow our clients to access their accounts (alternative to the web). I got the following call:

Client: Hi, I can't get into *program* and I called earlier and they told me it was down but it would be up in 10 minutes. But it's been 20 minutes and it's still not up.

Me: We haven't had a *program* outage today. What is the error message you get?

C: Something about a system disk. When is *program* going to be back up?

M: Can you read me the exact error message?

C: "Non system disk or disk error. Replace and press any key."

[light dawns]

Yeah, I know you've seen morons with their interpretations of this message before... but he can't even get into his computer and it's interpretted that our program is down? I'm not even going to go into the struggles of getting him to find the floppy and eject it. It turned out their son installed some hardware and left the driver disk in the drive. Phew!

Radio Bloopers
Posted 12/01/2000 by Christine

One of the funniest things I've ever heard on the radio... I used to live in a small town in Wyoming. I was driving home from work and I was listening to a song on the radio. All of a sudden, you could hear teenaged voices over the airwaves...

"Testing, testing... I can't get this thing to work!"


"Testing, testing... what the hell!"

-more pauses and shuffling-

"Testing, testing, you F---ing piece of S--T!"

I know it's not computer related, but it IS what happens when you let morons use electronics.

Yahoo is useless!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Christine

I work in tech support for a secured web site. During the troubleshooting process, I wanted this old fart to try going to a different web site because I suspected he might not be able to get to any web sites. My regular suggestion is to go to

So, I give the client this address... and he says,

"Yahoo? Yahoo is USELESS!"

Hmmm... I said "Really? Yahoo is one of the most visited sites on the web!"

His reply? "Well, that's 'cuz people are STUPID!"

I never figured him out. At least I fixed his problem.

Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I've been a field tech for almost fifteen years and currently am employed

by a major computer corporation. One of our "jump to it" accounts was a major railroad

before our company's execs figured out that a blanket account for all the historical computer

equipment that a railroad has is not such a good way to do business -- getting paged out

at 4 AM to replace 1980's dot matrix printers which have to be airfreighted in and paying overtime

might be a money-losing proposition.

Anyway, I received a call that one of the dumb terminals was not working. I called the person in charge

to ask whether the terminal was amber or green as these were not color terminals and they had both in the office.

"It's black", was the reply. "Ok, what color was it before it turned black?" was my question. "Kinda beige." was his answer.

(This is the senior offical in charge of an office employing over 100 people and definitely not a

computer expert).

I brought a "kinda beige" terminal and was unpacking it when the lady enduser came up to me with smirk on her face and motioned

me around the corner. "There's nothing wrong with my terminal", she related, "I went to a doctor appointment and I turned down

the brightness control to keep it from burning into my screen. But please don't embarass Mr. **** as he is a nice man who knows

nothing about computers."

I then whipped out my air can and cleaning rag and began to put on a show that had half the office cracking up and pronounced the terminal

fixed and ready for work. The boss thanked me for my prompt and efficent service.

This beats working for a living.

Blame it on the rain...?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Jevon Hills

As a developer and tech support I have had to resolve many client problems, and when its possible I try to explain to the client exactly what has happened, why it happened, and how to avoid it happening in the future. I never give the "Sock on the Antenna" excuse.

Today was not an overly unusual day, it was -15C ( 5 degrees Fahrenheit) and a little snow was falling, pretty normal for Alberta in December. My office photocopier had broken down when a piece of paper had fused itself to the drum.

I phoned the company we bought the photocopier from and informed them of our situation. The young lady on the other end replied, "Oh its the weather that causes them to break down."

"What!?" I replied in a surprised and amazed fashion. “Your kidding me.”

She said, "No seriously, its the weather that causes these photocopiers to break down."

Well that does it, the next person to call in about a problem with applications that I build, or their modem doesn’t work right I now have my response for them: "Oh I'm sorry, its the weather that cased that. Wait until the low pressure ridge moves passed and it should be fine."

Please feel free to use this one your self as the need arises, just remember to say a quiet thank-you to the young lady who has enabled you to avoid dealing with clients and their problems.

Make sure your mute button works!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymouse

This happened to a coworker of mine several years ago.

He was on the phone with a user who was a nice, but kind of slow, older lady. He acted polite and patient even while she increasingly got on his nerves. Finally, he had to blow off some steam; he hit the mute button and said "Well, you're just a stupid @#$%!!".

Problem was, the mute button on this phone only worked with the speaker. It didn't work if you were talking into the handset, which is what he was doing. So the lady heard him. She responded with something like "But I'm trying as hard as I can!" Then he realized what had happened, but he felt so bad he couldn't bring himself to explain it to her. He just let her write him off as really rude.

Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I've just discovered this site, so this story is a bit dated, but we all thought it was a good one at the time (and confirmed all our suspicions).

I work in the IT division of a civil service department. Back in late 1998, we were getting ready for Y2K. In order to expalin what the problem was, a seminar was called of all the top management (virtually all of whom have degrees).

The IT manager was going through aspects of the Y2K problem, giving examples of what might go wrong, what kind of errors might occur, etc. When he was talking about various strategies that could be used to remedy the Y2K bug he was asked this question:

"What course of action was taken the last time this problem occurred?"

Mouse problems
Posted 12/01/2000 by Unanimous

I used to work for D#@L Tech Support and I had a Granny ring up once with a problem with her Mouse...This is how it went...

T = Tech

G = Granny

T. Welcome to D#@L Tech Support how can I help you?

G. I have a problem with my mouse and pointer!

T. What seesm to be the problem???

G. Well whenever I move my mouse down, the pointer moves up...whenever I move my mouse up, the pointer moves down...if I go left the pointer goes right, and if I go right the mouse goes left...

T. ????????

G. I demand a new mouse and pointer!!!

T. ?!@#@$

T. Madam which way are the mouse buttons facing...?

G. Down ofcourse!

T. Holding my laughter back as much as possible I nicely asked the granny to flip the mouse and test...

Too hot to handle
Posted 12/01/2000 by Marc P

Overheard a few weeks ago:




T=Good afternoon, XXXXXX Tech Support, XXXXX speaking.

C=My computer won't boot.

T=What happens when you try to start your computer?

C=Nothing. Your high speed internet broke my computer!!!

(Wondering what she was talking....)

T=How do you mean it broke your computer?

C=Your installer was out and installed High Speed Internet and now my computer won't start.

T=Did it work when the tech was there?

C=Yes. It stopped working after I put the cover on.

T=What cover ma'am?

C=Well you see, I have a lot of cats, so I wrapped my computer in plastic wrap.

(As you can guess, her system overheated cause the vents were covered with plastic)

T=Is it possible to remove the plastic?

C=NO!!! Cat hair willg et in and mess it up.

T=Ok, here's what we'll do. We'll send out another tech to take a look at the system and see what can be done.


--Couple days later--

Got a call from the Installer...

I=You won't believe this


I=That call you sent us out to do?

Me="Cat Lady"?

I=Yeah, well the tower was scalding hot because of the plastic wrap. Got the stuff off and the motherboard was partially scorched. She tried to blame us for it to.

And her place is just crawling with cats.

By this point, he was laughing and so was the rest of the call center.

They replaced the system, no warranty of course, and advised her that they would not be responsible for any other damage that may happen if she were to wrap it again.

Our OS
Posted 12/01/2000 by Will

Ok. To understand this you must know that i work for Apple Computer. One day we got a call from some training center...

Me: Hello?

Training: Yes. We are calling because we know that you are involved with computers and we would like to offer our onsite training services. We teach classes using the latest technology including Windows 98. We can upgrade your machines for you as well.

Me: I really don't think we need that. This is a Apple center. We have our own operating system and it's not compatible with Windows. It's called the Macintosh Operating System.

Training: But we could put windows 98 on your computers and then you could use our training services right?

Me: Look, i really don't think you understand. This is Apple Computer. We sell the colorful iMac computers. The don't run windows so we don't need training for windows. We don't have any windows machines here.

Training: Then can i interest you in a brand new Pentium system complete with...

(me interrupting)

Me: Look, i'm sorry if i wasn't clear. We don't do windows. This is an APPLE CENTER!

Training: Well if you ever need our services feel free to contact us.

Me: Thank you, good-bye.

I haven't heard back so i guess i got through. I was kinda curious about letting one of their technicians come over and try to load windows on and iMac as a show of good faith. It was a good laugh all around the office.

mac vs pc
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I'm a student tech at a highschool, well anyways most computers are pc's but i found out different :P

*the phone rings*

me: hello?

teacher: hi, i accidently pressed some button and i can't get the program to close.

Me: what program is it?

teacher: well i was trying to log into novell and then this just popped up..

me: just ctrl + alt + del it and just end task..

teacher: umm where's del?

me: delete..

teacher: i dont have it

me: sure you do.. oh or are you on a fruity pebble?

teacher: you mean i-mac?

me: yea, a mac of some sort...

teacher: yes.

me: just hit it and it'd fix any problem

LOL that was my lame story and it's funny because i got introuble for saying hit the mac ***doesn't like mac's***


Netscape 6
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Dear Tech Helpers,

I am having trouble accesng shocwave web sites and When do you think Netscape 6 will have the same abbility's as Internet Explorer 5.0 or Netscape 4.0?

>From your pal Brian


More Magic
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I was reading through your archives and noticed a tale called "magic". The author has obviously 'borrowed' and 'reinterpreted' this from a well known hacker tale....the original is much better.... (taken from

Two Stories About `Magic' (by GLS)


Some years ago, I was snooping around in the cabinets that housed the MIT AI Lab's PDP-10, and noticed a little switch glued to the frame of one cabinet. It was obviously a homebrew job, added by one of the lab's hardware hackers (no one knows who).

You don't touch an unknown switch on a computer without knowing what it does, because you might crash the computer. The switch was labeled in a most unhelpful way. It had two positions, and scrawled in pencil on the metal switch body were the words `magic' and `more magic'. The switch was in the `more magic' position.

I called another hacker over to look at it. He had never seen the switch before either. Closer examination revealed that the switch had only one wire running to it! The other end of the wire did disappear into the maze of wires inside the computer, but it's a basic fact of electricity that a switch can't do anything unless there are two wires connected to it. This switch had a wire connected on one side and no wire on its other side.

It was clear that this switch was someone's idea of a silly joke. Convinced by our reasoning that the switch was inoperative, we flipped it. The computer instantly crashed.

Imagine our utter astonishment. We wrote it off as coincidence, but nevertheless restored the switch to the `more magic' position before reviving the computer.

A year later, I told this story to yet another hacker, David Moon as I recall. He clearly doubted my sanity, or suspected me of a supernatural belief in the power of this switch, or perhaps thought I was fooling him with a bogus saga. To prove it to him, I showed him the very switch, still glued to the cabinet frame with only one wire connected to it, still in the `more magic' position. We scrutinized the switch and its lone connection, and found that the other end of the wire, though connected to the computer wiring, was connected to a ground pin. That clearly made the switch doubly useless: not only was it electrically nonoperative, but it was connected to a place that couldn't affect anything anyway. So we flipped the switch.

The computer promptly crashed.

This time we ran for Richard Greenblatt, a long-time MIT hacker, who was close at hand. He had never noticed the switch before, either. He inspected it, concluded it was useless, got some diagonal cutters and {dike}d it out. We then revived the computer and it has run fine ever


We still don't know how the switch crashed the machine. There is a theory that some circuit near the ground pin was marginal, and flipping the switch changed the electrical capacitance enough to upset the circuit as millionth-of-a-second pulses went through it. But we'll never know for sure; all we can really say is that the switch was {magic}.

I still have that switch in my basement. Maybe I'm silly, but I usually keep it set on `more magic'.

Do your job ISP tech support!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a very large computer company, and sit and answer calls all day. I have had my fair share of hilarious calls, however this one just makes me so mad. I'm just going to jump into the middle of the call here because we all know how the first bit goes.

Me: Okay, so you changed your _ _ _ password by using their automated phone system?

EU: Yes, I didn't like the password before, it was too hard to remember, so I called up the automated line, and entered in the new password using the keypad on my phone. Now when I connect, it says: "the username or password you have supplied is is incorrect".

Me: Was the password working before?

EU: Oh yes, I had no problems before I did this. So I phoned _ _ _ tech support [fill in the blanks with a 3 letter ISP that we all know of =) ], and they told me that my modem was defective, and that I need to get a new one.

Me: Oh, I see...... Well, lets connect with _ _ _ right now on a conference call and see if we can't get this resolved.

** conference to _ _ _ tech support **

I'm skipping a bit forward here too...

Me: Apparently [EU] phoned your automated line to change her password, and after doing so, she can't log on, and receives the error "the username or password you have supplied is incorrect", and one of your techs told her that her modem was defective. Why don't you have a look at her account to see if the password she wants was entered correctly?!?

Other "Tech": What was the password that you had entered m'am?

EU: leila, all lower case.

Other "Tech": Oh, that's not what it is here, I'll have to change that for you.

Me: So you mean the modem isn't defective? That's what I figured. Why would a tech agent tell [EU] that her modem was defective when it's blatently obvious that it was purely a configuration problem?

Other "Tech": It was an honest mistake. I'm sorry about that.

Anyway, I proceeded to ask for the agents [the one who told my customer that her modem was wrecked] name so I could possibly inform his supervisor that he was not soing his job, and the _ _ _ tech agent told me he couldn't, and hung up the phone.


That's my beef. Hope this gets posted.

Stupid Mouse
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

As a network admin at a local hospital, I was also the only one in the facility who knew anything at all about computers. A new user was hired to do some billing stuff on a Netware 5 server from a terminal emulator. Problem was, she had to log on to the Win NT PDC before she could access the emulator.

Our usernames were the 1st 3 characters of the user's first name and the 1st 3 characters of the last name combined. The default password (which was supposed to be changed at first login but was never enforced) was the user's last name. This user's last name was 5 letters long. Her password for the netware connection was different than her NT login. On a daily basis, I had to actually go to her desk and type in her last name so she could get to the network because (I assume) she forgot her last name from one morning to the next and she couldn't understand my instructions on the phone as to where to type it (the only empty box on the screen).

To top that off, the icon for the terminal program was usually found anywhere and everywhere on her desktop as she was unable to "double click" it. I actually watched her try to open that application one day for about 5 minutes. She would click, and move the mouse at the same time and then try again. She told me the mouse was stupid and that it hated her.

By the time the icon got to the other side of the screen, I put a stop to it.

I showed her how to click once, and hit Enter to open the application.

I hope she's doing well wherever she is, and hope her next admin has plenty of hair. She could have singlehandedly made all of mine fall out, eventually.

Old monitor?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Sam

I work in tech support at a college and students often have questions for us about their home computers.

We have some wild and wacky questions in the e-mail support system and frequently over the phone too, usually from clueless staff. The same staff who are supposed to be teaching Office Technology or Computer Studies...

But the students top the lot...

One guy, on an Oracle course, no less, says his machine won't give him high enough resolution on his screen, it "splits the screen into four".

We think hmmm, shite old monitor/graphics card. So we ask him to bring it in for us to test on a new monitor, easily capable of 800x600 or more. Of course, it's fine, we get up to 1024x768 with his VGA card, so we recommend he buys a new monitor, which he does. £150s worth of new screen later, he takes the box home and tries it out.

Next day, he says it still won't work, so he brings it in again and I fire it up as is and look at the resolution. I set it to 1024x768 and sure enough, the Win96 background tiles into four at such high reso. Oh my god...

The best bit was bringing him into the office and showing him and explaining the problem. My personal solution? Put the PC back in the box, and return it to the shop, saying you had to bring this back because you're too stupid to own a computer.


Beeper Caused Failure
Posted 12/01/2000 by Jeff

This story is 100% true; and the reason I know that is

because I was the person who called tech support.

I was the person on call for my area for one two day

period, which required me to carry the area's beeper over-

night. Well, I didn't want to do that, so I left it in my

desk drawer, which was next to my PC.

The next morning my PC seemed to be making funny noises every

five minutes or so. It sounded like the hard disk drive

was going bad, so I called tech support. The tech support

guy came and opened up my PC and waited for the noise.

After a few minutes he realized the sound was from my desk

and not the PC -- the beeper was set to vibrate and it was

going off every five minutes because of stored messages from


Posted 12/01/2000 by crushercon

One aspect of working overnights at a phone tech support line is that there are usually only a few techs on duty at 03:00. Often, when an Eu is having a problem that takes several calls, an Eu has a chance of getting the same tech. Sometimes this is good. If the same tech helps the person, the tech knows what he has already done, and doesn't repeat the 'most common fixes'. On the other hand, sometimes you get a case of EEOC, Equepment Exceeds Operator Capability. I get a call from someone who has just received his computer. Eu has just set up his computer. Eu is on the MS end user license agreement, you know, where you HAVE to agree to proceed. I don't know what happens if you don't agree, as everyone I've ever heard of agrees. The Eu has the agreement on the screen, calls me, and asks what he should do. I'm wanting to say "Do you want to USE your new computer, then AGREE!" but, being the nice tech, I politely explain to agree, we proceed through a few more steps, and the Eu has to hang up so the computer can dial in.

End of story?

No, he calls back, I'm the lucky tech that gets the call, and now he is getting username or password errors. I had already confirmed his password during the previous call. His password was numbers, so it was not like he had the caps lock on. I decide to delete his password files, just in case it was pulling a password from the windows login. Have you ever had to revert to keyboard shortcuts because an Eu could not work the mouse well enough to go to start, then find, then files and folders four times without getting it started? And when we did get it started, and I explained how to make an '*', and I want him to click on the find now, he tells me "It says 'what's this?'". Ok, he is right clicking, so I specify, "Left click on the find now button". Again, he tells me it says "what's this?"

I ask "Sir, are you SURE you are left clicking?" His reply "Well, I'm clicking them both". Love the mute button, that way he does not hear my teeth grinding.

Of course, my bad call was not asking at the beginning how he was putting in his user ID, just because in the first call I had specified no spaces in it, and (stupidly) assumed he would have remembered that for the 20 seconds it would have taken for the computer to dial in and ask for his password.

Hope the long story is worth you time, it helped me to vent a little, thanks.

Exec's are the best
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A high end executive just transferred to our office from an office in another city. She wasn't VP or anything, she was just here temporarily, but there was only one person above her, our CEO.

Well I go to help her one day with the problem that her computer "won't turn on". Already I know it's just something silly, maybe the cables not all the way plugged in. I come in and watch her press the power on the monitor repeatedly, and she looks at me and says.."see?". I say "oh, that's the monitor, you have to turn the power on on your CPU", and I point to the machine under her desk, and she looks at it as thought she's never seen it before.

This woman probably gets paid over 100,000$ a year. Did they used to teach on abacuses or something?

Explosive situation
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This is not my personal tale, but a story told to me when I interviewed for a student intern job at a nuclear power plant.

To guard against sabotage and other dangers, all workers and visitors to this nuclear power plant were scanned for explosives and weapons. The explosives test involved the employee entering a booth and waiting. The booth stirred the air around the employee and sampled it for nitrates, a vital component of explosives.

One summer, the plant started getting a large number of positives, but when searching the employees, nothing was found. These false positives occurred for two to three days each month. The service technicians for the scanners worked feverishly to figure out what was going on, because every false positive required a painstaking search (just short of a strip search and body cavity inspection) of the employee. Multiply this by the number of false positives, and they ended up wasting hours each day, and the lines of employees waiting to get tot heir jobs moved slowly indeed (not to mention that all the searches were ruining morale.

Finally, someone sat down and tried to figure out what changed at the beginning of the summer, and what it could have in common with the first few days of the month. He only came up with one, and it didn't make sense. This year, the power plant had hired a new landscaping service, and the first Monday of every month, that service brought a special truck onto the grounds. This truck carried the fertilizer and spreaders. The fertilizer this company used was (drum roll please), ammonium nitrate based. The truck left a huge cloud of high-nitrate fertilizer on the road, and employees arriving ended up driving through this cloud, and picked up enough nitrates to give the sensors fits.

A change of fertilizer to something not ammonium nitrate based solved the problem.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This incident did not happen directly to me, but to another tech I was assisting at the time. I work for a large ISP tech support and one of my co workers recieved a call where the irate customer was so because she couldn't close one of the "Windows" that kept appearing on the screen. The message said something like "warning, your internet connection is not optimized....(blah blah blah). She complained that she could not get to the homepage without getting this error. Well upon opening up the web site ourself we discovered it was an ad banner made to look like a window screen, promoting a web accelerator. We tried to explain to the lady that it could not be closed and was an ad. She took our complaint email address and hung up.

Security - pah!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I supported a fairly obscure UNIX derived operating system.

One customer, a military site, suffered from kernel panics on a number of different machines. The usual recourse was to jot down the register values listed on the screen, then dump the entire memory contents to tape or floppy, and pass the dump and register values onto the OS vendor for further analysis. Their kernel develpors would then persuse the memory dump to determine why the panic occurred, which was often down to a hardware problem.

Due to security issues this customer couldn't provide us with a dump. We then tried to get someone on site to look at the machine, in case the problem was a hardware configuration problem - they refused this too as we had no-one technical with the correct security clearance.

Why did they take out a support contract if we were not allow to help them?

Cable internet with 38 channels WOW!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Ryan Gibson

Ok to start off I must tell you that I live in a very royal area, so to me this tech tale wasn't exactly unexpected but here goes. My friend and I was looking into getting cable internet because do to our location we have less that 28.8 connections. So he decided to call our television company to ask if they provided cable internet. Well when he called a custumer service rep. picked up the phone, and my friend ask him "Do you provide cable?" the rep. replied "yes what packaged would you like?" then my friend said "Whatever the fastest one you is!" The employ which was bumfuzzled at this time said "The fastest one?....All our cable is the same speed, but we have 38 channels!". As you would imagine the conversation quickly died from there. Well sadly that shows its going to be a long time before we get cable internet here.

The fine print
Posted 12/01/2000 by Rick Stump

I work tech support for a large software company with a range of backup products. One day a customer called in and wanted help with an add-on product that allowed him to backup a Lotus Notes database. He was very agitated and hostile and it didn't help that I had to transfer him to our database team for help. I walked over to my partner from the database group to help reassure they customer. The other tech put him on speaker phone so we could both talk to him at once.

The customer kept getting more and more upset that 'XXXXXXX Agent for Lotus Notes' wouldn't backup his Lotus database. Because he was on speaker other techs heard the commotion and gathered around, silently listening. We kept trying new things for about 20 minutes with this guy getting more and more upset about 'XXXXXXX Agent for Lotus Notes'. Finally, my partner said,

"Sir, it sounds like you are reading 'XXXXXXX Agent for Lotus Notes' from something. Are you?"

"Yes! I'm reading 'XXXXXXX Agent for Lotus Notes' from the box!"

"Sir, could you open that box for me, please?"

"Sure, sure!"

There was a long pause, then the customer said, very quietly,

"Hey, there's a CD-ROM in here...."

All of use were trying not to explode with laughter while my partner says,

"OK, sir, let's put that CD-ROM in the drive and load the software you're trying to use."

I have no idea how he could keep such a straight face as he walked the guy through installation and configuration.

System Support Officer
Posted 12/01/2000 by System Support Officer

I recieved a help desk call from a man who claimed that one of the printers his department shares was "smouldering and smelling", "Thats interesting, I'll be there right away" i told him.

I found the printer turned off. It was a Hewelett Packard Colour Laser printer .I switched it on and watched very closely for the smouldering or sparks, flashes, etc. There was nothing until about 2 minutes later when the printer had warmed up. There was a horrible, sickening chemical smell. I yanked the power cord out of the printer and gasped for fresh air.

I removed the back cover off the printer, then removed the fusion module. I had found the problem.

An idiot had tried to print on a transparent plastic folder cover. The cover had melted all over the rollers and fusion unit, there was melted toner all over the rollers and fusion unit.

I managed to fix the problem, removed the melted plastic, cleaned up the rollers.

I printed a huge poster and stuck it above the printers that said "Plastic Folder Covers do NOT work in laster printers", I had stapled the melted plastic to the poster.

I always get a chuckle when I walk past the printers and see the poster.

Posted 12/01/2000 by Frank

Just got off the phone with one.

I work at a helpdesk for a major US gov't agency.

The users typically have GW laptops and HP portable printers.

Me: "XXXX Help, this is Frank."

User: "My printer won't print."

Me: "OK, let's get the easy ones out of the way. Is it turned on?"

User: "On?"

Me: (thinking, he doesn't know what ON means?) "Yessir, is the green light on the printer lit."

User: "Uhhhhhh, No"

Me: "Well, turn the printer on."

User: "How do I do that?"

Me: "Push the power switch."

User: "Oh, okay....Hey, it's on now, but it's not printing."

Me: "Well, is there paper in it?"

User "Paper?"

Me: (thinking, WHAT?????) "Sir, you will need to speak to your supervisor about how to load paper into your printer. Have a nice day."

Someone....PLEASE kill me...

Upper Case?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Frank

I work for a help desk for a government agency. We have MANY users that supposedly have Doctorate degrees.

Two quick calls:

While providing a new password for a user, I try to give it to them clearly and phonetically.

Me: "A as in Alpha, C as in Charlie, the number 2..."

User: "Is that a lowercase 2 or an uppercase 2?"

Me: ????????

Second time:

Me: "G as in Gulf, N as November..."

User "M"?

Me: "No sir, there is no such word as Movember"

These folks have advanced degrees and you have to tell them what an asterisk (Shift and the number 8), or a colon is.

I've got hundreds of them.

Disgruntled Employee?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Raichu12

I worked for about 8 months as point of contact for the Telephone Trouble help desk of a midsized university. The strangest call I received came one day from our Department of Parking & Transit. The problem: Every time they called off campus, they woudl get 911. Further investigation revealed they were calling a pizza joint adjacent to campus. We called the pizza joint ourselves and got 911. Turns out somebody at the pizza joint had set their pohen system to forward all incoming calls to 911.

How the heck???!!!!
Posted 12/01/2000 by The Cynic

I was called up to the office of a stock broker who had just been upgraded from a dummy terminal to a P166 with Win95. He said that he couldn't see anything on the screen. (17" monitor) When I arrived in his office, on his screen was the center portion of the letter R. No top, no bottom just the center. I had to set his PC up next to another, so that I could go through the keystrokes to reset his font size.

Breaking the Rules
Posted 12/01/2000 by Raichu12

I administer a Pokemon discussion board site. One of our rules is that you cannot post a topic title in all caps. I received this email message from one of our members.

) From: [hisemailaddress]@[hisISP].com

) Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2000 15:51:29 EST

) Subject: hey all

) To: [myself and a number of other administrators and moderators]


) i forgot which oness are admins so ill email all mods and admins


) but please do not delete this post


) http://www.[sitedomainname].net/[path]/[filename].html


) i posted that cause i want to get rid of my cards and please do not close it

) cause of the caps in the topic


) thanks


) [hisusername]

I went to the URL, saw that the topic title was in all caps, and promptly closed the topic.

Stupid co-workers.
Posted 12/01/2000 by Paul Grayson

My company had a nasty habit of hiring stupid support engineers. Two were really bad, both only worked for a month or so before being dimissed.

The first one had a really depressing voice (like Marvin the Paranoid Android, but much worse). I felt that he was not suitable to talk to customers, so we relegated him to general admin tasks.

He was asked to label up some DAT tapes for the weekly backup. Somehow he managed to attach the label to the hinge of each tape. He then inserted the tape into one of the servers (not even the correct server for that tape) and managed to jam the drive. I had to dismantle the DAT drive to retrieve the tape.

He was also asked to fit some memory to his new PC. On powering it back up it failed to come up with not even a beep. I took off the cover to find out what he had done, expecting to see a disconnected power connector. Imagine my suprise when I discoverd that he had managed to remove the cover of one of the motherboard's support IC's, exposing some of the silicon. I've no idea how he managed to do that.

He was then asked to catalogue some new software and hardware into our in-house database, something even an 8-year-old could do without getting it wrong. Unfortunatly he managed to catalogue all floppy disks as hardware. His explanation for this was that if he could see it, it was hardware! I've no idea what he expected software to look like.

The second co-worker was just plain stupid. He supposedly was training to be an MSCE, but just didn't understand the basic concepts. He had a nasty habit of asking really dumb questions, most of which I've since erased from my memory as being just too stupid.

One day I was working on a problem with couple of Unix hosts, and the easiest way to transfer a few small files between the two was by dumping a tar image to a raw floppy disk. After I had finished, the afore mentioned collegue asked for a floppy disk. I handed him my scratch disk, but explained to him that as I'd been using it under Unix it would need formatting before it would work under DOS. His response was "And what version of DOS does Unix run?".

I was later explaining that we had a problem with our firewall, and to resolve it we needed to upgrade the host operating system. His repsonse this time was "I'd didn't think a firewall needs an operating system". Well, how is it supposed to work, then?

He was also unable to comprehend that adding extra memory and a faster processor to a struggling server would make it boot up quicker.

We was sacked on the day I left the company.

Minimise is not delete.
Posted 12/01/2000 by Paul Grayson

A few years ago I worked for systems integrator. We used the same email package in house as the package we recommended to all of our customers.

One day I was talking to someone in sales, and noticed that his mail package was running slowly, as it took 30 seconds or so to retrieve a new mail message, when it usually was instaneous. He read the email message, and then 'deleted' it. In fact all he really did was minimise the mail message.

I then dawned on me as to why his machine was running slowly. He had around 100 mail messages, all minimised in the same way, meaning that whenever the main folder was updated every one of these windows also had to be updated. The email program was also configured to restore its desktop settings on restart, so that every time he restarted his email package it read in all these messages.

I instructed him on how to properly delete messages.

The most annoying factor is that his job was to sell this product to potential customers. How could he do this if he couldn't drive the package himself?

Waiter,there's a fly in my notebook!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Da'Phill

I do tech support for one of the big name notebooks,and we have gotten several calls where the customers say there is some flys in the screen,and how to remove them!Try not to laugh as we explain that those are just pixels which aren't changing color properly!

The Miraculous Printer
Posted 12/01/2000 by SilvorMoon

My dad does tech work for a school system, and he insists that teachers are the worst people in the world to try to teach how to use a computer, because so often they think they know it all already. Last night, for example, he told me about how he'd been called to fix a malfunctioning printer. He looked, and - lo and behold! - it's out of ink. Easy fix, so he informs the lady that her printer is out of ink and tells her to put in a new cartridge and it will work fine. She gives him a look and informs him that her printer doesn't use ink. And she is sure that this is the case - this printer of hers, she is sure, never has and never will use ink. Apparently, she thinks that because it's hooked to the computer and the computer doesn't need ink to make pretty pictures, the printer doesn't, either. Or maybe she thinks it's a laser printer that can burn in the images?

Coffee Warmer?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I worked as tech for a company that sold computers and

peripherals to a division of the defense department. One of

my coworkers actually received a call from a Colonel in this

particular branch of the armed forces. The Colonel had

received a brand name laptop that was sold on contract. Like

most laptops, it had the glidepad built into it for moving

the cursor by sliding your finger around on the pad. This

particular brand also had a button on the side of the case

that had a coffee cup symbol- it was used to wake the laptop

up from suspended mode.

This Colonel called and actually said:

Colonel: "My coffee cup warmer isn't working"

Tech: "Coffee cup warmer? (he thought perhaps someone had

made a device that connected to a port for this purpose)

Colonel: "Yes, I put my Coffee on it and turned it on, when

I came back, my coffee was cold"

Tech: "Is this a device connect to the laptop?"

Colonel: "No, it is built into the unit"

Through further investigation, the tech found out that the

Colonel didn't realize the glidepad controlled the mouse

cursor, he was sitting his coffee cup on it and pressing the

suspend/wake up button. He thought that, because it had a

picture of a coffee cup on it, it activated the glidepad

to warm his coffee......I almost coughed up lung over that


hotline problems the other way around
Posted 12/01/2000 by Joerg

I bought a used telephone router, which i wanted to configure via my telephone. The manual listed this as a feature, but i couldn't find any descriptions of the code to send to te router. So i called the hotline (which wasn't very cheap...)

HL: This function depends on the firmware version, it says on a chip inside the router.

me: There's no screw, or something to open...

HL: Doesn't matter: take a screwdriver as a lever and open the plastic cover.

me: Are you really shure? This makes strange noises...

HL: Don't worry, force the cover to open, nothing will happen to the router.

These were the last words i heard through my phone. After recognizing the motherboard was destroyed, i bought a new router... I guess, this techie was actually a sales guy!

Keyboard Skills
Posted 12/01/2000 by Steven Tomlinson

I'm not a Tech supporter but I'm board so what the hey.

Here's a few little stories, their not that funny but so what.


I'm in college right now printing off all 38 pages of techtales on their priner

and there's a man next to me being taught how to type.

He's got a paragraph about 4 lines long and he's took over 15 mins so far to type it.

He looks at the letter, puts his finger on it, then takes 10 seconds to find the matching key

on the keyboard by wich time he's lost his place on the paper and has to start reading , letter at a time

with his finger, from the begining.

The man teaching him has gone for a coffe, i don't blame him. I've worked out he's doing about

2 words a minute.


Just the other day I was printing of some work on my laptop and one of the people wating to get

their print outs offered to buy my lap top, it's worth about £1,300 and they said.

"How much you want for laptop?"

me) "It's not for sale"

"I offer good price"

me) "No thanks"

"I give you £10 now"

I turned the very tempting offer of £10 down and went on my way.



This one's from my lecturer:

He was teaching a class to use a PC, but one man couldn't quite

grasp the concept that you could pick the mouse up and move it if you

went off the mouse mat.

The class was set the simple task of running Word from the desktop icon

He was walking round checking on people when he got to the man who had

the mouse half way up the wall.


By the way the bloke sat next to me still hasn't finished typing hie 4 lines!

Burn, baby, burn!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Dexter Herbivore

I work as a "Technical Assistant" doing DB administration and tech support for a large mining company. One of our company directors came up to me yesterday and asked for verbal instructions on how to burn a CD.



m What software are you using?

d Word and Excel

m Errr, no, what software are you using to burn the CD

d Word and Excel

m (being extremely patient, and demonstrating one of our CD burning apps) Well, it works kind of like this, and you need to use some software that burns CD's.

d You need to use software to do that?

m (Looking for somewhere to run) Errrr, yes...

(It turns out that he'd just been using drag'n'drop to try to copy the files to the CD burner... no wonder our companies value has dropped by 60% in the last twelve months with this genius making decisions for us.)

Alt-Tab 101
Posted 12/01/2000 by Toad1138

My family is (on the whole) quite computer-savy (there's been a computer in my house for 15+ yrs)

The other day my (blonde) sister was came upstairs from the office complaining about Word 2000

She said that she couldn't switch between documents and had to keep pulling up her second document and then closing it in order to copy and paste from one to the other.

Myself, one of my younger brothers and my dad were sitting around the kitchen table and all of us immediately answered her question (in a terrible cacophony of "go to windows and select the document" and "Hit ctrl-tab" etc...)

As this really didn't help her (see definition: cacaphony) I went downstairs to the office to show her. She sat down at computer, I grabbed mouse and moved to bottom. Both documents apear in Task bar. Sister emits embarassed "ooooh" (She REALLY should have known this!)


The better story was one that I didn't find out about later. We have cable modem access, and my dad was getting frustrated with my brothers downloading large quantities of (expletive deleted) off the internet so he turned off the cable modem before leaving for work one day. Returned that evening to find computer partially disasembled and 2 somewhat embarassed brothers trying to "fix" the problem.

Don't take my word for it
Posted 12/01/2000 by John Hobson

In the early 80s, I was working for a large telecommunications company. Over one weekend, we had a new AT&T Datakit installed -- essentially a high speed, high capacity router.

On Monday morning, one of the users called me and complained that every time he tried to get into a system called "predictor2" he was connected to predictor4.

I asked him to try to connect to predictor4. "Hey, I'm in predictor2!" I then told him that all the predictor systems had been connected to the new Datakit, and what had almost certainly happened was that the cables to the two boxes had been switched in the patch panel.

He said, "No, no! I'm sure that it's a problem with the Datakit itself. We MUST call AT&T!" I said, "Before we call anyone, let me see if the cables have not been switched." But, he was adamant. We had to call AT&T.

So, I set up a conference call between me, him, and AT&T tech support. I explained what was happening, and the first thing the AT&T tech rep said was, "Well, the first thing you have to do is make sure the cables to the two systems did not get switched in the patch panel."

Guess what the solution turned out to be.

Frozen Computer
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This about a friend of mine who complain that every time she walked away from the computer for 15 minutes the screen would go black. So ever time she came back she thought it had frozen and restarted the computer and wondered why she kept getting this thing callded scandisk. Well turns out her power save mode for the monitor was set to 15 minutes, and when she came back the screen was blank.

Right and Left Mouse Button
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in a technical support center in Fresno California.

The best call I got was from a lady (from Oregon) that did not know her right from left... I told her to hold her mouse in front of her and pretend it was her car... I then told her to click the side of the mouse where her steering wheel was. (Left click)

When I needed her to click her right mouse button, I told her to click where the passenger was sitting. (Right click) This was the only way I could communicate with her to setup the PC for a dialup connection.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Customer: Im having problems sending email on the internet.

Tech: What is the error message it is giving you?

Customer: Well, it says that it can't connect to the server.

Tech: Are you connected to the internet?

Customer: You mean I have to be connected to the internet in order to send email?

Cup Holder?!?!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Jessica Stanley

TS: Tech Support may i have you user id please?

Customer: NO

TS: I need you user id to acsess your account information..

Customer:'s boat#$^%

TS: No Sir that is your password

Customer: What the hell is my user id??

TS:(sigh) It is the first part of your e-mail address

Customer: Oh it is(long pause).........iluvballs

TS:(trying to contain laughter) heh........ok and what seems to be the problem??

Customer: I can't get on the net

TS: Ok, are you getting an error message when you try to connect??

Customer: Connect?

TS: Yes, when you click on connect what happens?

Customer: I don't know

TS: (uggh) *sigh* What is your browser?? NN or IE?

Customer: Napster

TS: (AAAAHHHH) That is a browser sir.. IE is a blue E and NN has a ship or a ships wheel as an icon

Customer: I don't have either of those!!!!!!

TS: (pissed) Click on start, go to programs, and is IE or NN in the programs list?

Customer: YES it is I am not stupid!!

TS: Please click on which ever one you have

Customer: Ok

TS: Do you have 2 phone lines?

Customer: YES why are you asking me these stupid questions?

TS:(i actually pulled a huge clump of my hair out on this one) Ok then click connect

Customer: It isn't doing anything

TS: (think think think) Ok well do you still have the software we sent you?

Customer: The shiny disk thing?

TS: (oh god this can't be good) YES

Customer: What do you want me to do with it?

TS: Put it in the CD-ROM Drive...

Customer: Whats that?

TS:(bit my pen and got ink everywhere) located on your Computer cas there should be a button on the right and a slot above that wide enough for a CD....

Customer: Oh Ok........well I have the cup holder open already!!!!!

TS: #%^$*(%&*()% CLICK(hung up) I couldn't stand it....

Posted 12/01/2000 by Michelle Tarte

CS: Good Morning this is Michelle how can I help you?

Customer: yes, I would like to schedule a time for you people to deliver gas.

CS: Sir we are an internet service provider!

Customer: I need to schedule a time to get some damn gas.

CS: Sir we don't see gas.....we are an internet service provider.

Customer: Listen you little witch, I am here freezin my balls off, and you are telling me that you aren't going to deliver my gas???

CS: (getting angry) WE DON'T SEEL ANY GAS!!!

Customer: (irate) I want my damned gas deliver by tonight or i am coming down there with my shot gun in the am and show you whats comin!!!!

CS: (pissed beyond belief) YOU KNOW WHAT SIR, YOUR GAS WILL BE DELIVERED BY 5PM!!!!!!!! HAVE A NICE DAY!!!!!!!!!

new age of stupidity
Posted 12/01/2000 by shmulik benarroch

this is how the story goes,

i am supporting this woman and she ain't so bright but damn

there's a limit even for stupidity

i guess not


-P: she cant see sites

-S: she cannot see sites

--) what program - "outlook express 5"(here we go ...$%#@)

--) she typed the address in the new mail(the best is yet to come !!!) and tried to surf

--)we moved to the explorer and tried to surf

--) she got the site but i checked the fw and she is not connected

--) she didn't get her site (hmm...)

--) i asked her if she installed the software web -) she can see it with the cd -) that meant NO.

--) we reinserted the CD and tried to install when the computer was playing PING and she read out the a GPF has occured (kernel32)

--) the cd came up for some reason afer read error and she couldn't click on anything

--) i asked her to close all of the windows -) she couldn't

--) we tried to use alt+F4 -) nothing

--) we tried to click ctrl+alt+del -) nothing

--) i asked her to reset the computer -) she said the mouse ain't working

--) i asked her to use the button on the box -) she closed the screen

"the computer is off but the backup is still on (CD)"

--) i asked her to turn the screen on and to try and close the computer -) "start shutdown is not working" -) i asked her to use the button on the box

--) she took out the cd

--) we tried another button -) nothing -) that was the floppy drive

--) i asked her to stop and do not shut the screen again -) i asked her about the buttons on her comuter box.

--) she said that the technician didn't allow her to touch the reset button

--) i asked her to use it -) nothing happened ?!?!?!

--) she turned the screen off again -) i asked her not to touch the screen.

--) i went to consult with my supervisor -) take the plug out

--) we took it out

(supervisor said to check that GPF were before our CD and send to technision)

--) while the computer was off i asked her about the GPF

--) they started a couple of weeks ago -) she said she gets them all the time "with and without the CD inside"

--) i explained to her about the GPF (very generally) and told her that she will need to go to the technician again cause her computer is having problems

--) she said he came over yesterday and he said the computer is fine

--) i asked her if the computer seems fine to her -) she said no

--) she will go back to the technician --thank god

That Little Rope!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am IT Manager for a Local Authority in a country area of Australia.

One of our engineers walked into my office one day and asked if I had any spare parts for mice.

I asked why, and he told me that he was having problems with his mouse at home.

I suggested that he bring the mouse to me and I would have a look at it for him.

Some time later he was back, however instead of bringing the entire mouse, he had in his hand one of the rollers from the mouse.

I took one look at it, saw what looked like a mess of dirt and glue attached to the roller and asked "What did you do to that?"

He replied "The little rope came off so I tried to glue it back on!"

Immediately I burst into uncontrollable laughter. He had mistaken the build up of dirt on the roller for a "little rope" and decided that it needed to be re-attached to the roller.

On regaining my composure, I suggested that he remove all trace of dirt and glue from the roller and re-install it in his mouse. I did not hear any more from him about the problem.

Some ISP Techs need help.
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a company that does outsorce tech support for an OS. And I got a call from a customer and she saied that her IPS told her that she would never get on line with two copies of the cab files on the system.

BTW the error she was getting was a 629 error. And all I had to do was remove IPX/SPX from her network control panle and she could connect.

Some ISP techs need lots of help.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by alley

I used to work Inside Sales Support for a highly respected RAID/SCSI HBA manufacturer (that no longer exists). Computer ignorance/illiteracy doesn't bug me, unless it comes from people who should know better. A few examples:

1) while discussing our HBAs with a project mgr. he stated emphatically that RAID is a single HW part, and not a system. I mean, it's right there in the name "ARRAY"!

2) overheard one of the girls in the office say that the sound card in her monitor was dead.

3) Women who could explain (in great detail) the finer points of

SCSI, fibre channel, system needs, processor speeds, ECC memory, HW/SW caching, OSs, and typical configurations, couldn't figure out to customize Outlook, how to transfer a folder to someone else's machine, how to store files on the network, or change basic peripherals. In fact, after receiving a new computer, I heard one of them ask why all her settings were changed!

4) It could take five of them to figure out how to do basic user stuff-and then they'd all run around to each other's desks showing each other.

And things only got worse when we were bought out...but I'll send those stories another time.

Independent Explorer...
Posted 12/01/2000 by Amichai Rotman

I was called to a Toshiba Laptop computer. I don't deal much with laptops, and this one was ne to me so, at first, I didn't know what the *real* problem was...

The user claimed Internet Explorer opens automatically every time she boots her computer. I looked everywhere to find the link / app causing this to happen - with no luck. I checked the StartUp group, Registry keys, Startup files, Apps running on the system tray... Even spoke to Microsoft Support. Then I had the briliant idea of calling the Toshiba distributours to ask them which keys I can remove from the Registry. Then came the solution:

The User was using the Internet Explorer Launch Button to turn on her Laptop... The computer would boot up and open the default home page...

The Toshiba Tech told me to use the power button on the left side (which was locked...) to power up the computer...

Just shows you to look for the easy obvious solution first...


Amichai Rotman

the little green light...
Posted 12/01/2000 by still notelf

I’m not a professional tech support person, but I made a quick 7 bucks consulting once over the summer. A friend and I had played a game of lasertag at an amusement park, and when we came out, the people behind the counter said that they couldn’t print our scorecards because their printer had just mysteriously gone down. Most of the group wandered off to ride something, but I didn’t trust the teenagers behind the counter to be computer literate, so I asked if they would let me look at it. They wanted to get it fixed without their boss finding out they’d broken something, so they let me leap over the counter and look at it.

The first thing I noticed was the puddle of water on the floor in front of the printer, a VERY bad sign. I asked them where it had come from, they said that one of them had spilled a drink but they moved the printer and none of it had gotten on the printer. I figured their problem was probably a loose cable, and that’s about all I’d be able to fix anyways, so I started checking things.

Of course, the printer problem was the absolute classic: it wasn’t plugged in.

I plugged it in for them, and they were grateful enough that they gave me a couple of free tickets for my 20 seconds of work.

Posted 12/01/2000 by Mark Fisher

I work as Tech Support and I had a caller the other day who was not able to send himself a test mail. Now our mail server is not the most reliable nor fastest but at that moment we knew of no problems with it. But for some reason this mail was taking forever to send. . and the customer wasnt happy. So I checked his settings and they were fine, just recieved, that was fine, sent a test mail to him from the support desk and it both sent quickly and recieved quickly. But this damn mail still wouldnt go. So we tweaked him modem (which was a bog standard internal, nothing special and known not to be the best around) and still it just stalled on sending. So we deleted the mail and wrote a new one, which sent instantly. . what this gentleman failed to tell me prior to this was that the mail had a file attachment.

He bought a new, larger hard drive and wanted to keep his 300mb collection of Half Life maps so compressed them into a 96meg zip file and decided to mail them to himself!! D'oH

Techs Are Stupid Too
Posted 12/01/2000 by Tech Guy

Hi, folks. I work for a national ISP and have found some of

my coworkers are capable of doing things that make you laugh

and cry at the same time. Just last week, one of my coworkers

a "professsional internet technical support representative"

recieved a call from a customer who would find that AOL

Instant Messenger would launch everytime the computer was

started. To most folks, correcting this would be a simple

matter of taking the check out of "Start AIM when Windows

starts" in AOL IM's preferences. My insightful coworker

didn't think of this and, instead, uninstalled Netscape from

the customer's system. The user was likely forced to switch

to Internet Explorer/Outlook Express because the tech was

completely clueless. We've tried to give her some tips, but

she gets defensive. Oh well, I guess most technical support

lines are like boxes of chocolate. You never know what

they're gonna tech.

-Tech Guy-

The Floppy CD-ROM
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I used to work in sales where one of the new sales directors was a complete moron. I don't work in tech support, but I tended to be the most knowledgeable about computers at my last company.

We started using a new database application, and for the new director to access the files, she had to load the new database package on her laptop, an *inkPad, if you will. This *inkPad was the type that could either house the floppy drive or the CD-ROM drive, but not both internally at the same time.

I dropped by her office and our conversation went like this:

Me: "You'll need to load *leMaker Pro on your laptop to access these files. Do you want me to help?"

Her: "Yeah. What do I do?"

Me: "Okay, you'll need to insert the CD-ROM in your computer, and then I'll talk you through it."

I handed her the disc and glanced at her *inkPad. The floppy drive was in it.

Me: "You'll have to put in your CD-ROM drive."

I kind of murmured that because I didn't want to sound patronizing. She gave me a puzzled look (not uncommon for her because she was a moron).

Me: "You've got the floppy drive in your computer. You need to put in the CD-ROM drive. You know, the thing with the tray."

She stared at me for a second and proceeded to shove the CD-ROM into the floppy drive.

Me: "No! You need to power down your computer, remove the floppy drive, and put in the CD-ROM drive."

She stopped, looked at me, and made a brief attempt to get the CD-ROM drive that is presumably in her desk drawer. But she aborted the attempt, and replied,

Her: "No, I switched them out on Friday."

She then resumed her quest to put the disc into the floppy drive. She tried a couple more times, over my objections of disbelief. Finally she said,

Her: "Oh, I guess it doesn't fit."

Her sales skills were on par with her computer skills, and I ended up leaving about two months later.

All Purpose Repair
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work on an internal corporate help desk. We support the AS/400, NT, 200, that sort of thing. So one of our users emails the following to us -- to the alias that our ticketing program uses to reach us, in fact.

User: The door leading to the 6th floor Men's restroom stays open for 20 seconds before it closes. Is there any way someone can fix it.

Us: ??? Can we go /look/???

We gave it to our boss after laughing a lot, and she had us email it to the office manager... after she got some mileage out of it. One hour delay on sending programmed in, and the email got passed around the IT department in hard copy so we could have our laugh of the day.

Publications Technology Manager
Posted 12/01/2000 by Ginger Imler

During my "tech support" days for a real estate company, I had an agent call the office because he wanted to use a computer to type a letter and not the typewriter. He told me he had used a computer before he just didn't know which program to use. I had him double click to open Microsoft Word from the shortcut on the desktop and when it opened I told him that he could just start typing and then print when finished. We hung up and I thought it was over.

He called me back about five minutes later. He had typed the first line and wanted to move down to the next line but couldn't figure out how. I told to just hit the "return" key...big mistake...he says there is no return key on this thing. I looked down at my keyboard and politely corrected myself, "I'm sorry, sir, the key is 'Enter' that you need to press." Needless to say the call lasted a lot longer that you could imagine.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in a computer lab at the university I attend for my scholarship. Kind of a bum deal, it is the best academic scholarship they have, yet you have to work 75 hours a semester for them. Well this particular day I was working on my computer science project, of course due the next day. Well this one particular lady kept asking me some very basic questions. I answered each of these as nicely as I could, working under a deadline is never fun. Anyhow she came up to me to ask me how to copy a section of text, she at least knew how to highlight it. I then explained she needed to open notepad or word, to copy the text too. I then told her to paste the text in, and how to do this. I hadn't realized what she had copied in until I saw the pasted material in word. She had copied one number. She then asked how to print that. I told her that it would have been easiar to just write down the number, was only like six digits, yet she still printed it. It amazes me how lazy some people can be.

Clueless Tech with certification and Unwanted Tech with Experience!
Posted 12/01/2000 by AngryArtboy

I worked as an internal tech guy for a local petrolium-product piping company (which will remain nameless because I respect many of those in IS Dept. there... though they probably have abandoned the sinking ship by now). I just had to share this experience with "certified" technicians:

The company was hiring full-time tech support people. I was a temp. I needed the job. I had learned a LOT already, thanks to the masterful outsource guy they had on at the time who was probably the best brain there (hey John, you rock!). So I applied for the job.

The boss told me that she knew tech support wasn't what I wanted to do as a career and felt that this issue combined with my lack of degrees or certification made me not the best choice. I understood the rational at the time and didn't get upset. Getting upset was for later.

Instead of hiring me (and someone else who was, like me, already there doing tech as a temp), they hired two new guys with some kind of certification (MS, Novel, generic networking, Crackerjack, whatever).

They are nice guys (the one guy drives like a madman, but who's counting... it's just death).

The one guy, seemed a little "green" to me, but who the hell was I? Just a 19 year old temp. This guy had been around. He was at least ... um... hell he looked no more than 5 years older than me. Well, give him the benefit of the doubt, right?

Walking by a co-worker's cube, I saw scan-disk running. As in, MS-DOS 6.22 Scandisk. The green tech was not there, but the co-worker was.

ME: Hi... problems with your system?

HER: Yeah. Program X was crapping out on me. I logged a help desk call and Soandso came down here. He's checking the hard drive for errors or corruption. Did you want to talk to him? He went to the bathroom.

ME: I see... Um... No, I don't need to talk to him...

(I stammered a bit) Um... Don't you have Windows NT?

HER: Yeah. 4.0, I think.

ME: Do you know that scandisk is destroying all of your long file names?

HER: !!!??!??!?!

So of course I did what I could, which was rebuild her NT install and all her program installations where the programs actually relied on the long file names. Too bad about all of her documents...good luck finding things when "Helpdesk Common Resolution Backup 11-14-97.txt" has become "helpde~4.txt" I can only imagine how confused the tech guy would have been had she been using NTFS. "Wow, we can't even read your hard drive from DOS! Time to FDISK!"

So, let's summarize here:

1. I tried for the job and was denied because I'm not good enough or interested enough to make it my life goal.

2. They hired people who cause more problems than solve.

3. I cleaned up after them.

Hmmm. No thank you. I quit.

Some time later, it was suggested that I was passed over for a guy who knows less so that I would be no threat to the "lead" tech. I'm not sure...but you never know. Who cares... I have people telling me how valuable I am where I am now.

I say again: certification proves nothing. In fact, it very frequently tells me that someone doesn't know dog poop. If I ever become one who does hiring, I will certainly be far tougher on the so-called certified applicants and probably pass over them if they don't really impress the hell out of me quickly.

Cool site, by the way... amuses me while I deal with customers...

No Dial tone
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Hello. Tech support

Yes I keep getting the message that my phone has no dial tone.

Ok sir does your phone have a dial tone.

Well I don't know

Ok then could you listen to see if it does

Ok hold on a sec, (at this time the memeber gets on his hands and knees and puts his ear up next to the phone line pluged into the wall)

No still don't hear anything.

Me:(Knowing from previous calls, most people don't make that much noise trying to listen on the other phone line, so i knew that something wasn't right) Ok sir so you picked up the phone and listened for a dial tone and you didn't hear anything?

Him: No I listened to the jack on the wall and didn't hear anything was I sopose to do it that way?

turn up the volume
Posted 12/01/2000 by B Brower

I own a small computer repair company. I recently replaced the

sound card in a customers computer. All was working fine when I

returned his system. The customer was happy with the sound for about a week.

He called and said that the sound card I sold him was bad and he

demanded that I replace it immediately. Always trying to satisfy my customer,

I drove over to his house to fix the problem. I had him insert a music cd and sure enough

there was no sound....until I reached over and turned up the volume on his speakers!!!

Porn n' Spouses
Posted 12/01/2000 by capuchin

Two quick tales, too good not to share:

Customer brings us his laptop and digital camera, complaining that he can no longer download pictures.

Fair enough. He leaves it with us to take a look at and will return the next day. We boot the laptop, hook up the camera, take a few "goofing around with computer" shots, and hit download. Interestingly enough, the default folder the pictures download to is "My Personal XXX Photos". Intriguing.

Not able to resist a peek, we gather around the screen open-mouthed as a cavalcade of every carnal act known to man is paraded before us in the guise of our fat bearded customer and his lissome Asian girlfriend.

The next morning we drew lots to see who would plaster on a straight face and hand it all back to him...


Another time, we had a customer with another laptop that seemed to have repetitive system errors. Again, left overnight, we ran a bunch of disk repair utilities, and found at least 3000 damaged files - nothing serious, just bad bundle bits, messed up icons, easily fixed. The exceptional thing here was the nature of the files - a veritable cornucopia of porn, neatly categorised into folders (eg "redhead", "cheerleader", "dachsunds naked in jello" - you get the idea).

Not uncommon, and not noteworthy, save that the customer showed up with wife in tow next day and demanded, no *DEMANDED* to be shown the log of all the files we had fixed.

We got to sit back and watch as he turned paler and paler, and his wife turned redder and redder as they read down the list....

Convergence Confusion
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This dates back a couple of years to when I was doing tech work for a large Apple Dealership in Seattle.

We had a customer who'd just bought a top o' the line G3, stacked with RAM, and a rather nice LCD monitor to match. After a couple of days he brought the screen in, shaking with rage, complaining that the screen was discolored, and demanding a replacement. So, I took it out back, plugged it in, and all seemed well.

The counter guy in an attempt to mollify the customer gave him a new screen, and sent him on his way.

Not three hours later he was back, reporting the same problem. We were closing, so rather than just give him another screen, we told him to come back in the morning with his computer, and we'd check the whole system out.

Next morning, he was waiting on the doorstep when we arrived. Without further hesitation, we set up the box, plugged in the monitor, and fired it up. All seemed well, and I said so. The guy exploded, asking me if I was @#@$#@ blind, or just a #@$@ retard? Couldn't I see the distortions, the bands of color? After a few minutes of this, I finally realized the true nature of the problem.

I opened the Appearence control panel, changed the desktop background, and watched the blood drain from his face.

Ah, the joys of support.

Posted 12/01/2000 by JC

I was doing technical support for a professional sofware company, but was not doing end-user support. We were receiving calls from system administrators and developpers only, but we had some good ones, too. This one happened to one of my teammates.

Some customers from Israel complained that they had problems writing some customization on top of our product, so we sent them an email asking "What language did you use to write you customization?".

When he received the answers a few days later, they fell on the floor. They had replied "We wrote it in English"...

Posted 12/01/2000 by Don

Many companies assign names or numbers to computers for inventory purposes and to identify them on the network...

Me: What's your computer name?

lUser: Viewsonic

When working in a shop when Win95 first came out...

A customer had an old 386 and wanted it upgraded to a Pentium with sound and CD etc... Pretty much only thing left was his video card and hard drive (and we needed to add another one to handle Win95). He picked up his nice new computer and took it home. A few hours later the phone rings:

lUser: The CD you installed doesn't work.

Me: It doesn't read disks?

lUser: nope, and I demand you fix it immediately!!!

I had the lUser bring it in, but he couldn't wait while I looked at it so he just left it and said he'd be back. I plugged it in and everything worked fine.

When he returned I showed him that it worked, he grumbled about our poor equipment and left.

An hour later he called absolutely screaming into the phone about how f&*%&^% we were and he was calling the BBB etc. I asked him to bring it back again.

He did, I plugged it in and it worked fine. I asked him to show me what he did when trying to use it.

Sure 'nuff, shiny side up. He swore that's how his stereo at home worked...

What's the difference?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Jon Lorenz

Out of the many jobs I had to do at Vision Computers (tech support, build, configure computers), I had to answer the order status line. Customers would be transfered to this phone if they want to know the status of a computer we're fixing or a new computer they've ordered.

Me: Vision COmputers, order status, how can I help you?

Cust: Yea, Y'all've got a computer in there, and I was wondering if it was done.

Me: Is it a new system or is it in for repair?

Cust: What's the difference?

I refrained from laughing and I said in the most porfessional voice I could muster

Me: A new system is a system that we are building and confiuring. A system that is in for repair is a system that we are fixing.

Cust: Oh. It's in for repair.

power anyone?
Posted 12/01/2000 by tosha

I work in a slightly big computer company based on a small island, so if u mess up bigtime practly everyone will hear about it some time. The company got a phone call from a client saying that thier pc would not turn on but was working fine yesterday, after 2 hours of talking to this person i had sent one of the techs out to their place to see exactly what the problem was.

The technitian couldnt figure what the problem was himself so he brought it back to the lab to test. Upon switching the pc on and off to no availi just happened to look in the bak of the pc to find that there were two switches for the power. one was in the off position.

Yes, everything IS plugged in...
Posted 12/01/2000 by PDF

I've been working tech support for 3 or 4 years now, and I have to tell this on myself. I was a fledgling tech, but that's not really an excuse...

A user was having trouble with her Visioneer PaperPort ix scanning keyboard. The keyboard would work fine, but the scanner simply would not do anything. No power on resetting the PC. Nada. I even reinstalled the software (not that it would have helped, but I was running low on ideas).

I religiously checked all connections again--every, and I mean every--cable was plugged in correctly. Power cables from the PC and monitor all plugged into the UPS; scanner cables plugged into a power strip; power strip plugged into live outlet.

Of course, the scanner worked soooo much better when I finally turned the power strip ON.

Where did it go?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Barry

I am the sole tech support for roughly 300 users, so from

time to a TRUST my users to do upgrades of applications.

I will create a STUPID proof document takeing them step

by step through a procedure. During our upgrade to OFF 97

I made a simple document with very easy to follow

instructions. It started with "Go to Network Neighborhood

on your desktop". Everyone seemed to have no problems at

all. One day a few weeks later a User called saying she

couldn't open something sent to her in Excel. I went to her

desk to find she was still running OFF 95. When I asked her

why she didn't upgrade she informed me that, after

reading the instructions she looked all over her desk, the

floor, and her drawers but couldn't find Network

Neighborhood anywhere on her desktop. She figured someone

must have thrown it out.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Greg Bankin

I used to provide IT support for a medium sized office and one day one of the staff came to me to get me to load some software on her PC. As I was busy at the time I told her I would be able to do it later that day. Of course she needed it loaded NOW. As it was a simple install I told her she could do it herself and told her to insert the setup disk and run setup.

A short time later I got a call from her that something had gone wrong. I knew then I should have just done it myself.

On going to her office I found that she had done as told, the problem was when told to "Insert disk #2" she had. Unfortunately it never told her to remove disk #1 first. As is the case with all things electronic or mechanical, if it doesn't slip in easily - FORCE IT.

Result - one dead disk drive

She was under the impression that when you put a disk in the drive it was taken into the machine and placed in some sort of magazine for future use by the PC.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

One day whilst working as a computer technician at a fairly large computer repair centre, I was confronted by our monitor technician, who proudly (and arrogantly), told me that a PC had a faulty video card because the horizontal sync that the video card put out, was too much for the monitor to handle and that he had thoroughly checked the monitor and found NOTHING wrong with it. So politely I put the PC on a bench for testing for a few hours, without seeing it lose sync at all. I then questioned the monitor technician again to see if he was sure it was the monitor, which was answered with a very rude reply. So I then thought I'd put the monitor on the same PC to see if I could see it then. By this time we had attracted the interest of the other 5 people in the workshop who had all gathered around the monitor to see. And as the monitor technician had said, the sync was out.

Another technician, who was trying to stick up for the monitor technician said "It may be losing sync on the bootup scre....oh wait.." and then hit the top of the monitor, which *suprisingly* corrected itself.

I took great pleasure in pointing this out to the monitor technician (thankgod for witnesses or he would have never believed me) who went very sheepish for the rest of the day.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by William R

I formerly worked on the electronic imaging helpdesk for a camera


One particularly slow day, a customer called in asking how to remove

the roll of 35mm film from his digital camera, because it seems to

be stuck. I tried to politely explain that his particular camera

stores the data on an internal memory card and didn't require 35mm

film, hence the "digital" title. The customer became irate, called

me a liar, and hung up on me.

Approx. five minutes later, I received a call from another customer

who sounded suspiciously like this last gent, but doing a bad Capt. Kirk

impersonation. My suspicions were confirmed when this caller gave me

the same name and phone number (for our records) as the last customer.

After repeating our conversation about 35mm film and his digital camera,

the caller again called me a liar (and several less polite names) and hung up.

This customer called two more times with the same problem, each time becoming

irate when I tried to explain that he shouldn't have tried to put 35mm film in his

camera. After the fourth call, my supervisor (who had been listening in on the

previous four calls) came over and took over the call just to get this guy to stop


How to print with a stiker on the cartdrige!?!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Martin Lebel

One my friend, a technicien :P , come to my house to print some ticket with her printer because her computer does not work... When he arrive he put a new cartdrige on her printer, send the documents to print and... No colors! What's that!?! He try and try to set the color with the program who come with the printer but... no result...

After many time he realise that he have forgot to pull off the stiker on the cartdrige!!!

A very good technicien! :O)))

Mouse troubles
Posted 12/01/2000 by Andy

I work in helpdesk for a large internet company, and recieve many . . . interesting phone calls. I don't pretend to be a technical genius, but some of this stuff is ludicrous.

For example, I was talking to a lady the other day who was experiencing a few problems with her mouse. Apparently the cursor was moving in the wrong direction.

Me: "So where is the little tail sticking out from?"

Her: "Its sticking out from the back of my hand"

okay, usual shit, the mouse is upside down.

Me: "Okay, can you please turn the mouse around"

Her: "No but, you don't understand!!! Its mean't to be like this!!"

Me: "Ummmm . . . no its not"

Her: "No, but my husband used it like this!!"

Me: "Okay . . . that means your husband had it upside down as well"

Her: "no, but you don't understand"

Me: "hmmmm . . . right"

The call went downhill from here.

A Mac "Classic"
Posted 12/01/2000 by Michael Forde

Many years ago my poor mother got a Macintosh to work from home with.. Except she had a "problem"

Calling me up at work, she asked why the "Little arrow" would move left and right across the screen but not "up and down".

Doing all the normal things, I got her to remove the mouse ball and see if she could see the arrow moving up and down

when she moved the rollers inside.

"OH yes it does!" was the reply.

But when the mouse was back together she still had the same problem... Left and right ok, up and down nothing..

I just HAD to drop by to see with my eyes.....

The reason?? (Drumroll....)

Left and right.. mouse on the desk

Up and down.. mouse In the air!!!!

(Well if you think about it.. you move your mouse "in and out" of the desk for "up and down"!!!!!!)

Mothers and computers don't mix...

What Garbage!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Michael Forde

One rainy day I was working as a Field tech for a large public Organization when I was called by a user working at a field depot.

She asked me if I could help emptying her Trash bin, 'cause her "Computer will be in trouble if I don't, and everyone

here is too scared to do it.."

"Is it full of files?", I asked.. "Just right click..."

"No no no... It's full of Water" she said..

Confused and Intrigued, I popped over to have a look..

and to my horror saw she had a bin sitting over her monitor

collecting water dripping from the roof!!!!!

Sales/ Tech
Posted 12/01/2000 by Gordon Shiloh

In December of 1999 i was working for a computer company

in the mid atlantic area.

The company made 50% of their income from Computer Shows,

and shortly before Xmas '99' , after trying to field questions from at least 5 customers while tring to write up

sales from 3 more at the same time, a young man tugged on my sleeve.

The first two times i did not realize that it was deliberate, that indeed some one had pulled on my jacket sleeve.

The third time i just stopped in mid sentence and looked the young man in the eye and said, "Is there anything i can help you with?" {Nevermind the fact that i already had 8 people to deal with as it was!)

The young man (Aproxx. 17 years old) held a computer case in his hands, looked up from the floor redfaced and said,

"I ...ummm bought the parts to build this computer from you

last week and it won't work."

"No problem, let me take a look at it for you."

As i took the side panel off, he explained that this was the first time he had tried to build a computer own his own.

After i removed the cover i asked him if he worked in

the construction field.

His eyes became wide as he exclaimed, "HOW did you know"!!

Quick note: I have owned an construction company since

1972 and have been in the computer field since 1967.

"Let's just say that you have just shown me one more way to

use sheetrock screws", Yes he had used sheetrock screws to

attach the motherboard to the backplate... no spacers, just

motherboard jammed tightly { shortcircuit} against the

metal mounting plate.

Believe it or not after remounting the motherboard THE

CORRECT WAY!... It Worked!!!!

Guess god pitys the ignorant and foolish!!!

The Flashman!

What happens when it rains?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Ed Waldorph

I am a retired network engineer for a major city, but the most hilarious support call I ever heard comes second hand.

Adobe was previewing their release of version 5 of Pagemaker and several of the presenters had previously been in tech support. They swore that this story was true.

Tech: What is your problem?

Cust: I can't get Pagemaker to run.

Tech: You mean it won't start at all? How are you trying to start it?

Cust: I just type "PM4.EXE"

Tech: (incredulous) Are you typing this at the C:) prompt?

Cust: Of course.

Tech: (flustered) But ma'am, Pagemaker only runs under Windows.

Cust: Oh! (pause) Does that mean I have to move my desk?

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Tech: {after finishing actual technical support}

Uh, excuse me...How old are you?

Customer: Under 18 is all you need to know.

Tech: You have to be at least 17, you sound like you're 18.

Customer: I'd rather not say.

Tech: Please, can you just tell me?

Customer: ...

Posted 12/01/2000 by Heather

While working at an online company i received a call asking about out service.

Customer: I want to hook up to your service.

I start to tell him the prices and such. He then asks for a free disk. So i get his information and then ask him if he has Windows 95 or 98.. he says he doesnt know he just got a modem today. I thought it sounded strange so i ask him if he has a computer also, he responds "oh you have to have a computer?"

What are Movie Trailers??
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I'm a supervisor in the customer service area for that unnamed streaming video software by Apple. My favorite part of my job is taking irate customers. This had to be the best. One of the reps comes to me with that look of deep hurting on her face and begs me to take this woman off her hands.

Once I introduce myself I ask her what the problem is:

Cust: I'm trying to download a file but only a two minutes of it plays before it turns off.

Me: What are you trying to download?

Cust: I want to see "The Green Mile" but it won't play. Why don't you people make better software!"

Me: Ma'am are you on the Movie Trailer section of our site?

Cust: Yes.

Me: Well Ma'am the trailer for that movie is only a few minutes long so you are seeing the whole thing.

Cust: Why isn't the movie starting then?

The penny drops.

Me: It's not the whole movie, it's only the trailer.

Cust: (who is really pissed now) What's a trailer?

Me: It's the preview for the movie.

Cust: Who the hell would want to watch that? How am I going to see the Green Mile now?

Me: You could go to a local theater.

Cust: I want my money back. YOu people are misleading customers by not having the whole movie on your site, not some *&^%ing preview.

At this point I'm laughing my head off with the mute button on. I attempt to explain that the movie companies decide to put up the movie online and not Apple. She decides that we're just trying to steal her money and hangs up.


No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

One night wile working the phones for an ISP, one of the newer tech's started asking me question's about network setup's and some other dial up questions he had been on the phone with the same lady for close to 1 hour I guessed that she had real problems for it to take as long as it had. the questions continued for another hour at which time he told her to try something and if it didn't work call back he hung up the phone told me he had to use the restroom and to grab the call if she called back. Not 30 seconds after he left the phone rang again and sure enough it was her knowing what the other tech had done and checked I asked her what she had tryed she told me that she had moved the computer into the other room and tryed it on her husbands computer, a little confused I asked what part of the computer she tryed this with she explained that she had moved the "TV part" I shake my head and ask her when the last time that she was able to dial in and connect was after a short pause she says

"well it was about 2:30 this afternoon befor the phone company turned off my phone line" .. this took me a second to grasp the idea that she didn't realize this. I ask her to plug the phone line that she is using into the computer and try it again so she says bye I hang up and watch for her show up logged in and within 45 seconds she was on.

problem with what!??!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Ben S.

I work at a help desk in a semi-large insurance agency and we support about 900+ onsite users and another 1000+ in remote offices. This story is not my own, luckily, but it's my co-workers and this is, unfortunately is tale told on us. I had a LAN tech come over to me one day and ask if the problem report/work order submitted to him was a joke...

LAN: Is this a joke or something?

me: What is it? Let me see...

The problem report read: "The user is having a problem witha a fagat. Could somebody please go and fix this for him."

me: laugh for a long while...

LAN: laugh for a longer while, "So you don't know who submitted this?"

me: no...

So after he went around and showed it to most of the IT department, my co-worker (her) showed up.

me: 'her', did you submit a problem report for user XXXX?

her: yes.

me: what was it about?

her: the user couldn't access faxgate why??

me: laughing histerically... faxgate?!?! hahaha!!!

I quickly went to resolve the problem with the LAN team of techs and then told 'her' what the problem was... we all had a wonderful laugh out of it!!

The joys of iMacs
Posted 12/01/2000 by Mike V.

A few years back, I was employed as a technician for a nation-wide computer retailer. As such, one of my obvious duties was to check-in computers customers bring in for repair. Those of you instictively cringing know that this is a bad thing: customers can get pretty irate when they bring in a computer that isn't doing what it's supposed to. Checking in computers was a job I tried to avoid as much as possible, but one day I was glad to do it.

I was at the counter finishing up some paperwork, and I see a woman walk through the front door carrying an iMac. She makes a bee-line for the tech counter, lifts the machine up to about chest level, and without much care drops the computer on the counter with a loud Thud. She looks up at me with a rather frusterated look, looks back at the computer for a moment, then back at me, without saying a word.

Me: Um, what can I do for you?

Customer: Jeff Goldblum is a (explative) liar!

It was all I could do not to burst out laughing. Obviously, she had seen the commercials with Jeff Goldblum talking about how easy it was to get on the internet with an iMac. Turns out that she hadn't found it quite as easy as 'ole Jeff had promised :)

Government Incompentance?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Ille Pugil

Today I had the strangest phone call, the customer had called because his wife had called earlier. He was ranting and I had a rather hard time composing myself... Here's what he said:

"My wife called in and I asked her who it was she talked to there [meaning my call centre]. I asked her, "Who'd you talk to?". She said, "I don't know". I then asked her "When'd you call them?" and she responded "I don't know". It scares me, she works with the government. I know I wouldn't want anyone like that working for me."

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I do first level support for large company with nearly 100,000 employees.

I just got a call from a woman who wanted me to find a missing computer. I'm thinking, "What, by satellite?" She goes on to suggest that I put a trace on it. "Sure, Ma'am, we'll just activate the homing beacon. You'll be able to triangulate its location with the beeping noises."

I gave her the intranet inventory page, and sent her on her way...

Warning Virus!
Posted 12/01/2000 by KrisL

One day while doing some miscellaneous tech supporting, a lady rang up saying “Every time I send an email, I get one back!”. I thought for a second that she was probably sending a message to an unknown user or something else. Turns out after a little investigation that it looked like her machine was infected with some kind of replicating virus, that was sending her a message with a strange attachment every time she sent one out. “What can I do about it?” she asks. “Well” I said, “I would suggest installing some anti-virus software”. So that is what she apparently did.

She called again, thanking me for the advice I gave her and I asked her what virus it was just out of interest, to which I was unfamiliar. She responded with “Do you want me to send you a copy?” to which I declined, jokingly saying “Not through my email, but perhaps you could send it in protected storage! LOL”. She did not appear to understand that joke, so we ended the conversation. On Wednesday I received an envelope containing a plastic bag which had the letters printed on the front “WARNING VIRUS”. It was accompanied by a letter from the lady thanking me so much, and to take care the virus did not get out. Confused? Was I ever. I opened the plastic bag, thinking it was some kind of joke, but I could not believe my eyes, there was a plain text print out of the raw message that contained the virus. I had to roll on the floor for a while. The virus being sent in all seriousness made it all the funnier. I hope you found it funny as well! :o)

With friends like these.....
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

While working in the public sector I had cause to visit another site to perform a test installation of some new software.

After a successful test I popped next door to speak to the secretaries. They asked if I could look at a printer that stopped working three months before. One of my colleagues, call him Cupid Stunt, had been out to it a couple of time but had been unable to resolve the problem.

Two minutes work revealed that the problem was caused by a missing network cable. As soon as I plugged in a spare the printer started to churn out paper.

Returning to the test machine I spoke to the manageress about the new software. She then asked about the printer attached to the machine which until recently could be used by all of the machines in the office.

When I found out that the problem started at the same time as a visit by Cupid it didnt take much to find the settings that he had changed that caused it to no longer be shared on the network.

The same manageress then asked if I could look at a machine that had been moved from one office to another, and no longer worked. Not only did it not work, but when plugged into the network it brought the entire segment down as well.

This time Cupid had visited three times, and our third-party support company twice. The third-party was due back that afternoon with a new network cable to try.

Just from the symptoms I had a good idea of what to check. The cabling contractor who had installed the network had fitted one of the make-before-break wall sockets upside down. When a cable was forced in the right way up it would break the segment and nothing would work. I merely turned the cable upside down to plug into the upside down socket.

You may ask what Cupid was doing working there. Well he had started in another department, then moved to another department, then moved to another department, etc.

We were just unfortunate in that we were the last to get him. This meant that there was nowhere else they could move him.

The only other choice was a two year process of warnings and reviews to make him redundant. Since the boss was less than two years from retirement he couldnt be bothered with the hassle of doing it.

So dont complain so much about stupid users, as a stupid techie can inflict even greater woes. With friends like these.........

Too Much Info
Posted 12/01/2000 by Louis

ME: Thank you for calling tech support may I have your username please?

CALLER: I'm a virgin.

ME: What? (Not believing what I just heard)

CALLER: Yes thats right I am a virgin.

ME: Ok......I am not sure if I am hearing you correctly.

CALLER: I said "I AM A VIRGIN" I mean I am new to the internet and dont know what to do!

ME: ( relief :-) ) Oh ok.... Well let me get your email address then.

CALLER: Janiefree@.....

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Louis

I work for a major ISP at a tier 1 helpdesk.

ME: Thank you for calling tech support may I have your username please?


ME: Ok thanks. How can I help you today?

CALLER: I am A+ so dont dumb it up. Ok?

ME: Ok.

CALLER: I have noticed that my browsing has gotten slower and slower over the past year.

ME: Have you ever cleaned your temporary internet files?

CALLER: Whats that?

ME: ........

Where do these people come from?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Jamyn

I dont know if you accept mp3 files of recorded tech calls, but I'm offering one. She could not figure out why she couldn't send/recieve mail in Outlook. The call was transferred to me because one of the techs could not handle her; she was totally lost and he couldn't get her to listen. She had so many things wrong with her system that after successfully fixing her dialup config, he begged me to take her off his hands, since she still had to fix her email config. She had mangled everything.. I used a kind tone with her and tried to get her walked through it as fast as possible. I didn't get the first few words taped because I forgot to hit record at first. ;) The transcription of what happened is amusing (for example, she put in "http://www.(isp).net" for her username) and some other mistakes, but the end of the recording is the kicker. If you do use the mp3 of this, please, copy it from my server; I dont have a lot of bandwidth to spare.. hehe. This whole incident occoured about a year ago, when I worked tech support. I have since moved on (thank God!) to network administration. Anyway, to grab a copy of the mp3 (I edited out any identifying information), get it at: (950k, 2:10)

Here's a copy of the conversation in case you decide not to get the mp3.


(me) (The other tech told me) that you were having problems with the mail, and that..

(her) Riiight. I'll tell you what we found out. We're farther along than we think. Under mail, I went under options, ok.. we were trying to find out I had put in for the server. I have my name, (edit), organization is blank, email address i have (edit), uh, outgoing mail.. smtp.. I accidentally put in there (her real name).net.

(me) yea. It's smtp.(isp).net.

(her) Ok, its what? I'm sorry?

(me) it's smtp.(isp).net.

(her) ook. smtp.(isp).net. and the P3?

(me) yep, the pop3 is mail.(isp).net

(her) and pop3 account?

(me) yeah. Your username and password.. (edited; I give her the info to remind her)

(her) ok. This is http://(edited).net

(me) uhmmmm... no, it's going to be (her username and password). [note: She put our webserver address into her username slot on outlook]

(her) ooook, you want me to put, in the the pop3 account.. now, this is where the problems come in.. are you SURE you want me to change that..

(me) rrrrrrriiiiight. Its not.. (trying not to laugh).. http:// .. ok.. the pop3 account name; its asking for an acciount name and password, right?

(her) ok..

(me) is that what it's asking?

(her) it says POP account..

(me) riiiight. Does it have a spot for a password right below that?

(her) yeah.

(me) ok. So the account name is (her username)

(her) it is?!

(me) ooook. and then your password, (her password)

(her) ok.. do I need to re-enter that again?

(me) you can.. make sure it's correct by reentering it if you want..

(her) oooooooook.. (typing) .. allrighty.. (typing) verry good.. ooooh gosh. lets just start all over.


So what did she do at the end? You know that final screen when you setup a new email account in Outlook that says "Finish / Cancel" ? Yep, you guessed it. She didn't press finish.. she pressed Cancel. AAAAAAAgh. ;)

- Jamyn

Money, no brains
Posted 12/01/2000 by Infinity

I worked hardware support for a small New England college for three years. One of my favorite memories is a young (and somewhat cute) Freshman chick bringing her computer down to the shop, and then handing over a box containing a then-state-of-the-art Pentium 200.

She said, "Here. I don't know what this thing is, but my dad paid a lot of money for it, so you need to make sure it works."

A close second place is opening up a case to install a network card, and finding a stale pizza crust inside. Funny thing was, the case was still factory-sealed...

Girlfriend & my comptuer parts
Posted 12/01/2000 by Steve Wier

I am a self-admitted computer geek, and my girlfriend is an artist, amoung other things. So she decided to create a sculpture-type piece of art using some old computer parts that I had lying around.

I came home from work and she asked me to help her drill out a screw that was stripped on an old harddrive she was taking apart. I didn't think twice, and drilled it out. Suddenly it hit me -- I turned over the case of the drive to discover that it was the harddrive to my NT server (that I had been working on). Now splayed across my kitchen table were the platters, heads, and the rest of the innards of the drive. ARG!

The Dissappearing E-Mail
Posted 12/01/2000 by JB McMichael

I worked at Readers Digest in their help desk office for a little over a year, and this is, by far, the funniest phone call I ever recieved.

I got a call from a lady in the legal office. She tells me that her e-mails keep dissapperaing. I run through the standard questions, but nothing seems to make sense. I finally ask her where the e-mails are dissappearing from. She informs me that they keep leaving the Trash folder. My response is, they are supposed to. And this is where it all gets very interesting.

She tells me that she has always stored her e-mail in the trash. I tell her that since we were having space issues, we automatically delete anything int he trash folder. She gets very upset, "Why wasn't anyone told about this?" she asked. I reply, "Because e-mails stored in the trash are assumed to be trash." Then she goes on to tell me that this is all wrong, and explain to me why she keeps e-mail in the trash. She gives me this example. Say she gets an e-mail that is a reciept, but she doesn't need it right away, she puts that in the trash, then when she needs it, she can go back and get it. I say, that is a valid story, but instead of storing your e-mail in the trash, why not create a folder, and store it in there. Then she says she can't do that. I tell her it will be no problem at all to walk her through creating a new folder. To which she replies, "I know how to create one, but I don't want to." Why not I ask, it would be the same thing.

She never answered the question, but did start yelling at me. When I finally got her to calm down I told her this. "Say you just ate an apple, but you only ate half of it, then put the other half in the trash can. Would you get mad at the garbage man for taking it away?" After which I hung up, never to hear from her again.

No Phone-Mode
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

The school where I attended/worked gave out a CD or Disk with software on it to set up a Win3.1/Win95 machine to dial onto the campus network.

I was working phone support one night when I received a call from a student. She could not connect to the network. Of course she was running Wind3.1 (anybody who has had to do phone support for a Win3.1 dial-up TCP/IP connection knows the nightmares). Fortunately, I was quite familiar with the software on the disk and coud describe the dialog boxes from memory. So I had her re-run the setup program all the time carefully confirming with her what her screen was displaying. We went through the WinSock setup, verifying the dial-up script, I even looked up her username on the system and reset her password so that would not be an issue.

The people I help on the phone I would also see frequently on campus, I did not want to make her feel stupid or anything. But I finally had to resort to the basics. I asked her if go to the phone jack by here computer. She did not know where it was. I told her to follow the line cord from the phone she was using to call me all the way back to the wall. She did. I asked her if there were any other cords coming from the wall jack going towards the computer. She said no. I said Doooh!!!! I told her to follow the line cord back to her phone and look where it plugs into her phone. I explained to her that there would be a plastic clip on the end of the wire. She pulled it out of the phone to look. I said Doooh!!!! A few minutes later she called back. She was a little angry like I hung up on her. I asked her to look at the back of her computer and look for a little square hole that that plug could fit in. I further explained that there will probably be two identical holes right next to each other. After several minutes of baning, claning, and cussing from her she says there aren't any. I calmly asked her to look again very carefully because her modem had to have a place to plug the phone line into. She immediatly replied with "I don't have one of those 'phone-modes'."

Needless to say I placed a new box at the beginning of my mental flow chart that look like ths:


/ \ ------------

User has---no---|shoot user|

modem? ------------

\ /


To this day I still wish I had that 45 minutes of my life back...

Um, ok?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I think one of the best stupidities i have ever seen from a manufacturer.

Bought a CD-ROM drive, no paperwork inside the box, only a CD labeled “Instructions”.

What a wonderful world we live in…

Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

this is a real story , from the technical support of an ISP from Israel !!!

S : hello , mahmood from the tech support is speeking

how can i help you ?!!

C : i want to get connected to the internet for the first


S : ok , let's open "my computer" , i have nothing like

this .

C : ok , is your computer on ?

S : yes

C : ok , let's close all the windows !!!

why ??? does the wind bother the computer ???

Lights on, nobody's home.
Posted 12/01/2000 by Thorn

The user was complaining that every once in a while, her

monitor go to a black screen. It had been happening for

a couple weeks and was driving her crazy. The light was

still on for it but the picture would just dissapear.

Help desk had her check the connections and everything seemed fine so they

dispatched it to me to take a look.

So.... I change the screensaver. It was set to

"blank screen".

Somedays I just want to put my head thru my cubicle wall.

Stating the obvious.
Posted 12/01/2000 by Jeeves

I work for a large japanese car maker on the tech support line for the dealers. Whenever the dealers have a problem with the pcs that we supply to them to communicate with us, they call our hotline. (Side note, car salesman are scum. They will lie to you no matter who you are, even if you are trying to help them.) They also use these computers to order their car allotment a few months in advance. Now they can only order cars two days a week, and if they don't do it on time, we at headquarters do it for them, so they don't get a choice in what they get. One day, the dealers were unable to get in to order to some dns issues, so we are feilding a lot of calls. In the middle of all these phone calls, I check the email for our group. In there was one email that made me laugh.

From: Idiot Dealer

To: Dealer Help Hotline


we need to order cars!

No name, no description of the problem, nothing. It took all of my self control not to reply to the dealer with and email that said one thing.

From: Dealer Help Hotline

To: Idiot Dealer


Yes you do!

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

So, I work in a call center for a large financial company, supporting the hardware and software for field offices. The particular package I support is a DOS-based application, usually run in a DOS box through Windows. Anyway, I had a site call in today, having difficulty getting into his program with his shortcut. He was getting an error telling him that his PC's date must be set between 1997 and 1998. Come to find out, he had been trying to use a shortcut for a program that is at least 2 years old. (The software package is updated every year, and sent out by the company to the field.) But it gets better. When I tried to explain how to get into the program through Windows, I told the user to find a specific folder on his C: drive. His next question was "How do I find my C: drive?".

Nifty New Feature
Posted 12/01/2000 by Bruce W. Moore

Just this morning, I had found the Tech Tales website and had been glued to it for about an hour. My cel-phone rings and it turns out to be tech support call. Now my customer in Houston who has about 1500 copies of the software out in the field, usually only sends me the calls she can't handle, and frequently stays on the line to hear how we solved it. These users are in the food service industry, so we get all kinds.

Well, for some reason, my contact in Houston lost her connection, but the end user stayed on. So I said that I guess she got disconnected, and I could probably help her. She started explaining how she had chosen the HP printer config, and how she was getting an error every time she tried to print the labels.

I finally got her to read me the error, which was an open error on a file, and had nothing to do with printing. Also, I could tell by her descriptions that she was running the new 4.0 version of our old DOS program, that we still have to support due to the fact that most kitchens in nursing homes get hand-me-down computers from other departments, not new up-to-date computers from the store.

Now, this was the first call I had ever gotten on the 4.0 version, and matter of fact, I didn't know that they were even shipping it yet.

I went ahead and told her that there were normally two things that would cause her error, one being the number of files in the config.sys file, and other having to do with how she got into the program. I asked her how she was getting in, and she said she was using an icon on the desktop. I had her right-click on it and check properties, and of course the icon was calling the exe directly, when we usually call a batch file in order to set file parameters.

I had her type in the file parameters, and she tested it, and it worked. She asked for my phone number, and I gave it to her, and as we were wrapping up the call I said, "You know, one of the nifty new features of that 4.0 software that you are running is that it automatically puts an icon on the desktop for you when you upgrade from the 3.0 version. It uses the beach ball icon that comes with Windows. Did you see that anywhere when you ran the upgrade?"

At this point she got a little sheepish, and said, "Oh yeah, I did see that icon, but I deleted it . . ."

I then proceeded to tell that if she upgraded in the future she might want to keep the beach ball icon that the program set up for her, with which she heartily agreed!

Let's shut it off...
Posted 12/01/2000 by support-a-bert

I work for a large insurance company, in the help desk department. We get our fair share of 'legit' calls, and just like any other help desk, we get our seemingly 'un-fair' share of stupid call(er)s.

We work mostly with Mainframes and we have all the typical win98 problems that can happen with any program run in Win98. One day I get this call:

ME(m): Help Desk this *** ****** how can I help you?

Customer(C): My mainframe is broken!

m: Well, what is going on, specificaly.

c: It's froze! I can't move the mouse and the keyboard won't type.

m: O.K., don't worry about it, it's a some-what common problem here... (trying to calm her down, I hate angry users~!) Ok, why don't we try and shut it down, just press the power button and the switch it back on.

c: ok... I did, nothing's changed

--- now only about 3 seconds have gone by for out 'boot up' process...

m: (wondering what she was really doing) what do you mean it's in the same place? It, can't be in the same place, did you shut it all the way off?

c: YES! I turned it off and back on!

m: OK (annoyed slightly at the lack of patience when she is the one with the obvious problem), let's try shutting it off again and leaving it off for a second or two.

C: (after about 30 secs...) OK, it's still in the same place.

m: (now more annoyed when I realise what was going on_)Ma'am, are you turing off your 'computer' that is on the desk or the one on the floor?

C: the one on the desk.

m: OK, I'm sorry, that was probably my faul... I wasn't being very specific... Could you shut off the one on the floor this time...?

On so ended the call, with the user thinking that the monitor was her 'computer on the desk', and that she had 'another computer??' on the floor... aahhh yeesss it's great to be in this business!!

Task manager.
Posted 12/01/2000 by Bryan

This wasn't my call, it was my girlfriend's. We both support cstmrs connecting to the net thru a cable modem.

TechGirl, gets a call sent up from Tier1, cstmr needs to reinstall our software.

Techgirl: So you need some help installing the software?

Cstmr: Yes

TG: Ok, double click My computer.

Cstmr: I can't. It's not there.

TG: What do you see on the screen?

Cstmr: Task manager.

TG: Do you have a start button?

Cstmr: No, just task manager.

TG: CLose that, now what do you see on the screen?

Cstmr: Nothing it's black.

TG: Ok, restart. Now do you have a start button?

Cstmr: No just task manager.

TG: Ok, close it again. Do you have a black screen again?

Cstmr: Yes.

TG: I see in the notes you had to reinstall Windows before this, is that correct?

Cstmr: Yes, but I couldn't find the CD, so I decided to just install your software. Can't you help me do that from task manager?

TG: No, If there was a way to run the install program on the CD from task manager we would get stuck when it asks for the version of your operation system. At the moment you don't really have one, and NONE is not an option.

Cstmr: So you can't help me.

TG: Not untill there is an OS on the system we support.

Just a typical day in tech support.

Brought to you by the letter F
Posted 12/01/2000 by Bryan

I work for a large nation wide cable internet service provider. Today I had a call from a very nice man who was being disconnected every few min. He had to restart the computer to regain the connection. I wanted him to run winipcfg from the run line.

ME: Type winipcfg and press enter.

Him: Error, can't find the program winipcSg. OK s and f are easy to confuse.

ME: Type winipc f like fox g...

Him: I don't understand.

Me: You typed a "S" instead of a "F" we need the letter "F" like fox, or frank.

Him: On the keyboard?

Me: Yes on the keyboard, the letter "F"

Him: Where is it?

Me: On the keyboard next to the letter "D".

Him: I don't understand.

I eventually had him read the letters on the row that starts with A. He found the "F" and we could continue.

10 min to find the letter "F"

Posted 12/01/2000 by tygger

-Ok, now sir, lets double click on the computer symbol. Did we do that? Good, now what do you see in the window?

- A tree. Some cars. Buildings. Hmm, A chimney . . .

Click . . .
Posted 12/01/2000 by tygger

Well, I was trying to help this one guy connect and it went like this.

After I saw that we have network problem I wanted to see if he has the Dial Up Networking installed, not wanting to confuse the poor being with right clicks and all I decided to check via My Computer -) Dial up networking

Me: Ok, Now lets click on on my computer

(strange clicks in the background)

Him: Nothing happends.

Me: What did you do?

Him: I clicked on it.

Me: No with the mouse

Him: Still nothing!



Him: Something happened!

Me: Did My Computer open?

Him: No, The mouse broke!

Stereo Internet
Posted 12/01/2000 by Ofir Golan

One women calls me up. Furious I must add, about that she got our CD and its broken!

I asked her if she put it in right

she said she did!

I asked her well, did you clicked on the CD image with the mouse and then what happeneds?

She asked me what mouse?

I said the computer mouse.

She asked "What computer?"

I asked her where did she put the CD?

-"Where do you think dummy? In the place where the CD's go. In the tray on the stereo!!!"

Line out . . .
Posted 12/01/2000 by Ofir Golan

Well, I work for an Internet service provider company in Israel and we have a VERY large support team, if you read on you will know.

One day I came to work and started to take calls, after the usual idiots with their problems such as:

-I can't get my mail!

Your damn server won't let me take my mail!

Me: Well sir, (I saw that he is not connected), are you connected to the net?

Him: NO! Why the hell should I be?

Me: Well, if you want to get your E-mail you have to be connectet to the net.

Him: Why ?

Me: (trying to control myself) Well sir, lets say that you have a call, what whould you do

Him: Pick up the phone of course!

Me: Well, the E-mail is just like that. You need to pick up your phone so you can get them, sort of speak.

Him: Well how the hell am I supposed to know they are on the phone?!?!

Anyways, I was talking to this 9 year old girl who wanted to connect to the net but kept getting the "No dial tone" signal.

We checked that the computer was hooked but she didn't know where the end of the phone line was. I suggested that see will go and check by following the phone wire from the computer to the wall. At that moment it seemed like a good idea.

Me: well now, lets follow the line from the computer to the wall and see if it is pluged in, Ok?

Her: Ok

silence over the line then BANG! followed by OUCH!

Me: Tal (her name), what happened?

Her: I hit my head on the desk when going under it with the line

Me: Ok, lets just try to be more carefull, Ok?

Her: Ok.

Again it was quite, untill I noticed the sound of wind on the phone.

Me: Tal, where are we?

Her: On the window's edge

Me: Why are we on the window, Tal?

Her: Cause the phone is coming out of the living room over the outside of the house to my room

Me: I see, can you stop for a moment,

Her: Ok

Me: What floor do you live on?

Her: Third

Me: OK! Lets NOT follow the line!!!

Apperantly her dad put an extention cord from the living room to her room over the air so she won't touch it while running.

I already imagined how the head lines would be on: "girl jump of the third story to get to the internet!"

Why don't your modems have dial tones?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work Tech support for a local ISP serving about 17,000 customers. I got a call from this older lady today, might I add that she has a really thick southern accent (Our ISP serves Northern California.) She is trying to dial us, and gets the error message telling her that "A Dial tone was not detected. Please verify...." So she called us, and asked us why our modems didn't have telephones or dial tones hooked up to them. It took me 5 minutes to get through to this lady that is was not at our end. Then she wanted to know where in Dial up networking she goes to connect a telephone line to her computer. I just about had to hit mute and laugh. It took me another 3 minutes to get through to her that she needed to look at the back of her computer, and make sure that there was a telephone line in the "line" port of her modem. I suggested that take the line out of the line port and plug it into a phone to see if it worked, and if it did (Which it won't) to try again. I told her to call her phone company if there was no dail tone on the phone line.

Bang Head Here...
Posted 12/01/2000 by Tawaret

Me: Thank you for calling (OEM), how may I help you today?

End User: I can't get into my CD-ROM. The last guy I talked to said I would probably need a new motherboard, but I needed to run a virus check first.

Me: OK, let's try the D: drive again

EU: Damn, it said "Error reading Drive D:"

Me: What do you have in the CD-ROM drive?

EU: Umm, nothing.

Me: (after a minute on mute) Let's put a CD in the CD-Rom drive.

EU: Hey, it works! Do I still need a new motherboard?

Me: I don't think so.

Posted 12/01/2000 by Cyndi

My husband is a PC tech at a company primarilly made up of x-MAC users who've just migrated to PC workstations.

One morning he received a trouble ticket from a user that said "Computer wont boot"

He called the user & asked "What was the last thing you remember doing on your PC prior to it's failure to boot up?"

She says "Why nothing! I just 'tidied' things up a little bit as usual before powering off to go home last night & when I came into work this morning, it wouldnt boot up!"

He took a look at her system & discovered that she had indeed 'tidied things up a bit'

-All .EXE files had been moved into a directory called Exe. All .COM files into a directory called Com, .SYS into a

directory called Sys, etc...etc...for every file on her

entire system.

It looked very orderly, but didnt run too well :)

Bad board
Posted 12/01/2000 by Richard

Several years ago, I worked as a technician in the R&D department of a company which built fuel injection systems. One day, an engineer who nobody liked walked into the shop and, ignoring the fact that I was talking to my boss, thrust a driver board at me and said "Richard! This card is bad!"

I took the card from him, flipped it over, slapped it several times and said "Bad Board! Bad board! Bad! Bad! Bad!" I then handed it back to him and said "If it gives you any more trouble, George, just bring it back." He just glared at me, put the board in the box labled "Bad driver cards," picked up a new board from the box of spares and left.

My boss NEVER said a word.

Program Manager
Posted 12/01/2000 by Mark Olin

Years ago when Windows 3.1 was the rage, I was running a call in help desk at a local company. One day I took a call from someone at corporate headquarters. It was one of the most outstanding looking women, Andrea, that worked there and I assumed she was fairly techno from the few times I had spoken with her, so I was willing to hear what she had to say.

"Well I was working in Excel and the numbers are not imputting correctly. Then all of a sudden it just quit working...what can I do..I don't want to lose my work..."

Me: "Okay let's try a couple things, go to the Program Manager and.." In the background I heard some one come in her office and right then my manager wanted me to sign for some equipment I purchased. When I listened back in it was pretty silent."Hello..."

A couple minutes went by and I was finally ready to give up when she breathlessly came back on the line. "Sorry...I had to track down my boss and he said that he'd be right here. Hold on OK?" She put down the phone. A second later her boss picked up the phone.

Boss: "Yes hello, I hope this is important, Andrea came and got me out of a meeting."

Me: Why?

Boss: "She said you wanted to speak with the Project Manager and that's me."

Me: (Surpressing a laugh.) No I asked her to open the Program Manager, not get the Project Manager."

Andrea: "But he was as close to a Program Manager I could find..."

Me: Andrea, I'll be down in a ew minutes.

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Scott

A lady was trying to change her folder icons. She had been messing with the File Types in View, Options. She had made the default action Find, so that anytime she would double-click a folder, it would bring up a Find File window instead of opening.

Problem was, there was no Open action that we could set the default to.

We ended up adding another action, setting it as default, then removing it. That made the understood open action the default.

Windows ninety-what?!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Matt S Trout

Tech supporting friends, I had someone who was having OS problems; I asked what they had. The response - "Oh, I recently upgraded to Windows 97".

My first thought : Ninety-what?!

My second thought : Help!

On closer inspection, I discovered something that all you techs out there may find helpful - for reasons known only to themselves, OEM versions of 95 that included Service Packs were touted as Windows 96 (95a/SP1) and 97 (95b/SP2) - to the point that the loading screen did indeed say 96 or 97.

The Control Panel/System popup still tells the truth, though.

(As an afterthought, does anybody know why a friend's (ex) boyfriend could possibly have thought that deleting the mouse drivers would help resolve a problem with 3.11? I fdisked and installed 95)

Known Good Diskette
Posted 12/01/2000 by David

I am a tech in the field, and was working on an old IBM Series One at one store of a large grocery store chain.

I was trying to use one of the diagnostic diskettes (old 8 inch diskettes!) to run some tests on the machine

when I realized the the diskette was defective. No problem I could call the company's support desk and get them

to send me another diskette. The next day a new diskette arrived at the store via FedEx Next day Air. I opened

the box and removed the diskette and noticed it had a postit note on it that read "Known good diskette", and to

make sure the note didn't get lost, they STAPLED it to the diskette!

No Title
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Just a quick one hot from the suport desk.

Customer was trying to send an email but kept receiving address not found errors. The problem? They were trying to email the website home page.

Really? I need that?
Posted 12/01/2000 by Geoffrey Wright

I was working for a major ISP in their tech support department awhile back. I got some pretty off the wall call but this one from this woman will never leave my mind.

Me: Thank you for calling *******, my name is Geoff. How may I help you today?

Customer: Yes, I just received your software and I need help installing it.

Me: Ok, have you placed the disk in the CD ROM drive?

C: Which disk do I use?

M: I'm sorry?

C: You sent me five CDs. Which one do I install?

M: Hmmm...I wonder why you got five CDs. No matter, just pick anyone of them and put it in your CD ROM drive.

C: I dont think it's gonna fit.

M: Sure it will just lay it flat, mirror side down, and close the drive.

C: There's no mirror side. It's all black.

M: Wait a minute. Is it square?

C: Yes and it won't fit in my CD ROM drive.

At this point I found out for the first time that we even had installation software on floppy. The customer told me that her CD ROM drive was broken and she had to have floppy's to install the software. She figured I knew what I was doing so she kept trying to put the floppy in the CD drive. I digress...

M: Ok, so what we need to do is install the software from your A drive.

Time passes as I walk her through the install...

M: Ok, Ma'am, now we need to test your connection. Do you have a second phone line.

C: No I am on the only phone in the house.

M: Ok, make sure your computer is hooked up to the phone jack, hang up with me and try to connect.

C: I can't I told you this is the only phone in the house.

M: Yes, Ma'am, you will have to hang up your phone and then use your computer to connect.

C: Well how do I connect?

M: You will see a dial up screen after you double click on our icon. Enter your username and password and click on connect. Your computer will then attempt to dial into the internet.

C: How can my computer dial? It doesn't have a phone!

M: Your computer doesn't need a phone is should have a modem.

C: So are you saying I have to have a phone line attached to the computer?

M: Yes. You should have a phone line connecting from the back of your computer to the wall jack.

C: But I told you I am on the only phone in the house. It is a cordless phone and the phone jack is in the other side of the house.

M: There's no phone jack in the room with the computer?

C: No. Do I need one?

M: Yes, you have to have your computer connected to a phone line to connect to the Internet.

C: Really? So how do I get you to come out and install one?

M: Ma'am you will have to call the phone company for that.

C: Well you're no help. (click)

Round CDs only!
Posted 12/01/2000 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Round CDs only!

Iíve read about techs who had to pull CDs out

of floppy drives, but I had to pull a CD out of

a CD drive.

The current iMacs use a trayless CD drive.

One drawback: The CD HAS to be 5 1/4 wide and round.

Most CDs meet this critera....except....

Baseball card CDs.

Pokemon` card CDs.

One of my clients brought in his iMac.

His son put in the baseball card CD just as he was saying not to.

I didnít want to dissemble the iMac so I tilted it face down and put in a business card trying to get the eject mechanism to eject the Ďdiskí. After about 5 minutes it did.

The CD drive was not damaged.

The client was so grateful to have his computer fixed while he waited he paid me our minimum service charge plus $5.

Tales From Technical Support Index

Tales from the Techs
December 2000
  1. Telling a tale

  2. Drag And Drop?

  3. I have a Gateway.....

  4. computer illiterate morticians

  5. way too stupid

  6. Flashing EPROM

  7. No Title

  8. Sometimes Tech Support is an Id0IT

  9. No Title

  10. No Title

  11. Sometimes It takes a Woman

  12. No Title

  13. Psycic Help Desk

  14. Hot Time on Hold

  15. Beyond clueless

  16. Cant Receive email...

  17. No Title

  18. But I can get Wireless Web, right?

  19. Geography Lesson

  20. $160 gear.

  21. PC Wizard's Wand

  22. Drunk Guy

  23. 2 Tales

  24. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

  25. You have a both KUA.Net & MSN at Outlook Express

  26. The Computer Literate Teacher

  27. Did you say there were busy signals?

  28. "Think we've found the problem"

  29. No Title

  30. 3 Contestants for IDIOT OF THE WEEK

  31. Your program is down!

  32. Radio Bloopers

  33. Yahoo is useless!

  34. bullmoose

  35. Blame it on the rain...?

  36. Make sure your mute button works!

  37. Y1.9K

  38. Mouse problems

  39. Too hot to handle

  40. Our OS

  41. mac vs pc

  42. Netscape 6

  43. More Magic

  44. Do your job ISP tech support!

  45. Stupid Mouse

  46. Old monitor?

  47. Beeper Caused Failure

  48. EEOC

  49. Exec's are the best

  50. Explosive situation

  51. No Title

  52. Security - pah!

  53. Cable internet with 38 channels WOW!

  54. The fine print

  55. System Support Officer

  56. On/Off

  57. Upper Case?

  58. Disgruntled Employee?

  59. How the heck???!!!!

  60. Breaking the Rules

  61. Stupid co-workers.

  62. Minimise is not delete.

  63. Waiter,there's a fly in my notebook!

  64. The Miraculous Printer

  65. Coffee Warmer?

  66. hotline problems the other way around

  67. Keyboard Skills

  68. Burn, baby, burn!

  69. Alt-Tab 101

  70. Don't take my word for it

  71. Frozen Computer

  72. Right and Left Mouse Button

  73. No Title

  74. Cup Holder?!?!

  75. Gas??

  76. new age of stupidity

  77. That Little Rope!

  78. Some ISP Techs need help.

  79. No Title

  80. Independent Explorer...

  81. the little green light...

  82. Firefox

  83. Techs Are Stupid Too

  84. The Floppy CD-ROM

  85. All Purpose Repair

  86. Publications Technology Manager

  87. No Title

  88. Clueless Tech with certification and Unwanted Tech with Experience!

  89. No Dial tone

  90. turn up the volume

  91. Porn n' Spouses

  92. Convergence Confusion

  93. Customization

  94. Classics

  95. What's the difference?

  96. power anyone?

  97. Yes, everything IS plugged in...

  98. Where did it go?

  99. No Title

  100. No Title

  101. No Title

  102. How to print with a stiker on the cartdrige!?!

  103. Mouse troubles

  104. A Mac "Classic"

  105. What Garbage!

  106. Sales/ Tech

  107. What happens when it rains?

  108. No Title

  109. computer?

  110. What are Movie Trailers??

  111. No Title

  112. problem with what!??!

  113. The joys of iMacs

  114. Government Incompentance?

  115. No Title

  116. Warning Virus!

  117. With friends like these.....

  118. Too Much Info

  119. No Title

  120. Where do these people come from?

  121. Money, no brains

  122. Girlfriend & my comptuer parts

  123. The Dissappearing E-Mail

  124. No Phone-Mode

  125. Um, ok?

  126. Windows

  127. Lights on, nobody's home.

  128. Stating the obvious.

  129. No Title

  130. Nifty New Feature

  131. Let's shut it off...

  132. Task manager.

  133. Brought to you by the letter F

  134. Window

  135. Click . . .

  136. Stereo Internet

  137. Line out . . .

  138. Why don't your modems have dial tones?

  139. Bang Head Here...

  140. Tidyin'up.

  141. Bad board

  142. Program Manager

  143. No Title

  144. Windows ninety-what?!

  145. Known Good Diskette

  146. No Title

  147. Really? I need that?

  148. Round CDs only!

Past Tales from the Techs:
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