is no longer active...
That's why I took it as My personal responsibility to put it on My Web Page...
Here Are
The Help Desk Stories:

Name: The Hitman
Date: 31 Jul 1999

ME: Hello, can I help you?
Caller: Yes, the server must be restarted, how do I do this?
Me: Type "Down" then "Exit"
Caller: OK, D-O-W-N
Me: Now Press "Enter"
Caller: I don't have that
Me: Have what?
Caller: A precenter.
Caller: I said I DON'T HAVE THAT!
Me: No!!! Press the "ENTER" key
Caller: Oh, I have that.

Name: FooMan
Date: 31 Jul 1999

I was working customer service at a computer store and a customer came in one day complaining that his brand new laptop was broken. He was very angry that a laptop that he bought two days earlier was already broken and he was demanding that he get a new one and be refunded a certain percentage of the price of the computer for his troubles. Before going any further I asked if I could see the laptop to see if it was a simple problem. He put the box on the counter (which looked like it had been trampled)I opened up the box and the laptop was in pieces! The screen had been hit with something and had a big hole in the center and had been ripped completely off. The keyboard was smashed in and it looked it had been thrown against the wall. I asked what happened to the laptop and his response was this
HIM: "I got frustrated with it"
ME: "What was the problem!?"
HIM: (the mouse was one of those nubs instead
of the touchpad) "I couldn't control the mouse"
ME: "I can't return this"
ME: "Because you destroyed it."
HIM: "It was broken before I hit it with the gold club. So sense it was broken you should return it."Needless to say we didn't return or fix it.

Name: Cataclysm
Date: 31 Jul 1999

I am a senior tech for one of the Tech support teams. This means I get to take over calls of irate customers (yippy) anyway I had one of my techs come to me laughing. He said he had a customer on the phone named something like Amil Kafar. Now just by the name of the Customer I knew I was in for a treat. My tech told me a bit about the problem, apparently every time the customer turned on the system he got shocked. That’s why my tech was laughing so hard. I've worked in tech support for 3 years and I’ve worked with computers for 10 years and never had I ever heard of a computer shocking a customer when he plugs it in. I just figured that the case was off and he was messing with the pci/isa cards while the computer was turned on. Anyway I got on the phone with the customer and right away I got the sob story. First off he stated "As soon as I plug my computer into the wall I get shocked."
"My 3 year old daughter was in the room when I plugged it in and she got shocked and thrown 10 feet across the room."
Right then I almost started to laugh out loud. As mean as it sounds it was just too crazy. So I started through the normal troubleshooting and found out it happened in all of the wall sockets in the home (So this means he had been shocked at least 4-5 times). Later in the call I found out that he was also in medical school and his thesis was due a year ago. And this problem had been persisting for about 2 years. IT WAS EVEN DOCUMENTED IN OUR DATABASE! He had already been promised a new system that he never received, and he was screwed because the extra time he had received for his thesis had run out. I just sorta had to laugh. So there were 3 things learned from this call

1 - Gateway isn't very good with sending out replacement systems.
2 - Waiting 2 years to get your computer fixed is a bad thing.
3 - Be careful when plugging your computer into the wall. :)

Name: Tony
Date: 30 Jul 1999

Computer Virus

I hope this brightens some techie's day.

Last year, I took a call from an elderly woman who just purchased a computer. A virus scan message appeared on her screen. Before she called me however, she went to the drugstore in her neighborhood and bought a bottle of cough syrup and actually said to me that, since the computer had a virus, she figured that she should give it cold medicine! Every time I think of this, it makes me laugh! I'm glad for her sake she took the time to call me first! ":

Name: Patrick Colton
Date: 30 Jul 1999

7/30/99 8:42:00 AM coltonpa

P: Customer called in upset because the Color is still not printing correctly. He said he wanted a different driver to install as he is a developer and the W95 driver he used to have worked much better. Now the color is off and he insists it is do to the new NT driver for that printer as he knows this stuff and the print is purple because of the new driver!
S: I examined the printer and found that the color problem was do to the Magenta and Yellow cartridges being Empty! Customer said he was not responsible for the printer as he shares it and they took his away when he got deployed. He still insisted that this was a driver problem and stated he would go to the Lexmark site to get better drivers. I informed him that was not Standard Technology to load other drivers, and that it may affect other users printing to that printer, as well as loading drivers was locked down on NT. He stated he is a developer with admin rights and would get the drivers off the internet. I suggested to send this ticket to Standard Technology first for approval, but he refused and said he would handle it.

"His Admin called back later because he didn't believe me!!!!"
History : Status = Closed
History : Priority = Severity 3.

Patrick Colton
NT Helpdesk Analyst

Name: Joe
Date: 29 Jul 1999

I'm an IS tech for a Semiconductor business. Sometimes in Off-hours I do a little desktop support. An Engineer calls saying her new Dell System is showing a "no signal error" As she is a chip designer, I assume she must have forgotten more than I'll ever know about computers. So I assume the worst. I grab my OHMS meter, and my tool kit and head on over. She points to her workstation and goes off to talk to someone. I checked all the connections and found them to be in order than I noticed the power light was off. After turning it on, I simply told the engineer that her workstation was all set. and went back to my room. A job well done.

Name: Pepe
Date: 29 Jul 1999

I work for a company that does onsite warranty service for a major computer manufacturer. The vendor does the initial troubleshooting, then calls us for a site visit if they can't fix it over the phone.
I got paged for a service call for a customer. I called the customer and asked what the problem was.
Customer: "My computer is shaking".
Me: "You mean actually shaking"?
Customer: "Yep. The whole thing is shaking and rattling".
I thought for a second and asked him, "Is the computer by chance sitting on some books or papers or something"?
Customer: "Oh. Yeah one corner is on some papers".
He removed the papers from under the system, and it stopped shaking. Can you believe this call passed through the manufacturer's helpdesk before it got to me?

Name: Chris Wight
Date: 29 Jul 1999

I work in Kingston, Ontario, 300 kilometers from Toronto. There was recently a large fire at one of the Bell Canada switching station in Toronto that took out a very large number of corporate phone and data connections.
A co-worker of mine got a call from a customer regarding a burning smell coming from the back of her computer. She asked "Could this smell be coming from the fire in Toronto?"

Name: Anonymous
Date: 29 Jul 1999

My personal favorite:

One day we started having intermittent problems accessing the 'Net from our LAN. Everything was fine in the morning then zap around 10am no internet. Hmmm... Big meeting full of VPs and Board members starts, internet comes back! Turns out one of our visiting VPs connected his laptop to the LAN and did some of his own network configuration. Not knowing what IP address to use, he just chose a convenient one.(oh, any ol' address will do) One he'd seen in one of his Internet settings dialogs... The PROXY SERVER!! <<sigh>>

Name: Matt H
Date: 29 Jul 1999

I am the Sys Admin for a small ISP in the Seattle area. One day a got a call from an irate customer screaming at me on the phone that she relied upon her email for crucial business contacts. (Don't they all!)
After listening to her rant for about 5min I learned that she thought that that the Internet was going to be "shutdown" for the entire day. When I asked her where she had heard this she responded that the radio had told her that the internet was to be shut down for spring cleaning for the day.
At this point I made a wild stab at the hold button on the telephone in an effort to stifle my laughter.
Did I mention that it happened to be April 1st that day!
It's safe to say that she was rather embarrassed when I assured her that the internet was to remain "online" for the remainder of the day and that she had been a victim of a practical joke.

Name: The Convergyr
Date: 28 Jul 1999

It was like 3 am. I was doing fee based tech support for a major computer manufacturer. Let me say it was "Hell". The way it went was someone had to buy a PIN, and then they'd get tech support for a year on software that came with their machine. This guy, must've been 70 years old, calls up. He doesn't know why he's calling. I ask him if he has a computer. He says no. Then he just starts talking about himself. It was clear he was not all there. He was telling me that he was standing on the door of 70. He told me that he had been in the Navy for years and kept asking me my name and ordering me to write down his address and typing it in- "I need someone to talk to. I don't have anyone. I nee you to type something for me. Jon? are your fingers on the keyboard? put your fingers on the keyboard. My number is xxx-xxxx, are you typing this? I'm an officer in the US Navy. I was an officer for 30 years. I'm getting old. I can't function anymore. I... hold on." Then I swear to God, he starts giving HIMSELF orders. I couldn't make out what he was saying, but it was like "straighten up sailor! Hands by your side! Eyes front!". Then he comes back and says, "Ok, that's better." He kept rambling on and asked me my name one more time and told me to call him. I said I'd call him and he hung up. This may sound hokey and farfetched, but I swear this really happened. It was clear he had a serious mental condition. After that, I went down for a real long smokebreak.

Name: Theresa
Date: 28 Jul 1999

I work for a large company supporting Windows NT systems. Most of our users were upgraded directly from Win3.11/WFW to WinNT40 and are not exactly "in tune" with what Windows 95/98/NT acts like.
Take your standard "Blue Screen of Death" - aka BSOD... I had a user call in that in the middle of an application she all of a sudden had a blue screen with all sorts of funny writing on it and the following message, "...beginning physical memory dump....memory dump complete..."
I asked her to look behind her docking station to look for memory chips to see if her laptop had spit out any extra....and she came back with, "Well, I am at home RASsing in - What should I look for?"
Trying to NOT lose it laughing so hard at the user, I explained that it was a joke and if she reboot her PC, everything should be back to normal.
All in all, she was cool about it....after I explain what the BSOD was to her, she laughed too--- and decided to call it a night-- Her work could wait for the next day.

Name: maelstrom
Date: 28 Jul 1999

I work for a rather large computer tech support center and i actually had a call once from a A+ certified technician(by his own admission). now the agency that he is employed by shall remain nameless. but the fact that he was A+ cetified left me questioning the school where he learned his supposed computer skill from.let me get to the point he was repairing a system that we had sent him to repair through his agency,he was onsite and in my opinion knew less about the system than the user, anyway i began helping him and he was asking me elementary questions about the computer,this got me thinking what the devil was i doing??? i actually got so frustrated by the tech tht i had him put the customer on the phone and walked the customer through an installtion of a motherboard on the phone...after the technician had left the customer admitted to me that he was tentative to let the tech do his job without watching so that if he had to he could make repairs later...i have not heard again from that particular cust and check on him every so often to make sure he isn't having any more problems..he hasnt had to call since the time the tech was there to repair the system. go figure.

Name: Rob SilverMind
Date: 28 Jul 1999

I work for a local ISP as a customer support person. We recently sent out a notice to all our clients. The notice informed them of our new pricing structure. One section of the notice mentioned our web site hosting packages. In this section was a generic Well We've received a few responses from customers like the on I'm including.

Dear HelpDesk, Tried to access this site and the other one that you sent, but could not get access.

Please advise.

Name: American Butler
Date: 28 Jul 1999

One day while doing tech support, I got a call from a user that needed help installing Win98 on his home PC. So I get him to boot his PC from a floppy and then:
Me: Type dir then enter
User: it says bad command or filename
Me: huh? retype it. dir then enter.
User: it says bad command or filename
Me: Type this exactly, D-I-R then hit the enter key.
User: OH! I was typing in direnter.
Me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Name: Tara
Date: 28 Jul 1999

This story actually comes from my sister. She doesn't know anything about computers but she's familiar with the term "Windows". Anyway, she works in a home decorating store and came over one night and asked me what is meant by "Windows Wallpaper"? Apparently a customer had been in asking for some.

Name: Tara
Date: 28 Jul 1999

I'm not actually an IT person but I'm the only one on our office who's not computer ignorant. I'm actually the web designer so I get asked to troubleshoot everything when there's a long wait for IT support. Anyway, I get a call from one of the secretaries one day:
Her: Tara, I need your help. I think I broke one of my bosses disks and there's no back-up! I can't get at the files, I'm dead! If I give it to IT can they get the information off of it?
Me: You broke it? Um, I'll be right there.
So I get to her desk. The first thing I ask is how old is the disk and what error message is she getting.
She's says it's an old disk but she's not getting any error message. I ask her what happens when you try to see your files using My Computer. She answers, "Well, we could try it on your computer" *sigh* I say here, let me sit down.
So I sit down and click on Scandisk and try to scan drive A. I'm informed there's no disk in the drive. Then I notice that her disk is in most of the way, but it hasn't "clicked" into place. So I push on it a bit but it's not going in any further. I remove the disk and look at it.
The "broken" part was the metal sliding door that protect the actual disk...she had scotch taped it in place to keep it from moving.

Name: Nicolas
Date: 28 Jul 1999

OK, here's an old story that happened to me when I was doing support for an ISP. IT happened in French, but should be funny in English as well:-)

A guy called me because his "home page" & "search page" in his browser had been reset to the default ones, and he preferred the one in blue called "Altavista". No probs, I thought, it will take 2 minutes.

We went in the preferences, and here's our conversation:

-Me:OK, now you type"(NOte: was, at that time, ANOTHER web page of another company).
-HIM:".... DOT DIGITAL?????"
-Me:"...and DOT COM at the end, yes".
-Me:"Click OK, now click the search button....what do you see?"
-HIM (hesitating):"404 NOT FOUND"
-Me: Ah, let's do it again.
We did again, and again, and again. He would hit the OK button to quickly, or forget something, or couldn't find the EDIT menu anymore.....15 minutes!!!! I was getting crazy, and couldn't understand how he misspelled the damn "". HE would always forget the "DIGITAL".
Me:"BUT WHYYYY don't you right down that ".digital?" before ".com", it's not THAT complicated, is it?
HIM:" I'm sorry, but I don't know where it is".
Me: "But on your keyboard! .-D-I-G-I-T-A-L".
HIM: "I don't know what a "DOT DIGITAL" is? I know the normal dot, or the dot comma, but not the dot digital.
Me: -nervous breakdown-.
Me (recovering): nooooooo, you need to TYPE digital. -Deee-aIe-Gee-aIe-Teee-Aeeh-eLh.

The guy thought a "DOT digital" was a special character, and felt ashamed not to know where it was on his keyboard, so he would just skip it and not tell me anything. Each time we went back in the preferences, the search page was set on "". :-))))

Name: Vincent
Date: 27 Jul 1999

I use to work for a software company who sold a lot of education software. This may explain why the calls I had where so funny.

One day a woman called me saying she wasn't able to use our product on her computer. I asked her if she had tried to install the software on her computer by just putting the Cd in her drive (all our products had autorun). She told me she just couldn't do it because the Cd wasn't working and that she couldn't get the Cd out of the Cd case!!!

I had to explain to her how to open a cd case, telling her it was just like a music Cd. But she couldn't do it nad I finally had to tell her to go see her retailer :)

Name: Luyten
Date: 27 Jul 1999

I work as a computer operations consultant in a large company in Norway.

An external division in our company was about to upgrade to Lotus Notes ver. 5.0 against our recommendations.

The IT Responsible on the site wanted to install a separate version of Lotus Notes that they bought on a CD. So he called our helpdesk and told us that he had installed Lotus Notes himself, on all the PC's. And the funny thing that happened, was that all the users was able to access other databases, but all the mail ended up being local, and no one was able to send or receive any mail at all.

When we got to the place, we realized that he had installed Lotus Notes Server on all the desktop PC's... We still laugh.

Name: Greg
Date: 26 Jul 1999

I do support by e-mail and received the following message from a user working with ACCPAC for windows. We provide very detailed instructions as well as a tutorial. I guess that was too much help. The message:

"It tells me to add a detail line press insert. I cannot find insert anywhere. Please help."

Name: Rae
Date: 25 Jul 1999

The Reason Why I Quit Working Help Desk:
As soon as I answer the phone:
Man (very irate): My @#*%& password doesn't work, reset the &%$^# thing.
Me: Sir is your Caps Lock on? The passwords are case sensitive.
Man: I don't know. What the *&## is it and where do I find it?
That was the straw that broke the camels back. I packed up and left.

Name: MsVixen
Date: 25 Jul 1999

I work for a pretty large ISP, and one day I had an older man call me. He said that he had opened up is IE 4.0 and it wouldn’t let him do anything.(ex: surf, look at the homepage) The first question to pop in my mind was "Are you connected sir?" Here is how the conversation went:

Me>Are you connected sir?
Customer>yes I am!
Me>Did you use the launch <ISP> icon to connect?
Customer> No, I didn’t.
Me>What did you use to connect? Do you have a separate dialer?
Customer>No, I have a button on my keyboard. (looking down at my own keyboard, I had NO IDEA what he was talking about)
Me>Sure, in the lower right corner, do you see two miniature computer screens connected and blinking at you?
Customer>no, I don’t have any bar or pictures on the bottom of my screen.
Me> OK sir, I want you to go into Dial-Up Networking and double-click on your <ISP> Icon.
Customer>(sounding confused)OK, it is prompting me for my username and password....
Me>Sir, you are not connected, if you had been it would have told you the modem was in use....

Name: HOOPTY2112
Date: 24 Jul 1999

While checking properties in Outlook Express, one customer accidentally locked up the whole program. I was going to have her do a ctrl-alt-delete, end task, and go back in, but the user could not find the control, alt, and delete keys at the same time. I told her to turn the notebook computer off at the power switch. Her next question? "Where is the power switch?" (sigh)

Name: HOOPTY2112
Date: 24 Jul 1999

Me: "Thank you for calling ISP Technical Support, may I have your email address please?
user: I am not getting my e-mail
Me: Are you an ISP member?
user: ahh
Me: Do you have an account with us?
user: No
Me: Do you have an account with AOL, Netcom, AT&T, or anybody else?
user: No. Do I need to have an account to get my e-mail?
Me: (bangs head repeatedly on desk)

Name: Marcel
Date: 23 Jul 1999

I set up a helpdesk at the company I work for (postorder multimedia) and one day we were called by a woman who told us that the CD-ROM she bought from us wasn't working. She then told us that she never had any difficulties with her Commodore 64 before, so it couldn't be her fault. Off course the title she bought was a PC windows 95 Pentium game.

Name: Brian Callahan
Date: 22 Jul 1999

I worked in a helpdesk at a major brewery with many very technical people. Also included were some people who were technically challenged. They would often call LAN/WAN support for the same problems over and over and over again. One help desk support person was Ann, and yes she was blond.

Ann paged the WAN support person on call regarding a problem he had helped her solve the previous day. When he showed up at her desk he explained that the situation was the exact same problem as yesterday and she should follow the same procedures he had written up the previous day. Ann did that exactly and the problem was solved.

Later that day Ann paged the WAN person again with the exact same problem. He came to her desk and she explained the problem. He walked away from her desk without saying a word. Ann was confused. He walked to the breakroom and purchased a drink out of the vending machine and walked back. It was a can of grapefruit juice. He pointed to the label and said "CONCENTRATE!"

A vendor called the helpdesk once at 12:15 and asked for Ann. I explained she was out to lunch. He said that he understood that but needed to talk to her anyway...

Name: Lisa
Date: 21 Jul 1999

While I was troubleshooting a users problem connecting to our network remotely the user told me her password was 3825968 and I tried it and it didn't work. She insisted it was correct. AFTER 30 minutes of troubleshooting I told her the only thing I could do is reset her password to password. She said she didn't understand, her password had always worked and had never been changed and those numbers were the numbers that corresponded to the letters in her password. I said "WHAT? There are no numbers that correspond with letters on a keyboard... are you talking about a telephone keypad??" And she said "yes" and I said "Well do you LOG IN with a telephone keypad?".. and she said "NO, I thought it was a universal thing"... oh boy!!! Some days are better than others :) Oh by the way... her real password was (F*** You) That was her attempt to tell me her password without having to tell me her password.. oh where do they come from I ask? hehehehe

Name: Leah
Date: 21 Jul 1999

I was working for a major ISP when one day I received a call from

a man that could not connect. I asked him to read me every letter, space and character in the User ID blank. He said something to the effect of 33333-333. So I asked the man to remove the 'dash' and replace it with a 'comma'.

He replied, "What's a comma?"

I paused, took a very deep breath (which I did not let him hear!), looked down at my keyboard and replied, "It is the key between the M and the 'period'." Meanwhile I was thinking 'Oh, no, I hope he knows what a period is!'

He replied, "Oh", reconnected and got in his first try.

Name: AH
Date: 21 Jul 1999

I work for a County govt. agency. A Building Inspector, not much into typing, had recently gotten a computer and called one day."My keyboard is broken. It won't type the right letters!" "What do you mean?" "Well, when I want to type K, it types L. It just types different letters." So off I went to have a look. Being a touch typist, I could immediately tell that the letters on his keyboard had been randomly rearranged. I can fix that" I told him, and both of us went back to my office to get my toolkit. I was intending to pop off the keys with a screwdriver and put them back on in the right order. When we got back to his area, lo and behold, the letters had been put back in the right places! (Probably another keyboard had been substituted!) Instead of giving away the secret, I turned the keyboard over and pretended to make an adjustment with the screwdriver I was holding."There, that ought to do it", I said. As I walked away, he typed some letters, then picked up the keyboard and stared at the bottom, trying to figure out what I had adjusted.

name: Joe Loman
Date: 20 Jul 1999

Once, while working as a tech at the university, a tenured professor in computer science calls me on the phone and says: "I found some computer equipment connected to my Macintosh. could you tell me if it is a modem or a disk drive?"

name: Monty
Date: 19 Jul 1999

I work for an IPC (info. processing company). This lady from New York called me upset that her two agents were unable to dial in to the controller at the agency.

The lady advd that the agents are a member of a company who's contract she justwon and they must be able to access the controller through a dial up modem. I trouble shot the system left and right, checking settings, configurations, cables, connections. Even swapped cables, ect. Finally, the lady got upset when I told her it she needs to refer to her local telco company. I was able to dial in to her system and the modems handshake, but not connect. Well, when telco went to the agency, he said that the lines are good. Now, the lady called back and was yelling at the telco tech and the computer tech on the phone. The computer tech asked the phone tech if he seen anything unusual with the set-up. sure enough he did. seems the lady, trying to be cheap went out and bought a phone jack splitter. She connected it to the phone jack and connected 1 modem to outlet, thus now she has two modems on one line. So that when you called, both modems area trying to answer. Told the that what she did will not work, she asked are you sure. Advised her yes.She hung up.

name: Darla Poiron
Date: 19 Jul 1999

Back in '91 I was working software support for an Agricultural software company. One day I got a call. The user said he had a "mouse" problem. I could tell by the was he said it there had to be more to this story than what he was letting on. In true techie fashion, trying to narrow down the field of possibilities, I asked smartly if it was a roller ball, laser or 4 legged type of mouse. The caller responded that it was a 4 legged type of mouse problem. Since most of my callers were farmers or ranchers I wasn't surprised that it was a real mouse. What did surprise me was the problem. As I tried to narrow the problem down and the user responded "you know those little slot covers that you have to put over the slots holes in the back of the PC if you don't have a board in them?" I said I was familiar with them and them my imagination began to roll. I responded with something like you didn't get mice inside your PC did you? He groaned and said "do you know what afterbirth does to a mother board?" The mouse had found a nice warm place to have her babies but in the process had totally wiped out his PC costing him almost the price of a new PC and over a month lost in time. He could laugh by the time he called me to help with his software but I don't imagine he was laughing when he found the mouse nest in his pc.

Name: Raven
Date: 19 Jul 1999

I was talking to a customer that refereed to the letter "v" as a "backslash-forwardslash" and the letter "w" as a "backslash-fowardslash-backslash-forwardslash". He and I were on a very bad connection. I was having him list the added programs and had to ask him to spell some of them out. I didn't know what to say when he spelt windows "backslash-forwardslash-backslash-forwardslash-i-n
-d-o-backslash-forwardslash-backslash-forwardslash-s". I told him that if he'd like he can say "v" and "w". His response to me was, "I like my way better."

Name: Raven
Date: 19 Jul 1999

I was talking to a customer and there was this loud banging sound in the background. I asked him if he was okay and what was that noise was, and he said he was fine, and that he didn't hear a banging sound. I could still hear the sound in the background, and it kept getting louder and louder to the point that I couldn't hear myself think. The customer then tells me that he has a banging scanner.

Name: Raven
Date: 19 Jul 1999

I was talking to a young couple and put them on hold. When I took them off of hold, they were having sex, and got so embarrassed that they hung up, and never called in again.

Name: LordEden (CBMicro)
Date: 19 Jul 1999

I work for a small computer company and I work in the Tech Support dept. of the business. I got a call one day from a confused young man.
Me: "CBMicro, how may I help you?"
Young man: "Are you a computer repair store?"
Me: "Yes we are, what can I help you with?"
Young Man: "I dropped my Gameboy in water and was it was underwater for a several hours. Can you help me fix it?"
Me: "Sir, we are a COMPUTER repair store."
Young Man: "Are there any other computer stores around here that could help me?"
Me: "I don't think so, call Nintendo."
Young Man: "Oh, thank you."
We have enough youth, where is the fountain of intelligence?

name: Tami Fournier
Date: 19 Jul 1999

Having moved to Alaska far from my family in Missouri my mother decided to get a computer to be able to chat with me. Having never owned one before there were many things I had to help her with. I often found it frustrating to try and help her online because I couldn't see or hear what she was doing. One day while trying to show her how to change her desktop picture I became totally frustrated and told her to call me and we would try it on the phone. I told her to right click on her desktop and then choose "customize my desktop" from the options. She kept saying nothing was happening. Later I found out she was actually right clicking on the top of her desk because she wasn't aware what a "desktop" was I laughed all day over that one. Didn't think it was possible to be taken so literally.

Name: Robin
Date: 18 Jul 1999

My supervisor called me over one day, and asked me (the department Network Assistant---I'm not part of IT)to fix her printer problem. She said that everytime she prints something, it goes to the wrong printer. I checked her settings and lo & behold, she had a different printer set as default. I asked how (after changing it back last week) this happened. She said she didn't know. I then asked her what process she uses to print. She said that when she needs something on letter head, she clicks on file, then clicks on print, then changes the printer to the right one, and clicks default. Then, when she needs to print on plain paper, the jobs still come out on letterhead. I asked her why she clicked the default button, and she said that she didn't think it would work if she didn't click it.

name: Michele
Date: 18 Jul 1999

During the week of the Melissa Virus scare, I had to install a browser on a co-workers system. When I sat down at the machine, I noticed that the virus scan icon in the system tray indicated it was not running. I asked the employee why the virus scan was turned off. He asked me what I meant. I pointed to the icon which had a red circle with a diagonal slash through it, and explained that it indicates the virus scan is not running. He said Oh, that? It's like that all the time. I thought my boss put it on my computer because he thinks I smoke too much! <sigh>

Name: Nnickee
Date: 17 Jul 1999

I do online software support. I've had the following "conversation" 10 or 12 times in the last year, and it never fails to send my co-workers into hysterics.

Me: "Is the program running now?"
User: "Uhhhh"
Me: "Is there a green chat balloon in your tray?"
User: "Uhhhh" (my users tend to have somewhat limited vocabularies)
Me: "Ok, never mind, we'll start it. Do Start -> Programs -> ChatSpace -> ChatSpace."
User: "What??"
Me: "Do Start -> Programs -> ChatSpace -> ChatSpace."
User: "What are you talking about???"
Me: "Do you know where your START button is?"
User: "What.. where?"
Me: "Lower left hand corner of your screen. It's a button. It has the word START on it."
User: "Wait, slow down, you're going too fast!"
Me: "See your START button now? Ok, put your hand on your mouse and move your mouse around until you see a little arrow right on top of your START button. Press your LEFT mouse button one time, so that a box appears above your START button. Use your hand to move your mouse UP that box until the word PROGRAMS is highlighted. At this point, a bigger box will appear to the RIGHT of the box that popped up above the START button. Move your mouse directly to the right, and then UP or DOWN that new window until the word CHATSPACE is highlighted. Now you have yet ANOTHER box to the right of CHATSPACE. Move your mouse to the right into that new box and highlight the word CHATSPACE... yes, it's a NEW 'CHATSPACE'. Now with that second CHATSPACE highlighted, click your LEFT mouse button one time."
User: "Why is this so hard?"

name: Peter Charles
Date: 17 Jul 1999

Here's a story from the opposite side of the help desk. I've been in Technical Support for 15 years and I do my share of telephone support. When a piece of hardware breaks that's under warranty, I have to call the manufacturer's Help Desk to get a tech on site to replace it. The vast majority of Help Desk staffers recognize in me, a fellow IT worker and the conversation immediately gets to the point. However there's always one or two that are actually dumber than some of the callers described in the other stories you've read here.

We were still in the old DOS/Windows 3.1 world and I had a hard drive on a relatively new system that had a damaged boot sector. We could run the system if we booted from a floppy but otherwise it would not boot up. After saving the user's data, I had run through all of the usual methods to resurrect it but to no avail and being under warranty I did not want to resort to more radical procedures(translation mode, low level format). I called their Help Desk, and after the usual 10 minute wait, and the interminable "Press one, press three." etc. I got a live body. I started to explain the problem with the bad boot sector and the steps I had taken but I was rudely cut off and the tech began talking to me condescendingly in computer baby talk, walking me through what I had just done. I tried to interject a number of times but I was told repeatedly and rudely "Sir, please do as I say." I decided it was simpler to humor him. He was obviously working from a script that he couldn't not deviate from. Finally after 15 minutes of SYSing, FORMATing and FDISKing he told me. Sir, the boot sector on this disk is bad and we'll send a technician out tomorrow to replace it."

Brilliant diagnosis, Sherlock.

name: Jennifer Smyth
Date: 17 Jul 1999

I work for a contracting company for a large government agency supporting computers.
One day I received a call from a frantic user who was insisting in a very loud and anxious voice that her computer has been infected by a virus!
I asked her calmly to explain to me what the specific problem was.
She said that she had seen a virus infect her computer and she could still see it. I was very puzzled and asked her to explain what she was seeing.
She explained that her screen had all of a sudden turned black and then the virus appeared, swirling around.
I tried not to laugh as I instructed her to click on a key her keyboard.
"You killed it!", she said.
I then explained to her that what she had seen was the screen saver and that that particular screen saver had a display of swirling circles for the amusement of the viewer.
She was very relieved.

name: Duke Walls
Date: 17 Jul 1999

Every once in a while, the scales balance. I was installing a new PC for a woman who had been promoted over her old workmates, and was lording it over them unmercifully. In the early days of Windows 3.1, playing a .wav file would lock the machine until the file finished. This woman snottily told me to lock her office after I was done installing the PC, and left. One by one, her staff came in and told me just how obnoxious she was being. I therefore set the Windows Start sound to be the 48-second sound bite from the movie "When Harry Met Sally" where Meg Ryan is demonstrating her ability to fake an orgasm. I then locked the door on the way out. The next morning I get a frantic phone call from this buddy, who is horrified at what her new computer is doing! Once it stops, I say, "Hmm, that's not normal. Why don't you reboot it?" During the encore performance, I went and removed the sound file while "looking for the problem." Her crew later told me she straightened up nicely after this particular prank, so you could say I managed to fix more than the PC.

Name: Duke Walls
Date: 17 Jul 1999

While working support in the Loan Service Center of what they call "a major Savings & Loan," I was forced to support the Vice President's secretary. She was a fortyish harridan, not the sharpest tool in the shed, but fiercely proud of her "elevated" position. How dull? The year before, when we went from 5.25 to 3.5 inch floppies, she had literally trimmed a floppy to fit using scissors, and was miffed when we told her the files were gone (took an hour to clear that drive, too). We were summoned to the harpy's desk because her network connection kept dying right after she got in, and again after lunch. Following the network cable, I realized she had been placing her purse in an empty box and kicking it under the desk, disconnecting the network cable. Dropping to my knees, I plugged the cable back in -- only to be shrilly accused of having snuck a peek up the dragon's dress. A co-worker came to my rescue: "No, ma'am," he intoned, "if he was gonna peek up a dress, he'd pick somebody younger and prettier." My laconic cohort would be fired a month later, for having told this buddy the "any key" was the Big Red Switch on the side. She lost four hours' work, being too dense to know what 'save' means, and he lost his job. "Jeez, I though she'd know I was kidding!," he protested, "Nobody's THAT stupid!" Bets?

Name: Kimmily
Date: 16 Jul 1999

I work for a large ISP that indiscriminately sends free month of access to idiots.
ME: thank you for calling (ISP) can I have your phone number
ME: and what operating system are you running
ME: what version (since we support EVERY @!#$@ VERSION)
CALLER:ummmm I don't know
ME: OK do you see a start button on the bottom left?
ME: OK do you see my computer on the screen?
CALLER: nope
ME: what do you see?
CALLER: a screen with little pictures on it
ME: OK that's your desktop...what else do you see?
CALLER: I see netscape navigator and blahblahblah
ME: OK do you see anything at all that says my computer..
CALLER: is that in the finder or under the apple?

..........shoot me

name: Bill Lowe
Date: 16 Jul 1999

I work for a company where the majority of users are highly educated. Most of them have pretty good computer experience when they start at the company. One day I got a call from a woman with a laptop saying that her mouse and keyboard were going crazy. I love this sort of thing, so I just couldn't tell her to reboot(Standard response and/or question--"Have you rebooted the machine?" Anyway, had to see it for myself.

So I walked down to her cube, and of course it didn't happen while I was there. Little while later, she calls and says that it started doing it again. Go down there again and Zilch. Plain jane screen with no abnormalities. As I am walking away, but still in hearing distance, I hear her calling my name saying "It's doing it right now, come quick." So I get over there while she is on the phone/radio with some unknown individual, and sure enough, the mouse is bouncing all over the place and alternating between left and right mouse buttons. What I noticed that she didn't was that it only happens when she presses the transmit button on her phone/radio. This I found rather frightening, but utterly hilarious. I took her phone away from her, and it stopped. I walked about six feet away and pressed the transmit button and it stopped. But within three feet, it becomes a rather psychotic mouse. Very odd.

Name: Michael J Adams
Date: 16 Jul 1999

True Story: I was attempting to assist a customer over the phone...the problem was no power...system dead. The customer told me an "electrician" advised her that it was probably due to some "bad currency" that damaged the unit.. I swear this is true. I could barely contain my laughter. but I told her that we have handled currency problems in the past, and would be happy to assist with her current currency mishap..

Name: Derek L
Date: 16 Jul 1999

We have a woman using our software that simply should not be. Of course the bosses where she works picked the most useless and uneducated person they could find to take on our application. Anyway...
The other day she called and went into her typical five minute rant, "...oh, I've just had it with this software. I just can't do anything...I cannot get it to work...blah,blah".
After this traditional diatribe was done we finally got to her problem.
"I'm getting a Crystal Reports error"
"What's the error say?"
"It's says Crystal Reports error at LPT:1"
"Maureen, turn on your printer".
Another 20 minutes of our day gone. She calls daily, so I'll be back soon.

Name: Dennis
Date: 16 Jul 1999

I received a call from one of my clients stating that his new hub was talking to him. As I told him that hubs don't talk he kept arguing that ever since I put it in it would talk to him when he tried to fax. He was convinced that I plugged his fax into the hub. I told him that he needed to turn the volume on the fax down. He said it did not have a volume control. After I guided him to it he realized that the volume was up and the number he was sending to was a voice number. He just said "whoops, I'll' talk to you later" and hang-up the phone.

Name: April
Date: 16 Jul 1999

Me and one other person have been installing a LAN in a new office. We have been dealing with "crisis" calls of one sort or another, but there are a few... One of the writers in the office was hysterical, insisting that we install sound on his computer. he insisted that he could not do any work at all until we had done so. Then we suggested he turn on the speakers. The absolute best was when the manager insisted that we drop everything to clean out the cache on his roaming profile. He was getting messages that his cache was full. I was a little surprised because his profile was given quite a bit of memory. When I investigated further, I had a recommendation for him. See, he had quite a few temporary Internet files that were placed on his computer when he visited x rated sites. My solution? Don't go there.

Neme: Randi Brown
Date: 15 Jul 1999

I am a computer trainer for a large Insurance Brokerage. I was training a recent new hire with very little computer experience. I asked him to right-click on a particular area of the screen. He was in a big panic when it didn't work. I asked him to try again and again it didn't work.

When I came over to look at his screen, I saw CLICK. He had actually written the word click! I was amazed!

Date: 15 Jul 1999

I work for a large corporation with an outside sales force. We recently purchased and distributed several new laptops to the salesmen. They were set up with Windows/Outlook/Internet Explorer, etc.. I brought them in for classes in outlook, word, and excel - They have now had them for a month. I receive a call from one of them asking me my advise on what he should do. He has a sales lead but "big problem" he only has an e-mail address for a contact - says "I don't have Internet access, What Can I do?" Yikes!!!!!!

Name: Bob H
Date: 15 Jul 1999

I swear, there must be too many computer jobs out there. They'll hire anybody...
I get a call from a frantic woman who works with me in my IM dept. Now I do the care and feeding of our Unix servers,
so I don't get many calls for PC help. But no one else is around, and I'm bored, so I take it.
Her: I can't get into "XXXX" (Win95 app that links to my Unix Box)
Me: Can you ping the server?
H: How do I do that? (Remember, she's a fellow IM'er)
M: From the DOS shell.
H: What's that?
M (regretting taking call): Hit start, programs. Do you see "MS-DOS prompt"?
H: No.
M: OK, try this. Hit start, run. Type command.
H: OK.
M (After a few seconds): What happened?
H: Nothing.
M: Hit enter.
H: Ohh, there we go!!
She couldn't ping, and it turns out she just had to re-boot to connect back up to the network.
And I fall to my knees every night and thank the good Lord that I was able to go straight into Operations, and didn't have to start in "Helpdesk Hell".

Name: Ro
Date: 15 Jul 1999

This story actually happened to a friend of mine, but I thought it was hilarious.
Working in a computer software store, my friend got a call from a customer. She was having a problem with her CD-ROM, specifically that it would not open anymore and that it was making funny noises. She said that she was playing a game, was getting pretty far in it, and then all of a sudden, after getting to the fourth disk of a 5 CD set game, the problems started occurring.
Having dealt with this customer before, and knowing that this customer wasn't always in her right frame of mind, my friend asked how many discs were actually in the CD-ROM. Lo and behold, when the computer screen said "Insert Disc 2", she left Disc 1 in the drive and simply put Disc 2 on top. Seeing that that didn't work, she felt that maybe adding Discs 3 and 4 might get it to go.
I still get a chuckle imagining her cramming four discs into that poor little CD-ROM drive. Suffice it to say, she never did beat that game.

Name: Trudy Duncan
Date: 14 Jul 1999

When I was the network administrator for a Department of Defense Finance Center, one of the women there complained that the laptop we had issued her was too heavy, and she was planning to take it on a long business trip. She had always been really nasty to us computer folks, so I simply told her that it was heavy because of all the files she had stored on it. She deleted a bunch of stuff and went on her trip. On returning, she said, "Funny, but it didn't seem to make much difference." I managed to make it back to my office before erupting in laughter.

name: nick clark
Date: 14 Jul 1999

All time classic conversation one of our guys had with a potential client. We are a website development company. this is the basic gist of it:
(in the midst of discussions on what the client wants from us)
US: we can definitely do a website for you, we just need to know what sort of functionality you want, features you'd like, design/feel etc.

CLIENT: ahhhh....we were led to believe you could do that.
US: yes we can, but we need to know what you want to get out of the site. How you want it to work.
CLIENT: that's what we want you to do. just do us a website.
US: but we need to have at least some content from you to actually go on there.
CLIENT: well...can't you just do it yourselves? we only want a basic website. we'll pay you to do everything.
US: yes, but we can't come up with actual factual content.
CLIENT: why not?
US: because that's up to you. you give us the material and the contents and we can put it on a website.
CLIENT: but we want you to do it. that's why we are paying you.
US: (exasperated) yes, we will do all the technical and graphical design side of it, but we need the information from you to go on display for people to see.
CLIENT: well if you can't do that for us then we may have to find somebody who can......

name: Jason Sprague
Date: 14 Jul 1999

I was working for a Printer manufacturer doing Techsupport when a systems admin for an NBA team entered my life via an email request. Apparently, their printer would only print about 25% of the jobs sent to it and he was very disappointed with our product. I asked several basic questions that any competent admin should have tried such as, "When a print job fails can you ping the printer?" He had not checked anything...I gave him a list of things to check and suggested that he CALL as this was getting to complicated via email. He emailed back a month later and said that it still didnt work and that we had a terrible product... I emailed back and gave him several other things to check and suggested that he call me if it persisted... He emailed back 2 months later and said that the network card was bad...I told him that it wasn't, but I would send him a new one to prove it and then he could call me. He emailed back and said that it was still doing it and that we were the worst in the biz, etc...I told him that I would not work with him anymore and then got a call from his boss...He was cool and understood how painful it had been to work with this guy... We got the printer up and running in 10 minutes...The time-out setting were incorrect - the first suggestion that I gave to the original guy...Judas...

Name: Anonymous
Date: 14 Jul 1999

This is a tech support call a former co-worker told me he had received. The caller was trying to install a software package from floppy disk (5 1/4") and was having trouble in the middle of the installation. The caller explained that he had followed the installation instructions to a T, but got stuck on the third disk. The installation proceeded normally for the first disk, then prompted for the second which he inserted. The installation hummed along, and then the trouble started. The tech asked what the machine did when the caller put in the third disk. The caller's reply: "That's the problem. I can't fit any more disks in the drive." Apparently he had gotten through the second disk, with TWO disks in the same disk drive. I don't know if it's true, but stranger things have happened.

Name: mrplaydoh
Date: 13 Jul 1999

Here is a good one. I work in tech support for an ISP. one night, I had an older lady call in about some problem or another. now it was not the problem that was funny, but the dialogue.
me: tech support, this is ******.
her: well, I have this problem....
<skip some troubleshooting>
me: OK, now hit the enter key.
her: the what?
me: the enter key, on the keyboard.
her: I don't see it.
me: on your keyboard, the key labeled 'enter'.
her: I don't think I have that.
me: I'm pretty sure you do. now hit the key on the lower-right side of your keyboard....
her: I am telling you I don't have it!
me(getting frustrated): ma'am. on your keyboard....
her(cutting me off): oh! on my keyboard. OK.
*sigh* sadly, we had an almost identical dialogue about the 'escape' key.

name: Dave Simpson
Date: 13 Jul 1999

I was on support for a software company when a customer called in. During the course of the call I asked them to put the software disk in the drive and close the door (back in the days of the 5.25" floppy's). After a few seconds I could hear that the phone was placed on the desk, the person got up, and then I heard the door to the room close shut.

Name: Darren Davis
Date: 13 Jul 1999

Received irate call about fax modem in notebook computer we had brokered to a company. Standard notebook no reason for problem. Promised tech would go look at it in AM and told apocryphal story of man holding fax to monitor screen caller laughed and said would call in AM to arrange time for service.

Received call in AM from laughing person apocryphal story came true. What should she due? Told her say user had older style monitor and would have to use proper method of sending fax. Received call next AM from harassed buyer what was part number for notebook with new screen. Told her to tell user that that model was discontinued due to setting user on fire when sending faxes. Duh.

Name: Rand
Date: 13 Jul 1999

OK, I work for a local ISP in the Seattle, Washington area. Shortly after I started working for this company I received a call from a very pleasant but also very ignorant customer. Now, I am only supposed to provide support for our product, anything directly related to connecting to the Internet. But this guy couldn't even get our software CD to read so I decided I would help him out, since he was being so pleasant about it and dig around to see what was wrong with the CD-ROM. First thing, I went into control panel and checked the drivers. Everything LOOKED fine...I tried reinstalling them anyway. I had the man try to put another CD into his CD-ROM and see if that one would read. No luck... So by now it's been about 15 minutes.and I double check everything again...Somewhere during this time I had him put our software back in his computer and as a last try...because I'm about to tell him to contact his vendor...I ask him to eject the CD and push it back in. It is at this Opportune time that he decides to ask me...and I quote... "So, I just want to double-check, the CD goes in Shiny-Side-Up...right?" AHHHH!!! In the most pleasant voice I could manage I told him no, and asked him to flip it around to "Shiny-Side-Down" and it worked! *sigh*...30 minutes wasted...break time! *smile*

Name: Tony Lauria
Date: 13 Jul 1999

We received a call from a customer asking for instruction on how to access files in his computer. It was advised that he examine the contents of his hard drive by double clicking on the hard disk icon in the upper right corner of the screen. After a pause, and some unusual audible knocking noise, the customer pleaded for another way to do this since tapping his mouse twice on the monitor screen, where the icon appeared, was not producing any result.

name: JonnyB70
Date: 13 Jul 1999

I used to work for a LARGE company that didn't believe in software support. In fact, I had been hired with the assurance that I would be doing 50% software support and 50% administrative stuff. Only after I was hired did I find out that the guy that hired me was basically BS'ing me to get me to come on board. This guy was that desperate for somebody to make him look technically competent...

Anyway, the situation continued, and employees would solicit my help with this or that. I was always able to solve the problem but kept wondering out loud to the IT dept. why it was that they didn't establish a software support department. Needless to say this didn't endear me to them, nor them to me.

One day a temp called me up saying that his computer had crashed. I went over to it, stuck in a boot disk, ran FDISK, displayed the partition, and lo and behold it was gone. I told him it was gone, emailed the IT dept., and sat back feeling good.

A couple of weeks later my (different) boss comes up to me and says that I have to stop helping people because he's gotten an email from the IT dept. saying that *I* crashed the computer, among other things. The reason they knew that *I* crashed the computer was, and I quote, because "everybody knows that computers don't just crash themselves."

I'm sure Bill Gate$ would love to know THAT.

name: J. D.
Date: 13 Jul 1999

The best call I got was when one of my customers called to ask me if I knew her password since she had forgotten it!

Name: Bob Hoevel
Date: 13 Jul 1999

Several years ago I was a manager responsible for a WAN communications network centered in Texas. I received a call from a support person in our California office. He said he could not login to the system and that his screen was blank. After asking him several questions it looked like his monitor power cord was disconnected. I asked him to carefully check all the cords in the back of the monitor and computer to ensure that none had been disconnected. He told me he need to set the phone down an he would get right back with me. After about 40 minutes he comes back on the line and apologizes for the delay. I asked him what he was doing that could take so long. He said that he had to go out to his car to get a flashlight. You see power had been out in the building and he couldn't see the back of the computer. They don't have UPSs in our California offices. Some people just have no clue.

Name: GypsyCaine
Date: 13 Jul 1999

My ex worked as a Computer Tech Support Supervisor on the night shift. He gave me these two stories that he said happened to him and his company.

A call came in from an older lady. She was having problems getting her computer to turn on. He walked her thru all the steps but still no power. Finally, he asked again, is the power cord plugged in? She said once again, yes...but what do you do with the other end coming out of the long box they told me to buy to plug it into (a surge protector--she didn't plug THAT into the wall!)?

Name: 2nd/3rd liner
Date: 13 Jul 1999

There was a big rollout of several hundred multimedia PC's. One user made a comment about that there was no sound coming out of the internal speaker, only sound came out of her headphone that came with the PC. She called the helpdesk who dispatched this to the guy who made the image for the PC's. He knew about the problem and said that there where no drivers available for the big internal speaker and he was waiting for the driver to come out. So....after a while (this call was 3 weeks old and had become a problem already) they dispatched it to me. I called the helpdesk and the guy who made the image and asked them to open the cover of the PC and look into the machine to search for a speaker......because there wasn't a so called internal speaker in the PC !!!! (only a little piezo) So much for the "specialist".

Name: The Goatboy
Date: 11 Jul 1999

Well. didn't know ISP billing stories were welcome here too. ;) I work for an ISP that shall remain unnamed (aren't they all?) and I am sort of a mutt. I work in billing during the week, but I also cover the middle of the night tech support shifts. (When the really *neat* people call in.)This customer had called our technical support department some time during the early morning, griping from another part of the country that his Internet roaming service wasn't working. A small bit of legwork later, it was determined that he had never actually *signed up* for the service. Just assumed that it was all part of the package. This was the point at which his call got transferred to my desk. After calming him down, I took down all of his information (including his credit card information as this is how the service is billed)A month after this (we won't even go into how hard it was to get him physically set up with this service - suffice it to say that I still have nightmares.... shudder) He calls the office, and is chewing the ear off of anyone who picks up the phone Customer: HOW DID YOU GET MY CREDIT CARD NUMBER! AT NO TIME *EVER* DID I AUTHORIZE THESE TRANSACTIONS!!!
Manager: Sir, did you not sign up for this service on such and such a date?
Customer: I NEVER AUTHORIZED... (ranting and raving snipped) Even three months later, the merchant services is still sending us notices that he's *still* challenging all these charges. But the fact that I still have all the initial forms (that I photocopy for our bi-weekly fax routine) for the fraud people keeps them off of us.

name: Transwarp
Date: 09 Jul 1999

I worked as a workstation analyst fixing problems on the office computers. I came across this woman who just loved her new cordless mouse she hadn't asked for one but thought that we gave it to her for some reason. She called up to say that it was not working. Well we hadn't given anybody a cordless mouse and it turned out that she had sliced the cable on a sharp piece of her desk.

Name: Dark Jedi
Date: 09 Jul 1999

I had a customer that called in looking to have his motherboard replaced.
cust "My motherboard is bad, and needs to be replaced!" me:" Can you explain the errors you are getting, so I can verify the problem?" cust: "Sure, my users can't login from other domains." Me: "How about we check your network card and see if the error lies there?" cust: "oh, I know that works, my local users can login fine" where do they find them, and why do they send them to me?

Name: Rob
Date: 09 Jul 1999


Here's a little story that happened to a co-worker of me who handles the problems from the PBX-server and the network patches for computers and phones.

One day when one of the departments had moved internally to another floor he gets a call from a secretary who said that they mixed up two phone numbers and that she has got the number from her collegue secretary and ofcourse the other way around.

Because that it was a reasonebly big department this did not surprise him, and it did get very late last night preparing for the move so he was kinda expecting a problem like this(actually he was glad that there were only two that got mixed up).

When he got to the room of the secretary he saw to desks standing opposite to each other (no space between them).

So he went over to the room (not thrusting a user to read him a wall outlet number,he already learned that the hard way)

The secretary was happy because he got there so fast.Then she said (pointing at the phone at her desk) that that phone had the number of the phone of her coworker (pointing to the phone on the opposite desk).

And that she would like hime to switch the numbers.

Because he was a bit tired from the long overtime shift last night it took him a few moments to realize the problem.

Then he picked up the two identical phones and put them both on the other desk and left.

(you should have seen the faces of those secretarys he said ,well worth the walk).

Name: Chris (
Date: 09 Jul 1999

I work as a computer technician by day and do help desk for an ISP a few evenings a week, so I've got about a million. This is a recent one.

I work in the computer department of a senior secondary college. The staff and students have enjoyed Internet access at the college for a while now, and we've recently set up a few modems to allow the staff to dial in to the college network and access the Internet from home. All they had to do was bring their laptop to us in the computer dept. so we could configure dial-up networking for them. One teacher came in and explained he was having trouble connecting to the Internet from home. I quickly realized dial up networking hadn't even been installed on his PC. Turned out he was used to accessing the Internet by plugging into the school network, and thought he just had to do the same at home -- straight into a phone socket - no modem, just straight from his NIC into the wall! He thought the phone socket at home would work just like a network node, and somehow the phone company would magically handle the connection between his house and the school network!

name: Jeroen van den Bos
Date: 09 Jul 1999

I used to be a support engineer with Lotus Development, and in those days their spreadsheet program was still protected by a key disk that had to be inserted in the drive in order to start the program. A copy of this disk was also included for warranty reasons.

Every once in a while a customer would call complaining that the disk was corrupt, in which case we would replace it free of charge. In this case a customer called with above problem and I friendly asked her to send a copy of the disk by mail to us.

A few days later a huge mail pouch arrived with her name on it. We wondered why it was so big (it should only contain one 3.5" floppy). When we opened the package it became clear. It contained approx. 150 pages of screendumps of Norton disk editor accessing the keydisk! She sent a copy of the disk allright!

name: Sjaak banaan
Date: 08 Jul 1999

Okay, I work at a technical helpdesk, and I once had a strange call :

The person calling had a machine with smoke coming from the back of the machine.

So OK, I said that probably the power supply of the PC was burning out, and that he should turn off the PC, so that I can fill in a form for the on-site service.

But no way, this guy said that the power supply wasn't burning out, and that there should be an DOS command to turn the smoke off !!

(yeah right)

I couldn't convince this guy otherwise, so I made him type "nosmoke" , well that didn't work(maybe because there is no such command)

But he was still convinced that there is a command to turn the smoke off.

So I've made him add "device = nosmoke" in the config.sys, witch still didn't work of course.

So I said that he could better call to microsoft to ask them about this(and to give them a big laugh)

So he did, and after some time he called back saying that his powersupply wasn't compatible with the nosmoke command and that he needed a new one.

Can you believe this ??

Well I must say that those guys at Microsoft came up with a pretty good answer.

Name: Michael Vandeventer
Date: 08 Jul 1999

A customer of the computer store where I worked, bought the best computer system that money could buy at the time. Since he wanted all of his OLD Dos programs to work on Win95 we had to install all of his software. He would stand and watch us as we worked. Living in a very dusty state we often used can air to blow dust out the inside of the computers we worked on. Well, he say us doing that. After we got his best of the best computer done, he took it home. Two days later we get a call from him. He wants to know were certain jumpers go on him motherboard. Not remembering which motherboard it was I asked him why, since we had the system running perfect when he left. He said he was blowing out the dust (TWO DAYS OLD) and the jumpers came off. I then asked the question I knew the answer to before he said it, "How did you blow the dust out?" With my air compressor was the answer. How many pounds of pressure did you have it set at? 150lbs! He brought it back in for repair but not before we all got a good laugh, and explained not to use more than 30lbs at most. Two months later he did the same thing with 200lbs of pressure this time.

name: Sean Murray-Ford
Date: 08 Jul 1999

I was working with the Digital Equipment Corp. of Canada (Before Compaq bought us out) and I was with the onsite MIS team. We would get tickets that the helpdesk couldn't fix and we'd fix them. I had one ticket assigned to me that just said "...user has nothing on system...". This made me wonder exactly what "nothing" was. I picked up my notebook, ESD jacket, handy DOS boot-disk and a cup of cold coffee and off I went. I sat down at this lady's chair and turned on her PC. Sure enough, nothing would happen. Not even the Windows '9x screen would come up. I took a sip from my coffee and rebooted her PC with my DOS disk. I typed "dir" (I'm a Linux person myself. I hate MS) and to my surprise, she had NO [Windows] directory. This baffled me as I checked her filesystem from top to bottom finding nothing for my hard work. Twenty minutes later I looked at her PC... On the side was a picture... A FRIDGE MAGNET to be exact. Stuck right to the side where the HDD bays were. I asked her if the problem started happening when she put the magnet on the side. Her reply: "Yeah. Do you think that has anything to do with it?"

name: Anthony
Date: 07 Jul 1999

Well the other day I help someone install a new screensaver on their computer, yes some users need a lot of help. Well, we got the screensaver he wanted running and he was happy. I left him alone with everything fine the rest of the day.

The next morning even before I got my coffee, there was a call to my office. He sounded in a panic, even a little mad. He says that his computer has been on for over an hour and his screensaver hasn't even came on once! what is wrong with it? what was wrong with my computer? is it fixable? were all things he asked over the phone. I said I will be right there.

I walked over to the other side of the building. went to his office and looked at his computer. Yes it was on and yes no screensaver was running. Without saying a word, I went to the screensaver properties and noticed that sometime from when I left him to know he changed the screensaver to...yup NONE. But of course when asked what he did, He said the famous: "I didn't change anything, why would that happen by itself?"

I turned around went and got my coffee and went back to my office!

Name: Chris Snyder
Date: 07 Jul 1999

My dad's company is small enough that, while he is the owner, he still handles his own tech support.

One user (that never paid us a dime and was using a shareware version) called the 800 number (orders only, as sometimes non-techs pick up on that line) and asked for tech support. My dad calmly told him that he had to call our tech support line, and the user hung up. A minute later, the 800 line rang again, and the same user was on the line, looking for tech support. My dad hung up on him. This happened a third, and a fourth. Finally he called the tech support line:

This user had no idea what he was talking about. He said that Windows 3.1 was bad because "it has DOS in it (and Windows 95/98 don't?)" and that "All Windows 3.1 programs crash in Windows 95." The customer also said that "All companies are required by law to give tech support on their 800 numbers" and that it is also required by law to "Include uninstallers in all applications." My dad gave up on this guy, and hung up. This user claimed that he was a tech support supervisor. For what company? Microsoft?

name: J. Tiberius K.
Date: 07 Jul 1999

True story! Happened a few times! Client calling helpdesk: "I've bought a computer. What do I do with it?"

Name: Pedro Contente/Francisco Casaleiro
Date: 07 Jul 1999

I do HelpDesk for banking, and one day, one guy was installing a program, and phoned me because he was having a technical problem.
He was installing the program via floppy disks, and his problem was due to an error that he described me...

Name: John
Date: 07 Jul 1999

I was working tech support for a large educational software company.

One engineer sitting behind me yelled out one day, "Get the hell out of there! Go into the storm shelter! Who cares about the computers?!"

It turns out that there was a teacher calling in to see if it was necessary to shut down the lab server since there was a tornado heading right at the school. According to my co-worker, she was looking out the window saying that she could see the tornado coming right towards her building.

Name: John
Date: 07 Jul 1999

I was working tech support for a large educational software company.

A teacher called and said that her server wasn't working. After some initial troubleshooting, it was discovered there was no power getting to it.

I had her check the power cable connections...I had her check the outlets by the server by plugging in a pencil sharpener...there was power. At that point, the teacher said, "Just send someone out. I don't get paid for crawling around. We paid for a service contract."

We had to fly out an engineer. Once there, it only took him a few seconds to discover that she had the power strip for the server plugged into itself.

Name: John
Date: 07 Jul 1999

I was working tech support for a large educational software company. One day we received a diskette in the mail, stapled to a note which read, "This disk is bad. Could you take a look at it and let us know what can be done to fix it?" We sent back a letter which read, "We found your problem. There's a staple in the disk. It cannot be fixed."

Name: Dan Royal
Date: 06 Jul 1999

While managing a large LAN for a major health care corporation, one day we experienced some sabotage on one of the work stations. One of our architects heard about it and the next day he came to me complaining that somebody had been fooling around with his computer. He asked me to come to his cubicle. When I got there, he said "See the mouse? When I left yesterday it was over there", pointing about 3 inches away. When I said that maybe the custodian had knocked it when cleaning, he said, "No, somebody's been messing with it, but I fixed them. They'll never touch my mouse again. I disconnected it from the computer". Only problem was, he disconnected it by cutting the cable with a knife!

Name: Webmatch
Date: 04 Jul 1999

A friend of mine is working at the helpdesk of a semi government institute. When an irritated employee calls in struggling with her Windows 95 manual she cries out: "Where the heck can I find the Anykey on my keyboard?".

Name: Marc
Date: 04 Jul 1999

Being a helpdesk supporter in governmental organization I have to deal with a lot of funny and sometimes stupid questions. But this one really puts a smile on my face everytime I remember it. It was at the end of the day that the phone-operator gave me a call:

She: "Marc, please help me, I can't seem to find this document I have been working on all day"
Me: "Ok, check your personal folder on the network"
She: "I did, it's not there"
Me: "Well then try the My Documents Folder on the Harddisk"
She: "Nothing there either"
Me: "Then try the Office Search engine, if you remember the documents name, or otherwise search on content, or the date."
So she tries all of that.
She: "Nope nothing"
Me: "Ooohh, how could I forget, you probably deleted it and now it is in the trash can."
Silence, then I hear the wheels of her chair moving and a lot of noise in the background, she was going through the garbage of the garbage can behind her desk.
She: "No, it's not there either, but how would it have gotten there anyway, I didn't throw it away."
Me: "I'm sorry, I'll check yesterday's back up tape tomorrow, now please excuse me..."

Name: Chris Osborne
Date: 03 Jul 1999

A couple of years ago I used to work for a small computer shop. One of the main points about this place was the low prices. This was refelcted in eth fact hat they sold a basic PC for only 400 uk pounds. Anyway these machines came with everything but an operating system. Now most of the peole who were buying these things were businesses and people upgrading a previous machine who already had win '95. Anyway, one day this bloke comes in to the shop.

Bloke> THis computer is broken
ME> OK, so what is the fault?
Bloke> It doesn't do anything
Me> (getting suspicious) What kind of system is it?
Bloke> THE 400 pound one
Me> Did windows install correctly?
Bloke> Windows?????
I helpfully sent him to the sales desk.

Name: Suzie
Date: 03 Jul 1999

A technician from NASA called in, explaining his modem was cracked and he was scared to use it. I figured he was smart <NASA, you know> and asked if he removed the card and if the computer turned on <keep it from shorting out pins> he admitted, yes, and it did turn on and run OK. He said yes, then asked if it was safe to run this system because it had an insufficient seal. I wondered, and asked for clarification. He said he took the front cover off and saw holes exposing the components. <then I realized he was calling the tower a modem> and I put him on mute to laugh. He says <apparently to someone nearby> "they needed to keep the system cool to prevent a reaction, get the fan over here... They didn't have a good seal on the Challenger and look what happened to it!"

Then I burst out laughing... put him on speaker to share it... and explained we would send him a new cover and the seal was OK with the rest of the case being on... Break time! NASA?!