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This is a question IT Support

Our IT support guy has been in the job since 1979, and never misses an opportunity to pick up a mouse and say "Hello computer" into it, Star Trek-style. Tell us your tales from the IT support cupboard, either from within or without.

(, Thu 24 Sep 2009, 12:45)
Pages: Latest, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Chest what you need.
Many years ago (OK, 20+) I worked for a small IT company that had a problem customer. She kept ringing us and complaining that her PC (an IBM XT with 20MB hard disk) was typing random characters in Word Perfect.

We visited site, replaced her keyboard and asked her to test it, perfect. A couple of days pass and she's on the phone again, same problem.

Having already replaced the keyboard with a refurbished one (yeah, they used to be worth fixing) we decided to give her a brand new keyboard because, it transpires, she's the MD's secretary. Problem solved.

No, not that lucky, she's on the phone again and she's *not* happy.
By this time we're getting a little desperate, we start to suspect the hardware so we back up everything onto floppy (5.25") and re-install MS-DOS along with all her applications onto a loan PC. Her machine works flawlessly in the workshop, passes all diagnostics, even survives the office scut monkey typing rude words on screen and laughing uncontrollably.

Meanwhile, she's reporting that the loan PC has the same fault. This, we conclude, is impossible, it's completely different hardware and a fresh install of all the sofware so I'm dispatched with another engineer to her desk with the instructions 'Find out what the fuck is going on and don't leave until you have worked it out.'

So I'm sat there, she's an older woman (mid thirties to my late teens), rather attractive in MILF sort of way. We're chatting, she's taking phone calls and the PC is behaving. Then, after a couple of hours she gets a folder from her boss, the MD, containing a document he wants typed up, lots of pages of handwritten notes.

Watching her typing is entertaining, she jiggles in a most comely way as the speed builds up and she's a good typist. No problem with the PC though, until that is she reaches forward to turn the page on her copy holder and her ample chest hits the keyboard and types a bunch of random characters...

I'm not sure who was most embarrassed, me trying to explain why the random characters had appeared or her for causing them.

Length? About 38D I reckon...
(, Sun 27 Sep 2009, 0:09, Reply)
NHS computer expertise
So the wife was having her wisdom teeth removed at local NHS hospital (local anasthetic only, natch, and a totally barborous procedure performed with basically a sharp spoon, but i digress).

the hospital has a system whereby x-rays are taken digitally and then later these were retrieved by the doc performing the removal.

very good idea .... however the nurse had to keep going back to the PC every minute to nudge the mouse to knock the screensaver off so the doc could refer to the x-ray.

i fixed it for them, gratis. they were very happy.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 23:54, 8 replies)
My friend Tim works in IT support. In his first week someone rang the helpdesk to say they'd dropped their pen down the back of their desk and needed someone to come and find it for them. Tim told them to reboot their machine, and call back if the problem hadn't gone away.

He told us proudly a few days later that he thought the girls in the office must fancy him, as they'd nickamed him "Tim, nice butt".
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 23:38, 1 reply)
At Uni (14 years ago now)
I worked on the IT helpdesk of an evening. One night, there was a panicked Sports Science student that can running up to the desk.

"Help me, please help me! I've typed my dissertation in all upper-case! Is there anything that you can do?"

Now the Carnegie fuckers who used to swan around the Uni like they owned the place were not at the top of the list for me to help so the answer was -- "No, sorry. You're fucked."

The poor lad was nearly in tears. The girl that I was working on the desk with that night chimed in at this point with this - "If you print it out, I'll type it all in again for you. £20 per hour? Should take 5 hours." . The idiot went for it. Even better was this. "If you just give me the thing on disk, I'll print it out for you."

Marvellous. We shared the money for the grand total of ctrl - A, Format, Change Case, Save.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 22:36, 8 replies)
I think they went out of business...

So my dad bought a gateway pc back in the year dot. Mid to late '90s.

We were doing some basically installation/re-installs of windows.

I was tasked with the job. So insert cd, follow prompts on the screen. 30 minutes passed and it wasn't working. 60 minutes and i decide to call the support number. 45+ minutes of waiting and i hear a human voice, so i started to explain what had happened etc. As i lean back in my chair i spy the cd draw is open.

Some rushed words of "oh i have ound the problem, never mind" and hang up. Shame it was an international call really. I have learnt, always check the drive.

(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 22:33, Reply)
Yeah, a new keyboard will help.
Often we get calls from people. supervisors and managers more often than not, complaining about nothing showing on the screen, only to find out that they've not turned the computer on. But one day we got a call from a girl in the Customer Services department who wanted a new keyboard. It went something like this:

CS Girl: "I need a new keyboard because I can't see the letters on this one."

Us: "Why can't you see the letters, are they faded?"

CS Girl: "The sun is shining on them, and it's really bright."

Us: "Is the blind down?"

CS Girl: "No"

At that point we hung up. Unfortunately we were all out of keyboards that suck in the light.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 22:06, Reply)
Floppy backups
We had a customer who was making data backups on floppy disk. The old 5 1/4" disks that were thin and really actually floppy.

They had to restore from one of these backups and it didn't work, so we told them to try a previous backup. None of the backups they tried worked, so I went down there to see what the problem was.

They presented me with their backup archive - a ring binder with dozens of hole-punched floppy disks.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 22:00, 4 replies)
Another Hungary story -
When I was living in Hungary the then boyfriend tracked me round the city of Szeged on the public webcams.

I didn't know he was doing this until he sent me a few snaps of myself - strolling through the university concourse, ambling along the majestic boulevard, staggering drunkenly across the square...

Easy to do as I lived near the city centre and the place was full of 'cams. Probably a sort of hangover from Communist times.

When I found out there were a few good-humoured moonings and V-flashings for him to frame-capture too.

Good job I hadn't been walking arm-in-arm with some Magyar hunk, or I'd've been WELL rumbled.

The boyf is now Mr Quar, so impressed was I with his ingenuity. However, most women I tell this story to are horrified - how could I marry someone who'd check up on me like that?

I say, he's clever, but I'm still cleverer.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 21:23, 2 replies)
Stevie Cam
We had an odd sort of bloke in the IT department, he was good looking but lacked confidence with women and at nearly 40 still lived with mummy and daddy.

We all knew he spent most of the day surfing porn and shopping for brides on russian brides dot com. He had his PC strategically placed so that the screen could not be seen by other staff and he would always minimise what he was doing when anyone came near.

This was about the time when web cameras started to emerge, and hail stevie cam. I hid a web camera in the book case behind him and hooked it up to a web page. I then gave everyone in the office the link and password so we could all tune into to stevie. Lo and behold yep he was bride shopping and watching some rather odd porn in between chatting to women pretending to be a lesbian.

He still does not know he was being watched, however the whole office had agreat laugh.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 21:09, 3 replies)
Sales Director
Well I do hate salesman, all that smarmy stuff and stabbing people in the back sort of thing. Well I worked for an IT company in Liverpool which also had a office in London. The sales director was a right dickhead and i couldnt stand him, things got worse when he promised to pay me overtime to go to germany to sort out some problems and then renaged when I got back.

This was about the time when windows was shoddier than it is today and it was possible to send a remote command to any windows pc and have it immediately reboot with no explanation(for IT Geeks it was the ping of death). So everyday at preciesly 3pm I would nuke his pc in London from liverpool. I kept this up for a number of weeks chuckling away to myself as I did it.

I found out later that he had his computer replaced four times, and would invite people into his office at 3pm each day to watch his pc miraculously reboot.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 21:01, 1 reply)
Back at Ship B
Still at Ship B - the 'couple of weeks' was now up to three months and counting.

My boss came for a visit, just to see what was taking so long. I don't know why, they were paying for all of my time. He sat down at a machine and logged on. Then, he went looking for the file he needed...

"purple", he said, without looking up. "Has someone here annoyed you?"

I admitted that they might have done.

"Has anyone else noticed this?" he continued.

I had to say that as far as I knew, no-one had.

"Excellent" he said, and continued working.

One of the things I'd had to do was to clear the new network drive letters with everyone. It had taken more than two weeks of committee meetings, but I'd got them agreed. Everyone had three drives. One was group-wide (G:), one was team-wide (T:) and one was the individual home drive (I:). As this was Windows 3.1, the File Manager drive bar had all the drives in- A:, C:, G: I:, T:. I'd managed to spell GIT in drive letters.

Two years later, someone else went to do their upgrade to Windows 95. The mappings were still there...
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 21:00, 1 reply)
I wish I'd said this
I was visiting a company, discussing with them their purchase of a big new server. I was counting myself lucky as I'd been held up on the way, and had got the last space in their car park, under a tree.

I was just greeting people in the IT department when the following call occurred:

IT Support Tech: "Hello, IT, How can I help"
IT Support Tech: "Well, then, do some work."
Phone down.

This stopped the office. Just before my curiosity lobe exploded, the IT Manager asked, politely, what that was in aid of. The explanation went as follows:

"You know the new screensaver we put in with the new desktop build? Well, that user doesn't like the new screensaver. Apparently she thinks it's awful. So I told her to do some work then."

Score. I wish I'd said that.

(Oh, and the parking space? I got back to my then-new company Vectra to find it was a different colour because of the amount of guano on it. I had to wash it, as it was blowing up the windscreen as I tried to drive.)
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 20:53, Reply)
Divide by Fish
Many moons ago I worked in IT support for a Cotton Trading company. The company was based in Liverpool and I had a wicked sense of humour. We installed a new system for some of the users so that they could use windows on their Unix terminals.

We had a new software developer start shortly after we went live and I couldnt help playing a few jokes on him. I would randomly send "divide by fish" error messages onto his screen asking him to call IT support with error code "Flibble". Unfortunately he could smell bull shit a mile off and didnt speak to me for 6 months, strangely we are now best friends and its just his girlfriends I seem to upset.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 20:53, 1 reply)
fax machines
where I used to work, one day, we kept getting this same fax letter through over and over for about an hour - I called up the lady that was faxing it over to us to let her know that there must be a glitch with her machine only to be told that yes - that was right she was trying to send us a fax, but she didn't think her fax machine was working and was confused as to how we had received her fax as every time she put the bit of paper in the top, it kept coming out the bottom. nnnngggggg.

1st post - be gentle :)
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 20:51, 2 replies)
Ship B
This may be the first of many stories from when I was a consultant doing IT support for another company. Said other company employed fifty or so people, almost all stone bonkers. One woman was especially annoying. She didn't walk, she bounded everywhere, like a PE teacher on speed. She didn't talk, she bellowed at you as if you were two hundred feet away. And one day, she encountered a HP LaserJet II. This was before printer drivers were specific, like they are now. Almost all printers emulated one or another of the big three - LaserJet II, Postscript, or Epson FX-80. HP called these "personalities". Anyhow, somehow I mixed up the print queues, and she ended up sending Postscript to a printer that couldn't handle it, producing the traditional error.

She bounded over to me and bellowed: "The printer says I've got a bad personality!" I had to go to the machine room to laugh. Then I fixed it.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 20:48, Reply)
My Job
I work for the IT Team in a prestigious department at a local government office.

Things I encounter:-

1. "I need to scan something in." OK, says I, I'll help you. "Hang on," says she "I'm just printing it out..."

2. No, says I, your computer isn't broken, you just need to plug it in. (More times than I'd like to remember)

3. What? says I Your phone is broken? So how are you calling me? At which point they hang up.

4. "Hello, is that IT Services?" Yes says I How can I help you? "Oh, thank God... Where's Wales?"

Before working at this particular council (and I hasten to add they are on the whole pretty good) I worked at an electronics store (which, I hasten to add wasn't very good). My favourite recollection of that time went thusly....

"Which kettle is the fastest?" said the patron. I dunno. said I Let's line them up and find out...
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 20:41, Reply)
My sister uses me
as her IT support whenever this/that or the other goes wrong on her computer.
I tried twice to help her using the remote assistance doobry on windows.
Both atttempts ended in her falling of her chair in laughter watching a ghost take over her computer and start playing solitaire.
She just calls me now and tells me to go through thing step by step.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 20:30, Reply)
At my work
we have 5 £100,000 machines to test stuff.
Our company says 5 £20 carboot second hand computers are good enough to run them. They have XP on but at most 256meg of memory.
Quite a lot of the time they randomly hang/crash/reboot or BSOD.
Our only IT man says it's probably our fault for pressing the buttons too quickly.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 20:12, Reply)
Not technically 'support'...
...but, in the relatively-early days of the Electroweb, I managed to get a job at a friend's dad's company, designing websites for them. They organised events and conferences, so there was quite a lot of opportunity for using the first one I'd made as a template, and making it look like I'd done a lot more work than I had I'd done a lot more work than I had.

Making a site took a while, partly because I wasn't particularly good at it, but partly because everyone in the office had to have Input. Having Input is much easier than Doing Some Fucking Work, you see.

Anyway, I'd come to the end of making one site and, after a lot of this Input, it was time for the boss to sign off on it. She looked at it and said 'It's really great; I love it. Could we have it a bit lighter, though?'. Yes. She wanted all the graphics on the page a shade or two lighter.

Full of hate, I skulked back to my little desk, and waited for her to leave the office, at which point I wandered over and fiddled with her monitor settings. On her return, ta-dah! I was able to present her with our new-look, brighter, peppier graphics, which met with absolute approval. Job done.

(On a similar note, the same boss once asked me if we could have some website lettering in gold. I tried to explain a little of the impossibility behind having metallic colours on a VGA monitor, but she was having none of it. I gave her yellow. She didn't complain. This is what happens when you work for people in marketing)

[Finally- I'm breaking my long-lurking silence. Be gentle]
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 19:52, Reply)
All of my favorite IT related stories,
true or otherwise, have come from the Bastard Operator from Hell. Google BOFH if you aren't sure :)
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 19:16, Reply)
more stupidITy
this tale of fax ineptitude www.b3ta.com/questions/helpdesk/post528521 reminded me of another classic...

In the mid 90's i worked for a crap agency that treated their junior staff like utter shit, so much so we actually started referring to constant parade of poor souls as 'draught excluders' - no task to menial or humiliating, no treatment too harsh.

one poor lad - 16, awkward, spotty - was despatched to send an urgent fax. After 20 minutes or so the fucking AWFUL tyrant of a boss bawled out Oi!!!! (name of poor junior) have you sent that FUCKING FAX YET? He didnt use phones, he just sat at his desk and shouted knowing it could be heard all around the office. He was so fat and obnoxious it was rumoured he was physically unable to put his hands in his trouser pockets.

We all looked worriedly at each other. I made my way out to reception to the fax machine to see what was going on. The poor kid was almost in tears. When i asked him what the problem was he wailed - 'i've tried to send it about 50 times but it just keeps coming out the other side'.

(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 16:44, 3 replies)
It basically went downhill from here...
"Ok, Open My computer"

"................YOUR computer?"
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 16:23, Reply)
i've always wondered, the specific letters IT, what do they stand for?
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 15:59, 9 replies)
how civilised
I used to work in Dubai. We had an odd mix of nationalities in the office including a decent smattering of us lot from Blightly. There were of course a fair few Muslims in the office as you would expect. Culturally, it does take a little while to adjust to the different ways of working – weekends are Friday Saturday, Sunday is actually Monday, clients will shout and bawl in meetings, talk amongst themselves, make phonecalls and lie straight to your face - little things.

But I soon settled in. Whenever I’ve won a new client or completed a big job back in the UK, it was customary to go out and get pissed, at least it was in every other place I’ve ever worked. Not in Dubai though. Early on we won a major pitch once and I sent round a ‘drinks are on me over in such-and-such a boozer after work’ email, as you do. This caused massive consternation. Not as much though as when one of the girls was leaving and she decided to produce a bottle of Champagne (she had even asked the MD if it was OK as all her colleagues were ex pats). Unfortunately one of our more ‘fervent’ employees in another office got wind of this. A rambling, long winded, badly written, spittle flecked rant was sent round the whole office and the MD had to make a grovelling formal apology. That’s not to say Dubai isn’t a non-stop party town. Going out to overpriced bars, getting completly battered and shagging some vapid bint on the beach is pretty much the only thing there is to do. But then no one said Dubai is not a land of lies and hypocrisy.

So as soon as I adjusted to Thursday being the new Friday it was business as usual. The usual suspects would (quietly) arrange to go for drinks after work on a Thursday (there were of course a few there that were not supposed to be drinking but that’s none of my business). My usual drinking buddy was a big Geordie bloke, I’ll call him Matt Hale – because that was, and still is his name. Matt didn’t give a flying fuck about anything as far as I could establish. He was our IT guru and also a MASSIVE boozer. I did say Geordie didn’t I? In addition to all this, I was one of the lucky ones that had a licence to shop in one of the few hidden away, legal off-sales, so we would always have a bottle of something stashed away for late nights in the office. Port was popular because the Arabs didn’t seem to grasp it was a fortified wine so it wasn’t as ridiculously overpriced as say – a bottle of Jack Daniels. We kept a bottle in a small storeroom next to the kitchen. It was not unheard of to nip in for a quick sip to warm the cockles in the excessively air conditioned office.

So this arrangement worked just fine – come the end of another hard, dusty week we would try and bugger off as early as possible down the battle cruiser. That is until one Sunday morning we had a problem – there had been a complaint that non-drinkers were being ‘excluded from office social events’. Heads were scratched and imaginary beards stroked until a ‘genius’ plan (mine) was hatched that we would invoke the quintessentially British and utterly harmless tradition of Afternoon Tea. An email was sent inviting all and explaining the nature of this quaint British tradition. That way, everyone could get together for a cuppa some faffy little sandwiches and little pink cakes – then those who wanted to could bugger off to the pub. We even bought a bone china tea service some doilies and some of those little three tiered cake stands that we stored in same cupboard we kept our illicit hooch in – admittedly a recipe for disaster. Nevertheless the plan worked a treat we even had a laugh imposing ridiculous made up rituals and etiquette. Matt and I continued to have heroic sessions most Thursday evenings and there were no more complaints. All was well.

One evening I was working late (again). I was the only one in the office. If I do have to work late I actually quite like that arrangement as I can have whatever music I like up full blast and have no one to bother me. I sent a large artwork document to the printer, which I knew would take bloody ages to rip – so I decided to do what any sane person does at such times – dick around on teh internets. Not so easy as it sounds in Dubai where so many sites are barred. Then I remembered the Port! Bellowing along to ‘Smack my Bitch Up’ I toddled off down the stairs and breezed into the store room.

Now I should say that I have never actually soiled myself as an adult, but at that point I came bloody close. On the floor was a lifeless body with a large pool of slick glossy blood formed around the head, lying motionless on the bare concrete. Fuck! I have no shame in admitting panic set in. But the real heart attack moment came a second later when the ‘body’ groaned and rolled over. I nearly fucking died, then i looked at the claret stained features and suddenly realised - it was merely (a completely paralytic) Matt Hale from the high tea sip port cupboard.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 15:10, 6 replies)
Is it true IT support have secret codes?
ID 10 T error for example?
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 14:54, 10 replies)
(online auction site support)

A lovely elderly gentlemen replied to my email regarding a request to check that cookies are enabled:

You say --"where to go to turn cookies on---etc" I've tried that with no result, just a blank page on the web.
It appears I haven't got a "cookie" but that's not my fault. If I had one I may have lost it when changed to another computer some months ago. You have money in my account after sale of skis etc some time ago.Surely you can get me out of this debacle and give me my money back? I should never have been dumped like this.

ah .. geriatrics.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 13:53, Reply)
By a strange coincidence, I just happened to
stumble upon this: http://funnies.paco.to/content/view/92/

So I thought I'd bring it to your attention. :)
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 13:33, 3 replies)
Dad and PCs
When he and mum first got the Internet at home, he got into email in a big way, and sent me inane missives about his daily life all the time (which I was happy to receive, of course). One day though, I get the following request for help:








A brief note explaining the function of Caps Lock and he was back on course.

Due to his naivete about the Internet, I also later had to give him a bit of a tutorial on covering yourself when mum uses your computer- I was visiting home and inevitably stumbled upon his internet history.

Rubber-fetish stuff. Blimey! He said he was just curious. I was less shocked than I might have expected to be because, at the end of the day, any man who gets internet for the first time is going to go off and look at a load of porn, including any weird stuff which takes their interest, and I really don't think it would be fair to hold my dad to standards I myself would have totally failed to live up to.

I gave him a crash course in clearing your internet history, periodically deleting Temporary Internet Files, and the value of mum and him having separate log-ins.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 11:18, Reply)
PCs and the evil mouse
I was there, the day the first PC came into our office. We'd managed very well until then with dedicated green-screen terminals, which only had a single Big Red Switch on the front, that simply powered up the monitor. The Department Manager, her 2IC, and three Team Leaders were all standing around this PC, wondering why it wouldn't work. They weren't impressed. This was rubbish! It wouldn't even turn on!

It was running Windows 3.1, just like my home machine. This booted remarkably swiftly from a hard drive, but the system had two On switches - one more than they were used to. The power switch on the base unit was a big, solid, up/down toggle switch, exactly like the one on the base of the monitors of the green-screen terminals. The monitor switch was a tiny, square switch, of exactly the same colour as the plastic around it, on the monitor itself. I listened to the whirring noises from the HD that told me when Windows was ready, then reached over and pressed the switch on the front of the monitor, which came on immediately to display the Windows desktop. There was a genuine collective gasp of amazement, and I was the IT guru for the entire department from that point on.

That, in and of itself, had its drawbacks. They asked me to write and present the course to train the entire department how to use the PC, plus Word and email. Yoink. But okay, it could be done, although I hadn't realised how much I'd absorbed in 10 years mucking about with computers since the days of the ZX81. Mostly, it wasn't too bad, and I actually learned a lot about dialling my assumptions way down when training.

But there was one guy I nearly killed. I delivered the course individually, as we only had one PC in the department, and they wanted everybody trained on PCs before they went to the expense of rolling them out to everyone. Now Allan was apparently intelligent enough to hold down a role at a major life assurance company, but he could NOT grasp the idea of the mouse. Everybody else had taken 10 seconds to grasp the basic idea of 'mouse = cursor'. Then a few minutes more to go over single-click to select, double-click to execute and right-click for secondary menus. They were all smart cookies. But Allan did not get it. He'd look at the mouse, and mentally measure some distance, then move the mouse that distance. Then look back at the screen, see how far he'd fallen short, or over-shot, look back at the mouse, move it again, look back at the screen... I could not make him watch the screen while he moved the mouse. Three times, he walked away from the training, because he got so frustrated that he couldn't make the PC do the simplest thing. It was shit, it was evil, it hated him - oh my word, the language he used.

On the fourth attempt, I brought in a shoebox, and cut a small hole in the end. I put the shoebox over the mouse and made him put his hand in the hole so he COULDN'T SEE THE MOUSE while he was moving it. I saw the clicky happen in his eyes as he realised he didn't need to. After that, File Manager, Word and email held no terrors for the poor chap.
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 10:47, 3 replies)
Just a quickie
I work in IT, not as a desktop printer and mouse monkey but in Application support. It gets a bit dull so to wile away the long hours I read the helpdesk calls.

Just last month I came across the rib tickler

"Email client won't work. When I log in it has an error message saying I have a socket error"

Not too bad you may think, sounds like a switched on guy......however,

"I have tried plugging my cable into all the sockets in the office and still get the same error, please advise"

Length? It would be longer in binary :P
(, Sat 26 Sep 2009, 10:44, 1 reply)

This question is now closed.

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