Funny and Humorous Technical Support Tales and Stories

Submitted Tales From Technical Support

Tales From Technical Support Content

Please Don't
Posted 06/01/2001 by Genelle

I'm a Computer Support Tech who used to do retail support for a computer company well known for their printing technology. Ach-Pee I'll call them...

Well I would get a few DOH! calls... One of them just happened to start off bad, at leaser the lUser know that he'd done something wrong.

Me - Thank you for calling ____ (normal speil)

Him - Uhm, I'm having problems with my computer.

Me - Okay, what seems to be the problem?

Him - It's just not working

The usual line of digging down to find the real problem and some troubleshooting done to try to resolve whatever might have gone wrong. When he finally reveals to me..

Him - I don't know if this is important but I was cleaning up on my system and deleted some files out of my windows directory and messing around in my registry, could that possibly hurt my system?

Me - (Naw that could have nothing to do with your PEBKAC error at all sir.)


Another one...

Me - Speil

Old Lady (OL) - My Grey bar has moved, someone's messed up my system!!! Everything's changed and messed up!

I try for about 15 minutes to have her drag her task bar back into the correct area which is finally accomplished and she responds with...

OL - Wow, everything's back to normal, wow what happened? Did someone steal my desktop or something?

Me - No Ma'am, it just decided it didn't like you anymore (not really but I wish!)

Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I recently changed jobs to find myself the youngest employee; therefore I receive all computer related questions even though I am an accountant and in no way tech support.

My new boss who doesn’t use a computer has his lovely however very blond wife handle all his email and typing needs. We work in different offices and she shows up once or twice a week to work with us and transfer her files to another in house office computer this started to occur only after my being hired. When I started walking her though every day how to save her document to her computer then save to a floppy to bring here. I was wondering why everyday she had to call and ask again. Thinking she is an idiot who can’t take notes and is sleeping with the boss I best keep up phone support & mouth shut. All is well until she buys a Zip drive for some reason even though it is the same idea she couldn’t get it. So in her infinite wisdom she shows up Monday morning smiling telling me to come look at the documents she has saved she found a “better & faster shortcut” then I had showed her. Interested in this I tell her to pull them up and I will be right in. As I am walking down the hall I hear her talking to the computer asking “why won’t you work like you did at home for me”, I ask what is wrong she shows me her screen I notice every icon has an arrow. So I decide to play along and asked her to show me how her “better & faster shortcut” system for saving worked. She then proceeds to the start button, documents and drags the titles from there onto the open window of the Zip disk then turns straight faced and says see it even says “shortcut”.

The Model Number
Posted 06/01/2001 by Graham W. Boyes

ABSOLUTELY TRUE: Yes, my computer has "Personal Computer 365" written on it. It is the model number of my computer. It does not mean I was the 365th person they sold a Personal Computer to. IBM has sold a few more than 365 computers.

Ima Doofus, call for Ima Doofus...
Posted 06/01/2001 by StarChaser the Tech Support Tyger

Someone at a company that handles secure dialins decided to do an upgrade on their server, without notice and sans clue. Of course, the 'upgrade' promptly pooches and now all eight thousand users of the company I support call in at once. I take 125 calls, where my normal average for a busy day is 30.

A number of them decided that since the million dollar security system is not working, that obviously it was the configuration, and being such -bright- people, they'd just go into the options and fix them. With predictable results.

The one that took the cake, plate, tablecloth and table decided that not only was she going to do this, but she was going to do something that she'd learned about from a very wise sage.

"No, ma'am, you can not circumvent the security system by using 'override' for the password."

'But it worked in the movie!'

"I hate to tell you, but just occasionally, they show things in movies that aren't real."

heat wave
Posted 06/01/2001 by Brian B

This isn't a computer tech tale, but it is a tech tale none the less.

I was providing tech support for a power tool company several years ago when this call took place. At this paticular time, south western United Stated was under a major heat wave where the lows were in the 90's and the highs were well above 110 in the shade.

I got a call from this guy with what I guessed at as being from Texas by his accent one afternoon. His complaint was that his paint sprayer was only working in the morning. The call proceeded as follows:

Me: Sir, where are you located?

Him: North Texas, why?

Me: What is the tempurature where you are at?

Him: About 115 in the shade, why?

Me: Are you trying to paint outside?

Him: Yes, I am trying to paint the yellow lines on a

freshly asphalted black top parking lot, why?

Me: Sir, how are you getting electricity to your paint


Him: With a generator in the back of my pickup truck, why?

Me: Where is the paint sprayer located?

Him: In the back of the pick up truck with the generator,


Me: Well sir, I think that I see your problem here.

First of all, you said that it is about 115 in the

shade right?

Him: Yes.

Me: I'll bet that it is about 10 to 15 degrees warmer in

that parking lot right?

Him: Yes.

Me: I'll bet that is another 15 to 20 degrees warmer in the

back of your truck right?

Him: Yes.

Me: All things said, sir, I'll bet that it is about 140 to

150 degrees in the back of your truck, right. (I was

trying to make my point REAL clear to him.)

Him: Yes, that sounds about right.

Me: Sir, there is a thermo switch built into your paint

sprayer to protect it from over heating. It sounds like

this switch is sensing an overtemp condition and

shutting your unit off.

Him: Gee, do you really think so?

Me: Yes!

Him: Do you think I should remove it?

Me: NO! Not unless you want to void your warrentee and by a

new unit.

Him: Click

Pesky I
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

While trying to test the printer, I asked EU open notepad and aske him to just type some words and fill up some space. Eu immediately tells me he can't type anything but I's. after furhter questioning, I realized that when Eu would hold the cursor in the notepad window the Cursor goes from an arrow to an "I" Sheesh!

Illiterate operation
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

While working for a computer/scanner/ outsourcing company. I had the misfortune of speaking to this guy numerous times. Each call starting off with him on the verge of tears, refusing to give ne the serial number, and having to force him to tell me what the product number was, and he always refused to pay for support claiming he only had the scanner for three months. (each call 6 months apart)the first call started with him screaming about this "damn moose!" ...25 minutes later i get to the issue. the scanner won't scan its just prints out a moose (a scanner/printer compatibility test)(i know what the issue is and can solve it in a few minutes but decide to wait to see what other treats this guy has for me) I ask him to tell me what he does to get "the damn moose" and finally get and error message which he clicks through with out reading. so we go again. this time I stop him before he clicks through and ask him what the message says. He ignores me. and tells me he's going to click yes. I tell him "no do not click yes tell me what the little grey box says." He clicks yes. So again... finaly I get him to the error message. I ask him to please read the message and he starts off "this pro--...... sumthin'"

me:"uh okay, can you tell me what the rest of the message says?"

him: "sumthin' 'bout sumthin'"


"can you spell it to me? "

and he does. (light goes off.. guy can't read!)

me: "okay great now lets click on the start button."

him: "what's that?"

me: "bottom left hand corner of the screen s-t-a-..

him: Got it!

me click Run R-U-N..

him: got it!

me: type in the white box M-s-c-o-n-f-i-g click OK

him: OK?

me: O-K

him Oh.

and so on.. we just had to recheck a program in the startup menu but imagine this call... s-p-el-l-i-n-g e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g -o-u-t.

But It **LOOKED** Right!!!
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I was setting up a co-worker's computer so that she could work weekends from home (saves the company hiring three more people if the two of us work a little overtime). We got part of the "preferences" set up and could sign on for 1/2 the program.

I was off the next day - so she took it to work to have the supervisor look it over. He spends some time on it - with "suggestions" from everyone else who works from home on weekends - still no luck with getting the "home page" to open so she could access the incoming mailbox.

I go back over to her house - delete some files to make more room, check the various settings, double-check that the home page is right - - and STILL no luck getting to the home page. She can access a later page that we have entered the URL for. We call the "Help Desk" and start going step by step thru the set up. I read off the home page setting - the lady on the desk points out that it SHOULD be had LOOKED so RIGHT!!!!!

We switch the .com to .net and she gets in on the first try!

I then sent a message to the supervisor telling him that we got things all set up after identifying an IDTENT error.

You just get so USED to seeing that .com after the URL.....

Email what?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Lynsey

I work for an Apple dealer in the UK and my colleague had a call from a guy who wanted a couple of pens for his graphics tablet. The pal got to the end of the call after taking credit card details and the luser says "So can you email them to me?" My pal: "What?????????????"

luser: "Email them to me please, I'll get them quicker". At this point, my colleague muted his phone to tell me what was going on. I told him to hang up on the useless C***. I don't think the guy had a clue. Needless to say, they went out via courier and we weren't convinced the gimp was joking. I suggested to my pal that he call the gut back and ask if he would like them sending down the 'phone - "Stand back from the 'phone - they're on their way!!!"

I ask you.................

The scrollbar
Posted 06/01/2001 by Felks

I am the computer tech support person in my family..... my dad is my main customer.... whether I like it or not. I have been made to give him many fruitless and frustrating lessons on the use of the computer... he doesnt pick up things very easily, he has a headbangingly slow typing speed, and therefore operates at a mindnumbingly slow pace.THis eveing he received a photo scanned in by my uncle, of my cousins. he opened the photo,... I was in another room and heard him remark at the appalling photo.... I came in to investigate.... my uncle is pretty good with computers and his photos are seldom appalling.... on my way in dad said it was just the top of my cousins head... and that it was a waste of time sending it. When I got to the computer I had to explain how to user the scrollbar on the side of the screen to see what was out of shot....

tech support
Posted 06/01/2001 by joe.

i had a cust call up who needed to be setup with a manual connection. I thought cool no prob let me get your username

got it and your area code, cool got it.Found the cust a local access number and told him to write it down so he could call his local phone co. to verify it was local for him. he said why do i need a phone number. I said because you have a dial up account you need to dial into the net.

cust gets really upset and starts yelling at me that he shouldn't have to dail in, he pays 21.95 a month for service allready why does he have to use his phone also. and that he should get some discount for having to use his phone. Or that i should just download the internet to his computer. I explain that it is impossible to do that and he gets pissed off and says that i better download it to his computer or he is going to cancel his account. unfortunatley i was unable to do that and he was forced to cancel his account with us and go to another isp.

( I wonder wich isp he went with i'd like to try it myself)

21.95 for the whole internet. wooohoo!!!!!!!

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Somehow, years ago I was elected to set up and train friends and acquaintances on whatever computer they happened to purchase. Recently a friend, who used the home computer she had for strictly for email, decided she wanted to learn more so, of course, I was elected. Lesson 1 consisted of me telling her 10 times not to use web email site that picks up another account’s email to access her email account – I also explained several times that this site is generally used by people who are not at their home computer and since she only checks email from her home computer, she should just forget it existed. So, I set up Outlook, gave her a detailed lesson (where she wrote everything down), made her a shortcut with much explaining (she was convinced that the only way to access email was by clicking on Start, then clicking on the big blue E, then clicking on address bar and grabbing the site – I was not going to spend my night there, so I thought it would be far easier if I just added a shortcut), did a successful test email and went home.

The next day she calls me saying I had screwed up her computer. She had emailed several people and she was now receiving a “demon” message. I immediately asked her if she was using other than Outlook even though I had told her not to. She said of course she was as that’s the only way you can send and receive email. And that it worked fine until I broke it making it give her the “demon” message (which was actually due to her trying to send email using some really strange email addresses).

Amazing Video Card
Posted 06/01/2001 by Graham W. Boyes

First a warning:

Never post contact information in your tale. Once I did, and I got a few e-mails from folks who liked my story, but one really nasty one from a guy that didn't. His exact words to me were "F--- off and die."

So to show your appreciation of my story join the Seti@Home project instead. If you don't like my story, join

At our office we build computers. I was busy setting up my new desk and trying to figure out how I could fit two large potted plants, a small tree, three monitors, two computers AND two keyboards and mice on at one time. Then this new guy that was actually doing work comes up. "Graham, do you know where I could find another video card? I have an ISA card but I'd like to put in a PCI one." Experience tells me to go over to this guy's computer and find out exactly what he needs. A modem, CD-ROM, or maybe a new network card. The computer has onboard video. Okay, easy mistake.

Me: Oh, this computer, you can plug the monitor right into the motherboard HERE. (Pointing)

New Guy: Yeah, I know where the monitor goes, but now I need a video card. I've got this ISA one but I'd like a PCI one.

Me: (Speechless)

Me: Um, a monitor plugs into a video card. The motherboard has an *onboard* video card, so you don't need to add either a PCI or ISA one. In fact, this motherboard has onboard sound and ethernet, too!

NG: Woah! You're kidding! They've got that out now! (This happened yesterday. The computer I bought in 1997 had that!)

He spent the rest of the day going "Wow...unbeliveable...they're doing stuff like that now...amazing..."

My Browser is Yahoo
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in online support for a large finacial institution that offers internet banking. One of the first questions we are required to ask is, "What browser are you using?" This is the scripting, but I would say that 95% of the techs now use the format "are you using IE or Netscape" after all you can only handle hearing "My Browser is Yahoo" so many times before you can't handle it any more.

The other fun part is as follows:

Tech: are you close to your computer right now?

and get one of the following three answers...

User: (answer 1) no I am driving right now and calling from my cell phone.

User: (answer 2) yes but I can't turn it on while I am on the phone.

User: (answer 3) stop asking me all of these technical questions I just want to be able to sign in.

Why do they bother?

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Many moons ago my mother got me a data entry gig with a client she warned me was "quirky". The next day I go to the OLDEST part of town, to work for the OLDEST lady in the world, doing data entry on the OLDEST computer I have ever seen.

Things were fine until the massive electrical storm hit us. It looked like armageddon outside and we are in the OLDEST part of town, infamous for quirky plumbing/electric on good days. Sure enough the computer is plugged straight into the wall.

So I tell the old lady that I'm shutting down until the worst has passed us - I get the real feeling that if her computer is fried by a power surge while I'm sitting at it I'll end up in court explaining that I didn't kill it. She's pissed - she thinks I'm trying to cheat her or get out of work. She's ALWAYS used the computer regardless of the weather.

Next thing I know, like an idiot, I'm explaining about electrical storms, power lines, surges, computers, and surge protectors.

"We have that!" she crows triumphantly.

"No, you don't. The computer is plugged into the wall. Surge protectors look like extension cords."

"I don't need an extension cord, the computer is right next to the outlet. Our surge protector is in the cellar."

"I said they LOOK like extension cords"

(ignoring my point) "Ours is in the cellar - I wanted to check it anyway, you can check it for me"

And yessir, next thing I know the crone has given me a flashlight and shown me to a trapdoor to a two foot dirt crawlspace. As I'm explaining that I'm not crawling around in a crawlspace in a skirt looking for a surge protector I know isn't there she hands me an umbrella and my curiosity got the better of me.

"What's the umbrella for?"

"To keep the rats away."

True story. I packed up my stuff and left. She called my mom and said I was lazy and a cheat.


VP of what?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Neeri

I'm an administrative assistant who was originally hired by a bank into their IT department, so while I'm not a tech I at least have common sense regarding computers. While it was a good life, times change and I eventually got switched into HR. (Can we say merger?)

As it turns out, due to another admin quiting, I've found myself in the dubious position of temporary assistant to the vice presidents of the IT department. As such it's my job to convey weekly information to them, so that they can better manage their resources (known to us with souls as 'employees').

Due to the large amount of emails I was having to send out earlier today, I was copy/pasting the text into the email, and then copying in the information for each department from an Excel spreadsheet.

One of the VPs emailed me back five minutes later complaining that my email settings must be screwed up because the text cut off at the side of the email and he couldn't print it.

Curious, but knowing well enough not to touch my settings in Lotus Notes as I barely know the program, I simply printed out my copy of the email sent and brought it over to his desk.

Naturally he fell prey to the instinct of going for coffee whenever someone's coming to your desk to try and figure out a problem, so I had the computer to myself. I opened the email I had sent him only to bite my lip to keep from laughing out loud. Quite calmly I went back to my desk and emailed him a reply.

'The problem with the email is that your screen resolution is at 800x600. Use the little grey bar at the bottom of the screen to see the rest of the message.'

What printer model is it?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Bill Marsden

So, this guy calls up and says everyime he prints to his HP Laserjet 4, it prints rubbish. I get him to check he is using the right driver and then double-check with him that the printer is a straight 4 and not anything else.

I says to him:

Me: "is there anything on the printer after the Laserjet 4 like plus or MV".

He goes away and comes back.

User: "No, its just a Laserjet 4"

Me: "OK", lets check your spool settings".

So I check the spool format etc but it still prints rubbish.

Me: "OK, lets just double check the printer model again, are you sure it just says Laserjet 4 on it? "

User: "Hold on, Ill check again".

He goes away and comes back.

User: "No, it says HP Laserjet 1100".

Durrrrr !!!!

Anyone have a thesarus handy?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Brandon

One day, I'm returning tech calls, when suddenly I have an induhvidual call me.

Me: Technical Support Department, this is Brandon, How may I help you?

Induhvidual: Yeah, you people having problems down there? I'm getting sick of this.

Me: (groan)

Me: (Checking quickly.) No, We've been up for 30 days without a reboot.

Induhvidual: Sure.

Me: (Crap... Here it goes...)

Me: OK, let's see if we can solve your problem. What is the error message you are reciving.

(long pause...)

Induhvidual: What is an error message?

Me: (Pause) C..*snort*...Can you... *holding back maniacal laughter*... Hold on just a moment *MUTE*

It was a full 2 minutes before I could quit laughing. Do you know how hard it is to rephrase error message without making an idiot feel like an idiot? fault notice? blunder communication?

Updat... Downgrading!!
Posted 06/01/2001 by Ken Wick

This happened to my best friend's dad. Unfortunately this was before I was a tech support agent. This happened 2 years ago, and yet I can still remember it and love to bring it up ever once in a while.

My friend's dad does a lot of his work out of his home and is on the travel a lot. Because of him being on the move so often, he had to get technology to cater his needs. He had a laptop, a pda, a cell phone and a handheld computer. He kept all of his information on these wonderful little pieces of technology. Everything from contacts, to billing information, business information and everything else he would possibly need with him. All of his portables were synch'd. When one change was made, all of them automatically updated with each other so that they will have everything he needed when he needed it without hassle. Well, there came a time when he stopped traveling so much and did not need his handheld. He was at home with all of his little gadgets hooked up and running. He was intending on getting rid of his hand held so he was removing information on it. He removed all 300 contacts and all of his information on it. He then put it back in the holder after all information was deleted. He turned away for a second and looked back to see the sychronization screen up in the center of his monitor. To his suprise, the sych program copied what was on his hand held to all of his other machines. He lost all 300+ contacts and e-mail adresses, his schedules, billing information and everything else valuable to him.

Needless to say the hand held was gotten rid of very quickly and a lot of sleepless nights went by...

Lightning strikes twice???
Posted 06/01/2001 by MARK MOTZ

In 1992 I was manager of a Radio Shack computer repair facility. A haggardly looking customer carrying an assortment of boxes came into the store. Here was his story:

He had bought a 1000HX computer with a 14" CGA monitor two years ago. Lightning had struck his house, he claimed, and had burnt out the computer. "Why is this Radio Shacks' responsibility" I asked. He answered that question by rummaging through one of the boxes he had brought in.

He withdrew an Archer power strip, which...I kid naught...had melted, dripping plastic "icicles" drooping from the bottom edge. It looks as though he had taken a lighter and burnt the plastic until it had melted and dripped down. It was very artistically done, -coulda been used as a Christmas ornament....Once again I asked: "Now, how is THIS Radio Shacks responsibility, and how does it relate to the computer". Here was his argument: Lightning had struck his house, gotten into the power lines, and had burned out the power strip-which we had sold him. The power strip started on fire and melted, burning out the computer.

He felt that since the power strip had not prevented lightning damage and protected the computer, we were liable.

-The kicker is, when I opened the power bar up, there was no damage or blackening on any of the circuitry INSIDE the casing. The MOBO, the varsitor, etc. were all-perfect. All he had done was make plastic droopings on the case. In closing, when I told him that I would have to send it to our insurance claims division for inspection, and would take several months, he finally blanched and angrily huffed out. In all my years in PC's I have NEVER seen anything like this. Truth really is stranger than fiction -Mark Motz

Change the Disk!
Posted 06/01/2001 by Marc Underwood

Granted this is not strictly linked with computers, it does involve a floppy disk. This story was related to me by a fellow commissioning engineer.

He was called out to a pump station, with the report the very important chart recorder was not working,and all the important data logged on the backup disk in the chart recorder was not accessible.

The customer (a water company) was screaming blue murder, and dire threats.

The chart recorder on initial inspection seemed fine, until he popped out the 3.5" disk, it seemed OK until he slid back the metal cover, and found himself staring at the WHITE media surface beneath.

The chart recorder constantly logged its data onto the disk, and every month, the disk was supposed to be replaced, and the old disk taken to have its data analysed.

The disk had never been replaced since the station had been built 6 YEARS earlier, so the magnetic media had worn off with the constant accessing and was now spread across the electronics inside the recorder.

The whole thing had to be replaced.

the mystery email .
Posted 06/01/2001 by Wesley Wilkinson

I work for a large ISP and we get hundreds of calls per day dealing with email.

I will never forget the day that I had this one client call in claiming that she couldn't connect to her email. So we start going through all the troubleshooting steps (changing server names etc).

Then I get her to send an email to herself and we get the message "netscape can not find the server (server name) please check server name and try again. I had her read back the server name and everything was ok. So the next step is to start moving her account to a different server. After walking her through the steps to change her email server properties once you would think that she would remember how right?wrong she had to be walked through this 8 different times. Each time we did this we got the same error message. It wasn't until an hour later (we have a 7 min talk time) that she asked is com supposed to have a . behind it

She had been putting in mail.*.com. all this time and not reading back the trailing dot.

Then part of our closing script is to ask if we have answered all of their concerns and with this client she wanted to know how to change her password so we walked through this. The total time for the call was 1:45hr and she still didn't know how to use her computer.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for an ISP and was setting up a new customer. I was asking the normal questions: name, address, username. Well when i got to asking the customer what password she wanted she would not give me the password. She did not want anyone to know her password. I explained to the woman this was the only way to input the password. She then kicked her HUSBAND out the room and whispered her choice for password to me. I had to then promise not to tell anyone and to place notes in her account to NEVER give out the password. This is for a FILTERED internet service by the way.

What is your Email address?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Again i work for ISP trying, key word TRYING, to help our customer with their problems. As most techs that get a call from a customer I asked this customer her information and her problem. Well i asked her for her username and got "Username?" in response. Trying to supress a sigh, i try another angle. I ask "what is your email address?", the company i work for the email address and username are the same thing. The reply is "Oh that it is ?" Let's just say i do not work for microsoft.

Challenge of the day.
Posted 06/01/2001 by Miss Takes-Hap'n

When i first started working for a local ISP (cable) I really didnt know what was awaiting me. Well sure I heard and read the jokes, but really. I perpetually live in tech-support jokes now.

I had this one customer once, must have been on my first month of being a tech (my first tech job too!).

Coudn't connect.

Not a very literate user, but knows enough basic stuff.

Going through the Network settings.

Now everything would be easy, if her ...mouse wasnt working, and her computer wasnt in....German.

So It was fun. For the whole half an hour of it.


Later at night, 5 mins before the end of my shift:

Me: thank you for calling blah blah ISP how many i help you?

Cust: Your stupid service is down again. I get busy signal!

Me: (matter of factly) Sorry sir, but we are not a dial-up service, perhaps you should call them?

Cust: I dont care, I pay YOU! and you internet is down!

Me: Sir we are not a dialup service, and we have no internet.

Cust: How do I get ont he internet?! (quite irate, his wife on the phone equally irate screaching int eh background)

Me: Sir, who is your ISP?

Cust: My what?!

Me: Your internet service provider. Who are you dialing through?

Cust : Im dialing on the internet, and its down!

Me: (getting frustrated) Who is your provider sir?

Cust: I dont know!

ME: Sir, you would have to find out and call them, there is nothing would be able to help you with.

Cust: FINE! *click*

*Whats was THAT all about?! I almost took that personaly, then just giggled and went home*


All in all I love my job, despite plethora of sillyness.

Posted 06/01/2001 by Gaz

I work for on an internal helpdesk, I was contacted by a user saying his e-mail software was asking him for a password and what password he should enter, I suggested trying the password that he usually entered. He responded with "oh right" and hung up!

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A tech I used to work with took this phone call last week. At first I didn't beleive him.

Customer (on phone): I just came in and collected an iMac that was being repaired but I think I've got the wrong one.

Tech: What makes you think you have collected the wrong machine?

Customer: My one had a screen. This one doesn't.

Tech: Oh. so you've picked up a Mini-tower?

Customer: No, I don't think so, it looks a bit like an iMac but has no screen.

Tech: So what colour is it?

Customer: It's Ruby.

Tech: So it must be an iMac. Does it have a carry handle?

Customer: Yes - at the back.

Tech. So what's written on the front where the screen should be? The front is the white part.

Customer. Its got a couple of handles and a kind of openable door and it has "I was assembled in Singapore.... Model number.... Serial number....Ethernet ID ...." written on the front.

Tech: Aaaahhh, I see. Actually, you're looking at the bottom of the iMac.

Which means... that the flat area on what you think is the base, is actually the screen. Turn the machine over and you should be sorted.

Customer: Lets just see... Oh there it is!! Oh, I feel so foolish, it's so confusing, I bet it happens often.

A Snappy story of woe
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I used to work for a company that produced a little add-on parallel port device called Snappy. The magic of this device was you could use it to capture pictures into your computer by hooking up a camcorder, VCR, or other video device. The concept was simple - plug Snappy into the parallel port of your computer, plug your camera into Snappy, run the software, and snap pictures. Unfortunately, the type of people who bought it ranged from the intelligent to the absurd:

ME: Hello, Snappy Tech Support, how may I help you?

THEM: Yes, I've been snapping pictures for days with your device, but I can't get them into the computer.

ME: Are you pushing the SNAP button in the software?

THEM: Well, I don't know about software, nothing comes on when I plug the thing in. But I am pushing the big blue SNAP button on the thing.


ME: Okay, how are you plugging Snappy to your computer?

THEM: Well, I disconnect it from the tripod, and plug it into the parallel port like the manual says.

Now, I was concerned.

ME: How are you connecting it to a tripod?

THEM: Well, I figured that when I point the Snappy at what I wanna take a picture of, my hands shake, so I drilled a little hole in the bottom so that I could mount it to my tripod. You folks should've thought of that when you designed the thing.

Evidently, he was pointing the parallel port connector of the device at what he wanted to take a picture of, and was pressing the blue battery cover (with the SNAPPY logo) to take his pictures. We later discovered that in his effort to get clearer pictures, he drilled through the capture chip, requiring replacement of the entire unit.

Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada at a tech support company that supports American users. I received a call from a user and I could clearly hear the unmistakable wail of a tornado siren. The user called to complain that he couldn't connect to the internet via dialup. I asked if it was indeed a tornado siren that I heard and if so, how was he able to dial me up in the first place since the phone lines usually go down during tornados. He said yes it was a vicious tornado outside and that he was using his cell phone to call me because the phone lines and the power had been cut off. Trying to stifle a side splitting laugh, I informed the user that he would need both electricity and a working phone line to connect to the internet. He said "Oh ya!!!" and hung up. I'm still shaking my head.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I worked for several years providing telephone support to student users at a major college, and received many odd and entertaining calls; my personal favorite was a student who had borrowed her roomates laptop. Apparently, the power cord for the laptop was too short, but the printer cord was just long enough. With enough wrestling and pushing she managed to get the cord in, but there was a loud pop sound and a bad smell. Apparently, the laptop now would not turn on and did I have any suggestions for fixing it?

Never do favours for family
Posted 06/01/2001 by namor

Okay, so I'm a nice guy and a slightly better-than-average tech. So most of my family calls me for issues. Some I don't mind; the in-laws who can figure out that it's their own fault and how to install/uninstall stuff correctly don't bother me.


One night, a sister-in-law phones from her friend's, quite close, and asks if I'll talk to her about a computer problem.

Mistake #1: saying Yes.

Okay, so it won't boot into windows. She's been having problems ever since "ME" was put on the computer. (An upgrade, I think - surprise). Eventually, it's decided they'll bring it here and I'll figure it out, format/reisntall if needed.

It was a full-height tower, without the outside when I got it. Uh-oh; that means someone tinkers with it on a regular basis. Find out it's decent enough for an old couple like them: Celeron 400, 64MB, 20G HD. Hook it up, sure enough, won't boot into Windows. Find the reason: The windows\system directory is missing. *Completely* gone. I don't know how, as they don't know how to use DOS at all, and you can't delete that from within Windows, can you? Right?

Okay, so it's format time. All goes well. I spend about an hour with them when they pick it up explaining what not to do. Great.

It's been about 3 months since then. Occasionally, they leave messages on the machine about what's going on now. I've had to talk her through the CMOS settings as she somehow changed the primary boot device. ("But I've never seen this screen before!" Yarite.) And another reinstall. Last night, it got the same black-screen errors before windows boot as before. Extracted the file it missed manually, and it couldn't find the next one it needed...

Yep, I don't know how, but she killed the System directory again. On a new 20G HD as their old one was pronounced "faulty". I'm *sure* this is somehow a direct result of what they're doing to that poor machine, but I just can't *prove* it yet...

I don't charge family for support; I'm thinking of going into business just charging them...

Router Route: Dead End
Posted 06/01/2001 by Matthew Carpenter

I go to a local charter school, which gets its Internet service from the northern branch. One day, the Internet service was down. My teacher sent me to the media center later that morning to check if the service was up again. To no one's amazement it, was still down. It was behaving just like it would if someone changed the proxy settings to incorrect values. I was thinking of many different possibilities, including D N S numbers and even the possibility of a loose cable.

Later that day, in media class, I noticed that many students were on the Internet. So I asked my media teacher what the problem had been.

She simply responded, " Someone connected the router for the T 1 to itself. "

I wonder if the person who did that thought that the data would transfer faster. Hoo boy!

Oh, one more. . .

Someone was working on a web page ( H T M L format) in Netscape Composer. The student called me over for help on inserting an image. The " insert image" icon was clearly posted on the top toolbar. I clicked on the icon, and the student thanked me, and I sat down back at my computer.

It's so simple it hurts sometimes....
Posted 06/01/2001 by Jeckler

The company I work for (A) does on site tech support. I work in a call center in Northern California. Each time someone opens a ticket for work, the company I do work for (B) is charged.

We received a ticket this morning stating the NT Loader is missing on a PC on the floor. I prepared a boot disk with ntldr on it to copy over and see if that fixes the problem (we use FAT partitions). When I got to the PC and tried to insert my boot disk, I found another disk already there. I removed the offending diskette, hit the reset button, told the user thank you very much, and walked away. I looked back after a few steps and he was standing there with his mouth hanging open, staring at the PC wondering how I fixed it so quickly.

What's really funny is the on-site ops control is supposed to follow basic troubleshooting steps before they call in a ticket.

I Gues my name is not Frank Dahlgaard after all!
Posted 06/01/2001 by Von Knut

I work as a technician on a bussiness-radiostation i Denmark. (Not really a computer-tech, but I work with computers...)

One day we had a scheduled interview with a politician from one of the major parties, named Frank Dahlgaard.

I was in a bit of hurry, as i had been surfing the net instead of keping up with the reporter in the studie, and all of a sudden the interview was due.

-I grab the phone, push in the number, and get some girl answering....

-"This is from the xxx-raio, is this Frank Dahlgaard" -I ask stubbornly (remember i was stressed and distracted, baaaad combo)


-"Sorry, wrong number" i said, and disconnnected.

As I was in a hurry, i quickly dialed again, and got a guy on the line.

-"this is from the xxx-radio, is this Frank Dahlgaard"

-"yes" was the answer

-"If you are ready for the interview, i will proceed and put you through to the studio?"

-"okay" was the answer.

So I put him through, the reporter starts the introduction, and states his first question:

-"So Frank Dahlgaard, how do you view the goverments new law on..."

-"oh hi" answer the voice to 130.00 people i Denmark.

-"Well Frank Dahlgaard, what do you think of this new law?"

-"duhh, I don't know, my name is Lars..."

Then there was this loooong akward silence, where the reporter really gave me the "eye", before I could gather myself from the laughter and put a jingle on...

-I later found out, that the reporter had been giving me the wrong number, and I dialed this family twice in a row. They thought it was a contest, so this Lars guy took it the second time, and just answered "Yes -Im Frank Dahlgaard...."

Email -- From nowhere?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Actuyal quote from a support email we got:

"We've been having trouble on and off with our email the past few months. Most of the time it seems to work, but occasionally we send messages that are never received, and


messages come in that we do not get."

Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work as tech support for a isp and one day I had this guy call in and wanted to know why we took his icon off his desktop.I told him that there was no way for us to do that and he even got madder stating "No one was here for the whole weekend,I know yous took it off and I want it on now!"I told him again that we didn't take it off but I would help him put it back on.He says "What do you think I'm an idiot!I want to talk to a supervisor.It was funny

Posted 06/01/2001 by ~Maryann~

I work for an Isp as tech support and one day I was setting up the customers dialer and was telling her to put the access number in,it went like this:

Me:Okay now I want you to put this access number in its,

Her:hold on let me get a pen to write it down

(I wait forever for her to get one then she comes back)

Her:okay I'm ready what is it?

Me: its 555-5555

All of a sudden I hear buttons being pressed on the phone and then she gets back on and says

Her:okay I did that what next?

Me:Um mam,I didn't mean for you to put it in the phone,I meant for you to type it in the computer

Her:Oh,I'm sorry I didn't understand,I feel Like an idiot

(I felt like telling her ya you are!)

Keyboard problems?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in a service shop, so I deal with computers hands on and sometimes need to call the customer for help :-)

A computer came into our shop, the problem description on the work order stated "keyboard problems". Being an efficient tech, I tend not to wait for the computer to boot into windows, but rather use a boot disk and go at it from DOS. After thoroughly testing the keyboard, nothing seemed wrong. I then called the customer to tell her there was nothing wrong. She then went into more detail on the problem:

Me: ma'am, there seems to be nothing wrong with your keyboard.

Customer: Have you tried writing an email?

Me: No, I just tested it through DOS

Customer: Well, everytime I use the keyboard in email (voice lowers) it replaces the words with, excuse my language, "i am f***ing gay".

Me: oh my, that is odd, i'll check it out for you and call you back

I originally traced it back to the keystroke panic virus, but I still laugh about it because it couldn't have happened to a more conservative woman, whom I had to call at work and hear her say the words "f****ing gay" in front of her coworkers. hehe


Burnt Mouse
Posted 06/01/2001 by matt

A lady called saying her mouse was not working. I pressed for questions, but she was too hysterical to answer most of them. I asked her why she thought it was not working, and she proclaimed thatis was probably because " my mouse is on fire". She asked "is it normal to have a fuse on the mouse?" I said "Heck no, what is it doing?" She said " Well the fuse is burning very fast, and it's on fire". I had her extinquish the fire, with backing soda, but she used water and the whole machine was a waste!

Forseeing the future.
Posted 06/01/2001 by Life is endless entertainment

I recently started working for a national ISP, and just in a few months I already learned to tell ahead how long teh call is going to be.

Of course, lease it to Usrs to surprise you daily, thus proving that prediction of future is still in its early developmental stages.


Here are some start up lines that some of my callers use, and i KNOW its gonna be a loooooong call.


Me: Thank for calling **** (opening spiel)

Caller: My printer is not printing in color!

Me: Sir, we are an ISP, we cannot help you with your printer.

Caller: No you dont! You are not going to pass me along again!! I want this printer working now!!!

Me: (15 minutes of explaining that a printer has nothing to do with him getting online)


Me :(after opening speil, verifying account's info) May I have your adress please?

Caller: 1276 Blahbittyblahburg Avenue

Me: Can you spell that for me please (gotta love when your own software not popping caller's info infront of you)

Caller: The letters or the numbers?

(The call rpetty much went downhill from there)


Me: (after opening, trying to find at least whom I speaking with) And who am I speaking to sir?

Caller: Huh?

Me: what is your name, please?

Caller: What do you mean?

Me: Uhh..(caught off guard) that people call you?

Caller: Oh! I though you meant something else.

Me: (to myself: I dont want to know further, please lunch break come soon...)


Caller :(his first statment as soon as I greet him)Now, I can read pretty well, in fact I have a Bachelor's Degree...

(ming to tell you I work in the state thats WAAAAAY down south, and reading sometimes IS an overlooked requirement for owning a computer.)


I had this one customer, and I jsut get amuzed by people like him on daily basis. Some background: our service user agreement specifically pohibits subscribers from using their computers as a server while on our service. Of course now and then we do come across people who are either ignorant, or simple dont know what constitutes a server. But here is one I got a while ago, when I just started working.

Me: Blah thank you ****(opening speech)

Him: Go**amit! Your Sh**ty service is down again! every week this happens!

Me: (he is yelling, im trying to stay calm, verifying his account, and doing some tests)

Him: You people always do this to me! everytime i try to start something its down!

Me: (while trying to do some test to see whats going there, and trying to go through basic troubleshooting, checking lights on modem etc)

Him: there are 15 people waiting for me! We are running a server here and we have been trying to set this game up for a long time and YOU PEOPLE (gotta love that) f**k it up!

Me: *pausing* sir, excuse me, but...did you just say you are running 15 computers in your house ?

Him: YES! Its a server, we are playing a game and it was fine then slowed down and crapped out!

Me: *highly amused* Sir, according to user agreement policy you are not allowed to run servers, because they are not supported by our service,and also slow down performance for other people in your area.

Him: *sounds higly insulted* I am NOT running a server!!!

Me: *almost hearing the sound of his b*lls crushing the chair* Sir, you just told me...

Him: This is not a server! We are jsut playing a game!

Me: sir you just told me you have 15 computers running off your machine...

Him: * a little quieter* You know what...nevermind..I think I know how to fix it...

Me: *shrugging* Thank you for calling....*as he hurriedly hangs up*

I submitted his account to our User Agreement Violation Dep.

Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I got this email from a user today:


I get error messages after almost every application I use.

Is this bad?

Computer stores are all the same...
Posted 06/01/2001 by Troy D. Pack Rat

I got a call once while working at a franchise computer chain. The customer was having trouble with her computer, and spent at least 15 minutes complaining that it had never worked right since she bought it, that we sold her a computer that wasn't right for her, that we've never been able to fix it right, and that we always take so long to fix it when she brings it in.

This seemed rather odd to me, since I'd been working at that store for 6 months, and I was the only person working there on the weekdays. Nothing about the case rang a bell, so I decided to look it up in the computer to see if there was anything that might help me remember.

ME: "Could I get your last name, ma'am?"


ME: "So I can look it up in the computer"

HER: "Oh, alright. It's Doe"

So I typed it into the computer: D-O-E (enter) No record.


D-O-U-G-H (enter) No record.

D-O-H (enter) No record.

ME: "Could you spell that for me?"

HER: "D-O-E"

ME: "Hmmmmm. I'm not finding it in the computer. What's your first name?"

HER: "Jane"

So I type in J-A-N-E (enter) No record.

J-A-Y-N-E (enter) No record.

ME: "How do you spell that?"

HER: "J-A-N-E! DUH!"

ME: "Ma'am, I can't find your name in our database. Could you have used a different name when you bought the computer from us?"



ME: "Ma'am, did you actually buy the computer from US?"

HER: "How should I know?! You're the computer store next to the mall, right?"

ME: "No ma'am, the nearest mall is 20 minutes away."

HER: "Oh, I guess I got the wrong number" *click*

I sat the phone down and just roared with laughter. The customers in the store probably thought I'd gone nuts.

Dead Monitor?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Marcie

I was a field Technician for a State agency for about three years. In my travels, I met up with lots of people with all levels of computer knowledge, but 1 instance wins the prize in my book for the ID 10 T Lifetime Achievement Award. I received a call from one of my assigned offices that they had a computer that "didn't work". I went through the regular gammet of questions. Is the computer plugged in, is the power turned on, ect... the answer was yes to all questions and the end user just kept insisting that the computer didn't work. Not being able to get any real useful answers or information, I hoped in my jeep & drove 38 miles to look at the offending computer. What I found when I arrived almost floored me. The computer that "didn't Work" happened to be just a.....Monitor, a mouse and a keyboard sitting on a desk, and absolutely no CPU anywhere to be found! I was so dumbfounded at such utter stupidity, it took me a few minutes to recover. It turned out that another tech in our group had moved the "Box Thingy" to another desk, and failed to move the rest of it. Some people.....

You need that piece?
Posted 06/01/2001 by S. Steffner

I work as a Systems Administrator for an Employee Benefits Company, where several employees work from home via Citrix MetaFrame. Overnight I rolled over to a new ISP (hence a new IP address). I had contacted all remote users with the new address and instructions on making necessary changes to the client software. The next morning I had a frantic call from an upset individual because she could not access the system. Taking her anger out on me because "my changes were preventing her from working", I politely walked this individual through the changes again to insure she was using the correct address. Still couldn't connect. Then I walked her through recreating a new connection altogether. Still couldn't connect. I than asked her to reinstall the client software and try again. Nada. I continued my troubleshooting asking her to ping the new address, to see if she got a reply. Nope. It was at this point she told me she wasn't able to get a dial tone to connect to the internet (Groan). Ok, I asked her if she had done anything recently to her computer. She told me that the previous night she moved her computer to a new room. After running some tests, I asked if she had hooked up her modem. This apparently confused her. I asked her if she had a phone cable running from the back of her computer into a telephone jack to use the Dial Out. Her response was "No, there wasn't a phone jack in the room, so I didn't bother". Silence on my end for the next minute as I hold back my tears and laughter at the same time.

People - its called common sense. I recommend using it.

Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

We need to start a petition requiring all those that would like to buy a computer has to take a "simple test" on basic computing. If they do not pass they cannot own one. Shit driving a car is less complicated and they require a written and pratical test. This would save HOURS of our time and theirs. Pass this all and one day maybe in the NEAR future our lives will be SOMEWHAT easier.

i'm not a tech but..
Posted 06/01/2001 by mamierock

This makes me roll..

Last year my dad (computer illiterate) sold MY computer to his brother when I moved out.

For days after my uncle bought it, he and my dad both called and called and called me. My uncle asking for help, and my dad telling me to help him.

I had deleted all of MY stuff (was too lazy and didn't have enough time to reformat), but left things like icq and irc on, just deleted my personal info blah blah blah.. made them a new icq number, all that.

One of the problems my uncle and his step-son were having was that they couldn't get the cdrom to work. They put a cd in but it wouldn't eject.

I knew that nothing was wrong with it that they didn't do to it because it had only been a couple of days since I had used it.

Finally, I agreed to go look at it.

The tray was sticking out about a quarter of an inch. It had been pulled off track..

me: What have you done?!

them: um, it was stuck...

me: So... ?

them: um, we tried to pry it out with pliers..

me: MAYBE I can fix it.. (read: you've screwed it up good)

I started messing around with it, not really wanting to bother trying to explain to them why PULLING it out wasn't a good idea, when I noticed something wet..

me: what's this wet??

them: um, we thought if we put some oil in there it would make it come out easier.

me: that's not good!!!!!

them: if we get some q-tips can you clean it up??

me: ummm.. no

They had squirted DW-40 in there to lube it up.

I told them they would have to replace the cdrom and I left.

That's not all!

A couple of days later they said the printer wouldn't print.

Somehow, deleting stuff they thought they didn't need, they deleted the drivers for the printer (which was also a scanner/fax/xerox).

I tried to tell them how to download the drivers, but they couldn't figure it out.

I refused to go back to help them, so I gave my sister detailed instructions (she's not that great either) and she fixed it.

THEN they called and said the computer was posessed and didn't want it!

My uncle said that after he and his wife went to bed they could hear the computer SCREAMING..

Turned out they had either left the computer on and connected, with ICQ open.. or the step-son was online when he shouldn't have been.. and they were getting random messages.. and heard the "Uh-Oh!"..

Windows 2000 does the Samba
Posted 06/01/2001 by Justin

I am a Network Administrator, I love computers, I have 4 of them at home on a network that I play with all the time installing new OS's & software. I recently decided to try my hand at installing a Samba server. I dug out my copy of FreeBSD and installed it on one of my spare machines, did all the configuration required, couldn't get my Windows 2000 PC to see it, the same with SUSE 6.0, Redhat 6.1 and Redhat 7.1 (I assumed that it was the encryption of passwords that was causing the problem). I eventually checked the network settings of the Windows 2000 pc and discovered that TCP/IP was unbound from client for microsoft networks!!! I had upgraded this machine from Win98 when it was running wingate and there was excessive dialling to our ISP when I looked for anything on the local LAN so I unbound TCP/IP from the MS client. This took 2 weeks to discover BTW!!!

Holier than thow
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am the Network Tech for a company of about 80 people. Our boss is incredibly strict about what is suitable use of the web and email. He monitors web useage daily and will check every site he doesn't recognize from our logs (gee, wonder why my site visits don't get logged) and every email with an attachment gets copied to him. So far three people have been fired this year for inappropriate material.

I was getting ready to set up his new box when I get a frantic call from his secretary (an incredibly beautiful girl of about 25). She is trying to delete some files from his old system before I get up there, but can't get to the P: drive. The p: drive is the bosses personal network folder and since she is trying to log into the account with her user and pass, it isn't coming up. I explain that to her and tell her I'll delete the files for her. She says no and that she has to do it. After going back and forth trying to figure out why she doesn't want me do it, I say fine and grant her access to his folder.

I go up and install the new box, make sure everything is working and head back to my cell. The secretary was acting kind of weird while I was up there and curiosity finally got the best of me and I had to know what the files were. I log into the backup server, check the directory from the previous nights back up, and I find dozens and dozens of jpg files. I restore the files to my network folder head back to my desk and start checking them out.

I was a bit shocked (but happy) at what I found. The dozens and dozens of files were pictures of the secretary in various states of undress, poses and a couple acts that definitely were not appropriate workplace material.

I restored the files to the bosses folder, and sent an email to him and his secretary telling them I restored their photos for them. Work has become really easy since then, I got to hire an assistant and the boss never questions anything I say or do. Just a reminder to all you techs on the importantance of diligent backups!

Wrong Position
Posted 06/01/2001 by David

I work customer service/technical support for a local ISP. I recently got a call from a customer asking for a particular technician. We however do not sent callers directly to a tech they have to go through the phone que like everyone else. I told the customer that I could give him the message and he would call him back, he said that was fine. He told me that he was just wanting to let him know that he fixed the problem he was having with his monitor. When I asked him what the problem was I was confused, he said that the screen on the monitor was shaking....but only the left half. He informed me that they tried to adjust all settings on the monitor as well as reconfigured the video card, with no luck.

I then inquired as to how he fixed it and this is the response he gave.

Customer:" Well, I decided to rearrage my computer and once i moved everything I couldn't fit it all on the desk anymore. So I had to move the Sub-woofer from next to the monitor and put it on the floor. Now evrything is working normal."

Posted 06/01/2001 by Steven Surajputra

I work for a Loan Origination Software company in the tech support department and the software has integrated Internet Explorer into the software. The screen has five tabs: Prequal, Processing, All Files, Templates, and ePASS (Internet Explorer). By default, it opens up to ePASS.

Now, if you're not connected to the Internet, and you don't set the option to Dial automatically (for a dial-up), you'll get a message on the browser window that says Action Cancelled or Page Cannot be Found, which is normal.

Our clients automatically panic and calls us up saying that our software is broken and they want to know what's going on and they want it fixed right away.

We always have to tell them: Sir/Ma'am, please click on the Processing tab. They see all their loans and they calm down.

Empty space on my desk top?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Cate

People who call for tech support should blindly follow and do everything we say. They called us..., ya know? I had this guy call, a real jerk, he needed some help with some software he purchased from **L. He was upset that he couldn't get the flight simulation software to work for him. First he blessed me out, then he told me how he was going to have to email ***** Case and involve him. At this point, all I wanted to do was to get him OFF the phone without hanging up on him (believe me, I was tempted). The problem was, when he got to the actual flight step of the program, he would get a white screen. First I thought that maybe he just needed to adjust his screen resolution. So I ask him to right click on an empty space on his desk top.

Idiot **L Mbr: "There is no empty space on my desk top"

Angelic Tech Chick: "Sir, look at your desk top, find an empty space on it and right click."

Idiot **L Mbr: (yelling) "Now listen to me, I don't see a spot that says empty anything. Are you talking about my recycle bin?"

{I hear my sup laughing in the background which tells me I'm being monitored}

Angelic Tech Chick: "Ok sir, find a blank part of your desk top and right click on it"

Idiot **L Mbr: (yelling some more) "Hey, there is nothing wrong with my monitor, I'm not going to change any settings that I have already. Your program is a piece of crap and *** should be made accountable"

Angelic Tech Chick: "Sir, you always have the option of returning it for a full refund."

So this jerk continues to tell me how he is not going to change his resolution settings. I finally get him to find an empty space on his desk top and we find out that the dumb jerk doesn't have a 3D Accelerator card.

He told me he was going to call Gateway and bless them out for not putting one on his computer. God help those Gateway techs!!!

Lame Links
Posted 06/01/2001 by Mike

I handle I.T. for a broadcast television news station. One afternoon, I received a frantic call from a reporter in the newsroom. She stated that she was working on a story and needed to get some info off the web, but whenever she clicked on the link she was trying to reach, nothing happened. Because she was on a tight deadline, I immediately sprinted down the hall to take a look.

I got to her desk and asked her to show me exactly what she was doing. Imagine my surprise when she clicked on an e-mail address and her mail client popped up! She immediately switched back to her browser and said, "See... Nothing happened!"

Fortunately for me, she has since left us and now reports for CNN!

Monitor Madness
Posted 06/01/2001 by Mike

The television news station where I work has only two I.T. support people, myself and one other. However, we have news crews working at the station around the clock. Often, problems occur when neither of us are there, and sometimes the users prefer to simply wait us out.

I came in early one morning to find a voicemail message and an e-mail about a dead PC in the newsroom. As I walked down the hall to take a look, I heard a frantic producer paging me overhead. When I arrived, the producer, looking extremely stressed out, led me over to the dead PC in the producers' area. She explained how it refused to turn on all morning, so she had been forced to shuffle producers around to available desks, etc. I was given the impression that this was totally unacceptable for a professional organization such as ours. Just as she was wrapping up her tirade, I reached over and turned on the monitor...

Switch the Switch
Posted 06/01/2001 by Mike

I support about 180 PCs on our LAN. Recently we rolled out 70 brand new PCs to an area of the building.

One morning, a user dropped by my desk complaining that their new PC would not power on. I had the same model at my desk, and just out of instinct, pointed to the power button and asked them if that was the one they were pushing (I thought they might have confused the power and the reset button, which are right next to each other). The embarassed user said, "No, I was pushing THAT one!" and pointed at the disk eject button on the floppy drive!! Can't understand why it didn't work!

Evil Mail Server
Posted 06/01/2001 by cerealportx

I used to work in Desktop Support for a large wireless telecom in Virginia. We had a hot-headed VP of Network Engineering that used to routinely install all kinds of non-standard stuff on his laptop. One day I get a call from his secretary saying he's screaming about how slow the network was running since the weekend and he was going to make sure someone got fired over it. I ran upstairs and into his office where he immediatly started screaming about how incompetent IT support was. He wouldn't let me anywhere near his system and insisted I call the WAN guys in Atlanta and "GET THIS F**KING S**T FIXED!". I conference called the WAN guys with the hot-headed VP and after the VP screamed about it taking five minutes to get three emails they put an engineer on a plane and sent him to our location. When the engineer arrived (and promptly got screamed at) he hooked up a sniffer and he and the VP went to lunch. While they were away I snuck into the VP's office and looked at his system where I quickly noticed a flashing red icon in his system tray. It was Black Ice Defender running in "maximum paranoia" mode, which explained why the WAN guys couldn't ping him. From that point on I incessantly teased the VP about how he has to be careful and always protect himself from our evil mail server.

These viruses are getting nastier and nastier...
Posted 06/01/2001 by Daniel

Computer programming/system administration has been my hobby for a long time, so I've always been my school's computer guru. Once, one of the school's less computer-literate students told me that he had an older computer and couldn't run any games. So I gave him a floppy containing two old space-invaders type games that ran in DOS. The next day, he was furious. He swore to me that the disk I gave him contained a computer virus that was causing the floppy to get stuck in the drive. He told me that his dad had to pull it out with a pair of pliers, wrecking the drive, and that unless I bought him a new one he would sue. Turns out he had jammed my 3.5" floppy into his 5.25" drive.

You're using what again?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Meredith

I'm a first-level dialup tech at an ISP in Houston, and I use SW Bell's DSL service at home. Because of what I do for a living, I have a basic understanding of networking issues - I wouldn't call it expertise, but I have a clue.

Anyway. One night I started my PC, which I had built myself and installed Win2K on. I opened up PPPoE (PPP over Ethernet) and received an error message I'd never seen before: "Unable to resolve MAC address". I wasn't sure if there was a physical problem with the DSL modem (the hardware address had gotten reset?) or if PPPoE was just having problems talking to the modem. I switched off the modem and turned it back on; same problem. Fairly sure that I was out of my depth beyond that, I decided to call tech support.

The first person I talked to had absolutely no idea what a MAC address was. I explained "It's the hardware address of the DSL modem, just like on a cable modem." Complete silence. Eventually she referred me to another number; she never did explain who it was for. I called the new line and explained the problem again; once again, the tech had no clue whatsoever what the term "MAC address" meant.

Finally, they took down my name and phone number and said they'd have a second level tech call me back in the morning. I hung up and, just for grins, rebooted the computer; it worked fine. Software error, evidently. But the story doesn't end there.

When I got back from work the next day, there was a message on my answering machine with a callback number and a case number. Figuring it would be polite to close their case out for them, I called the number and told the customer-service guy who answered that I'd solved the problem on my own. He thanked me for calling back and asked if it was all right if he transferred me to a tech so they could close the case. I said sure, and moments later was on the phone with Mr. Second Level. He was happy to hear that a reboot had fixed it. Ever curious, I inquired, "Just so I know for the future, what might have caused the PC to fail to recognize the modem's address?"

"The *modem's* address?" he said.

"Uh, yeah," I said. "You know, the hardware address. Actually, is it in hardware or firmware? I assume if there's some way to reset it, it's in firmware." (Hey, I'm honest about when I don't know what I'm talking about.)

He proceeded to launch into an explanation of TCP/IP, and said "So when your Macintosh is connected to our network..."

"Wait, wait, wait!" I said. "My Macintosh? I don't have a Macintosh. I have a PC. I'm running Windows 2000."

"Are you *sure*?" he said.

"Of COURSE I'm sure. I built this machine three weeks ago."

"Well," he asked, "why would it have a MAC address if it was a PC?"

Despite the fact that I now knew I was talking into a vacuum, I explained, "Be. Cause. The. MAC. Address. Belongs. To. The. DSL. Modem. Which. You. Sent. Me."

He said, "Hold on a second," and then, "You know what it says here under 'type of computer'? Macintosh."

I hung up.

I'm tempted to email SWBell's support address with a link to the Webopedia definition of the Media Access Control layer, but I don't think it would do any good if the problem's that widespread.

Faulty Drives or Faulty Customer???
Posted 06/01/2001 by Chris Sewell

I work for a Hardware support line supporting, PB, HP, Compaq and E-machines. I had a PB customer on the other day who needed her PB re Tattooing (Don't worry, Only on PB's)Anyway, On her particlaur machine she has a DVD drive and a CDRW. I dropped to dos to start the tatoo process and asked her to insert one of the recovery CD's into one of the drives, which she did. I got to to type a command line in and she got "Not ready reading drive" so I got her to put the CD into the other drive and Retry. Again she got, Not ready reading drive" Two Faulty Drives??? After nearly half an hour of trudging through MSCDEX to reinstall the Drivers and getting no where I asked her to read what it said on the side of the CD facing up in the drive. She replied that it was blank, So i asked her to read the underside "Recovery CD1"!!! She thought that CD's were like Old Records and that it read the top!


Yet another day in the life of Tech support :-)

Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a large isp company...I get this call one day from this lady stating she has a virus in netscape and lost her address book and want's them back..I said we can uninstall/reinstall netscape she says what about the address book If we uninstall i will lose them....told her we would save them to the desk top she repeatedly said what about the address book....I said to my self fine...We will set up the e-mail in outlook express she says OH NO NO NO!!!! I don't think so that is the worst program you could ever use you get viruses from using that one...when she just said that netscape had a virus and you never get virus in that program....she wouldn't follow with me she wanted another program to goto to check her e-mail so I told her to goto and she goes I'v already read these e-mails....I said well you won't stay with me you don't want to set-up in outlook express....there is nothing I can do for you if you wonder everywhere but where I want you to go...Then she repeats again What about my address that time i'm so mad that I want to hang up on her....the point of the story is that some people just don't understand

My Life
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in a support center, Supporting Thinkpads, and Desktops.

Here are some choice tales..

System down: System maintanance is once a week for five hours -

Why do the same people call every week to see if the network is down...

Numbers: Ten times each week I have to inform someone how to press Shift and Numlk on a thinkpad.

CDROM: 2 calls from Admin assistants requesting a CDROM Drive to be installed, their Boss has a DVD drive.

Training: If you do not attend the training class for a software rollout that impacts your Job, but spend 20 minutes

a day for the next three weeks to solve your problems, yet you tell the tech that you do not have an hour

to spend in a training class, why are you making us suffer for your poor planning.

Recent Call:

Me: Hello, how can I help you

EU: I was typing and all of a sudden, I keep getting Capitals

Me: Ok, (Brain Freeze), this is a laptop?

EU: yes IBM TP

Me: Do a Shift and numlk (Common Problem)( I made her open the laptop)

EU: No Still caps.

ME: This is common on the laptops, but I never had this while it is in a Docking station.

Lets' Reboot the Laptop

(At this time the light goes on - She has the caps lock on)

I did not have the heart to tell her that her problem was so simple.

Ten minutes later-

EU: Ok it is working correctly now.

ME: Great. If this happens again, just call us

EU: Thank you so much for your help

ME: have a Good day

People actually make these calls.

PS a coworker asked if a reboot will take off the Keyboard caps lock.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

My first computer was an old, used P90 that had been used for customer support by a national shoe store chain. Considering the age and relative lack of speed, I dubbed it Pokey the Dinosaur. It worked faithfully under 95 for several months. For various reasons, I upgraded to the full install of 98, and started having many, many problems with Pokey. Blue screen of death became a way of life for me. Blaming windows for the problem, I kept attempting to reinstall it, hoping that it would "catch" and be a good install, but nope, it grew worse every time I turned the computer on. Eventually, it stopped responding altogether, refusing to boot. I finally gave up on resolving the issue myself, and called Microsoft, who quickly told me it was a hardware problem, and to call the manufacturer. I called them, and, to their credit, they gave me tech support although the puter was out of warranty.

However, because I am hard of hearing, even after explaining this fact, I had to ask him to repeat himself a few times, and from then on was given very simple instructions very spaced out and very clearly worded...and he pretty much "interpreted" my responces. (ie you said this, but what I think you mean is it's this...) hey, this guy probably gets all sorts, I really can't blame him and didn't feel like explaining it to him yet again, so be it. He was unable to get the computer to tell him anything other than it had major problems, but all the hardware checked out, no smells or burnt cards or anything. He recommended that I upgrade the bios, and told me how to navigate to the website to get the files. Hello? My puter won't boot properly? Oh, yeah,, I'll send you the disks, call back when you get them.

(6 weeks later)

I call the company back up, seems that they are having a problem with their tech support, and have the calls forwarded to the engineering department. Fine by me, so long as my problem gets sorted out. The engineers very slowly and very thoroughly walked me through the steps, I could almost feel hands on mine completing the keystrokes. I suppose the previous tech left a note on the file about my hearing problems, no big deal. The bios upgrade wouldn't install. By the end of the phone call, I've talked to three different engineers, and wound up with two of them on a conference call. No go. They said, well, maybe it's a bad copy of the bios, try installing it on another computer. I'm sorry, I don't have another system. Perhaps a friend might? No, I don't know anyone that owns this model of computer, nor do I think they'd allow me to attempt to reinstall their bios. Oh, right, right, we'll send you another copy, no charge. Hang on, there was a charge? Yes, it was 17 plus shipping, automatically billed to the credit card information I had given their system when we started the case six weeks ago. ooooooooooooooookay, it would have been nice to have been informed, but I suppose...and I got the charge notice the next day in the mail.

(4 weeks later.......hey, free stuff is faster, what do you know)

I call up, and talk to a very nice lady tech named Cheryl. She looked at the case history and said well, I see you've been having quite the time, lets see what we can do. She wanted to see exactly how bad the problems were, as she wasn't sure that I needed the bios upgrade. She had me hold on while she went out and retrieved a binder she had on problems she had run into with older computers. Following her instructions, we were able to get the puter to spit out some ASCII characters, and she got very excited....I know what it is!! She quickly looked it up, and had me perform a few more commands, turns out my computer had a virus that had embedded itself. Hence the other guys not being able to access the bios, and the puter refusing to install new ones. It was a very old virus too, one from the 3.1 days, and she figured it had been on the computer when I purchased it, and became active when I upgraded. The only possible way to remove it was to perhaps remove the cmos and reinstall it. Unfortunately, after removing the case, we discovered that the cmos was epoxied in place. Probably something done by the corporation that owned it, as all the jumpers, the processor, pretty much everything, had the same treatment. Now, I will admit that this was a tricky problem, and at the time I was not a high level user, however, I find it interesting a note that Cheryl said was on my file, inserted by the very first tech I spoke to. "Customer is cooperative but appears to have little or no computer knowledge, needs hand holding and lots of repitition, go slowly." Wow! All that because I had to ask him to repeat himself.

"How do I do THAT?"
Posted 06/01/2001 by Internet "Help" Desk

I work for an "internet help desk" for a large company (seven regional offices for the USA - last time I checked the map). I got the job because (a) it is one of the few that is "part-time" and (b) I knew how to use "Outlook" because I had been using the Internet at home for about three years.

I can always tell when one of the other offices gets a "newbie". I monitor TWO mailboxes - my region's mailbox and the "default" mailbox that the webpage sends messages to that don't have enought info to select a regional mailbox (and all the bounced e-mail messages go there with BAD addresses).

I will get messages addressed to a customer - and sent to the default mailbox because the "newbie" has just hit "reply" to address the e-mail. I send the message back (reply) and suggest that they copy and paste the customer's e-mail address in there and RE-SEND the e-mail to the customer.

What really gets me is when they come back with "But I don't know HOW to do THAT!" Excuse me - you're working on the INTERNET and you can't use your computer well enough to highlight, copy, and paste????

Can I go to a higher paid job as a TRAINER??????

Fax woes and the blame game.
Posted 06/01/2001 by Neeri

While I'm just an administrative assistant rather than a tech, I've had my fair share of odd encounters as well. Having recently been moved to one of the 'older' departments after the one I was hired into disolved into it, I've had to deal with the old company 'standard' equipment as opposed to the new.

One day my manager asked me to check up on some documents she had ordered as they hadn't come in yet, and it had been over a month. So I took the fax request, and called the number on it to get information on the request status. It turns out that my manager had failed to read the instructions and put the date and the last four of her social security number at the top, which is how they track each order.

So naturally once I found out the mistake I input the information, and went off to the fax to send it off again. It was my first time working with this fax machine, and I thought it odd that most things on it were 'backwards' compaired to the locations of items on the newer machine my last department had had. It took me awhile to figure out that the incoming faxes arrived in a small slot beneath the section that dumped out the originals after being scanned. Thinking that was all I needed to know, I set up the fax and sent it away.

Two weeks go by, and still nothing is heard about the order. So I call the number up and inquire as to where it is. They don't have any such order in their records, even after I had added the tracking number they require. The documents aren't even in stock I found out, but they would get there in a week if I sent it off today. So the representative gave me their direct fax so she could personally handle it, and off I go to the fax machine again.

An entire month goes by when I find the fax on my desk, and given the previous problems I ask my manager if she had received the documents yet. Still no. So I call yet again. Again there's no record of our request at all, however this time I get someone different who tells me that the documents *are* in stock, have been, always will be, and they could be delivered right away as soon as they received the fax.

By now I was begining to wonder if perhaps I wasn't doing something wrong with the fax machine. I made sure I hit the number to dial outside of the building, I checked each number carefully before sending the fax, and then I slid the fax through once more. I wait and hear the dial tone, I hear the sound that declares another machine had picked up, and then the original comes through for me to scoop up.

Someone had left a pile of papers in the tray previously however, so the paper ended up sliding right off onto the back of the table the fax machine was on. I leaned my hand against the top of the fax, where the paper feed tray is to balance while reaching behind... And stop as my fingers encounter an odd bump beneath the laminated paper that had been taped firmly to the feed tray so we all would know the fax machine's number. Curious, I lifted the edge of the paper, and found a symbol that declared much to my dismay that I had been feeding the paper in upside down for this model. Red-faced, I sent it through correctly this time, and didn't mention it to my manager.

A few days later she called me into her office to proudly display the box of documents she'd just received, as well as a formal apology letter from the company stating that they had made a filing error, and had been sending the documents to the wrong place.

I'd like to know how they managed to file a blank peice of paper!

Plastic Prophets
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

In our IT department, we have a Tech Support Eightball given to us by a vendor. If you haven't seen one before, basically it's an eightball that has things like "reboot," "it works on my machine," etc. on it. Also, as I'm sure is the case in most law firms, our lawyers are either of the level where they know enough about computers to get themselves in trouble doing something stupid but not enough to fix what they did, or they are the kind that know nothing about computers and refuse to learn. As a final piece of background information, we use a document management system in our firm to make document sharing easy between attorneys & between offices. To try to make it as robust as possible, the system doesn't require a constant connection between the users' machines & the server. Basically, the two only talk to each other when they have to. Thus, one of the most common "problems" is that the client program on a user's machine will think that a document is still open when the user's already saved & closed the document, and the server knows it. The "solution" is to just click the refresh button, which of course contacts the server to find out which documents are currently open and which are closed. All of our users hear this in training. (And yes, even though we're not huge, we have a full-time on-site trainer. Which is a very good thing.)

That said, a fellow tech & I (technically, he's in word processing, but the office is small enough that wp is pretty much a part of IT) were sitting around the IT department talking when this young attorney (who is of the group that refuses to actually learn anything about computers, and everybody knows it) waltzes right into the middle of our conversation.

User: "My documents won't open!"

Me: "You mean like your documents on your hard drive or your documents on the [document management system]?"

User: "On the [document management system]"

She then proceeded to pick up the tech support eightball and read her "fortune" aloud: "The program works fine. Must be user error."

My fellow tech then high-tailed it out of IT before laughing in her face. I managed to walk over to her desk, click "Refresh", and get back to my desk before I lost control.

pissed off password
Posted 06/01/2001 by Shaun Umland

I am the senior technician for a reletively small ISP, and as any senior tech knows, problem cases tend to gravitate to us. If anyone is upset, disgruntled, or borderline psycotic, the standard proceedure is to say "hold please, I'll transfer you to a senior tech". 'Tis our lot in life.

So on this particular day I speak to one gentleman (hadn't talked to him yet, so I could still mentally apply the word "gentleman") who can't log in. A most precursory question and answer session shows the problem to be that he doesn't know his password. This is not an uncommon thing, as windows is happy to store a password, so many people throw it in once, forget about it, and only run into problems if their computer forgets for one reason or another. In such a case, that customer can get the password from us by either coming to one of our offices in person, or by faxing in a photo ID. While this is a bit rigid, we're strick on it, and will never give out a password without proper verification.

The conversation was as follows:

Me: it seems the problem is that you didn't enter a password

Him: yes, I noticed that there was no password typed in.

Me: (thinking I'd about wrapped this one up) Well sir, go ahead and type in your password and try connecting again.

Him: Ok. What's my password.

Me: (gives standard schpiel about getting us to give out a password)

(This is where it got good)

Him: I didn't delete this $!@#!%& password. You guys deleted it. Give me my $#@#%$ password.

Me: (quite taken aback) Sir, if we just gave out passwords without verification, then anyone could just call and get your password. (I was about to add the bit about surely he understands why we have to be careful with passwords, but was rather rudely interrupted.)

Him: Don't give me that @#$@!!. You're service is a joke. It doesn't work.

Me: Have you had a problem before now? (A double check of his support notes showed a few. E-mail problems, a few password problems, nothing out of the ordinary.)

Him: You know who this is. We've spoken before. Why should I pay for a service that doesn't work.

Me: Obviously the service won't work if you don't provide your correct username and password. Do that and you'll be fine

Him: So this is how you screw people out of there money, huh? I hope you @#$!$# all burn in hell.


All that for a password. I want a demotion.

The other direction...
Posted 06/01/2001 by DurocShark

Normally the ID10Ts flow from the customer's direction. Not in this company.

I'm on the helpdesk for a large Mortgage firm. Most of our lusers aren't so bad, having to have at least SOME intelligence to work in this industry. But the network engineers on the other hand... (Keep in mind that banking industry is one of the lowest paying industries around. Of course we can't get the best people with the lowest pay...)

We have a hybrid NT/Novell network using Citrix Metaframe and lots of dummy terminals. When a user changes his password, it has to sync across both sides of the network. Sometime back in April this sync function ceased to work. Users cannot successfully change their own passwords. They have to call the Hell Desk and have us assign them a password.

The network engineers denied that there was an issue at first. Must be a training problem, they said. After weeks of dealing with it (accompanied by the sounds of my screaming, "I'm throwing a f*&^*&% blanket party for you jerks!!!" they rebuilt one of the Novell servers and said everything was fine. They closed the ticket I had created.

The next day, guess what? Same problem. Call after call after call. I re-opened the ticket and sent it up with a letter to them, their manager, and the IT director. It came back from their manager with this note:

"That ticket was for a previous network state. The state of the network has changed, so it is a different issue, even if the symptoms are similar."


I wonder if that jerk managed to keep a straight face while he was spewing that B.S. my way.


External Hard Drive
Posted 06/01/2001 by BleedingEars

I work first line tech support for a major supplier of computer peripherals. A woman had called about her printer, and I began asking her the normal preliminary troubleshooting questions. Any tech knows that you sometimes run into unusual problems or computer setups from time to time, but this one had me stumped until I finally "saw the forest through the trees." It was my first call of the day and I hadn't had any coffee yet, so maybe that's why I was a bit slow to catch this one. Here's a bit of the dialogue.....

(Me) Mam, is your printer connected directly to your computer?

(Her) No, it's connected to my hard drive.

(Me) Do you mean the printer port on the back of your computer?

(Her) No, I mean the hard drive.

(Me) You have an external hard drive separate from your computer?

(Her) Yes, that's where my printer is plugged in.

By this time, I'm trying to figure out how the hell she can have her OS on an external hard drive and have a printer connected to it.....

(Me) How is this hard drive connected to your computer mam?

(Her) With a wire.

(Me) I mean, where on the back of your computer is this hard drive plugged in?

(Her) There aren't any plugs on the back of my computer. Just a long wire going to the hard drive.

(Me, as the lightbulb in my head suddenly turns on) Mam, what does your computer look like?

(Her) It looks like a little TV set.

(Me) And what does your "hard drive" look like?

(Her) It's a plastic box under the desk that makes those CDs and floppy disks play......

I am truly amazed that the post office seems to have a long record of employees going ballistic on the job and the tech support industry doesnt.

The doorbell?!?!?!
Posted 06/01/2001 by Mike

While working at a local ISP I recieved a call from an elderly woman whom was confused about her service, which seemed to be 'acting up'. I asked her politely what was happening, she responded that whenever she connected to the internet her doorbell would ring occasionally. Now thats a new one. I asked for clarification as to what was happening and she told me she would connect and start going about her way on the internet, the doorbell would ring and no one would be there. I asked what she was doing and she said she was usually checking her e-mail and chatting with friends. So finally we had it, just the stupid noises that come with AOL IM or whatever she was using... and a bit of user-end idiocy and there you go. But unfortunately it was not that simple of an explanation. Upon my informing her of the situation she responded with "well why is my computer hooked up to my doorbell??? that doesnt make any sense" i told her it wasnt it was her speakers making a door bell noise. She asked how to 'fix' it... after deciding not to suggest heavy drinking and mind altering drugs i simply told her to turn off her speakers when ever she was chatting, and her doorbell would stop ringing. she was so happy...

Posted 06/01/2001 by TechnoGeek

Once anyone finds out that you are computer tech, they run to you for EVERYTHING!

My neighbor across the street had called me several times to ask what was wrong with his FrankenStine POS2840. I would spend no less than 30 minutes at time on the phone with him. After a few months this, I found out that he had been calling ANOTHER mutual friend (also a tech) to find out if what I told him was the truth. NO tech likes to be questioned on her/his abilities. I thought, "I'll fix you next time...."

Not much time passed before he called again.

VMan: "TechnoGeek, this is VMan. Can you help me out?"

Me: "Sure, VMan, what's the problem?"

VMan: "Everytime I turn on my computer I hear a real loud buzzing sound."

Me: "Does it sound mechanical or electronic?"

VMan: "I don't know."

Me: "Turn your computer on and listen very carefully to the noise."

VMan: "OK, I turned it on."

Me: "Did the noise seem to speed up?"

VMan: "Yeah, it did!"

Me: "There's a wire touching the cooling fan. Turn the machine off and I'll bet the sound slows down."

VMan: "Yeah! IT DID!"

I told him to yank the cover off the thing, move the wire, and start the machine again. He hasn't bothered the other tech since. In VMan's mind, I am a true TECHNOGEEK.

Posted 06/01/2001 by Lynn

I work for a small ISP in Toronto in the billing department.

I received the following email from one of our customers in

my billing email today:

I know before unplugging and moving my computer, I had 3 or 4 read messages in

my inbox which I purposely left there How can I now access these and

saved/sent boxes etc - these options don't seem to be listed above.

(Name Removed)

Don't Play with Voodoo at work
Posted 06/01/2001 by CBFIII

I work as a Network Administrator for a public library system. This is one of those jobs that requires you to were many hats from true net admin to tech support for systems both in the public area and in the employee areas.

I get a call from this lady that processes the book orders saying that she is having problems with her computer and the colors are just horrible and she needs a new one since this one is messed up. (Never mind that it is a 6 month old 1 gig system)

I think oh boy what has she done this time (one of those people), since she has this thing about screensavers and backgrounds.

I arrive at her office and her screensaver is on and it is horrible looking. I check the display settings and see it is set to vga.

I inquire if she had done anything and she said that she had been cleaning up her drive of old .tmp, .scr and .bmp files when she noticed some odd sounding files and thought that she must have one of those new viruses that was going around, so she does a manual virus scan of her hard drive. The virus scan does not find a virus so she thinks that she has a brand new virus that the virus scanner cannot find. Now our scanners are setup so that they update from our server everyday and we have our server setup to check for updates daily, in addition to 3 of us getting virus alerts so the odds of her getting a virus nobody has heard of are pretty slim. There have also been numerous messages about calling us when anything suspicious goes on with the computer.

So she decides that she is just going to delete the virus manually. So she deletes all the files that say Voodoo and then empties her recycle bin so the virus cannot come back.

In addition to this she keeps asking me for a new computer! I inform her that since she just got that one 6 months ago that she had 3 choices, use her departmental budget to pay for a new system, keep the one she is currently using, or settle for one of our emergency PCs which are 200 Compaqs running NT 4.0 with 32 megs of ram, since we have a limited budget and have a replacement schedule and she just got that one.(We still have people here using 166 non-mmx pentiums)

She is still using her 1 gig pentium.

Limited Vocabulary
Posted 06/01/2001 by Graham W. Boyes

This guy just e-mailed me saying that he laughed so hard at my time-before-last story (The Softwood Problem, May 2001) he spilt (spit?) beer all over his keyboard and he was going to sue me for the cost of the keyboard. LOL!

Okay, not really a tech tale. At least, it didn't seem too technical to me!

Ya know those little business card-shaped 80mm CDRs? I bought a few and was trying them out. I put my résumé on one. I was showing it to some induhvidual. His response was, "So, can you use your little ink thing to write your name on the front of the CD so people know whose CD it is?"

After a short pause I said, "Ya mean a pen?"

Him: "Yeah."

Me: "Yeah, I can use a pen.

Silence is Golden (But a Bit Counterproductive)
Posted 06/01/2001 by Gene Buettner

I received a call from a small customer that their internet connection had failed. It's a Win2k server using a dial up account with ICS to give access to 3 or 4 workstations. It would repeatedly dial and error out for a bad password. Killing DUN in Win2k Server is a pig and I wound up having to delete the connection and re-create it. All was well for a couple of hours until I got a call back for the same problem. They swore that nobody had touched the server (a technically correct statement as you'll soon learn, dear reader!) Repeat previous corrective action and all was well -- until 30 minutes prior to quitting time. Back on-site again, I ascertained the real cause. One of the folks that works in the room where the server resides didn't like the noise that the extermal modem was making and would turn it off! When they turned it back on, it would try to reconnect and then throw the password error (still haven't figured out that behaviour) but I did show them how to turn the modem volume down. Problem solved.

Must Have Been a Blonde in a Prior Life
Posted 06/01/2001 by Gene Buettner

I got a panicked call from a TV station that is a customer of ours. They have two NT servers that handle the wire service news feeds that are used for generating the daily newscasts. One of them had had a hard drive failure and, of course, there was no backup available. Replacing the drive and reinstalling NT was a quick no-brainer but the newsfeed software wasn't so easy. After getting their tech support folks away from dinner (and out of bed in one case) we finally had it working and in marginally enough time to have the 10:00 PM broadcast ready. The only client machine that had access at this point was the news director's. The show's anchor was stomping around in a particularly vile mood as the copy wasn't ready and the teleprompter would not be ready, relegating her to the indignity of having to read from a piece of paper (The horror of it all!) The news director told her to use her machine. We had started the teleprompter install on the server and walked away while it ran and the anchor sat down at the server, banged on the keybaord a couple of times, and announced loudly, "This stupid thing isn't working!" The news director pointed to her desktop and the anchor sheepishly recognised the error of her way (I thought we were making progress -- a tremendously fleeting thought!) and calmly reached up and powered off the server and got up and walked over to the desktop, which of course, wouldn't work now that the server was down again! I thought I was going to have to physically restrain the news director. Epilogue: That anchor was released on a morals clause issue having something to some funny white powder found in her car following a DUI arrest. Stupid is as stupid does, I reckon... BTW, they did get the news out that night, but I'm not really sure as to how. I was too busy getting the server back on-line to watch it.

Nice AND Dumb
Posted 06/01/2001 by Gene Buettner

There is a local law office that's running an ancient Win3.1 based "server" with a LANTastic 1 megabit network and a bunch of 286 & 386 clients and a single user line-of-business package for law offices that only one user can use at a time. For what they pay us annually to keep this beast crawling along, we could outfit them with the latest technology and increase productivity by 20 orders of magnitude at least. They won't budge from where they are. On the plus side, they're a great bunch of folks, never complain about the bills or delays on support, and always pay on time (very unusual in the industry from my experience!)

Can't you Read?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Erik

This is a true story:

I took a call from a extremely frustrated customer. Believe it or not this is a actual call.

Tech: Thank you for calling *****. How can I help you?

Customer: This is the fifth time I am calling! This computer has never worked! Do you understand that I am losing business over this worthless computer? I cannot use this thing anymore! I give up on it! I am send it back!

Tech: Sir before you do, can i ask what the problem is?

Customer: Like I said nothing is working! Are you not listening to me? It says "LOW-GIN" with a cursor blinking. What the heck does "LOW-GIN" mean?

I had no other choice but to put the cutomer on hold while i let out one of the biggest laughs that i have had in a long while. I also let other techs listen in to this one.

Tech: Now let me get this stright sir, your screen is saying "LOW-GIN" with a cursor blinking?

Cutomer: YES

Tech: Do you mean "LOGIN"?

There was about 10 seconds of dead air.

Cutomer: (in a very low tone) I'm stupid.


STD's are a problem
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I was working at a small ISP when I recieved this hilarious call. The lady who called was probably in her 50's to 60's and her complaint was that the floppy drive wouldn't read any of her disks, and that it was making a terrbile amount of noise. Asking the standard questions such as "Do you put the disks in the right way?" and "Have you inserted any foreign objects into the drive?" didn't shed any light on the problem.

When the lady announced that the condoms for the disks kept getting chewed up, I was totally confounded and blurted out "Condoms?!?"

To which she replied "Yes dear, the little clear plastic condoms that the disk come in to stop the computer from getting viruses"

Packers, Vikings and Snow oh my.
Posted 06/01/2001 by Joseph

I work for the resident hall techsupport in a small university in wisconsin, which provided service for the computer network, telephone system, and television system.

One night it was Monday Night Football, the Green Bay Packers verses the Minnesota Vikings. And in this area it was a big game because our college is near the Minnesota border. The game was being broadcasted from the KMSP tower which broke down durring the game.

Our phone lines were flooded with callers. On our end there was nothing we could do because the problem was with the KMSP broadcasting tower. Our phone records indicated that all lines were filled and we had over 65 calls.

Here's the funny part: A few of the college students asking us why the game was out, we explained what was wrong. The few students then went on to ask if we could move the game to another channel.

What intelligent viking fans we have huh?

Check your connections first!
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a national company and often see some of the wierdest things. I have users who could be considered dangerous only when they are near a PC.

I was at my home office sitting behind my desk surfing the net, since that is all everyone thinks we do! I received a call, heaven forbid they call the help desk like they are suppose to, from a user who didn't have any video. I asked if she called the help desk.. Of course the answer is no because her problem is far too important for the help desk, she needs the systems manager immediately. I ask her what she was doing to which her reply was, working. So I began troubleshooting, asking her if it was on, the monitor and PC. The monitor was on, but no video coming through. After asking her many questions and spending 15 minutes with her identifying items, most of which I am sure she didn't check... She then decided to tell me she had moved her PC. Oh, I said.. So you moved it, huh? Yes, she replied. I asked her if she was able to plug everything back in.. Of course she said but now it's not working. I dispatched a tech and asked him to call me. once onsite, he identifued the mouse and KB connections were reversed (ps2) and the video connector wasn't even connected to the video card.

The moral of this story, unless you're in IT, don't touch your system.. You ARE an idiot.. You are the weakest link!Goodbye!

Windows 95,98,2000,ME and others?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Well i also work for an isp company as a tech support agent.

One hot summer day on a call i was coaching a member on how to connect and browse. I ask the member if he could close windows to reboot. Now the member tells me sure just gimme a minute, now the member comes back about 2 minutes later and tells me this "Well can i open my window again cause its getting hot in here!"

I was like oh my god...sir when i told you to close windows i was talking about the OS on your pc to "reboot", not the windows in your house!


Luddites of the World, Unite
Posted 06/01/2001 by John Hobson

Yesterday, I was riding home on a commuter train, reading a

software manual. The woman sitting next to me asked if I

was "one of those computer people". I admitted that I was,

and she launched into a tirade about how computers have

dehumanized society and blaming me, personally, for just

about every evil since the Reichstag fire of 1933.

She ended with, "But what do you care? You know nothing and

care less about history, literature, and the arts." I

responded, "Madam, I have read Augustine in Latin and Proust

in French. I can tell you why Martin van Buren failed of

re-election and give you the opinion of Pythagoras

concerning wildfowl. You, madam, are a luddite!"

And then I had to tell her what a luddite is.

My Mouse Is Finished.
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

It was near the end of a very long night in the HelpDesk that my friend was stationed in (Somewhere in the Army). My friend got a call from an end-user, that told him, and I quote, "My mouse is finished". After questioning her for a few minutes, My friend couldn't find her problem and before sending her a new mouse he decided to give me a try. Being quite used to the stupidity of some end users I quickly found out what the problem was and told her, to gently lift her mouse up and bring it back to the top of the pad. Suddenly to her complete shock/surprise she found out that the chord attached to her mouse didn't represent how much she could move it !!!! What happened was, that when she got to the end of her chord and the arrow stopped in the middle of her screen, she'd decided that that's all it can do and she wanted us to send her a mouse with a larger area of action.

Dumb a$$ customers
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a large snackfood distributor in the UK as a sys admin/tech support. One day I received a call from a customer.....

Cust: I can't update our stock system with your products

Me: erm....excuse me?

Cust: your last delivery, I can't enter it on our system

Me: sorry ma'am, that's not anything I can help you with, you should speak to your own tech support

Cust: I did, they said to speak to you, they even gave me your direct number!

Me: (getting annoyed) So, your own tech support said to call me personally because YOU can't update YOUR stock system which I know NOTHING about?

Cust: Yes

Me: How the hell can I tell you something about a system I've never seen??!


Me: What's that go to do with it?? It's YOUR system!

Cust: Tech support said you could help me!

Me: I'm sorry ma'am, this has absolutely nothing to do with me, please call your tech support back and ask them to call me themselves so I can explain to them why I can't help you

Cust: So you won't help me?

Me: (aaaaaaagggggghhhhhhh) NO! I CAN'T!!!

Cust: Ok then, bye

Tech support never called (thankfully)

Typing this has made me annoyed all over again....oh well.

I traced the customer through our system and spoke to the delivery driver who informed me that the previous week this lady had rejected the delivery because a relief driver had turned up in a smaller truck so she thought it was not for her



USB AND Parallel
Posted 06/01/2001 by John Weintraub

I work (God help me) at O--ice De--t (big box retailer), in the business machines dept. I get some really funny situations, and some oddball requests. Some of them I'll offer now.

Guy calls up today, and he tells me that his printer is hooked up to his PC with an IEEE 1284 parallel cable. He noticed , though that ther is a USB cable, SO he asks me:

"Yeah, do I need to hook up both the parallel cable AND the USB to my computer? I don't have a USB port on my computer."

"Well, no, sir, it's an 'either/or' kind of situation."


Other things people ask me for:

Cust: I'd like a new modem

me: (take them to the modems) here you are, sir.

Cust: No, no. I said a MODEM!

me: Do you mean a computer?

Cust: Can you show me one?

me: (walks the cust. to a PC) Here we are.

Cust: Oh, you mean a HARD DRIVE!

me: No sir, hard drives are in the same shelves with modems.

Cust: So you mena this is a CPU.

Me: no, sir, the CPU is the chip inside the computer. This (pointing to the box) is a computer.

Cust: Oh.

Other things I have heard a PC called:

- modem


- Power supply (?)

- Surge suppressor

- Engine (?????????????????????)

I also love it when someone puts their elbow on a monitor and asks me "Excuse me, do you sell computer screens here?" (No lie!)

Other famous lines:

Excuse me, do you sell computers?

Excuse me, you sell office supplies, right? (Me: yes) SO do you sell pencils? (Since when are pencils NOT office supplies? When you stick them in your a--hole?)

More to follow!!!

John ("systemcrasher") Weintraub

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work in a smallish office with about 40 users so when I decide to restart the mail server I simply ask everyone to close their e-mail programs for the restart. I just say give it 10 minutes or so before e-mail is back up.

So I reboot the server and all the services have started again so I load up my e-mail to find a short e-mail from one of the users.

"Is e-mail working yet."

Please save me from these people ;)

Do lwhat it tells you to do!!!!!
Posted 06/01/2001 by Paul Melarkey

Me: Thank you for calling __________ technical support, my name is _______ how can I help.

Cust:I just installed the part my printer asked me to, but it is still asking for it.

Me: Ok what part did the printer ask for you to replace

Cust: Magenta toner,

Me: Ok no problem, what we need to do is reseat the toner, and make sure it is installed correctly. Open the cover and remove the toner.

Cust: OK, right that's done

Me: What does it say on the control panel now.

Cust: It's flashing replace magenta toner, replace imaging drum, but I never touched the imaging drum.

Me: What does it say on the part you removed.

Cust: It says imaging drum and has a number on it.....why does the toner say imaging drum on it????


Yeah you guessed it she had replaced the wrong part even though the printer had given her the part number, she blamed it on the guy in the store though!

CD-ROM misplacements...
Posted 06/01/2001 by Chuck

I'd been called over to another office to help out a troubled co-worker. When I get there, I'm met with a frown, eyes swollen with almost tears and a few choice words... "I just need some clipart to finish this flyer. It was supposed to be done two days ago... It said to insert the disc, I did and nothing happened. So, I tried to take the disc out and it didn't come out - the machine ate it and I really need the clipart." So, after a little calming, and finding the clipart she needed on the web, I did some investigating... apparently she'd managed to slip the disc right inbetween the bottom of the CD drive and the empty slot cover below. Upon opening the case, I was greeted with a thankful shiny disc.

A few weeks later I was called back to the same user, but this time on a different, albeit older, machine. She had the same problem... she inserted the disc and nothing happened. After a small chuckle, I went right to work, discovering this time that she'd inserted it into the 5-1/2" drive and even collapsed the trigger.

Needless to say these are all powerful belly-laugh emitting stories around the office and this user has since taken a "basics" class.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Crowmark

It's been a good chunk of time since this happened, so I feel safe in posting it now...

I work at a small nonprofit agency office, and we have no real IT department. Originally the director of one of our divisions handled technical issues, but he left in March of the year this happened; I got his IT responsibilities by default. Now, understand, when I say 'small' I mean thirty-five people - at most - ten of whom never use anything more complicated or advanced than an Apple IIe. (No joke; that division handles specialized printing jobs that require certain printers, and since the Apples work with those printers...) Anyway. The boss had never really been convinced that anti-virus software would be worthwhile. We had a copy of McAfee, but it was *one* copy, and it was about two years old.

5 May, I believe it was, I went out to teach a class offered by my agency to local telcomm employees. Comes the 10 AM break, and I call the office to see what's going on. Person responsible for the images for our web site answers. "Everything all right?" I ask. "Er - no - all the images on my hard drive seem to have gone gray when I preview them, and I can't get any of them to open..."


Person continues. "And, um, I'm afraid I opened this email..."

oh no, think I.

"... it looked like it was from (significant other), and it said 'love letter for you'..."

Thanks be to Fnord, only two people in the office opened the thing before I had her transfer me to the boss to tell him to force everyone NOT TO OPEN THE DAMNED LOVE LETTER. The only real loss was on the web person's machine.

Boss found room in the next budget for antivirus software after that.

It gets better. This was in early May, remember. Budget time is tail end of June - fiscal year starts on 1 July. Boss told me when I got in from class to go around and install AV software on all the machines. I explain it's old, it won't help - privately thinking that I saw it scan his machine and fail to clean up viruses it detected - but he says to do it anyway, at least for now, and download updates. Fine, I try that; I get told by software that I need an update. (Duh.) So I go to the web site and discover that our version's method of handling virus definitions is no longer supported, that we'd have to find our original receipt (2+ yrs. old) to get the free update, that we have to pay full price now, etc...

I nevertheless bounce from computer to computer anyway and have everyone turn off - and uninstall - VB scripting. I also remove a few other things that have been slowing the machines down. In the process I notice a number of computers claim to be registered to 'Vicodin ES', at 'Dr. Diet Mountain Dew'. Hm, think I, that sounds familiar. Does the AV scanner detect a problem? No. Damned shame, that, since at that point I can't clean any of the stuff properly.

Comes 14 June. According to the antivirus site I visited to look up those registration points, WM97/Class-D kicks into action on the 14th of the month between June and December. Somewhere along the way the people with the Dr. Diet Mountain Dew problem had to give the boss a Word file on a floppy, and he scanned it, but since the AV software was old nothing was detected. Boss comes out of his office at 8:45 (my workday starts at 8:30). "My computer's calling me a big stupid jerk!" I've managed to download a fix of sorts this fine morning, although it's not antivirus software - just a fix after the fact - so I smile, take the disk into his office, and clean up his problem. He's thrilled. He hears the wailing from the rest of the office and sends me in that direction, promising that we'll buy the newest AV software *immediately*. I'm happy, but I allow myself one bit of fun. I walk out onto the main floor, hold the disk over my head, and bellow for all the office to hear:

"Who here is a big stupid jerk?"

Every single hand in the room goes up.

We've got the software now. And I've got the users trained not to open attachments of unknown origin, and to forward any and all virus warnings and other hysterical emails to me, and to visit or if they're not sure whether something in their email is real or not. But that one moment when WM97/Class-D worked its evil little magic, and I got to fix it, still leaves a lingering warm glow in memory!

the customer experience
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

after working for almost 2 years in a phone tech support call center for 2 isps, and a major oem supplier i can understand every tech tale i hear. a few friends and i (the same friends who get their revenge by prank calling their coworkers) considered recording our average call...

Us: Thank you for calling ***oem***. May i have your (computer identification number) please, you can find that on the side of your computer tower?

Them: what's that? i have an invoice. did you say order number? 13245...

Us: no, it's the (computer identification number), located on the side of the computer tower itself.

Them: okay.

[customer finds it, verifies name, etc]

Us: have you called on this issue before?

Them: well, i called about 6 months ago when my monitor broke and you replaced my monitor.

Us: no, THIS ISSUE. [abandons this idea], what's the problem, today?

Them: well, a couple of days ago i was on the internet and i got an e mail that had a picture in it. then i deleted the picture and closed my computer...[customer then rambles on about everything the computer has done for the past week, not forgetting to mention children, relatives, where they are located and the weather there, their job, the last tech they talked to's accent, AOL's tech support, their windows 97 operating system, and their opinion of computers in general]...

[minutes later]

Us: ok, what's problem _TODAY_?

Them: i can't connect to the internet and my computer's not turning on.


needless to say, we all abandoned this concept of a fake call not wanting to relive the horror that we experience everyday.

The Impossible
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

one of my favorite memories involved a customer who claimed to have a normal load of the desktop and she could see it but said in the middle of the screen there was a round square. we restarted and it didn't fix it, but i still had no clue what it was...

ME: a what?

HER: a round square.

m: a ROUND SQUARE? [emphasising both words so she would see a contradiction]

h: yes

m: it's round?

h: yes

m: and it's square?

h: yes

m [totally baffled]: what color is it?

h: black, no white, no both

m: it's black and white? is there any kind of pattern to it?

h: like what?

m: like stripes, polka dots, little squares, anything?

h: umm...[hesitates]

m: and it's a round square?

h: yep!

i never figured out what it was, her screen saver came on and without saying her screen had changed she started describing wavy lines of colored pipes filling up her monitor, we moved her mouse and the box was gone. oh well.

Photoshop Phollies
Posted 06/01/2001 by Sean Bray

This is my first post here.

At my last job, for an automotive parts supplier, I was asked to do a number of different tasks, from first level support to adding toner to the copier. I was well known as the "go to guy" on the floor for tech questions, but my primary task was as Graphic Designer for our Catalog, both print and CD based, so I mainly worked with Photoshop and layout programs.

The president of the company (an older man, not familiar with image editors) wanted a photo of a group of people retouched to remove one member, and could not understand that I couldn't just "erase him", as if a camera can take a photo of what is behind someone, and that info can be used when you want it!

Another time, someone else was looking at a photo of a car on my screen, taken from the front left, so that it was in perspective. They decided that the picture that they wanted was that car, but taken exactly head on. They wanted me to "Rotate" the car in the picture! It tool a little while to explain why that wouldn't work, either.

Gimme some a that
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

In 1996 I was working support for the the then-most-popular browser software. Late one Friday, I got a call from an older lady in Tennessee. It went like this;

Danby (me) : Hi, this is Dan, thanks for calling (company) tech support, how can I help you?

User: (to other person) hey, gimme some of that! (sounds of liquid being poured)Hey, sonny! (swallowing, followed by gasping and strangling sounds)(to other person) Damn! That's nasty shit! Did Eddie make it himself? Gawd, you could strip paint with it. (to me) Hey, sonny, hook me up!

Danby: Excuse me M'am? What can I help you with?

User: It's Friday, I'm all likkered up an me and the old man wanna get on that there sinnernet. We're gonna get us some dirty movies!

Danby: Uh, alright.............What sort of computer do you have?.....

It took about an hour, as she gradually degenerated into a drunken stupor, but I finally got her browser installed for her.

Give up while you are ahead
Posted 06/01/2001 by Chris Tankard

Not all techs are created equal. I recently had a DSL connection installed. I installed the Router etc but could not get on line as the ISP forgot set me up a user ID.

After much fluffing about I finally got them to create a login account for me. Now instead of quiting and hanging up the "support tech" said "now we have to get you modem to dial 0800 83 83 83." ??????

Me: It's a router - it dosn't dial out

Tech: Well how else do you connect to the internet

Me: via a prem. DSL connection with my Router.

Tech: Don't get smart - I'm in technical support you know

Me: OOOOOKKKKKKKKK........what now?

Tech - go to modem propities ...

Me: It's working - it was just the user ID

Tech: No it cant be working

Me: Your kidding right

Tech: No, the sheet here tells me what steps you have to do to make it work, and you havn't done all of them.

Me: But it is working

Tech: Sir if you keep disagreeing with me I will have to transfer me to a supervisor.

Me: O.K.

I get transferred.

I tell the supervisor about the "Tech", and that she won't believe that everything is working

Super: Yeah sorry about her - she's a bit thick

Me: No kidding

Super: Ill step you through the sheet myself

Me: Buts it working

Super: I know - but it's policy

Me (Hang Up)

Too late! It's been answered.
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I used to install voice mail systems and the one thing they always asked was: "If my phone call is answered by the voice mail how can I get it back?"

You can't; the voice mail has answered it. Why is that so hard for people to understand?

How to Properly Hotwire Your PC
Posted 06/01/2001 by Ang

Sometime back I was working in a computer shop that offered service to computers. Although it wasn't my job, I would from time to time take in machines at the front counter for the service dept.

One gentleman who came in complained that his modem didn't work. I of course entered the customers information in the system and carried it in back for the technician to take a look at it. Being particularly busy and short handed that day, I didn't bother doing a quick inspection of the machine before I took it to the tech.

The next day the tech comes to my office and questions if I had checked this one particular machine in:

Me: Which machine?

Tech: The one with the modem problem.

Me: Uh, we have like 5 in back with 'modem' problems.

Tech: Well them maybe you should take a look at this.

I go back to the repair shop.

Tech: Tell me what's wrong with this machine.

I look at the back of the machine.

Me: No modem. (Duh... I knew I should have looked over the machine before taking it back.)

Tech: Oh! It gets better.

At this point it looks like he can hardly contain himself. I see that the cover to the machine is loose so I pop it off to take a peak inside. Low and behold there's a phone cable coiled up inside of the computer: one end, of course with the proper RJ-11 adapter and the other, spliced into the wires of one of the power connectors leading from the power supply. I just about died. But the story doesn't end here.

After spending a good week or so trying to call the customer (constant ringing... no answer, no machine), he finally returns to the store to pick up his computer. I explain to him that we can't fix his computer.

Customer: You've had it for a long while now, so it should be fixed.

Me: You said that your modem doesn't work.

Customer: Yes.

Me: What exactly did you try to do to your computer.

Customer: What do you mean?

Me: Well, we noticed that you didn't have any place on the back of your computer to plug the phone cord into.

Customer: Oh...THAT!

Me: (blinks and waits for explaination)

Customer: Well I didn't see a place to plug it in so I just figured that the people who made the computer forgot to put one in. I'm pretty handy with things and I know there is a modem in there, so I decided to hotwire it.

Me: (in shock) You what?

Customer: You know? Hotwire.

I don't know where to die laughing or cry. I'm totally speechless.

The customer rambles on for a few more minutes. About what I have no idea because I'm still stuck on the word 'hotwire'. Then something begins to dawn on me.

Me: Um, excluding the modem issue. After you.....hotwired....the modem, did you try turning on your computer?

Customer: Yes.

Me: What happened?

Customer: I heard a loud pop.

Me: And did your computer turn on and boot up?

Customer: No.

Me: Um, have you been at home all week?

Customer: Yes.

Me: Have you gotten any phone calls all week?

Customer: What do phone calls have to do with my computer?

Okay, boys and girls, what happens when you send a current from a 300W power supply down a low voltage phone line?

(Wait for it to sink in.)

I rather enjoyed the look on his face.

Power point
Posted 06/01/2001 by Henry Mate

A group of Civil Engineers was planning to do a presentation in our office. They faxed to their counter part in our office to make sure we have the following ready:

1. A PC with Microsoft PowerPoint

2. A 17 inch monitor

3. Enough desks.

The engineer came to me with the following query:

“ I’m sure it will be easy to organize for the desks, the computer and the 17 inch monitor. What I don’t know is whether our Electricity is compatible with Microsoft Power point. Please advice”.

Talk about hot service...
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Just got a call at the cablemodem helpdesk that I work at.

New person who got installed is complaigning that thier A/C is off and that the furance is turning on.

Told the sub to call the OEM of their heating/cooling company.


No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I develop intranet web sites for a company and during the course of building one site had the following experience with the client.

I had built the site according to the user specs to a point where I needed to test it and get some feed back about the layout, functionality etc. The department that I was building the web site for is in a different city than I am, but our company has a LAN / WAN and all of our offices are {generally} connected together and able to send information to one another. I called the user and said that I was ready to do some testing.

{user}OK, well we can arrange a meeting for sometime next week. Do you want to come here, or should I come there ?

{me}This is a web based application, we don't need to meet or be in the same room to do this. We just need to set up a time when you are free to talk about it and I can show you some of the features.

{user}Well I'm free now, but how am I going to be able to see how it works ?

{me}Do you have a PC at your desk ?

I asked - knowing darn well there was one there.


{me}Does it have a web browser ?

{user} (silence)... Whats that ?

{me}Is the machine running ?


{me}(Taking nothing for granted at this point)Do you see a "Start" button in the bottom left corner of your screen ?


{me}Can you minimize all of your windows for me.

{user}(silence)...uummmm how exactly ?

{me}Press the little "Minus" on the top right hand corner of the box's.


{me}Did you minimize them all ?

{user}Yes, I think so.

{me}Can you see icons on your desktop. There should be a computer, a trash can, and a big blue "E".

{user}Yes, I can see those.

{me}Start the web browser.

{user}The what ? I dont have Netscape on this machine.

{me}Double click on the big blue "E"

{user}OOOHHhhh - hey, it looks like Netscape.

{me}OK type in this URL errrr... Do you see the white bar with the name "Address" ?


{me}Put your cursor in there and type ""


{me}Press the etner key.

{user}I dont see an "Enter Key" button on this program.

{me}No - the enter key on the keyboard.

{user}OH OK

{me}Is the web page loading ?

{user}No, all I see is a big 4-0-4

At this point Im thinking the 45 minute drive would have been the faster way to do this. I verify that the web site is working and that I can see it on my web browser. The web site and server were all working properly. We went on for a while with the url problem. Finally, I decided to take something I had learned all too well in the military and apply it here.

{me}OK, we are going to do this "BY THE NUMBERS"


{me}You are only going to press a key if I tell you to press a key OK ?


{me}Press the letter b.


{me}Press the letter o.


And so it went until we had the entire URL entered -

{me}Now, press the enter key. What do you see ?

{user}The same thing 4-0-4.

I had the user run "PING" (another chore) and verified that the server could be pinged from that location. I decided to check the server log files to see if there was some other problem or if in fact the users web browser was able to get to the web site. I found this in the log file: 404-file not found.

{me}Why did you type "ASAP" ?

{user}(startled)You told me to.



How do you format a drive?
Posted 06/01/2001 by A.Ruef

I'm a semi-compitent computer guy who's main function is to set up semi-perminent TCP and IPX networks over ethernet for the sole purpose of playing Counter Strike. And providing a dedicated server. And providing a Windows 98 SE disc for all those who have illegal copies of Windows installed and need driver discs for network protocols and cards...

So I was setting up this network in a friends basemen. He had pretty much everything there, a pre-existing network, and I was just putting a bunch of computers on the network. Or trying. There were three that needed to talk to the network, I was busy trying to get those to work, when this fourth guy (who I call Gullible Fool and will abbreviate GF from this point forward).

GF: Hey Andrew, this networking card (a broken one my friend pushed on GF for 10 bucks because it 'might work maybe') I have in my box isnt working. Can you fix it? Also the video card isnt being recognized by windows... ever since lightning hit the computer and fried god-knows-what all.

Me: (stuck hip deep in ethernet cables, an 8 port hub, and trying to install netBUI onto three computers at once) sure, let me pop right over there.

I take a quick hike across the room, furnish him with a driver disk to keep him busy, and hike back over to the computers I was working on. A few minutes later I almost have them on their feet when I hear-

GF: Hey Andrew, if I want to format a drive how do I do it?

He has to be joking, right?

Me: Go to the command prompt and type 'format c', heh...

Moments pass...


Me: What did you type?

GF: format c! Like you told me!

Me: You mean you formatted the drive?

GF: Yeah!

Me: What for?

GF: I thought it might help installing the drivers if I cleaned out some old files.

Me: Ah, OK. Better find an operating system to install there.

GF: Really? Oh kay...

It gets better...

Bumbling around the hosts basement he stumbles across a copy of Windows NT workstation, I hear a muffled 'NT! cool!' but pay it no heed. A few moments later he wants my help installing the OS.

I walk over to the terminal, read the instruction booklet out loud, then follow the instructions, then walk back to my computer and sit down. Then the host walks over to GF, looks at his screen, the install meter, and the Workstation box which has a sticky note taped across it saying "Jims copy of workstation, do not touch" written in pencil or something.

Host: GF! What have you done!

GF: I dont know, I found it under here... (he rummages in the desk he has his computer at)

Host: You mean the locked drawer on the bottom of your desk? What were you doing in there!

GF: I dont know...

Overnight Technicians
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

One of my first IT jobs was in a small Government Agency in NSW Australia, I was helpdesk and tech support for about 50 users. One morning I received a call from a user who claims his monitor wasn't working. I weighed up the time the call would take and thought that it would be quicker to walk down and check. Upon arrival the monitor cable was unplugged from the wall. I plugged it back and told him that it must of been unplugged. At night we had tradesman in upgrading something or other and they used this powerpoint for the radio.

Next morning I get the same call, so I pop on down and in one motion plug the monitor back in and walk off. He apparently learnt what to do the next day cause I never heard from him again for quite a while.

Posted 06/01/2001 by Duncan Hogg

I work for AOL tech support and I was guiding a member through the process obtaining all the AOL errors so I could establish the man's problem. He was transferring my instruction to his beloved wife. I instructed the man to hold down the CTRL key with the letter E which in a particular screen brings up all the AOL errors to date. Everything was going fine untill 25 mins later the man asked me if his wife could take her hands off the CTRL and the E key!!!!

I hope that's porn your looking at son!
Posted 06/01/2001 by fiona

I deal with users via email, and there sure are some strange ones out there...

User feedback:

cheers fiona, my fourteen year old son is hiding files mfrom us,any suggestions how i could find them? this worries me cause he surfs the net a lot and its very easy to get on to something hes not meant to. i am not worried so much about naked women [or men] just about how to make bombs and stuff,. can you help? thanks

(what I think is going on behind the scenes)

Son: " um... that page came up by accident. I wasn't really looking at those, and that's not your credit card i've got either"

Mum: "I know what you up to young man! You just better bookmark the good ones for daddy. ... and make sure you clean up after yourself - i hate typing on a sticky keyboard. One last thing... if I ever catch you looking at those filthy web sites that teach you how to make things - you won't be able to use my credit card, and you'll have to go to bed without your dinner!! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR??!!"

Really Horrific Tech
Posted 06/01/2001 by Graham W. Boyes

Probably my most horrific experience with on-site warranty service was with a well-known vendor of unix servers.

They sent a tech to replace 10 recalled motherboards. They insisted that their tech come out to do the work, even though we had a depot maintenance contract and were qualified to do it ourselves. I sent one of my junior system administrators out there with the tech so he could learn about the insides of a pizza box, and I knew something was up when I got his phone call from the machine room.

"Umm, she's using a leatherman to pull the memory out -- is that right?" I told him to tell her to stop right there, and rushed over -- and sure enough, there were needle-nose plier sized bites out of the corners of about half of the 128MB modules (rare and expensive at the time).

It took a couple months to register the complaint with the company and receive reimbursement for the damaged memory modules.


My Computer Flew Out the Window
Posted 06/01/2001 by Graham W. Boyes

I nearly gave myself a hernia when I laughed so hard at this story from

I was trying to get a (l)user to install our software when out of nowhere the phone gets dropped on a desk or a floor (my ears started ringing so I am not sure).

The guy explained that he just got his new computer and was copying MP3's from his friends HD and his computer flew out the window. Of course I thought he somehow deleted the My Computer icon on his desktop (I put nothing past (l)users). Well I finally got what really happended. This guy had networked his system to a friends system across a small city street. A truck went by and the smoke stack of the truck caught the cable and literally yanked his system out of his window. Well I forgot to mute I was laughing so hard so he got really mad. He then asked me if that voided his warranty or not and well I laughed again (along with my supervisor who was monitoring).

Change my password
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a small research and development company. This happened to me about six months ago. I still laugh when I think about it.

I.S. this is Jason.

User: I cannot log in. I have tried five or six times and it won't accept my password. ...And no, my Caps Lock is not on. Could you set my password to XXXXXX.

(.. 10 minutes later)

I.S this is Jason.

User: I still cannot login. did you change it to XXXXXX?

Yes, I did did. What does the error message say?

User: the account number does not match your password or your account number is invalid.

Are you trying to log into your workstation?

User: No, I'm on-line, trying to get my bank information.

You wanted me to change your bank account password?

User: Yes, you can't do that?

Maybe I shouldn't take the phrase, "I can't login." for granted anymore.

This is what a four-year degree gives you?
Posted 06/01/2001 by One frazzled Engineering Tech masquerading as

I work in Unix systems support for an aerospace firm. The vast majority of our users hold at least a Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and various other 'ings.' Many hold Masters or Ph.D's as well, and most of them use CATIA, a high-end CAD/CAM package based on IBM's AIX operating system.

One would think, with all that brainpower floating around, that there would be at least minimal comprehension of which parts of an IBM RS/6000 workstation (or any other microcomputer for that matter) are which. At least I thought so. Then I got this call from a user who's system had hung up. The conversation went something like this.

(me) "Ok, could you look on the front of your CPU box, at the green-lit display window, and tell me if there are any error codes showing?"

(user) "...Uhh... there's nothing on display at all. I can't move the mouse..."

(me, gentle but firm) "Ah, no, I didn't mean your monitor. I meant the little display window on the front of the CPU itself."

(user, after long pause) "...Uhh..."

(me) "The CPU. The box under your desk."

This went back and forth at least two more times before the user finally figured out what I was referring to. I had to back up and explain that most computers, ours included, had multiple components, and then I explained what to look for again.

But wait! It gets better!

(user) "Oh! On the box... 'P260' (which was actually the logo with the machine's type number on it).

(me, placing a hand over my eyes) "Ahh, no, not quite. You may need to open the little door on the front..."

The user finally "got it" and found the display. As you might guess, his reading of it didn't make any sense to me, so whatever error there was got lost in the translation. I ended up simply rebooting his system. All was well after that.

When I finally got off the call, I had to sit for a moment and wonder just why the fellow had gone to the trouble of going to college for four years. Then I started wondering what he had really learned.

Posted 06/01/2001 by Olly B

I'd been working in ISP support for a year or more, and finally one day had a good enough reason to call my ISP's support line. I know how annoying it is to get a "know it all" on the line, so I try not to sound too knowlegeable.

At the end of the day it was my computer that was at fault. My TCP/IP protocol was fried. Fair enough.

When I rung support I asked if the analyst ( I use the term losely...) could ping my IP address to double check my connection.

"Ping?" he said, "What the hell is that?"

Lock out
Posted 06/01/2001 by Chris Dion

I was a system admin for a research lab in the psych department at (major university). They had windows 2k on one of our machines and of course everyone had a password. This one PROGRAMMER got on the machine the first day he was there and locked him self out. I went in and noticed that no one had permission to access his profile, not him, not the administrator, not even the system. After taking an hour to delete and rebuild him a profile I asked what happened. He said that he was trying to save something to the admin account and couldn't so he changed permissions on his folder. Also the day spring break let out i get home and get a call from this guy. He is locked out again!!! This time he hadn't changed his password when windows 2k asked him to. After 14 days it stopped asking and locked him out. I told him that to go ask the boss and if she wanted to pay me for 10 hours of drive time, 2 hours min to fix the computer, and my food along the way I would come. Needless to say he didn't get anywork done over the break!

Trashed Email
Posted 06/01/2001 by Ducky

I work for an ISP, and have often made the error of giving my extension to customers. This is usually not a problem, excepting cases of little old ladies with little to no tech knowledge.

Making the mistake of actually ANSWERING my phone one day, I was immediately told by one of these customers (I'll call her Edna), that "Some of those damned (insert ISP name) people deleted my email".

After determining that she had already downloaded her email to her hard drive, I spent about 10 minutes explaining to her how there was no way we could have deleted it from her computer.

Knowing Edna had a Mac, I then told her that "Macs always have a backup for everything. Let's start by looking in your trash can."

Edna replied, "Ok, give me just a second..."

*tapping foot impatiently*

About 5 minutes later Edna returns to the phone and tells me "Well, I checked the one in the office, and it wasn't in there, and it wasn't in the trash can in the kitchen either."

FedEx or Regular Mail?
Posted 06/01/2001 by Ducky

At the end of a call signing up a new dial-up service customer for the ISP I am employed by, I reviewed the customer's new information, including new email address, then asked "Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

The customer then replied "Yes, I do have one question for you. It's about this email thing. Can you people FedEx me my email or do I have to wait to get it by regular mail? I just want to be able to reply as quickly as possible."

Copy that floppy
Posted 06/01/2001 by dallas braxton

While a Network Admin at a previous employer, a user called me from a remote office and wanted me to take a look at some files on a floppy they had. I asked them to "send me a copy of it" (I'm of course meaning via the network or e-mail). The next day I received an envelope in the mail from the user that contained two pieces of paper. One piece was a xerox copy of one side of the floppy, the other was a xerox copy of the other side of the floppy. I called the user back and thanked them, but told them that one of the xeroxed copies was not necessary because it was a single sided floppy.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I have worked tech support/net admin for about 7 years now. I have gotten all manner of interesting calls and problems. But, the most interesting was from a family member.

My cousins had gotten together and bought my uncle a PC sometime last year. They went in and set up his ISP account so he could surf the web.

I am over his house for my aunt's birthday party and asks if I wouldn't mind looking at his PC. He says he hasn't been able to get on the Internet for a few weeks. That one day his password autosave was gone and it wouldn't accept his password anymore.

I go into his den and make sure everything is connected and all of the dial-up settings are correct.

I ask my uncle what his password is, he says it's "7 stars" I type: 7-s-t-a-r-s. But, it doesn't work. Everything seems to be configured correctly, it dials into the ISP, but the password cannot authenticate.

I tell him I can't figure out what is wrong and that I will call tech support on my cell phone. I am working with the tech support guy (he can't give me the password, because I am not the account holder). So I call my uncle over to verify the account. So I enter the password again "7-s-t-a-r-s"...then my uncle tells me I spelled it wrong, that I only did "6 Stars". Confused I asked my uncle to type in his password. He leans over and types into the keyboard (I kid you not): he holds the SHIFT key down and hits the '8' key seven times. ******* "See, Seven Stars"

I about fell out of my chair laughing. The tech support guy about busted a gut too. I had him issue my uncle a new password over the phone.

No Title
Posted 06/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

My first tech-support job was working for the IT department for a large city government. This included supporting hundreds of systems in field office scattered all over the city, for those that do not have their own IT person on staff.

One Tuesday a phone-support tech hands me a work order and says that a person has a brand new PC and the hard drive is fried. To go out and replace it.

We do the usual call, we ask them what would be a good time to come by and to remove all personal items from around the PC so we have room to work (You would be surprised at some of the 'shrines' we have to disassemble when we don't call ahead).

We arrive at the location and the system will not restart. The hard disk has no data on it. We remove the metal case and we swap it out with a new one.

A few days later we get another work order for the same problem. We call ahead to set up a repair time and to ask to remove all personal items from the desk. We go out there, check the mobo and the power supply. Everything seems to be working fine, but we swap out the power supply just in case.

A few days later it happens again. Again, we call ahead to set up a repair time and to ask to remove all personal items from the desk. We completely replace the system with a new identical system. We bring the old one in to send it back to the manufacturer.

Again, the same user calls us on a Friday to tell us that the PC is dead again and that is says "Invalid System Disk".

That day we had so many work orders and we knew it was something the user was doing to mess up the system, so we blew them off over the weekend.

We showed up Monday morning unannounced and the receptionists told us it was that users day off, but she could let us into the office. We go in and take one look at the box and our jaws hit the floor.

There must have been over 2 hundred refrigerator magnets stuck to the outside metal case (this was in the 80's when everything was still metal). You couldn't see the desktop at all cause it was covered over so much with hundreds of tiny little refrigerator magnets.

The receptionist tells us, "Oh, you guys should have called, give me a minute while I take off her magnet collection."

Tales From Technical Support Index

Tales from the Techs
June 2001
  1. Please Don't

  2. "Shortcuts"

  3. The Model Number

  4. Ima Doofus, call for Ima Doofus...

  5. heat wave

  6. Pesky I

  7. Illiterate operation

  8. But It **LOOKED** Right!!!

  9. Email what?

  10. The scrollbar

  11. tech support

  12. No Title

  13. Amazing Video Card

  14. My Browser is Yahoo

  15. No Title

  16. VP of what?

  17. What printer model is it?

  18. Anyone have a thesarus handy?

  19. Updat... Downgrading!!

  20. Lightning strikes twice???

  21. Change the Disk!

  22. the mystery email .

  23. No Title

  24. What is your Email address?

  25. Challenge of the day.

  26. Passwords

  27. No Title

  28. A Snappy story of woe

  29. tornado

  30. No Title

  31. Never do favours for family

  32. Router Route: Dead End

  33. It's so simple it hurts sometimes....

  34. I Gues my name is not Frank Dahlgaard after all!

  35. Email -- From nowhere?

  36. Idiot

  37. Idiot

  38. Keyboard problems?

  39. Burnt Mouse

  40. Forseeing the future.

  41. Uhhhh...yes?

  42. Computer stores are all the same...

  43. Dead Monitor?

  44. You need that piece?


  46. i'm not a tech but..

  47. Windows 2000 does the Samba

  48. Holier than thow

  49. Wrong Position


  51. Empty space on my desk top?

  52. Lame Links

  53. Monitor Madness

  54. Switch the Switch

  55. Evil Mail Server

  56. These viruses are getting nastier and nastier...

  57. You're using what again?

  58. Faulty Drives or Faulty Customer???

  59. virus

  60. My Life

  61. No Title

  62. "How do I do THAT?"

  63. Fax woes and the blame game.

  64. Plastic Prophets

  65. pissed off password

  66. The other direction...

  67. External Hard Drive

  68. The doorbell?!?!?!

  69. Buzzzzzzzzzz

  70. Huh?

  71. Don't Play with Voodoo at work

  72. Limited Vocabulary

  73. Silence is Golden (But a Bit Counterproductive)

  74. Must Have Been a Blonde in a Prior Life

  75. Nice AND Dumb

  76. Can't you Read?

  77. STD's are a problem

  78. Packers, Vikings and Snow oh my.

  79. Check your connections first!

  80. Windows 95,98,2000,ME and others?

  81. Luddites of the World, Unite

  82. My Mouse Is Finished.

  83. Dumb a$$ customers

  84. USB AND Parallel

  85. No Title

  86. Do lwhat it tells you to do!!!!!

  87. CD-ROM misplacements...

  88. No Title

  89. the customer experience

  90. The Impossible

  91. Photoshop Phollies

  92. Gimme some a that

  93. Give up while you are ahead

  94. Too late! It's been answered.

  95. How to Properly Hotwire Your PC

  96. Power point

  97. Talk about hot service...

  98. No Title

  99. How do you format a drive?

  100. Overnight Technicians


  102. I hope that's porn your looking at son!

  103. Really Horrific Tech

  104. My Computer Flew Out the Window

  105. Change my password

  106. This is what a four-year degree gives you?

  107. Ping?

  108. Lock out

  109. Trashed Email

  110. FedEx or Regular Mail?

  111. Copy that floppy

  112. No Title

  113. No Title

Past Tales from the Techs:
go back