Funny and Humorous Technical Support Tales and Stories

Submitted Tales From Technical Support

Tales From Technical Support Content

Posted 04/01/2002 by beer stud

Here at P--plePC we do get some dillies, like the guy who sat on hold for 45 minutes only to discover that he had misspelled his (l)username, which happened to be his last name or the woman who took her machine out of the box, connected all the wires then called saying that she thought something was wrong because it wasn't doing anything, she had never turned it on!! But, the one that really had me banging my head on the desk happened the other day. The cx calls up to tell me that she no long hears the dialer noises when she clicks login our dialer screen, and her phone line doesn't seem to pick up. I go through the standard fixes for dialer and modem, finally, though she has assured me several times that her phoneline is connected to the computer I get her to look at the back of the machine just to make sure everything is hooked up, after several minutes of russling around she comes back to the phone to tell me she thinks the phoneline is hooked up but she can't tell for sure because there are to many wres from her new cable modem! Aaaarrggghh!!! She was online the whole time!! To top it all off, when I explain that the modem isn't dialing because she's already connected, she says that can't be true, the cable modem isn't dialing!!! At this point I gave up and told her to call her cable company because we don't support third party hardware!!!

Pick an OS already!
Posted 04/01/2002 by ArcticFox

I'm a tech for a cable ISP. I just got off the phone with a guy who wanted to know why his email wasn't in his Outlook Express Inbox. When he opened OE up it was empty, like a fresh install. I asked him what Operating System he was running. He said that it was Windows 2K, but he had just changed to that from Windows XP. Oh, and he started the day with Windows ME. And no, he didn't back up his inbox before he started. Gosh, I wonder what happened to his email! Geez!

No Technical Knowledge
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

User wants to synchronize his Palm Pilot with his Desktop. User does not have his Palm Pilot with him today. he needs to know if he must have it in order to synchronize - the next day same caller called asking for the Palm Pilot software be installed on his system.

Posted 04/01/2002 by IGOR

I just took my Mom's old computer (I like playing with random computer stuff, and it makes my housemates think I'm a computer god now that I have 4 systems running in my room at once). It's a PII 233, not that spiffy, but fun to tinker with. Anyways, I took it because my mom got herself a new computer because this one was too slow for her to use for checking email and writing Word documents. The following hardware problems might have something to do with it:

3.5" floppy disconnected

5.25" floppy cable on upside down

Assorted screws rolling around in bottom of case

RAM partially unseated

Assorted software problems:

*NO* event sound under 15 seconds long

Startup sound over 2 minutes long

900 megs in temp folders, over 3,000 files

5 Y2K related warnings/crashes on startup (it's April 2002!)

17 different viruses, including 5 Word macro viruses

4 different versions of AOL installed, each one partially uninstalled

11 copies of the AOL Dial-up adapter

Drivers for 3 modems installed, none of which are present in the system

And my brother wonders why I force him to do tech support for my Mom and Dad (whose laptop isn't much better). It's great to be the older brother.

two things
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a call center at a large university. Don't you just love those people that know everything when the call for help. We have as I'm sure as many others have, a large list of know-it-alls who like to bother us. One semester there was this girl that I knew by name and voice, because she had called us so many times, who installed zonealarm on her computer. She kept calling and stating that someone was scanning her computer and that we should do something about it. It turns out that it was mostly hits on port 80. It took her 5 calls to us and 2 to security to make her understand what a DNS look-up involved. There was this other user who called in acting like he knew a lot more about networking than I did. Immediately, he tipped me off as to his vast array of knowledge by saying that his "ethyrnet" (pronounced like Ethyl) connection was not working. Right off the bat, I knew that he was leagues ahead of me in the tech arena. Typically, if they seem to know soo much about the "ethyrnet", right off the bat I ask them for their ip config. He said that it wasn't coming up. I asked him to look at his "ethyrnet" card and see if there was a link light. After explaining to him where it was, he said, "Oh, is something supposed to be plugged into that?" I should have said; No, that's why it's called the ethernet! Your connection will come from out of the ether buddy. And last but not least, the person that does know too much for their own good... Well, can't finish. A circuit went down. maybe another time.

Animal lovers
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

We are a college running ECDL courses for Joe public. One day one of our students (not the sharpest knife in the box)was sitting a test, Question What is RAM? Answer Ram is a small kind of goat! Do I need to tell you the final test score?

They are DIGITAL.
Posted 04/01/2002 by Robert

Several years ago, I was called up to check the CEO's computer. It had been experiencing problems with the ethernet connection and it was my job to find out why. As usual, the CEO had no idea why it wasn't working. as it turned out, the only problem was that the network cable wasn't connected. I re-plugged the cable and attempted to go on about my business, when the CEO asked me what the problem was. I told him that the data traveling through the lines is digital, meaning ones and zeros. I said that the zeros are round and can travel through the line easily but the ones tend to bunch up and get stuck. I advised him to straighten out the cords on his computer weekly. I didn't think he would believe me, but just recently I was walking by his office and happend to glance in. There he was, stretching his cables. Apperantly, he took my advise to heart and had been following the same cable stretching routine evey week for 2 years. Serves to proove the power of suggestion.

Fax, not Fiction
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A 26-page fax came into our office completely blank ... because the sender had put the paper in upside-down.

Email passwurdz
Posted 04/01/2002 by SnotRocket

I work for a small computer shop in Alberta, Canada. Last week, i received an email from a client of mine. Seems his email was working fine, he just wanted to check it on his computer at home. But he forgot his password.

Instead of calling me and asking me to change the password on the email server, he opens outlook express to the servers tab, where you can see the username and password typed (password is *d out, remember). Then he takes a picture of the desktop with his camera, develops the film, scans it in, emails it to me, and asks if i can 'extract' his password from the picture of his password.

Not exactly on the same page...
Posted 04/01/2002 by Matt

A friend of mine passed my name along to a colleague of his who was getting a new computer for her office. He said that she might need some help in setting it up and I told him that was ok and she can call me the next day if she has any troubles. This was back in the DOS days with 360k floppies.

So she calls me the next day and says the system won't boot. I'm like "Ok, Does it turn on at all?" and she replies, "Yes. The system comes on and the monitor is on but it keeps saying 'Insert system disk.'

Me: "Ok, Do you have a DOS floppy?"

Her: "Yeah, I put it in the drive and it still says it."

"Has that disk been damaged or anything that you know of?"

"No. It's brand new."

"Ok, Do you have a backup disk anywhere with DOS on it?"

"No, But someone else here may have... Let me check real quick."

She lays the phone down and is gone for a few minutes and finally returns and says, "Ok, I got one." I say, "Ok, Great. Give that one a try."

I hear the system power down and back up again...

"No, It's still saying 'Insert system disk'."

"Hmmm... This is a new system?"

"Yeah, The guys just unpacked it for me an hour ago."

"Ok, Does the red light on front of the floppy come on when it tries to read the disk?"

"Yeah, It blinks a couple times and then the error comes up."

"Is the door closed?"

"Oh, Would that make a difference?"

"Yeah, If the door isn't closed the heads can't contact the disk to read it."

*KLONK!* goes the phone...

*Clip, Clop, Clip, Clop* go her heels on the tile...

*KERTHWAM!* goes her office door...

I hear the system powered down and back up again and she picks up the phone, "Nope, still nothing."

I already had a bullet in the cylinder and was on my second spin...

Bozo the boss
Posted 04/01/2002 by Jordie

6 months ago I was hired at this company as their marketing guy. Not long after they find out I know a good deal about computers, and linux, etc. so they decide to make me a system admin as well.

Well a month later I'm told to look into "e-commerce solutions" for a customer. I spend 2 weeks looking into them, testing them, etc. etc. and write up a report on my findings. Needless to say bozo the boss totally ignores my findings and decides to move ahead with the one that I give the worst review on and am totally against. Reason: They are "local" and they have "tech support." - The company is about to go under (Gee could it be due to their product's quality?) and they charge $25/hour for tech support!!

Needless to say the customer that we gave that crap to is now moving on. Who do you think got the blame?

Then we have the little 'exchange' problem. Bozo the boss, being or "NT" guy, setup this server and left it as an open relay. So for the past while people have been sending spam from our servers. (*joy* now I know where my 200 spams a day come from!) So for the past 4 months he has been turning the mail server off every 3 weeks, for 1 week at a time. Needless to say the customers call me and complain, and all I can do is pass it on to him, who then says it's the customers fault. Quick math: 5 customers complaining, 1 boss playing with mail server = customers fault? I have then spent many many hours on the phone walking the customers through their email settings, all to tell the boss that it's not their end that is having the problems. *sigh*

Finally I have gotten fed-up with these customers complaining so I switched a few over to the linux mail server that I setup. Result: Happy customer, boss that doesn't say a whole lot about the subject, and I'm getting "laid off" because they can't afford to keep employing me. Thing is the boss keeps buying new servers left and right and isn't putting any clients on them or using them for anything. Humf!

Needless to say I was looking for a new job long before they laid me off... least this way I didn't have to QUIT! :)

Cheers! :)


It Won't.
Posted 04/01/2002 by ArcticFox

So, I work for a cable ISP, and I just had this mind-bending, but thankfully brief, call:

Cust: I want to set up a person in my household with a hotmail account.

Me: Okayyy (wondering why she's calling me).

Cust: How will that affect our bill?

Ah geeez.

Go Diectly To Jail...
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I provide inbound technical support. One of the funniest calls I have got went something like this:

Me: Thank You for calling ( ) How may I help you?

Her (very upset and yelling): My computer told me I did an illegal function and I want to know why it is illegal...

Case of Moronitis
Posted 04/01/2002 by Brandon

I'm not a tech supporter or never have been, I'm a kid.

My friend has a slow internet connection (I mean less than 1KB/s) and asks me to download a file for him, so he calls me up, ME = ME, F = My Friend

ME:Ok, so you want me to get this for you?

F:Yeah, will it take long?

ME:Not that long, maybe 1 - 2hours


F:BTW, when you get it, can you send it to me over the internet?

Duh! If your internet connection is slow, don't you think I should just burn it?

My Website :

Double your pleasure, double your fun, double your computer repair bill...
Posted 04/01/2002 by Chaobell

I knew from the moment I got this computer on the bench and it refused to boot from or so much as recognize the floppy drive that was in it, and then a known good one on top of that, that this computer came straight from the seventh level of Hell.

And then the CD-ROM drive refused to open, trapping the CD I'd put in there. Great. The "emergency egress" widget on the drive wasn't working, either. Swell.

So, I was going to have to pull this damn drive and wrestle it open to get our CD back.

As I popped the front off the case and turned it to the side I hadn't been digging in before to get the screws out, I noticed a small greyish-beige lump stuck to the side of the drive case.

/...that -can't- be what I think it is,/ thought I. I squinted at the lump. So did another tech.

"Is that epoxy or something?" he asked. I squinted a little more...and then /twitched./

"Epoxy doesn't have teeth marks in it, I don't think," I replied.

Sure enough, it was a wad of a.b.c. gum. GUM. IN THE COMPUTER.


This was not a case of "oops, my gum fell out," either. This was a case of deliberate "Hey, I'm done with this gum, this looks like a good place to put it."

I ended up having to scrape it off with a screwdriver. I couldn't stand to look at it anymore, and there was no way in Hell I was sticking my fingers anywhere in that side of the case with that stuff still there waiting for me to accidentally poke on it.

No Title
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

my job is using Microsoft Publisher to make Flyers and Postcards for Realtors. You know when you drive past a "For Sale" sign and there are flyers in it? There's a chance I made them.

Here's three calls from TODAY:

1. "I'm trying to E-Mail you this photo, but my mail server keeps telling me the file is too big. Is there any other way I can get it to you?"

"What format is the file in?"


"Do you have WinZip?"


So I walk her through zipping the file. Still too big. The back of my mind is sending out alarm bells at this point -- I deal with .jpg files, and, while they can get big, I've received E-mails from other clients in that office who have been able to tack 8 or 9 good-sized images onto a single E-mail.

Finally, I ask, "Do you have the photo in any other format?"

"Well, there's the one I got from the camera before we scanned it."

"Just send that."

So far so good, right?

This afternoon, Kelly (her sales rep) comes in with an Iomega ZIP Disk. "[Realtor] sent this for you -- remember how she couldn't E-mail it?" Thankfully, we have a Zip Drive.

So I pop the disk in, and there's no .jpg file in there. Instead, there's an MS Publisher File which consists of 35 pages (!). Page one is the photo, so I cut and paste it (Pages 2-35 were blank, BTW) into the Postcard for the realtor.

2) "Can you E-Mail me the proof rather than faxing it?"

"Sure. What's your address?"

I get the address, and send the proof. No problem. No bounce, so it went through.

Two hours later, "I got a file from you, but I can't open it. Can you re-send?"

No problem. Sent.

A short time later, "I still can't open it."

"What's the error message you get?"

"Adobe Acrobat cannot open this type of file."

"Do you have Microsoft Publisher?"

"No ... would that help?"

"You won't be able to open the file without it."

"Oh. Can you E-Mail Microsoft Publisher to me?"

3. 2pm, a customer comes in to order some Mail Merge Postcards. No big deal -- I do them all the time. They slow me down and take forever, but we do them. "Can I get those today?"

"Possibly ... how many do you want?"


For the record: 600 Mail Merge Postcards will take up to six hours to get through the printer IF there are no other problems. And that doesn't take into account the fact that I have to design the postcard and fax them the proof for approval -- minimum one hour of work. And that's not including the time it takes us to cut them.

I explain the timing involved.

"So those'll be ready ... when?"

"It depends on how quickly you get back to me with the Okay To Print on the proof."

"If I get back to you today?"

"I won't have time to print 600 Mail Merged Postcards today."

"Tomorrow, then?"

"Tomorrow is Saturday. We're closed on Saturdays."

"So if I order postcards now, you can't guarantee them until Monday?"

"Actually, by the terms of our order form, I can't guarantee a PROOF until Wednesday at this time. I'm slow enough right now I'll probably get that to you today, however."

"What sort of print shop are you? Closed on weekends and can't do same-day service?"

The Manager
Posted 04/01/2002 by scooter71

I work for a small medical equipment company doing sales and customer service. Since my degree is actually in computers, I also inherited the system administrator position when our original admin was taken to the parent company.

Anyway, my manager has an IBM Thinkpad T21. One day, he calls me into his office wondering why his computer is running through scandisk. I ask him the usual- did it get shut down improperly- to which he replies no. Upon closer look, I realize it is actually doing a surface scan of the harddrive. It had been running for about half an hour and had found several bad or damaged clusters. I ask him if anything happened to the laptop- did it get dropped, hit, etc. Of course, the answer is no.

As it finds more and more bad clusters I ask him again- did the laptop get jostled or knocked around. Well, that's when he finally *remembers* that a couple nights ago, he had it hooked to the telephone line so he could go online. One of his sons came running around the corner and caught the cord, pulling the laptop onto the floor.

I do a backup of his files, and swap out the harddrive. He decides he wants Windows XP installed. Fine, no problem, we had thought about upgrading the rest of our computers anyway. Once I get XP installed, I realize that the majority of the stuff in our office is not compatible with XP. What's more, his backup files are saved under an extension not recognized by XP. Finally, I convince him that taking XP off and putting back Windows 98 would be more advantageous and less time consuming. He finally agrees.

I ask him if he got any disks with the computer- hoping for a restore disk that will put the computer back to the condition it was when he bought it. Of course, again, the answer is no. After installing Win98, his removable network card would not install. I asked again if he has any disks that came with the computer. This time, he goes to the file cabinet and pulls out a folder containing a driver disk and- lo and behold- a system restore disk. Once I calmed down from my anger, it took only a few minutes to get the computer up and running again.

Then he asks if I could fix his Palm Pilot- which he had spilled an entire cup of coffee on. Some people just should NOT go anywhere near electronics!

Tales from the darkside
Posted 04/01/2002 by scooter71

As the sys admin for my company, and the only one who actually has a background in computers, I usually have my day full of questions and complaints. Here are just a few:

1)"There's something wrong with the internet"- funny, I have no problem. Try closing the six copies of IE you have open and only use one. Or perhaps the site your accessing is having problems.

2)"There's something wrong with the email, I tried sending an email to the address they gave but it's not going through"- really? I've been sending out emails all day. Hmm, do you think they may have mistyped the addy? try "", not "". How about putting the @ symbol someplace in the addy.

3)"Im having a problem with the printer. It was working fine a few minutes ago."- how about adding paper once in a while?

4)"I can't log on to my email"- after doing some checking, I discovered that one of the guys in our service dept. didn't like the fact that the email had our other fix-it guy's name on it so he decided to change it to a general "" address. Problem was, this account didn't exist on the email server. All he did was change the name on his local computer.

5)"My computer is running slower than a snail in glue"- hmm, haven't defragged the harddrive in the last year, he's got six windows of IE open to different stock sites that automatically refresh at different intervals, have about 20,000 files in the Temp I-net files, programs that haven't been used at all in the last three years, and only 32mb of RAM. Gee, I wonder why?

You did what to the network cable?
Posted 04/01/2002 by scooter71

The day before Thanksgiving, we had our annual company dinner, held at our parent company's building. Once we had stuffed ourselves, gotten our traditional fruit basket and supermarket gift certs, we came back to our office. A little while later, Brian, one of our service techs, calls up complaining he can't get logged on to the network (we were leaving in an hour, why he wanted to do any work was beyond me!) Anyway, I headed downstairs and checked the usual- username and password correct? Check! Network cable securely attached? Check! Both ends? Check! Maybe it's a bad cable. I got a new network cable and tried to log in. Bingo! Got it on the first try. Well, when I went to pull out the old cable, I discovered that a metal storage rack was sitting right on the cable. No wonder it didn't work! End of story? Case solved? Nope! You see, the following Monday when we got back, Tim, our other service tech, informed me that nothing was wrong with the network cable. Apparently, Brian has more fun surfing the internet than repairing equipment. Since Tim was off for a few days and could not keep Brian in line, he decided to cover the end of the cable with clear scotch tape, thereby preventing Brian from connecting to the network and, in turn, the internet. He had used such a small piece that when I looked, I couldn't see it.

I gave him an "A" for creativity, but told him next time, let me know when he does something like that!

Napster = Free Trade Agreement?
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This isn't really a technical tale, but a tale that techies may find funny....

I was at home trying to explain to my husband the new uproar over Kazaa and Brilliant Digital. Trying to explain Kazaa, I asked him "You've heard of Napster?"

He paused, thought about it, and said "That thing down in Mexico?"

....the thing down in Mexico????

"Honey, what thing down in Mexico?" I ask.

He looks at me and says, "Oh, no, I'm sorry, that's NAFTA...."

Get the Picture?
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Not a computer tale, but tech-related:

I was given a digital camera for a birthday gift. I went to buy a memory card for it from an Office Superstore where I had a gift certificate. I accidentially bought the wrong type of card, so I went back to said Office Superstore with camera in tow to ensure I got the right item. And then the fun began ...

The 'assistant' who was called to help me examined the camera for half a nanosecond and announced it needed a Sony Memory Stick. I was rather skeptical, as it was not a Sony camera, and so I asked to try it in the camera before I bought it. Now, as you probably know, most memory cards have a corner lopped off them so you put it in the camera the right way. The illustration on the camera clearly showed the notched corner was to be on the upper right side of the card when it was put in. The assistant proceeded to try the card in every direction *except* upper right, despite my pointing out the illustration. (After all, I'm female and just a customer, so I must be clueless, right?) To top this off, the Memory Stick was clearly too thick for the card slot, but he kept banging at it, insisting he had the right item. He was finally stopped by another assistant, who actually looked at the camera and determined it needed a new type of multimedia card. Of course, they did not have this card, so he suggested I go to a camera shop.

So off I went to the Name-Brand Camera Shop to get the right card. Their first words upon examining the camera? "I think it takes the Memory Stick."


Annoyin and Agrivating Customer...
Posted 04/01/2002 by nr

I currently work as a Customer Support Technician, name disclosed, and just wanted to share how lovely the End Users are that call in. Thanks


At this point i have my phone as loud as it can reach.. cant hear this lady cause she talks so damn quiet...

What my call Consisting of:

15 min or so into installing her software:

me: where are u callin from..

her: california

her: where are u from..

me: kansas

her: where is that

me: uhhh kansas

her:, oh, kansas city.

me: no, i'm in ****

her: kansas city

me: no, i am in ****

her: is **** in kansas city

me: no, ITS IN KANSAS!

her: what state is kansas in?


her: oh.. i didnt know that. where is that

me: (laugh). in the center of the united states, in between oklahoma missouri nebraska and colorado

5-10 min of installing

her: do u have pets.

me: no

her: parakeet


her: dog

me NO

her: cat

me NO

her: do u have any animals


her: are u married

me: no

5minutes of trying to instal.

her: "i'm a grandma (out of nowhere)..

me: thats nice

her: do u have any brothers or sisters.. ?"

me: yup

her: how old

me: 16

her: "how old are you"

me: 21

her:" so are u getting older?"

me: uhhh.. yeah

her:"my neighbors say i'm getting older cause my close are out of style"

me:hmmm.. uhh ok

10 min later..

her: "so you geting older"

me: nope, i'm not aging ... and i'm pretty much in style

Few more minutes into the call.. the lady somehow got disconnected.... hmmm.. how'd that happen. LOL

Disturbing trend
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anon E. Mouse

Working for an ISP helpdesk, we have a very narrow definition of what we support and what we do not. It's fairly standard: if it can get mail or surf, we'll support it. If it's not a computer, here are the settings, talk to the people who built it. If it's instant messaging, speak with them. If it's domain related, please speak to the company hosting the domain. Increasingly though, we get into situations where the system is fried, for the lack of a better word, beyond our control. If IE or OE comes up illegal operations, see a tech or reinstall yourself; we've tried reinstalling DUN, Network, and several inits for a modem that's giving us 678, reinstall modem with updated drivers (amazing how that works) and if it still isn't working, go see a tech or reinstall it yourself.

I wonder about the people working at these places that get the business though. More and more, I'm taking calls from people who've taken in their computers and gotten it back reformatted with a virus program installed. WHY?

I sent in a member who had Illegal ops for OE to a tech yesterday, I configured his computer for access today. The Gentleman paid $183 (exact dollar amount given to me) for a format, reinstall, upgrade of 128mg RAM, and Norton Antivirus 2002 when more then likely what would have fixed the system was a registry cleaning and a reinstallation of OE.

Another woman went to a tech, spent $90 on her computer at our recommendation (seeing A tech, not that SPECIFIC tech, mind you) and still couldn't get online. If you took your computer in and paid $90, what would you expect to be done? The tech charged her nearly a hundred dollars to do, and this was directly on the bill and what he told her he'd done, for a scandisk and defrag.

I know see why these people stay open. Do they actually even know what's inside the computer?

Two serious Calls (really had to think about these)
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anon E. Mouse

Delightfully polite elderly member called up the other day. She was as sweet as pie and only had one question about email: Where do you find the @ symbol on the keyboard?

Person called in, using Outlook Express, has two mail accounts set-up, one for us, the other for her cable internet provider who she was connecting through. Checked the names of the profiles against the error. Took about four or five minutes to explain whose server was causing the problem. She decided to contact them. She then called back about fifteen minutes later to let me know that their cable network was fine, she could receive her email off of our server, but that their mail server was down. Awfully polite of her since I really don't need that information.

I'd rather have a hundred of the elderly who'll have simple questions then the reporter.

Press the ANYKEY
Posted 04/01/2002 by George Tselentis

A little history, the early Gateway computers used a key called the "ANYKEY." It is 1992 and I was working in a City Govt IT Department. Before WINDOWS there were programs that were running under MSDOS.

CALLER: Hi I am loading a progam and I need help and cannot find the ANYKEY?

ME: Could you give me some more detail?

CALLER: I was loading a program and it is at a screen that says press the ANYKEY. I cannot find the ANYKEY.

ME: I will be right up

ARRIVE at the desk to find they had a substitue workstation that was not a Gateway computer, but it did not matter all they need to do was press any key, not the ANYKEY.

New! Improved!
Posted 04/01/2002 by Richard Urwin

I used to work for as a software engineer for a company making SCADA equipment. Briefly, these are supervisory machines for factories. They let the operators see what is going on and make adjustments to the process. At the time this device consisted of a bespoke computer with CMOS (battery-backed) memory, and a 3 1/2" floppy disk drive for back-up purposes. One day I poked my head into the support department and found the manager fighting a losing battle with a corrupt floppy disk. I stayed to help him for a while but it was basically hopeless. Large amounts of data were gone for good. "I've got to repair it" he said, "it contains the only recipe for (well known soap-powder)." Now if I had been running that company I would want that recipe on paper in a safety deposit box. Not on a grubby disk in some oily control room deep inside the plant. "Don't worry I said, leaving the hapless man to his futile labour, "they can always come out with New Improved (well known soap-powder)." What do you know, two weeks later they did.

OK, let's start again...
Posted 04/01/2002 by Richard Urwin

Reading these tales I notice a sizable fraction of the posters seem to assume that stupidity is something other people have. I can only imagine how agravating it is to man a help-desk, and I have the greatest sympathy for them. But stupidity is far fairer that that. It creeps up on everybody from time to time. In this particular instance it crept up on the production manager of the SCADA company I used to work for. He was configuring an early PC, probably a real IBM XT, for a customer to use our software on. This involved a good deal of fiddling around with cards and jumpers, followed by installing from 5 14" floppy disks, maybe an hour or two. He finally had it finished, whereupon he was heard to say, "right now what voltage should it be set to?" (The UK runs on 240V.) "Ah yes 110V." (click)(BANG!) He had forgotten to switch it off first.

Faulty Manager
Posted 04/01/2002 by scooter71

One day I was summoned to the office of my sales manager (I'm technically in sales and customer service, but I have inherited the sys admin position as well). He tells me that the email server is acting up because he can't get any emails. I tell him that no one else is having problems and have him send a test email to my private account. It goes through fine. I send it back to him, with a cc to my company email, and wait a few minutes. I get the email but he doesn't and there is failure notice for his address.

So, I go to look at his computer. That's when I notice that he has about 125 unread emails in his inbox. After I delete about 20 of them- all junk mail- the count still says 125 unread. Gee, do you think he could actually clean out his inbox once in a while? His rationale: he doesn't want to delete the important ones because he might need to refer back to them. My solution: explain how to create folders into which he can put those emails.

And this is the guy that considers himself a "computer whiz". Yeah! Right!

The Microsoft Car
Posted 04/01/2002 by scooter71

This probably doesn't qualify as technical support, but I can't help telling it:

One day when we got home, my wife went to roll up my daughter's window (we had power windows). Unfortunately, the stupid thing would not go up. We tried several things, but the window just would not go up. Finally, exasperated, I told my wife, "Well, when Windows freezes at work, I tell them to reboot. Shut the car off then turn it back on."

So she shut the car off, waited, then turned it back on. I kid you not, the stupid window rolled up with no problems.

No Title
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Here's one that happened a couple days ago. Friend of mine phones me up, says the clock on her computer's got the wrong time. I ask her if she's done anything that would change it, she says no, she doesn't think so. So I tell her how to reset it, and she thanks me and hangs up.

Next day (Monday) she calls and says the clock on her son's computer's wrong too! She wants to know if she can set it the same way. I say yes, but by now I'm a bit puzzled. I ask how much time the computers had lost, she tells me, "Oh, they were both ahead by an hour." I just started to laugh. Seems she'd forgotten this past weekend was Daylight Savings. Her computers had reset the time automatically, needless to say her watch and stuff didn't, and she was totally confused.

It never ends easy....
Posted 04/01/2002 by Chazz

Time for another trip back to the glory days of TVL. It had been a real day from hell. Four systems come in with end-user screwups, but because of our wonderful all-inclusive lifetime guarentee (which lead to such conversations as "Y'know dad, I reeeeally don't think our guarentee should cover them using a power drill to remove/reinsert the screws and completely reaming out every thread in the machine unless they do it twice." Which, incidentally, they did....) the only money we see out of any of it is the minimum charge for technical labor. But Joe and I finally duct tape and rubber band the things back into working shape, make several sacrifices to various deities that these people figure out to never ever do WHATEVER it was that got these things so fragged up in the first place ever again, and hook 'em up into the test rig. Holy schmagegge, they work!

So I settle down into my nice, comfy chair to watch the fancy and semi-hypnotic automated test sequence loop, occasionally glancing over to the primary monitors to make sure I hadn't zoned out and there weren't any answers. Joe has to cut out early, and the two ladies have to run to the bank to sort out some foul-up with the checkbooks, so I wave them off and chill out until someone gets back.

At least, that was the plan. About a half hour later, the phone rings. Well they had been ringing all day, so I sigh and lift it up, give the courteous answer, even force a smile.

"Did you people call here?" [Oh boy.... Guess the DFH ain't over after all....]

How do you mean miss?

"We're busy doing a lot of work over here, and I just checked the caller ID system and it says this line called us up." [Does it make sense to be beligerent BEFORE you find out what the deal is? I thought not.]

I'm sure there must be some kind of mistake miss---

"No! I just called this number up exACTLY!"

Ma'am, when was the call placed?

"It says here fifteen minutes ago."

Ma'am, I can assure you that call wasn't made from here. I've been the only person in the building for the last half hour, and this is the first time I've even LOOKED at the phone. [yeah I started getting nasty, but she's not a customer and she started it!]

"No! It says right here, 555-1234!"

Well miss, I don't know what to--- Wait, what was that number?


Madam, we have four lines in this building, and that number doesn't match any of them. [It was close, an honest mistake.... But when was the last time anyone fessed up to an honest mistake?]

"Look, don't you try and tell me I don't know what I'm doing, I've been busting my ass ALL DAY and I don't need someone screwing with me on the phone!"

[*DINGDINGDING* And the fight is on!] Look lady, I don't know if you've noticed but you're not the only one with a job. *I* have spent all day hunched over a jury-rigged computer system in a room with no air conditioning [minor exaggeration, there was air but just ask anyone who knows what 6-15 computers running for days on end in the middle of summer will do to the temperature of an enclosed room]with the hot air of the fan blowing right on my face the whole time trying to repair something using diagnostic tools I was being instructed on how to use WHILE doing it. I then got to spend a whole hour trying to troubleshoot with a guy who spoke at least three dialects of broken English but none of them good enough for me to make out most of his words. I just got done cramming one of the three working systems we have into a thrice-used shipping box even though they're not supposed to be use more than once or twice because the box company screwed up our order, then I finally sit down to get a few minutes to relax when YOU call up to start bitching about a phone call that was never made from here. NOW, would you like to try this again politely, or have you figured out that I didn't make the damn call?


She mumbled something about being rude, although I don't know which one of us she was talking about. I bid her good day, hung up the phone and went back to the tests. She never called back. Mmmmm, pretty colors....

The Hazards of Being a Disk Drive
Posted 04/01/2002 by Richard urwin

In common with most techies I have to live with the fact that everyone I know sees me as free tech support. In this case it was my mother. At the time she ran the nursery department of a local primary school. The problem was with the nursery's computer, (the one that the kids used,) in that she couldn't get a floppy disk into the drive.

I went down there, took the case apart, removed the drive, eased off the little tin plate cover. I removed two two pence pieces and Barbie's handbag before reasembling everything. The disk drive was no worse for its experience.

Frag the Whole Thing!
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Another tech just came to tell me this one:

Customer took their computer in to a shop to have it looked at. The technician (and I use the term loosely) told her there was nothing wrong with it, and she should phone (us) to have us help her "defrag the internet."

He thinks that goes into the top 5. I tend to agree.

oopsie poopsie
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

so its my first month of taking phone calls at my new job--oh yeah. im a techie for a dsl provider. so far, my luck has been good--my call karma is perfect--no irate callers. then my luck runs out.

dude calls up and i give my 'opening script'.

yelling, dude proceeds to tell me about how bad his svc is, and what poor customer svc he has the customer is ranting and raving about his horrible svc with this company, i realize, he's not our customer. being completely unsuccessful at getting a word in edgewise, i let the customer vent his frustrations.

when he finishes his ten minute speech, he then says: since you represent this company (which i actually, as you will recall--do not) i think you should be taking some initiative, and stepping up to the plate--what are YOU as a representative of this company prepared to do for me, the customer?

i just simply replied: im sorry, sir, but im afraid i cant do much of anything. i actually represent -blah- and since your service is through _pleh_, all i can do is suggest you call _pleh_ and see if they can be more helpful...if you decided to switch to our company, i would certainly be more than happy to help you with your dsl.

dude just hung up.

oh well.

moral of the story: if youre calling for tech support--let the technitian talk once in a while. its what were there for.

Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

i heard a tale a few weeks ago...wasnt sure till today whether or not i believed it...

a guy sittin in a cube not too far from mine was baffled by the outcome of his call. while trying to install our dsl hardware/software, the person's computer literally started ablaze.

now today, i get a phone call from a very reluctant man. the first thing out of his mouth 'last time i talked to you guys my computer burned.' normally the last thing i would have thought was that the computer started on fire, but i asked, since i had heard other tech's story. yup. sure as hell. same guy.

so he has a new computer, and wants me to help him install the software again. i got it all setup, but i must say. this guy has more balls than i would have had...

...if my computer started on fire while installing something with help from a technitian, i seriously doubt id call em back 2 weeks later, with a brand new computer.

drinking game
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

im a cust. service rep. for a dsl provider. one night i spent *not kidding* three hours on the phone with the same guy--his browser had issues and would not display pages. after doing everything from reinstalling and reconfiguring the browser, to reinstalling and reconfiguring every part of our software, the customer had gone through tons of system reboots. by about the forth one, the guy decided to turn it into a drinking game. every time we restarted his computer, he would down another margarita. by the time i had to hand him to my supervisor, he was good and smashed. im sure it was entertaining, at least!

No Title
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a small company and provide phone support for our software [industry specific] [...if I told you, you'd laugh]

One of our customers who uses our DOS system has been calling regularly for the past 8 weeks. Her accounting software is possesed. It must be...

The fisrt time she called because her system was losing the numbers in her issue program. The manager issues the product to the superviser, and the super issues it to the cashiers. She entered the numbers and later when she accessed the program the numbers would disappear. When I tested it, it worked fine. She insisted no one else could have gone in and changed it because no one else knew how to use the system. After digging around for hours, it was discovered that a little used configuration setting had been changed, so the numbers disappeared when ever they printed from that program. (I can't print remotely] She was sure that somehow it changed on it's own. [or as she put it 'my computers crashing!']

The next weekend she called becasue the numbers in her issue program were changing on thier own. She would put in one value and when she went back in the numbers were dramatically different. It took us two weeks to convince her to let us put a password on the program, we actually had to tell her that we would do nothing else to help her until she let us. The problem stopped immeaditly. She still instisted that no one else there could be doing it. [I actually told her that passwording it would help us find what the computer was doing to change the numbers:)]

The next weekend the program the superviser used to issue products to the cashiers started doing the same thing. It only took us a week to convince her to password that program. She still insisted that no one there could be doing this...

The next weekend the A/P portion of the software began acting up. At one point I suggest that it was user error. Her exact words were "There is no way she is making mistakes. She has been using this a long time.. three weeks now."

The next week her employees started disappearing, or at least their user ID's... Even though it stopped happening as soon as we put a password on it, she insisted that no one was doing it... after all she only changed users from one computer and it was locked in her office [never mind that they are all running the exact same software and connected to the exact same databases. I did try to explaine this to her]

Last weekend she called because every few minutes her computer would kick her out of whichever program she was in and go to a screen that said "reindexing files"; the back up routine. She said that they didn't even use that program [how I love to hear that!] and of course that meant that no one there could have started it. I walked her through scandisk and backing up her datafiles and told her to call back if it happens again. A short while later she called again and said that it had happen 3 times in the past 15 minutes and wanted me to password it. I felt like a parent watching her child take it's first steps... Now if I could only convince her to properly password everything and use security levels we could find out who is doing this. I really want to know so I can shake their hand... a manager this idiotic deserves having to stay 3 hours late straightening out paper work

The Nutty Programmer...
Posted 04/01/2002 by Privacy Freak

One day a kid, about 13-15 years old, comes in and asks for employment. When queried about his age, he produced a birth certificate dated 20 years ago and explained he had hormone problems, which made him look like he was a teenager. My boss decided to try him and showed JohnDoe a computer.

That particular one had come in because the BIOS had somehow gotten deleted. JohnDoe sits down, tries to boot it up, chews a stick of gum, asks to go to the bathroom, opens the case, checks everything inside, then asks for another computer, working. He sits down at this computer, spends twenty minutes searching for some sort of compiler on the web. Boss tells me to get working and keep an eye on the guy.

When I look up a while later, I realize that JohnDoe was blazing away at the keyboard writing BIOS (It LOOKED like BIOS!) Just as I noticed, he gets up and pulls a floppy out. JohnDoe walks over to the other computer, inserts the floppy, and boots up. I tapped him on the shoulder, informed him that we had BIOS on floppies, and went off to get my boss to hire this kid or die trying.

My boss comes over, listens to my first ten words, and informs JohnDoe that he was hired.

"Really? COOL!" And JohnDoe takes his contract home.

Next morning he comes in, hands me the contract back, and explains sheepishly, "I don't deserve this. That computer was mine. I was bored a couple years ago and wrote a program that would transfer BIOS from the hard-drive onto a floppy."

Will miracles never end? I didn't even know you could DO that.

He's taking advertising TOO seriously...
Posted 04/01/2002 by Graham W. Boyes

I was talking to a guy on Usenet. He was asking for advice on running web and mail servers. I assumed he was using a cable modem and said so. He replied that he used ADSL because it was more secure.

I explained that as long as he had an external IP address and was connected directly to the Internet, the level of security would be similar.

He retorted indignantly that he had read many articles stating that ADSL providers gave you "delicated service".

Perhaps Linux is not the best choice for this person :)

More expensive than AOHell....
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I just got off a call with a PhD professor who works at the University where I provide support. He was having trouble with his dial up. I looked up his account to see what was wrong, and I found nothing wrong. That is until I looked at his usage. In February, he had already used up over 14,000 minutes, and in March, near 13,000. By the time I've written this (April 11th), he had already used up 4,000 minutes in his April dial up.

Just to put things in context, professors at our University get 7,200 minutes of dail up for free. Any time above that, he had to pay $.008 a minute or $.48 an hour. When I told my boss Joe, about the professor's usage, he figured this guy was spending around $50 a month on our dial up service. I seriously doubt this professor did his shopping though because there are places all over town that provide broadband for less than what he's paying us to dial up.

Just the fax, sir
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

As a technical person, I often get called for help by family and friends. My pasator is just marginally computer literate, but is smart enough to know it. He purchased one of those all-in-one printer/fax/copiers for his office and did his best to figure it out. He finally called me for help. His first complaint was that they couldn't get faxes, but could send them out. The other problem was that the fax would take over line 1 instead of line two when they used it.

I checked the jacks first. Whoever had wired it up had connected the tap labled "line 2" to the wires for line 1. Two minutes with a screwdriver fixed that. This left the problem of answering for faxes. This particular device was "distinctive ring" aware, so I told the Pastor to have the phone company put a 2-ring distinctive-ring service on line 2. It took him three weeks and two returns from the phone tech to get the double ring on line 2, keep the original numbers for voice, and have both lines working. I had already set the fax to answer a double ring, but he still couldn't make it accept faxes. I looked at the Fax machine, pressed the button labled "auto answer" so it lit up, and dialed the fax number with my cell phone. The double-ring sounded; the fax machine answered, and all was right with the world.

Posted 04/01/2002 by Johinsa

My mother's usually pretty good with technology actually, but she has her occasional lapses. I remember when I was explaining about putting shortcuts on the desktop. After a few clueless-user questions ("So these aren't actually programs? If I delete this I won't actually delete the Internet?") she seemed to grasp the idea, so I left.

A couple of days later, I turned the computer on and the screen was entirely full of shortcuts. This was odd by itself, but as I looked closer, I realised that most of them were in fact duplicates of each other. Two Netscape icons, two WordPerfect icons, etc.

"Mom?" I said. "Did you put them here?" She said she had. "Okay, why?"

Her response? "Well, I heard somewhere that you were supposed to make copies of everything important, and I thought, if something happened to the Internet, it'd be good to have an extra one. Don't you think so?"

Over Quota = Over Quota?
Posted 04/01/2002 by Geoff Strayer

And the winner of the Short Bus Award for Monday, April 1...

Laura Writes:

Subject: Re: Mail System Error - Returned Mail

Does this mean my account is over quota?

----- Original Message -----

) This Message was undeliverable due to the following reason:


) The user(s) account is temporarily over quota.

Blech Support
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I have cable modem service and lately almost every night (anywhere from 2am to 5am), I lose service for an hour or 2.

I usually ignore this and wait it out...til last night.

I called the automated support outages reported, so I called back to talk to a real tech.

Me: No outages reported in my area, but I have no service.

I cannot connect to anything.

Tech: You need to reset the modem.

Me: Um, ok (as I proceed to look for the on/off switch)

Tech: Just unplug it for 30 minutes.

Me: 30 minutes? What for?

Tech: Because that's the way it's supposed to be done.

Me: (looking for a legit reason). But why 30 minutes,why

so long?

Tech: (again) Because that's the way it's done. I'm not

gonna explain how the servers work and blahblahblah.

At that point I hung up.

BTW, I did unplug the modem (for a few seconds). The

service still wasn't working. But oddly enough it started

working about 5 minutes later.

I firmly believe that the tech knew of a problem, didn't

want to tell me and hoped all was well when I turned the modem back on..... or he was just stupid.

Time for another party!
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Last year, one of our CSRs wanted us to add Holland and the Netherlands to our list of countries and I had to explain to her why I wasn't going to do that. She struck again this morning, wanting us to add the country 'Africa' to the list - for an address in Ghana.


A few years ago, the company hired a PHB who began his history of bad decision-making by switching our ISP to one that would "save us money." Since our service was divided into several contracts, all of which expired at different times, the switch itself took about four years and cost many thousands of dollars. BUT! We saved a few hundred a month on our long distance bills!

The company split into different divisions last year and parts were sold off. He went with the part of the company that was sold first, as VP of something or other. (We had a going away party in his honor - the day AFTER he left! (eg)) He sold his house here, has a rental in the state that division moved to, has closed on some land and has started building a house there. Apparently he was fired yesterday. Sometimes there actually IS justice.

Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A few years back, I was on the phone troubleshooting a printer problem. At one point I asked the customer to switch the printer off, the turn it back on.

Customer: I can't reach the power switch from where I am. Can I pull out the power cord instead?

Me: [amazed silence]

Customer: I've just said something stupid, haven't I?

well, at least they guessed the right answer!

Smelly Keyboard
Posted 04/01/2002 by DEATHERAGE

Tech Support call: "My keyboard doesnt work!"

I am a network tech for a business in Arizona and I got a phone call requesting my attention to a keyboard that was not working. I ran up to her dept. and when I sat down at the terminal to begin troubleshooting I noticed that the spacebar had a glossy feel to it and smelled bad. I asked her what she had done and she told me that the spacebar was sticking so she took a can of WD40 to it to try and get it lose. WD40!

sigh* lol

At the pleasure of Her Majesty, The Queen
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I apologize in advance for the length of this posting.

I run a small business (out of my business partner’s condo) called C-------- Network Systems, Inc., based in V------------, B.C. I run this business with my business partner, Glen, who is a marketing whiz. I do the network stuff. This is to give you some background.

Well, the facts of this company are stranger than fiction, I can swear to you. Firstly, I have what amounts a “Management Committee”. You must understand that CNSI is an incorporated company, wherein I owe half the shares, and Glen the other half. Yet bizarrely, we (or should I say I, since it is mainly I who must deal with these people) have a set of largely self-appointed “experts “ who help us run the business, whether we want the help or not. The members of my side of the management committee are as follows:

·A retired government scientist (My father)

·A retired public school teacher (My mother)

·A wills and estates lawyer (My brother, but he actually helps us)

·A radical anarchist feminist educational consultant (My eldest sister, but she helps far more than she detracts)

·A fashion design and ESL teacher from Mexico (My girlfriend, and one of the two business queens CNSI must deal with)

On Glen’s side, his management committee (Which is mostly actually against my presence in the office):

·His girlfriend, Lillian (The other “Queen” of the business; she gets stressed because I am there, and so is the business)

·Their strata council (also known as the Privy Council of 16th Ave;)

·Lillian’s parents (who hate Glen)

So here’s what has happened thus far:

·Her Majesty, Queen Lillian, won’t give me a key to the condo, because she is “uncomfortable” doing so.

·The strata council has said that I cannot be there at the condo unless Glen or Lillian is there. Thus I am allowed occasional supervised visits to my “baby”, rather like a non-custodial parent –remember, too, that I am the PRESIDENT of the company!

·I cannot stay in the office when Glen has an appointment elsewhere. Thus I am limited to an average “visit” to the business of two or three hours, thee or four days a week.

·I have no workbench. (I am a computer technician, and we are a computer and network support company). That is, I have one for very short times at Lillian’s dining room table. I used to have one at my home, but my girlfriend disassembled the area I was working at on the dining room table (which only took up the far end of the table, less than 1/5th of it.)

·As a result, I am the world’s only itinerant LAN administrator. I am literally a homeless sysadmin (I have my own home, but nowhere to run the IT department of my business).

·I have had to give Lillian a computer account on the company network so that she can check her hotmail (putting a separate computer in the bedroom is of course, out of the question).

·I may not eat my lunches anywhere but the dining area of the kitchen, which consists of a miniscule table about eighteen inches across, and a hard wooden stool.

·I have a car, but Glen does not. His wife will not let him use her car, although she lives four blocks from work, and walks there ALWAYS! His car was wrecked in an accident he caused. My marketing manager therefore travels by bus or on foot, except when I am available to drive him to appointments we are both supposed to be at

·My girlfriend does not understand why, in 16 weeks (We incorporated just after New Years, on Jan 4th, 2002), we have not yet made a profit. When I told her it may take several months or even years, her jaw dropped. I think she thinks that we are a grocery store, not a network installations and support company. Either that, or she thinks that it’s just like the government, and you get a “Job” and Boom! You get a paycheque.

·My girlfriend thought that since someone had to be the boss, Glen was mine. I am still trying to explain to her the concept of “partnership”

·My mother thinks that the job market is just like it was in the ‘30’s, is grateful that I have a job at Staples, and shows far more interest in what is going on there than at CNSI.

·My father is usually helpful, but keeps on telling me “John! You should only count the money you have in hand! I don’t want to hear about what you __might__ earn!” Like, can we say “duh?”

·My sister at least admits she is useless at business, even though she has been running a sole proprietorship for about ten years.

·My girlfriend keeps trying to put me into a union, since that’s what she’s used to, in Mexico. As a result, I am forbidden by my “shop steward” from doing any of the business from home. The Other Queen, of course, doesn’t want me to work in HER home, so I have nowhere to do the business, except at the pleasures of the two queens.

To top it all off, my entire family is possessed of the bizarre idea that if they give me a piece of business advice, they are business geniuses, and have the right to run the business for me. I callit the "I said it I get the credit" syndrome. So someone says to me, "You are going to need a chequing account" or "you are goingto need a lwayer" or "You are going to need a business plan", and somehow, despite the fact that I have ALREADY long ago anticipated the idea, that person will act like they are J. Paul Getty, Bill Gates, And Warren Buffett rolled into one.

Does this sound like a business or a madhouse? And has anyone ever had anything as mad as this happen to them)? This is why I titled the story “At the pleasure of her majesty the Queen.” Wanna buy a business? Headaches thrown in for free.

My computer is growling
Posted 04/01/2002 by Sherry

My computer is growling at me, said the distressed user on the other end of the phone. We went through the gambit of maybe someone changed the sound settings. Maybe the fan is hitting something inside the case. Finally we turned the computer off and when we looked behind it there it is - a beeper on vibrate mode.

Posted 04/01/2002 by Rick Casper

Internal Customer booted up this morning and signed on to both the network and her APPLICATION, but all she had was the blue screen with something on the side.

CUSTOMER: Its all messed up!

ME: What’s on the side.

CUSTOMER: Network Neighborhood, My Computer, Recycle Bin, and the arrow in the center. (Sound familiar?)

ME: Can you move the arrow? (Thinking that maybe her pc jammed or something)


ME: Move the arrow down to the Taskbar on the bottom and tell me what you see. (Amazing that she remembered what the Taskbar is!!!)

CUSTOMER: A Start button and a little rectangle with "APPLICATION...".


ME: Click on it.

CUSTOMER: My APPLICATION is in the upper left of the screen, but its too small. (She seemed surprised)

ME: Do you want it bigger? (She didn’t sound happy with the size)

CUSTOMER: Yes, my eyes are not as good as they used to be.

ME: Do you want it to be full-screen?


ME: Look at the top right corner. Do you see the "X"? (Mind you, we have taught her about the functions of these three buttons several times)


ME: Do you see the ‘box with the line on top’?


ME: Do you see the ‘minus sign’?


ME: The 'minus sign' is used to minimize APPLICATION back down to the Taskbar, and the 'box with the line on top' is used to maximize it to full screen.

CUSTOMER: Should I click on the ‘minus sign’? (What did I just tell her????)

ME: NO!!! Click on the 'box with the line on top'.

I guess that must have worked, because although she never let me finish helping her open the other applications, she said 'Thank you' and hung up.

Email needs a dial tone too!
Posted 04/01/2002 by Sara C.

I work in a call center doing customer support for a large dialup ISP. One customer called in claiming her email wasn't working anymore. I verified all of the email setting with her, but she was still unable to access her email. I asked her if other than her email, did she have any other problems accessing the internet, and her reply was "No." I asked her if she had a second telephone line in the house, and her response was "Yes, but all the phones in the area are down, so right now I am calling you on my cell phone." I calmly tried explained to her that she wouldn't be able to access her email until the phones started working again.

The people that educate our youth these days.
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Ok I have been the class computer guy in every class I've had since 5th grade, I make sure to inform the instructor that if they need help I'll be glad to assist them. One day my science teacher says Jon can you help me I think someone broke my computer, I walk over and see the Start menu open, and reply "What's the problem" she says back oh this thing popped up and now it won't go away and i can't get the the internet thing." I non-chalantly click outside the menu and go back to my seat trying to keep myself from laughing out loud.

No dial tone
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Use to work for a ISP company one of those crapy free online ones users are morons think you work for free yeah right

user called up and said


Im having problems conecting to the internet the error is there is no dial tone.


Ok is the modem connected to the phoneline


Um i dont have a phone line


ok then how the hell are you talking to me then ??? ?


Um i have to go now good bye


Goon (Thinks)


thank you for banking with us
Posted 04/01/2002 by Amo

Not really a tech tale, but it involves over the phone help, a computer, and well i like this site too much, heh.

I recently started work at the call center of the ASB bank (if you havn't heard of us, then you don't live in new zealand).

This role basically involves altering information in ppl's accounts, and its quite easy, i love it.

Couple weeks ago i got a call from an elderly lady (86 yrs old) who explained that she was bed stricken with the flu, and needed her son to go get some money from her account for her, but she wasn't sure if he was still a signatry on the account.

I asked for her account number, which she didn't have on her, but knew where she kept it. Not wanting to make an 86 yr old lady with the flu get out of bed, i asked for her name and tried to search for her that way. Nothing came up, no matter how many variations i tried.

After about 10 minutes of that, i had to ask her for the number itself, so this 86 yr old lady with the flu had to get up from her bed and walk over to bring it.

She read out her number, and instantly everything was wrong. ASB bank account numbers have a bank number 12, with the branch number starting with a 3, so 12-3XXX-XXXXXXX-XX. what she read to me was completely different. so after tussling with that for another 5 minutes (i thought she may be reading a cheque number) i ask for her card number.

once again the 86 yr old lady with the flu gets up from her bed to go and get her card. and once again, the numbers are all out of whack... they should start with 4548 or 5889.

Then she mentions the name 'day and night' card, and the alarm bells go off. ASB bank cards are called cashflow cards, and i was pretty sure that card belonged to another bank entirely...

So, not to be rude, i just start useing the word 'ASB' in every sentence i possibly can, but she doesn't take.

Still being new, i saw it fit to ask for help from my supervisor on this one, so i put her on hold.

he confirms, the day and night card belongs to a bank called the ANZ. when i get back to the call though, im saved on having to break it to this lady because she's realized the mistake herself.

She apologises profusely, claiming shes never been so silly before. I suggested she blame it on the flu. I gave her ANZ's freephone number, and ended the half hour call....

Modem woes
Posted 04/01/2002 by dwm

In the days before I was officially a tech, I would occassionally provide computer support to the faculty in a social science department at the university where I was in grad school. One day, a very senior faculty person with a degree from an ivy league school called me up and asked me to talk him through setting up the modem on the computer he'd just brought home from the office.

After determining that the modem had already been installed and configured, I told him that he just needed to plug the modem into the wall. He asked me to talk him through the procedure, so I told him to plug one end of his phone cord into the socket on the modem with the picture of the telephone or with the "line" label. So far, so good.

Me: Okay, professor. Now you just have to plug the jack into the phone socket on the wall.

Prof: Which one is that?

Me: Do you see where your phone is plugged in? You'll need to plug the cord into that jack or into the back of your phone if it has an extra socket.

Prof: Oh. So I need to plug this into the wa-

He called back about 10 minutes later, after he realized that he'd disconnected me. I think he was talking to me the entire time, too.

His last words to me: "If you tell anyone about this, I'll burn your %$#@ house down!"

Obviously the world is backward
Posted 04/01/2002 by Chris

Short story, it won't take long to tell.

I've covered a couple of ISPs in my time as technical support and I've come across a few gems. My favourite I think was in a former position.

A calls comes in, customer very angry (as they invariably are these days.) He's going to sue 'us' because we've printed our CDs upside down. Need I say more...

The customer was kindly asked to put the CD in the other way up and the world was once again a safe place.

Installation Error
Posted 04/01/2002 by Greg

I was an early adopter of DSL in my area as I'd just been hired on to work for a company which had no office in my city and I was going to have to telecommute.

Pacific Bell (their name at the time) sent out a tech (subcontractor) to install the NIC, do the wiring, etc., and said it would take up to 24 hours for my line to be provisioned.

When it wasn't, I called. I dealt with a few clueless techs and finally got one who knew what was what. Basically, most of the DSL handling had been subcontracted out. I finally got a direct phone number for the company responsible for my provisioning and got on the horn with them.

I'd get people who'd say they'd investigate and call me back, but never called. Finally, I got Paul. Paul took responsibility for ensuring that I got up and running. We finally got all the issues resolved on their end (and there *were* real issues on their end), but I still had no connectivity.

At this point we had a tech come out.

Turned out the DSL modem had the heat vents on the bottom and the installer had set it on the floor on my shag carpet, blocking them. During the time we were trying to get all the remote problems fixed, the modem overheated and burned itself out.

We replaced the modem and finally, after a week, endless hours on hold, and one saintly tech support guy named Paul, we finally got connectivity.

Posted 04/01/2002 by Greg

As part of my employer setting me up with a home office for telecommuting, they paid for me to get a laptop. I researched various models and finally bought a UMAX. I'd used their scanners and thought they were a good company.

I thought wrong.

In the laptop's manual, it said to fully charge the battery, fully discharge it, and then fully charge it again before running the computer off of it.

One problem. It didn't say how to discharge the battery without running the computer off of it. It didn't have a discharge button and I wasn't about to experiment with short-circuiting the battery terminals.

I called tech support. After nearly NINETY MINUTES on hold, I got a support rep. I explained the issue and asked how to discharge the battery. She didn't know. She put me on hold while she checked, a moment later there was a ringing and the hold music/message changed. She'd put me back in the general hold queue to be dealt with by someone else.

After another 20 minutes on hold, I hung up. As the laptop was a mobile computer, I just got on the desktop and tried their web site.

Over the next two weeks I sent a few messages to their e-mail support address. It's 3.5 years later and I'm still waiting for them to answer any of them.

I then got the names of their corporate officers and their company address off their web site and sent angry letters. All three came back unopened and undeliverable. I checked the names and addresses and I had not made a mistake. The address and/or names on their site were bogus.

In the mean time, I just ran the computer off the battery until it was basically dead, then gave it a full recharge. Haven't had a problem. I also haven't had a piece of UMAX equipment in my home and have talked others out of buying UMAX ever since.

Wrong Plug
Posted 04/01/2002 by Greg

I used to work for a large electronics retailer, selling TV's and VCRs. Basically, salesmen were responsible for doing phone support for their customers (if a customer called us instead of the retailer's toll-free help line) since we got dinged if a customer returned a product we sold them (both a loss of commission and a negative impact on our performance rating).

The biggest complaint was "My TV's broken. There's a big black box in the middle of the picture".

There's a "text" setting for closed captioning that the occasional rare PBS station uses to put large blocks of text on the screen. If you set your TV to it, it puts the big black box on the screen, but if you're not on a station that's using it, you just get a large, empty black box obscuring your picture.

This was a simple solution. Turn off closed captioning (or set it to CC1, which is the regular style). I heard more than one person yell at their child (or cat) for mucking about with the remote once I had solved the problem and they stopped yelling at me.

But I had a customer issue that was a bit more difficult.

For some reason, their VCR clock kept re-setting itself to blink "12:00" overnight as if it had lost power. Instead of calling me, they called Circuit City's help line and were told to return it because it was defective.

I spotted them when they brought it back in and asked what was wrong. They told me and I asked one simple question: "where do you have it plugged in?" They said "we plugged it into the outlet in the back of the cable box."

Sadly, the cable boxes used in that area had a fun little trick. When you shut off the cable box, it cut power to the outlet, cutting power to the VCR every time they turned off the cable box. They were smart enough to set the clock on their VCR, but this power loss kept making it blink "12:00", which was very frustrating for them.

They'd plugged the VCR into the back of the cable box because they didn't have a spare outlet.

I sold them a power strip for $8, had them unplug the cable box from the wall, then plug the box and VCR into the strip.

Problem solved. And how did I know to ask this question? Because a few months earlier I'd plugged my bookshelf stereo (poor man's home theater system) into the back of the cable box and watched it reset its clock a couple of times before I figured out why it was happening.

So was my customer a dummy? I never think someone's stupid because something that's obvious to me isn't obvious to them (i.e. I figured out the cable box problem without help when it happened to me, but they didn't). If that was the case, I'd have to consider myself a complete retard every time I needed the expertise of a lawyer, doctor, plumber...

I'd say the idiot was the guy who designed the cable box.

Even the best tech support is no substitute for a well-thought-out product. If every designer/manufacturer of hardware or software had to beta test it on their parents or grandparents before releasing it, we'd have a much better world all around.

Not enough coffee...
Posted 04/01/2002 by Joe

Last week I called tech support to request a new printer toner cartridge. I think the tech was having a bad day:

Me: The printer in Room # is requesting a new magenta toner cartridge.

Tech: Ok sir, what model of printer is that?

Me: It's an HP Laserjet 4550DN.

Tech: Allright, and is that a color printer?

Me: Well, if it's not it's having a severe identity crisis!

Tech: (pauses to think)

Tech: (sheepishly) Ok sir, we'll get that replaced for you.

It happens to the best of us! ;-)

Computer bashing is against the law.
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a Government agency and we have people with laptops all ofer the state. We setup the laptops to dial into the main server so that they can get file updates and case files. I had one person call me up quite enangered that his laptop after being upgraded no longer would let him logon to the internet. I asked him if there were any Error codes that he was getting and couldn't remember so he attempted to connect while I was with him on the phone. After about 15 minutes it hung up and said the party has hung up. As I was checking the server to see any logs he got a call on his computer phone line and he answered it. Aparently he was angrier than I though as when he dialed out his computer was not dialing the network, but 911. I wonder how many times he tried that before actually calling me.

Sys Admin
Posted 04/01/2002 by Joe Dineen

User called in a panic. He said his PC was running slow. He said he brought up the Task Manager and discovered some process was running at 99% CPU time. He was sure this was the problem but he couldn't end the task. The offending process? System Idle Process.

No Title
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I was working as a Support Analyst for an accounting and distribution software company that was essentially a solutions provider for companies in the distribution sector. The application at the time ran on dumb terminals instead of PC clients, and was an open ended solution that worked on many different Unix platforms from IBM, HP, DEC, etc.

One morning a customer called in to state that one of her stations wasn't working properly and they couldn't get a display to come up. I began the process of isolating what might be the problem. Might be a bad port, a bad cable or perhaps the monitor died. First, I needed to determine which type of system she was using and casually asked, "Can you tell what type of system you're on?" Without hesitation she replies, "Well the label on the monitor says that it's a WYSE..." (I surmise this isn't going to be easy) After explaining that she just told me the manufacturer of the dumb terminal and proceeding to ask some followup questions, I later determined what type of system she was using. Then we begin troubleshooting why her terminal isn't working.

"This is an obvious question, but I have to ask... Is it turned on? and Is it plugged in? Do you see a power light?"

Yes to all three.

"Is the serial cable plugged in snugly and secured?"


I dial in and attempt to send a mesage to the terminal with success, and it goes thru, but nothing can be seen on the screen. Hmmm... odd. I echoed a "bell" signal to the tty port and she hears the terminal beep, but nothing appears on the display. AH HA! I think I've figured out what the problem is. "Do me a favor... can you check the CONTRAST knob on the monitor and turn it up for me?"

(muttering is heard on the other end of the line)

Followed by "it works now..."

The customer and I proceeded to have a good laugh... someone had apparently turned down the contrast instead of turning off the monitor at the end of the previous day.

Every time she'd call in after that, I'd tease her by asking if she checked the knobs on her monitor before calling...

Let me in!
Posted 04/01/2002 by Benny

I was working away on a crappy NT machine at my former job and tried accessing a folder. Nope, didn't have the right permissions. So I took a look to see who was the owner....ME. That's right, I couldn't access a folder I had rights to. So a call to the inhouse tech support....

TS: blah blah, etc

Me: I can't access my folder.

TS: Let's see who owns it.....


TS: It looks like Ben **** owns the folder. Did you talk to him?

Me:....silence. I AM Ben.

TS: Oh. Well, let me get tech support to work on that.

ME: Huh? Did I get the cafeteria by mistake?

TS: well, we're not able to fix this problem. I'll have to refer it to my supervisor.


98%of usersdon't know how to use internet
Posted 04/01/2002 by Moiz A.Eltayeb

Well I'm working in Cargo company but in the evening I had an internet cafee i often go to the owner is a huge rich man but unluckly he don't know how to us ethe internet he always asking me to login in to his private e-mail, and to his messanger to make a chat with his friends, which are near by him in the same cafee he own.One day it happened and come a very wonderfull beautiful girl to the cafee asking about internet guider because she ahve some important thing she need it from the world wide web, he quickly stands up from his chair and offered himself as a guide to her in her job but unluckly she need a very touch thing which need a long time insearch through the machine engines in the internet, after some how minutes of discussion about her item and starring to her nice eyes he shouted in loud voice( so why do you wantto find it saince you have already a full refference about it?)

she smiled in a vixen and said (and why did you opened this cafee from the begining since there are a lot of reffernces about every thing?)

good luck with that
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

dude called in today...with a promo computer he bought with his isp's (my company's) software pre-installed, along with the adsl modem needed for dsl.

when he started explaining his problem, i knew he was a lost cause.

me: thank you for calling.....

him: dsl was working 2weeks ago, but now it doesnt. i think i need to reinstall the software.

me: what kind of modem...etc. etc.

him: compaq blah, blah, blah...

me: okay go to your quick restore...

him: i deleted that icon.

me: do you have your dsl connection icon?

him: no, i uninstalled and deleted that, cuz it wasnt working...this has happened before, and all i did was restore it from your disk.

me: sir, with the comp* you ordered, you didnt need any software, it came pre-installed. you shouldnt need any disk.

him: i know, it wasnt working, so i thought i would just delete it and start over.

me:okay, well, lets see what you have in your network...go to ...

him: nothing...

me: nothing?

him: nothing.

me: lets take a look at your should have a t*adsl listed...

him: oh...i uninstalled that...

me: im sorry sir, but youre gonna have to call comp*

him: but it's your software, and they'll just tell me to call you...

me: no, sir, the software came preinstalled on your comp* that you ordered, and they will have to tell you how to reinstall everything that has been erased.

him: buy why cant you do it?

me: because im not comp*, im ***...


moral: please call tech support before you uninstall everything from your computer. its helpful. thank you.

The Page Cannot Be Displayed
Posted 04/01/2002 by lilbit

I work for an ISP in the UK supporting dialup and Broadband connections.

One day a dialup user calls in complaining that she has not been able to get on the internet for 2 weeks. I asked her if she had any problems connecting and she answered no, but but every time she opens her browser it gives the error message "The page cannot be displayed".

Of course, you can guess the troubleshooting procedure for this common fault, but no matter what we tried she would always get "Page cannot be displayed".

Out of desperation, I decided to go through every single setting for her browser and that is when the problem came to light.

Her homepage? Windows' DNS Error Page!

What do you mean you're not psychic?
Posted 04/01/2002 by Heather

When asking for a customer's email address, it never fails that when the customer has a common name, for example, Joe Brown, they will spell it out for you, "".

BUT if they have a wierd, impossible 20 letter name, they will rattle it off as fast as they can and wait for you to ask "can you spell that for me?" then they act like it is a HUGE inconvenience and why on earth don't we just KNOW how to spell it.

Also, I just had this call that was so frustrating, I had to share it with you all.

Me: "Thank you for calling ***BroadBand Tech Support, (insert opening lines here) May I help you?"

EU: "I've been bounced back and forth between 10 different departments and I'm not sure if I'm in the right place, see my husband just cancelled our ***** dial up account, and I am afraid that you also cancelled our DSL account, can you help me?"

Me:"I sure can. ... I show in both of my programs that your account is Current and Active. Also I show that there is a DSL signal going to your house."

EU:"Are you sure? Because so and so in this dept, and so and so in that dept just told me the opposite!"

Me:"Well Ma'm, I can only tell you what I see, and what I see is that your DSL modem is 'talking' to our servers right now, and that is not possible if your account is closed."

EU:"How come it's not working then??"

Me:"I won't know until we do some troubleshooting. Which modem do you have?"

EU:"I don't know! The DSL one?"

Me:"Ma'm in order to properly troubleshoot your connection, I need to know which of the possible 6 modems you are using."

EU:"I'm on a lap top."

Me:...?? "Okaaay, that means it's an external modem, which narrows our possibilities down to 4 modems, what does it say on the top of the modem?"

EU:"We have all these computers Networked let me go downstairs and see."

Me:"I'm sorry, but I can't troubleshoot while the computer is networked, so can we take it down to a stand alone system for a few minutes until we get it working?"



So after trying 10 different departments to find someone who can help her, she finally gets me on the phone, and then hangs up on me before I could fix her. I would feel sorry for her, but it states clearly in our exceptable use policy that we do not support or troubleshoot networks. It's not my fault no one reads it.

Guessing Games?
Posted 04/01/2002 by Heather

I work as a Broadband Tech for a large, hated ISP.

I got this call the other day, and had to excersise great self control skills not to hunt this guy down and smack him!

Here's how the call went.

The guy calls in and tells me that every time picks up his phone, whether it be to make a call, or recieve a call, he gets disconnected from the internet. This is interesting because his network adapter is set up for 24/7 net access and does not use dial up networking so the only way to 'disconnect' it is to unplug the power. But it could be a line issue, so I started troubleshooting.

First I asked him this question. "Right now you are not connected, is that correct Sir?"

EU: "huh?"

Me: "You just told me that everytime you pick up the phone, you get disconnected, and since you are on the phone with me right now, I'm assuming you are not connected, am I correct?"

EU: "Oh yeah, you're correct, I'm not connected"

Me: "Alright then, let's open Internet Explorer".

EU: "But I'm not connected".

Me: *Grits Teeth* "I understand that, we just clarified that. Now can you please open up Internet Explorer"

EU: *in a very demeaning tone* "Ohhhkaaay".

Me: "Thank you, now what did it bring us to?"

EU: "It brought us to"

Me: "Okay, now try to go to"

EU: *typing* "Okay, I see a purple page."

Me: "Well, that means that it is connected to the internet, so can you explain to me exactly what happens when you pick up the phone and get 'disconnected' ?

EU: *gets all huffy* "I open the butterfly icon (MSN Explorer) and it says it can't detect a dial tone"

Me: (what does that have to do with picking up the phone??)

As it turns out his MSNE settings just got switched around and it was trying to find a 56 DUN connection instead of recognizing the LAN connection and signing him in automatically. We changed his connection settings and everything was fine.

The call would have been much easier if he would have told me the ACTUAL problem to begin with. What did lying accomplish anyway?

Ask me if I care.
Posted 04/01/2002 by Victor

I do contract TS for a law firm in Washington, DC. I received an e-mail from a user with the following message:

"One of the legs on my keyboard broke off and i don't know where it went."

It was a good thing I was having margueritas later.

Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I get a lot of emails in engrish but this one was priceless.

The customer received some embedded computers from my company and proceded to flash the BIOS with an old version. This rendered the board in operable and un-bootable.

Rather than stopping there the customer continued to flash all 20 of the $1000 dollar boards with "his" BIOS. then he sends me this email.



)We received the goods very well.

)We tried Bios-update of the goods.

)After Bios-update, we had escaped a CMOS-Battery from the )matherboard and we restarded the system.

)But, our system was displayed a "PB2200" message of full )screen and system is not restart the next.

)The message is continue displayed.


)The same is the case with all goods.


)If you would knew the problem, please you speak a )solution of the problem to us.

)We have need of your help.


)You shall send the Bios-update disk files about this to me.

)We look forward to an early reply by E-mail as soon as )possible.


)Thank you.

First time they've blamed the date on us.....
Posted 04/01/2002 by Graham W. Boyes

Customer e-mail: "My second phone line should NOT BE ON I now have broadband and it was due to be disconnected YESTERDAY APRIL 23rd"

Great, just one thing....TODAY is April 23rd!

You called the wrong bank!
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I do tech support for the SouthTrust Bank website. Sometimes a "customer" will call in thinking we're SunTrust Bank (different bank, similar name). If I get a call from somebody needing help with our website or using Microsoft Money/Quicken, I usually don't need to pull up their personal info. This lady called in and I spent an hour on the phone with her trying to get her to download Netscape and install it so that it's compatible with our website. At the very end she says "You people at SunTrust Bank need to get your act together and make things easier for people" I was speechless for a moment. I said, "Maam, did you say SunTrust? This is SouthTrust Bank" She felt embarrased and couldn't believe she was wasting her time with a different bank. She said, "will I have to do this again for SUNTRUST?" I told her that maybe so, or even that she may not have had to do this at all. She was clicking around our website for about an hour and I just don't understand how she couldn't read our name. It was in huge letters on our site. ???

There's nothing better than an ego that humbles itself....
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I just got off a call, and there's the rundown. Funny as hell...

Me = (M)

Customer = (C)

M: (standard schpeal) May I help you?

C: Yes, I'm a PhD professor. I believe my password has expired..

M: What is your username?

C: (gives his username)

M: Let me look it up here (waits for info to come up). Sir, that account isn't in the system. Is it another kind of account?

C: OK, try (gives me his actual username)

M: Let me see here... (waits for info) OK, here we go. Yes sir, your password has expired. I'll go ahead and extend it for 24 hours for you. (I do so)

C: Yes!! I am a genius! I love technology!! (pauses for a second) When will the extension take effect?

M: It's effective as of right now, sir :)

C: Awesome, and where do I go to change it?

M: Go to (gives him directions on where to go to how to change it)

C: OK, thanks!

He called back a few minutes later saying he stll couldn't dial up. I therefore looked up his account again and everything seemed fine. I told him to try putting everything in lower case with the /i after it (the switch lets our system know what type of account he's using to dial up.) He said he would put that in, and just as he got off the phone with me, he said, "and I thought I was a genuis for just a little bit."

It should be noted, this gentleman, upon further inspection of his account, was a professor of public speaking. I don't think it's a wise idea to proclaim that you are a genius to someone in the field that actually knows what they're doing.

New Thought conrolled mouse
Posted 04/01/2002 by Tom Walton

I'm a net admin for a small company. One of my users reported a problem with their pc. I called Gateway for support and they dialed in with PC AnyWhere. I was sitting in from of the monitor, watching Gateway mouse around the screen and make changes.

The user came up behind me and asked what I was doing. I told her I was trying out the new "THOUGHT CONTROLED MOUSE"

Then with intensity, I moved my head A little in the direction of the mouse with each move.


Be Afraid... Be Very Afraid!
Posted 04/01/2002 by scooter71

It's amazing the number of times I've been called for a computer issue in the company I work for, only to arrive and find everything working fine.

One of the ladies I work with just got a brand new computer with a CD burner installed. She was trying to burn some files to a CD and the program was telling her that it didn't recognize the file types. Strange, considering she had burned these same files onto CD's using the same program on another computer.

Anyway, I walk over to see what I can do. I have her show me EXACTLY what she did and... it worked perfectly!

Her: It does this every time! I have a problem, you come in and it works fine!

Me: Simple, (whispering) the computers are afraid of me!

Other examples: printers that mysteriously start working when I walk in; programs that finally open without problems; monitors that stop shaking.

Behold! The power of TECH!

Silly things by Contract Ops !!
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I currently work as Tech support in a big telecomms co. in the UK and related this story to my collegues who suggested I send it to you.

Some 20 years ago when I was but a lowly Operator at a shipping Co in Southampton we had trouble filling a few vacancies for good Ops, to this end we employed contractors for the short term. One of these contractors was a person who constantly played practical jokes on everyone. One day he and I were starting the evening shift, I had been told that the computer engineer was working on one of the mag tape drives that had a motor problem (this was in the day when 1600 Bpi open reel tapes were used and the drive cabinets were about 6 ft tall). Unknown to us the engineer was inside the back of the tape drive changing one of the motors when the contractor pulled out of his pocket a cap firing starting pistol and pulled the trigger !!. An almighty bang went off and a ghostly white engineer appeared from around the side of the tape cabinets with a large wet stain appearing at the front of his trousers. The contractor never felt the punch from the engineer, the ambulance took him away still knocked out and we never saw him again !!

I don't like the message
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Last month we had a network outage and while I was harassing our isp (who hadn't even realised they were down yet) One of our helpdesk people comes in and tells me one of our less intellegent customers wants to know why we are down. I have her carefully explain to the guy that it's not on our end and we are working with our isp to isolate the problem.

Five minutes later she comes back in and tells me the customer wants us to change the error message that we display when we are down. I told her next time to direct him to microsoft.

It's not always the users
Posted 04/01/2002 by Simon Howard

I've been in the IT industry for over a decade now and a few instances of really dumb behaviour have stuck in my mind.

1) I was working in a small (i.e. 2 man) team supporting about 150 users when one morning a well known whiner calls us to report that there is no power to his PC. I trot down thinking about power surges and blown equipment and when I get there I discover that the cleaners had unplugged his PC at the floor to use the sockets for their equipment. When asked if the he had checked to see if the PC was plugged in the replied that that sort of thing was nothing to do with him and even if he had found it he wasn't touching the plugs incase of an electric shock. His boss was the other side of the partition and when I looked over he had his head in his hands and was trying to either not laugh or cry, I couldn't work out which. And this guy was one of the rising stars of the company that was heading for a management role. Needless to say his name was mud from then on.

2) Further on in my career I'm working in London for one of the big 5 accountancy firms when a contractor on 3-4 times our wage spends all morning trying to sort out a simple printer problem. He eventaully has to ask us how to get a test print out os an HP LJ II with a NIC in it as he has never had to work on a printer that old. This guy was supposed to be a top flight IT guy, was being paid a fortune and because he was only into new kit he had real problems with all of our older kit. Makes me wonder why any contractor gets hired.

3) Just before I left that accountancy firm (and one of the reasons I did) a user was having problems with her PC rebooting at odd times. I told the Helpdesk it was a memory fault, I told the local IT Support team it was a memory fault, nothing was done because no-one believed me. In the end I called in a favor and got the hardware team to bring down some spare RAM and install it and take the old ones away for testing. Guess what, it was faulty. The real clincher was the new User Support girl that had come down to fix the problem had to be told by me that you could get SIMMs and DIMMs and then I had to explain what they were because she had never heard of either of them. She had a degree and was brought in on more than me because of it. Love the management idea that a degree makes you competent, I have yet to find anyone where it does straight out of University.

Posted 04/01/2002 by Joe

If I had not taken these 2 calls myself, I would not have believed that they could be true. I work for a fairly major ISP. I routinely have stupid callers, but these are my favorites after 2 years:

1. Our installation software comes on a CD-ROM. A customer called me one day and told me that he could not use the disk. In the process of asking various questions to attempt to solve the problem, I came to find out that this particular caller did not have a CD-ROM drive. I asked him how he was putting the disk into the computer. His response? He saw that our disk was a bit bigger than the slot in the front of his computer (floppy drive), so he proceeded to break the sides of the disk off and try to put it into the slot.

2. One "fine" day, I got a call from a woman who was in the process of doing her online shopping. Her complaint? "My credit card reader won't work."

Me: "Uh, ma'am, what 'credit card reader'?"

Her: "You know, that little slot in the front of my computer."

Come to find out, she was of course using her floppy drive as a credit card reader. She had not decided to call us until she had tried so many that they were all stuck. I informed her, as politely as possible, that she would need to seek the assistance of a local qualified repairperson to get them out.

Magic Disk
Posted 04/01/2002 by jdgoulden

This story was related to me by one of my students. First a bit of background - I teach a course in which we use several different Microsoft operating systems. Images of these operating systems are stored on the school network and the students all have a "magic disk" that boots the lab PC, connects to the network, and lists the available operating systems; the student selects one and Norton Ghost copies the appropriate image from the network to their PC hard drive. Now for my student's tech tale:

"I was at my boyfriend's house goofing around with his Windows 98 PC. He spotted my lab disk (which was labeled 'Install Windows') and asked me what it did. I told him that that was how we installed operating systems at school. He asked 'Which ones?' Without thinking I told him - Windows 2000 Pro, Windows NT 4, Windows ME, Windows 98 2nd Edition... He got a wild look in his eyes and I realized what he was thinking, so I assured him that the disk would only work on the school PCs, not at his house.

A few hours later, I'm at home and he calls me to say that he's having trouble installing Windows 2000. We had just done W2K installations (from CD) in class and I was pretty excited to be able to help him, so I asked what errors he was getting. What he told me didn't make much sense. He also said that he couldn't install Windows ME or Windows 98 2nd Edition either. I asked him where he had gotten all of these operating systems, and he admitted that he had made a copy of my 'Install Windows' magic disk when I had been over earlier. He actually thought that half a dozen CDs worth of operating system were on that one 3 1/2-inch disk!"

Why do you even use email?
Posted 04/01/2002 by james

I was working a woman who had an outage in her area and she couldn't get her email running. After a while on the phone we finally got her email working. Since I had a junk email account I gave it to her in case she needed me again.( i didnt want her to go through the hassle of calling up again)

The next day i recieved an email from her saying "My email won't go out". Ignoring the obvious, I went through all of my resources to make sure everything was up and running, which of course it was. I then emailed her explaining all the steps she should take to get her outgoing server up and running again.

DAY2: "My email STILL isn't going out"

DAY3:"My email still isn't being recived

by the fifth email the answer hit me like 8 tons of concrete. If her email isnt going am i getting it. This is emailed and explaining this and the annoying emails stopped. These people are out there.......Scary huh?

oh, by the way
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

just got this one:

after an HOUR of troubleshooting the problem error...

him: oh, this has just been happening for the last week or so.

me: did you change anything on your system?

him: it happened after i did a ram upgrade...

me: that shouldnt be an issue...

him: and i did have a short in my telephone lines, but the technitians have already come out to fix that...

me: do you know what caused the short?

him: yeah...i plugged my other phone line into my dsl line...

me: ?

him: i plugged the phone line into the computer...

me: you mean into your network card?

him: yeah...but i dont think that would matter, since the phone isnt as powerful as the dsl.

me: (thinking: oh god, how lovely he is sharing this with me NOW) actually, 'him', you may have fried your network card, which would definately be why you get the server is not responding error...

him: no, i dont think that would cause that...

me: *insert five minutes of convincing i know what im talking about*

him: okay, ill talk to ** about that card, and call you back.

sheesh...ya think?!

No Title
Posted 04/01/2002 by Dorian Beatty

I was the customer service co-ordinator for a large laptop manufacturing company. A middle aged lady came in with her laptop complaining "it comes on for a few seconds and then shutsdown". I switched on the laptop and it booted up fine and remained on. I said "we'll run some tests on it, to check it is ok". After looking at the machine for an hour, I couldn't find anything wrong with the machine. The lady came and picked it up. She came back a few days later quite upset because the machine was not fixed and the original problem had not gone away. I switched it on in front of her and it powered up fine. She refused to take the machine without me testing it further. To cut a long story short, this happened on more time. The third time she came in she was very upset and was raising her voice. I asked her to turn it on. She pushed and held the button in. It would boot up and then four seconds later would shutdown. If only she would of pushed the button in and released it straight away. Her face went pink and she apologized profusely. She had the whole department in stitches when she left.

"I don't trust you"
Posted 04/01/2002 by Steven Surjaputra

I do tech support for a company that uses an old database structure that needs to be reindexed once in a while. Reindexing basically cleans up the database, permanently deleting records marked for deletion and reorganizes the pointers. Our software is also updated periodically to stay in compliance with government regulations.

I get a call from this lady that is using an older version of our software. Seems that when she tries to search for a name, it locks up. Our only solution is to reindex, which will reset the pointers. She's hesitant to do that because she says that her compliance officer told her that if she reindexes, she'll lose her files. I didn't say this to her but I wanted to ask her whether her compliance officer also told her that using an older version means that she's out of compliance?

I explained to her that if she gets a record not found when she clicks on a record, then yes, she will lose the record by reindexing. She reluctantly agrees and we reindex. Of course it works now.

"I'm not listening"
Posted 04/01/2002 by Steven Surjaputra

A client is trying to pull a report that shows activity between certain dates. So I walked through, emphasizing A GREATER THAN or EQUAL TO B and C LESS THAN or EQUAL TO D and I send her on her way.

A few minutes later, she calls back saying that she's not getting any data. I ask her what she put for the restriction. She says A EQUAL TO B AND C EQUAL TO D (notice she doesn't say GREATER THAN or EQUAL TO nor did she say LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO.

So I asked her why she didn't put greater than or equal to and less than or equal to. She says that she thought I was just rambling.

OOOOOOOKAY. Sure. I just say stuff and put in extra words for my health.

Tech Poem
Posted 04/01/2002 by Heather

This poem was written by a friend and fellow tech. I thought I would share it with you all :) ~Heather

It's a technician's job,

To make people smile,

Telling them only enough,

All the while.

Most don't want to know,

all the machine's quirks,

They just want someone that knows,

to help them make it work.

Sometimes it's speed,

sometimes they don't see,

they just need assistance,

with the powers that be.

Sometimes they're fine,

other times they shout,

It's your job to calm them,

And help them out.

Sometimes they're so mad,

you'll catch the slack

It's the machine they're mad at,

It's your job to bring them back.

So don't take it personal,

It's not that way at all,

They just don't understand,

So they make the call.

They were doing something important,

Now suddenly they're blue,

To them a good tech,

Can be a dream come true.

And when you help them,

and make it "just work",

You can almost see that smile,

With a satisfied look.

Your job isn't easy,

Knowledge is your power,

Answering people's questions,

For hour after hour.

But do it well and see,

How those people react,

When you help them fix a problem,

With a little knowledge and a touch of knack.


Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Hello all fellow Support Techs, I work for a residential cable internet service, which anybody with a couple bucks a month can subscribe, we service everyone from the know-it-all “network administrator” who wants to tell us the steps to fix his/her problem to people who don’t know a mouse from a monitor…. here one I remembered to record (on paper)…

Me: Thank you for calling, how may I help you today.

Caller: Hi, I just got my internet service today and I

want to know if I need AOL on the computer…. wait a

minute my brother works with computers, this stuff

is new to me …(she calls her brother to pick up the phone)…. MELLLLLLLLLL.

Me: Ma’am, that’s not necessary all you need to do, is…

* She hands the phone off to her brother & hangs up*

Mel: I just wanted to know if I need AOL to setup your


Me: Absolutely not, we are your internet service

provider, all you’ll need to do is verify that your

Ethernet card is installed, to check that you’d….

by the way which version on windows are you using?

Mel: None right now, that’s why I called, I don’t have

anything on my pc now, just wanted to know if

you’ll run with Microsoft Works or AOL.

Me: Excuse Me…

Mel: I don’t know which one to use

Me: You don’t need either, which version of Windows are

you going to install

Mel: All I have is AOL & MSWorks

Me: Sir AOL & MSWorks are applications that run on top of your OS, such as Win95, Win98, ME ect….

Mel: OHHH I see…. I have to install MSWorks first then


* I then proceed with a 15 min lesson in the

difference between OS’es and Apps* followed by…

Me: Which version of windows are you going to install?

Mel: I don’t have windows, is that something that you

supply in the kit…I’m not paying for another cd I

already paid almost $100 for these cds

Me: Sir, Windows or any other OS is something that we

assume the customer has already loaded on their pc

& is your responsibility, I do have 1 question

though, did you paid money for AOL & Works?

* At this point after being flustered, I find

myself doing my best not to laugh while talking

to Mel *

Mel: I got MSWorks from a friend for 20 bucks but he

charged me 65 for the new AOL 7.0

*I put customer on hold & me and my co-workers

laughed hysterically *

Me: You might want to have your friend who sold you

those programs help you install your OS…call back

after you get it setup.

Mel: Will do, by the way, you did say that I could use

MSWorks right?

Me: Yes, use MSWorks!

Mel: Thanks, Bye!

People are Idiots
Posted 04/01/2002 by FLEX

My whole life I never had an interest in computers, and in fact failed Computer Science in high school, but after returning to University in my late twenties and getting an office job I quickly realized that computers were a necessity. I purchased a top-end system and quickly learned a lot through trial and error. In fact, in my last 3 jobs I have effectively been the in-house IT guy, and have been in charge of all software and hardware purchases, and helping co-workers. I was a newbie myself a short time ago, but there’s a difference between being a newbie, and being an idiot. See if you can figure out what category some of my co-workers fall into:

1) The woman who told me she didn’t use her computer while she was downloading files from the internet “so they would download faster”. (She was either not too bright or just plain lazy – who would sit in their office staring at the screen watching a file download???)

2) The guy who said “how did you know when you had enough pieces?” when I told him I built my own computer.

3) The woman who, after working ALL DAY on file and not saving it once, clicked the NO button when she closed the file and MS Word asked her if she wanted to save the changes, and then blamed her computer and Microsoft for not having the work done.

4) The woman who tried to operate her mouse by holding it 8 inches above her desk and waving it around like a magic wand.

5) The guy who for 18 months was ‘rebooting’ his computer by turning the monitor on and off.

6) My Dad (sorry) who has had every iteration of DOS & Windows and Intel computers from a 286 up to a P3 and I send him a file over ICQ and tell him to put it in his Windows/Media directory and he asks me “How do I do that?”

7) The guy who asked me just last Friday why he couldn’t send e-mail. I later discovered that he did not know the persons e-mail address, he just thought it would come up in the directory like our internal Exchange list. When it didn’t he just typed in the guy’s name (not an e-mail address) and thought that would work.

8) All the dummies that, when they get an error message they don’t read it or write it down, but come to me saying “I got it an error message. I forget what it said.” (Leaving me thinking: Thank you that’s so helpful). Or don’t know what “Non-system disk. Remove or Replace disk and any key to continue.” means.

9) The sales guys who ask you 16 times for their e-mail passwords, and never think to write them down.

10) The people who never seem to figure out there different passwords serve different purposes (i.e. e-mail passwords, server passwords, program authorization passwords, etc.) so I had to redo EVERY password in the company so that each employee’s 3 required passwords are all the same.

11) The woman who somehow selected an entire workbook in MS Excel and printed it out. She sat there and let it print 1400 pages of blank Excel grids (of course this is the one time when the printer is full of paper) without saying a word to anyone and without trying to stop it.

12) The woman who goes into the shared folder on the server and starts ‘cleaning it up’ by deleting anything SHE doesn’t deem to be important. (I still can’t get over that one).

13) And this classic: The guy who leaves me a voice-mail FREAKING OUT because his computer is “all f----- up and there’s an error message and I keep getting other people’s e-mail”. When I go to investigate I find that a) The ‘error message’ is just Windows98 informing him that the clock was adjusted because of daylight savings time and b) That the ‘other people’s e-mail’ was just the MS Outlook splash screen showing that the product was registered to Joe Bloe, the original user of the computer (it was a hand-me-down).

The above are all 100% true, and witnessed by myself, not told to me by others, and there is no embellishment, for the sad fact is, no embellishment is needed. These people are idiots.

Why can't I connect during a lightning storm?
Posted 04/01/2002 by LoneWulf

I work for a growing southeastern ISP that's trying to get large enough to compete with AOL.

Anyway, I just had a call today from a cust today that was having probs connecting. When I first started talking to this dude, I heard a whole bunch of clicking on the line like someone was tapping on the hang up button. After hearing this clicking for about half a min while looking the cust's account up, I asked them what the clicking was. They're like "Oh, that's just lightning"


Oh yeah, we got a storm going on here.

Well, I tell them to get off the phone and unplug all the cables that connect the computer to the outside world (ie. power plugs, phone lines, etc). I also told them that their modem was probably damaged, but they might get lucky.

Gee, maybe if I'd kept them on the line longer, we would have had another darwin award winner......

The LoneWulf

Too Stupid to use email
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I answer emails and do level II tech support for a major internet service provider providing broadband services to customers that are paying premium prices for broadband internet services. This is an actual email we received tonight and we unfortunately get too many like this. There is no prior email history to research so we don't have much go go on. How would you answer this email for tech support?

Here is the actual text, unedited, exactly as we received it, all spelling errors, horrible grammer and total lack of any quality information is intact:


what the hell is wrong and why wont it send????!!!!????

im gett really irritattitied can u please tell me why!!!

My fantay response:

Dear Customer. We have determined that, based on your 20-word, caveman quality query of your email services with us, you are too stupid to have an account. Please stop using email and go bag to pen and paper.

Not exactly a tech tale, but..
Posted 04/01/2002 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Last year I went to go visit a friend for Christmas at her house. Her husband and I were casually chatting about computers and whatnot when he asked what kind of speed I get with my cable modem. I told him, and he nodded and said, "Well, that's not too bad, but it could be faster. You know how I get really good Internet speed? I defrag about five or six times in a row and I can download like that *snap*"


Tales From Technical Support Index

Tales from the Techs
April 2002
  1. Aaaaaarrrrrrrrgggghh!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Pick an OS already!

  3. No Technical Knowledge

  4. Wow

  5. two things

  6. Animal lovers

  7. They are DIGITAL.

  8. Fax, not Fiction

  9. Email passwurdz

  10. Not exactly on the same page...

  11. Bozo the boss

  12. It Won't.

  13. Go Diectly To Jail...

  14. Case of Moronitis

  15. Double your pleasure, double your fun, double your computer repair bill...

  16. No Title

  17. The Manager

  18. Tales from the darkside

  19. You did what to the network cable?

  20. Napster = Free Trade Agreement?

  21. Get the Picture?

  22. Annoyin and Agrivating Customer...

  23. Disturbing trend

  24. Two serious Calls (really had to think about these)

  25. Press the ANYKEY

  26. New! Improved!

  27. OK, let's start again...

  28. Faulty Manager

  29. The Microsoft Car

  30. No Title

  31. It never ends easy....

  32. The Hazards of Being a Disk Drive

  33. Frag the Whole Thing!

  34. oopsie poopsie

  35. fire!

  36. drinking game

  37. No Title

  38. The Nutty Programmer...

  39. He's taking advertising TOO seriously...

  40. More expensive than AOHell....

  41. Just the fax, sir

  42. Back up EVERYTHING?

  43. Over Quota = Over Quota?

  44. Blech Support

  45. Time for another party!

  46. Power

  47. Smelly Keyboard

  48. At the pleasure of Her Majesty, The Queen

  49. My computer is growling


  51. Email needs a dial tone too!

  52. The people that educate our youth these days.

  53. No dial tone

  54. thank you for banking with us

  55. Modem woes

  56. Obviously the world is backward

  57. Installation Error


  59. Wrong Plug

  60. Not enough coffee...

  61. Computer bashing is against the law.

  62. Sys Admin

  63. No Title

  64. Let me in!

  65. 98%of usersdon't know how to use internet

  66. good luck with that

  67. The Page Cannot Be Displayed

  68. What do you mean you're not psychic?

  69. Guessing Games?

  70. Ask me if I care.

  71. Engrish!

  72. First time they've blamed the date on us.....

  73. You called the wrong bank!

  74. There's nothing better than an ego that humbles itself....

  75. New Thought conrolled mouse

  76. Be Afraid... Be Very Afraid!

  77. Silly things by Contract Ops !!

  78. I don't like the message

  79. It's not always the users

  80. Joe

  81. Magic Disk

  82. Why do you even use email?

  83. oh, by the way

  84. No Title

  85. "I don't trust you"

  86. "I'm not listening"

  87. Tech Poem

  88. AOL MS-WORKS 4ME!!!

  89. People are Idiots

  90. Why can't I connect during a lightning storm?

  91. Too Stupid to use email

  92. Not exactly a tech tale, but..

Past Tales from the Techs:
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