sorry in advance for the length of this message, but some of these are\nhillarious\n\nTechRepublic's ultimate collection of "dumb user" stories\n\nWe know that it's not politically correct to make fun of or tease dumb\nusers, but every support tech has a funny story about someone who just didn'\nt get it. We also know that it's important for techs to blow off steam, and\nthese humorous anecdotes are meant to do just that.\n\nThe following is a collection of the best dumb user stories we've published\nto date. Keep this document handy and open it when you're feeling frustrated\nor overwhelmed-or anytime you just need a good laugh.\n\nThe squeaky wheel gets the grease\n"We see some pretty strange things sometimes, but this one 'took the cake.'\nI work for a lumber manufacturing company in the southern U.S. And I guess\nyou have to work around some of these folks to understand, but down here, if\nsomething is squeaking, then you grease it. Period.\n\n"I kept having a lot of problems with one of the PCs-strange things with the\nsoftware, just odd stuff. I decided to pop the case one day, and there was\noily gunk everywhere! I was puzzled as to where all this oil came from, so I\nasked the supervisor who used the machine. He replied, 'It was squeaking, so\nI oiled it.' This is the honest truth. The fan motor was making some noise,\nso he sprayed it several times with WD-40!"\n\nThose things could be deadly\n"I had a client who said her keyboard didn't work right. She would try to\ntype, and it would type all the wrong letters. I replaced the keyboard, and\nthen she said that one did the same thing. So I started thinking it was\npossibly a bad motherboard, but she said that when other people logged on to\nthe network and were using the computer, it worked just fine, but for her,\nit typed garbage. Now, I know that there is nothing in a login script that\nwill do this, so I asked her to show me what it was doing. While she was\ntyping, I noticed her lovely sculpted fingernails, which were over an inch\nand a half long. So of course as she would try to hit one key, her\nfingernails were hitting the keys above. I recommended that as the office\nmanager, maybe she should delegate typing tasks to her secretary."\n\nIt's raining cats and dogs\n"Arriving at a private home to fix what was described as the erratic\nbehavior of the family PC, I tried to question the owner as to exactly what\nwas happening. 'Well, the only thing I know for sure,' she said, 'is that\nevery time our dog starts barking at the neighbor's cat, the computer goes\ncrazy.' It took me a few minutes to shake off the stupid look I must have\nhad on my face and start the troubleshooting. I avoided asking any more\nquestions fearing the answers would be as strange as that last one. About a\nhalf hour into the job, the monitor started flickering and the system hung\nup. Almost immediately, I heard the barking of a dog and had a hard time\ncoping mentally with what was happening. At this point, the lady entered the\nroom and said, 'Yes, that's what it does.'\n\n"I was about to pack it in and for the first time give up when her husband\ncame in and said, 'It's a good thing we have that electric fence or that cat\nwould be a goner by now.' After making some inquiries, I discovered that\nwhen the dog spotted the cat, it would run to the edge of the property and\nactivate the electric fence, which was controlled by a transmitter that was\nvery conveniently located on the corner of the desk, beside the computer."\n\nClean as a whistle\n"I was working with Gateway at the time of this call. A customer stated that\nhe had followed the previous tech's suggestion on cleaning his system up\nprior to formatting his system. He further stated that he felt that this\nmight have made it worse. I asked in which way. He stated he took the box\noutside, opened it, washed out the dust with the hose, and let it dry. 'But\nwhen I plugged the thing back up,' he said, 'nothing happened.' This is a\ntrue story."\n\nBeta or VHS?\n"I work at a company that provides support for a number of different titles,\none of which is a CD-ROM multimedia presentation that contains many AVI and\nvideo files on how to perform certain tasks. I received a call from a woman\nwho was quite upset and complaining that the videos were not working at all.\nAfter a few minutes of gathering some information from her, I asked about\nher computer system information. The woman replied, 'Oh, my computer isn't\nworking right now. I put the disk into my VCR so I could watch the videos.'\nThis is truly one of the most unusual calls I've received in almost 10 years\nof doing technical support for software."\n\nThe Corsican monitors\n"I got a call from a user who informed me that she and another user had\ndecided to rearrange their office and that after doing so, their PCs no\nlonger worked. I investigated and found that when she turned on her PC,\nthere was nothing on the monitor (it did have power). I asked them if they\nhad disconnected anything during their move and they said no, that they had\njust moved their desks and then the PCs without disconnecting anything.\nTheir only problem was that when they moved their PCs, they put their\nmonitors on the wrong desks. I didn't see anything on the first monitor\nbecause it was connected to the PC on the other desk. When they turned on\ntheir PCs at the same time, they thought their computers were working but\ntheir keyboards and mice were bad!"\n\nAt least she's loyal to her brand\n"One day, a lady called and wanted me to check her dial-up networking\nsettings. As I talked her through TCP/IP settings, I asked her to put a\ncheckmark beside Use Default Gateway On Remote Network.\n"'I can't do that,' said the lady.\n"'Yes, ma'am, just put the cursor on the small box next to Use Default\nGateway On Remote Network and press the left mouse button.\n"'I can't do that,' she replied again.\n"'Do you see the small box next to Use Default Gateway On Remote Network?\n"'Yes,' she said.\n"'Why can't you select it?\n"'I don't have a Gateway; I have a Packard Bell,' she explained."\n\nCheck one, check two.\nAt my previous job, I was the only support person in a company of 40 or so\nemployees; many days I could barely make it down the hall without someone\nhailing me to their workstation with a problem or question. One day a\nparticularly high-strung young lady stopped me in my tracks with a frantic\nplea for help; she'd just flipped it on, but her monitor was\nblank...pitch-black...nothing whatsoever on the screen. As we walked to her\ndesk, I was treated to way too much information about how far behind she was\nin her work....the implicit message being "fix it and fix it now". Well, I\ntook a first look and, sure enough, nothing was doing on her computer, which\npuzzled me for half a second. Then I turned the CPU on and gently reminded\nher that the computer, as well as the monitor, must be turned on each day.\nThen I walked away as fast as I could so she wouldn't see me\nrotflmao. -Melissa L.\n\nIt's all in the handshake\nWe recently hired a new sales rep to sell Internet enterprise software. Last\nweek he asked me a question about our product and wanted to know what a\nbrowser was. Unless he is one hell of a sales guy, I don't see him doing\nwell in this business. -Dennis B.\n\nWhere does the thread go?\nA woman working for us kept complaining that her mouse would only move an\ninch or two on the screen and then just stop and she said the buttons on the\nmouse were impossible to use. After several visits by our on-site support\npeople who swore there was nothing wrong and two mouse replacements, I\ninsisted the technician have her demonstrate the problem. (We are a 24-hour\noperation Hotel/Casino, and the user wasn't usually on-shift when the\ntechnicians were available to work on the equipment). The tech called me\nback absolutely hysterical. Turned out the woman, who works in the middle of\nthe casino, had the mouse on the floor and was pushing it around with her\nbare foot because she thought it looked just like her sewing machine peddle.\nShe works with at least 3 other people who use mice on their workstations\nwithin 5 feet of her but she apparently never thought to use her mouse the\nway they used theirs. -Patricia F.\n\n\n\nAlphabet soup\nI had a call from a user who wanted to clean his keyboard. I applauded his\nself-reliant nature and told him to just use any standard cleaning solution\nwith a damp rag, and to be sure and dry it thoroughly. Well I guess I am the\ndumb user because I was not specific enough about what type of cleaner to\nuse. The particular user grabbed the nearest can of brake cleaner and\nmanaged to melt his keys together into one big grotesque deformed alphabet\npalette. He called me back shortly to ask if I had any spare keyboards lying\naround. I knew right then... something was wrong. He would not admit to\nanything; I had to find out from his cubicle neighbor. Needless to say it\nrequired an e-mail to the entire staff explaining the perils of brake\ncleaner on plastic. -Darrin McL.\n\nWhat a drip.\nWow is that computer smart! Let me preface this story by saying I'm in the\nArmy and assigned as the Signal Officer for non-signal battalion. Recently\nwhile we were in the field (in the woods working out of a tent), enduring a\nmerciless night of pounding rain, one of our more senior officers came to me\nwith a problem. He had been watching me meticulously wrap all our computers\nin garbage bags to ensure they didn't get soaked by the notoriously leaky\ntent we worked out of when he called me over to check his laptop. He\nproceeded to tell me that he knew there was water in his laptop even though\nI had found none when I checked it previously. Try as I might I couldn't\nconvince him it didn't have any water in it. He was so sure in fact that he\nbet me a beer, which is quite a strong endorsement among army guys in the\nfield. "Prove it," I demanded. It's right here" he gloated, "look at this\nlittle faucet symbol underneath the screen, it obviously means there's water\nin it!!!" Because the laptop display under the monitor showed a small faucet\nwith water dripping from it he just knew the machine was telling him it had\nwater in it. Who says computers are only as smart as their users! -5158sigo\n\nExperts in their field\nThis is a good one; especially considering the situation. We had a user\n(management level accountant) who was really fascinated with Excel. She told\none of our clerks, "Look, you can move the cursor in Excel and the left box\n(name box) will tell you where you are!" She was totally clueless on what a\nfunction was, too. Boy, that's a POWER USER! -Anonymous, Data Processing\nTechnician\n\nThrowing out the baby with the bathwater\nMy favorite was a few years ago, when DOS was still king. A court reporter I\ndid work for called me at home one Saturday morning. She couldn't get her\nWordPerfect to save her document; a very BIG document that was due at a\nlawyer's office on Monday morning. She had been working on the document for\nabout 12 hours. I made a trip to her home, and she explained to me that she\nhad tried to save the document but received an "Out of space" message, so\nshe went into her WP file manager and deleted a bunch of files to make room\nfor her document. She was sure she didn't need any of the old files, since\ntheir names weren't familiar to her. Among them was WP.exe-the WordPerfect\nprogram. Since it had to call itself to run the save routine, or the file\nmanager routine, or anything else except text creation, she was stuck\nforever between the proverbial rock and hard place. No way to save, no way\nto shell out to restore WP.exe, no way to even print what she had typed\nin-all 400 pages. We print-screened all 400 pages, gave it the last rites,\nand rebooted to restore her WP files. She did, however, learn a new respect\nfor file names she didn't recognize. -Tony M.\n\nWhere's my modem?\nI work at an Internet help desk and get calls you wouldn't believe. One lady\ncalled and said she had been signed up for Internet access for over a month\nand was wondering when I was going to send her modem to her. Once I\nexplained that she had everything she needed and walked her through the\nsettings, she was online within minutes. -Vicki W., Information Technology\nConsultant\n\nThe drive to succeed\nHi there! I have two stories, but they are from the same company. How this\ncompany stays in business is beyond me. I do sales, installation and support\nfor a recruitment company. The owner is a lady and her husband works for\nher. He is totally computer illiterate and constantly on the phone to me for\nhelp. One day when I wasn't available, one of my colleagues tried to help\nthe poor guy who was having difficulty hiding his task bar in Windows 98! My\ncolleague tried for about five minutes to get him to click right on the\ntaskbar. At one stage he missed the right button, hit the center button and\nthen the left button and exclaimed: "Oops, now I've clicked a double-click!"\nMy colleague packed up laughing and had to think quick to explain to our\n"Dumbest Award Winner" why he was laughing. The second story happened some\nweeks later when I was on site to investigate a problem on an old 486. The\nclerk operating this computer is not much cleverer than her boss' husband\nand does many things which are totally unnecessary. The best one I saw was\nmapping each shared drives or directory from three other workstations over\nand over, up to a point where she had almost used up the entire alphabet!\nWhen I inquired about this she merely replied: "I was scared of running out\nof drive space, so I just added some more." -Hein R.\n\n"I haven't done anything differently"\nThree quickies: #1. Having worked support for 9 years, I have had: one call\nwhere printer was not plugged in, one call where phone line was plugged into\nthe NIC card (they had no modem, lots of calls about "Invalid System Disk,"\nlots of calls about speakers not working (plugged into wrong jacks). I\nusually save the obvious "is it plugged in" question for the appropriate\ntime, which is when diagnostics leads me to that possibility. Diagnostics\nnormally make it apparent within a minute or two. The more difficult\nresolutions involve issues where the customers "didn't make any changes" to\ntheir system, and then during the conversation, I find they have added\nboards and software right before it stopped working! I suspect you have\nalready read the joke re: NOSMOKE.COM. However, if you have not, just use\nyour search engine to find it. It is worth reading. -WSofIsle\n\nHow many numbers in "password"?\nAfter migrating from Vines to NT, all user passwords were set to password.\nOne user called and needed help logging in to the domain. After going\nthrough all the normal routines, and checking to ensure that this user's\naccount was not locked out, I instructed the user (once again) to type the\npassword in lower case, to which she replied "What about the number?" -Jim\nM., System Analyst\n\nNo permanent damage\nMy first story doesn't sound that dumb. Please remember that the "user" in\nquestion is a computer consultant/contractor, who is paid a great deal more\nthan me to do a better job than me, because he "knows" more than me...\n"I can't find the site I want, and I've checked my search criteria a dozen\ntimes over."\nHave you tried using the actual address?\n"No, I don't know what it is."\nLook at your search criteria.\n"Oh yeah, that might work."\nMy second is about a genuine dumb user. The call came in.\n"My printer doesn't work, can you come and have a look at it?"\nHmm, you're right. When was it last working?\n"Yesterday."\nWhat have you tried to do?\n"Well I plugged it in this morning, there was a loud bang, and now it won't\nwork."\nA loud bang? I would have thought a better description would be "I blew up\nmy printer."\nDid you make sure the power was off before you plugged it in?\n"No, I never do."\nAfter an hour of poking about inside the PC I found the printer's OK, but\nthey blew the printer port and both serial ports. The PC still works, but no\nmouse or mainframe connection, and they couldn't print. I don't know why it\nwasn't destroyed completely (considering the two serial ports were on\nseparate cards, both on the motherboard-meaning the motherboard would have\ntaken the brunt of the power surge).\n\n"Can you fix it (immediately)?"\nThe damage the "bang" did to the power lead was that the metal earth pin had\nbeen melted. I was surprised she didn't do any more damage (like blow fuses,\nblow her hand off, or destroy the printer). I would like to say that HP\nLaserJets are good quality printers though. I have a question for you. How\ncome dumb users never actually manage to do permanent damage to\nthemselves? -Warren D., Assistant Manager (IS)\n\nTrain the trainer\nDumbest user huh??!! Well we had a trainer on site training users on the new\nbilling system we use here and she was completely neurotic, any slight\nproblem and she wanted you there within milliseconds. Anyway after about\nthree days of plodding backwards and forwards I got a call "I'm trying to\nlog in and the cursor is just whizzing across the screen *PANIC,STRESS*\n"Anyway I arrived to be greeted with the cursor sure enough whizzing across\nthe screen, and the trainer foaming at the mouth about 11 people to train\nand if it's not working then she will only be able to train 10 of which I\nreplied "Well take your notepad off the spacebar then!" to be greeted by\nrapturous laughter from the training group at the trainer!!!!. That's what I\ncall justice! And funnily enough I didn't get another call again! -Paul N.,\nPC Support Analyst\n\nHello? Hello?\nOur tech was on the phone with a user in one of our regional offices talking\nthem through setting up a new laptop system they received. Our tech was\ntrying to get the user to cable the laptop system up to the LAN. The user\nexplained that there was no data port for the cable. The only port the user\nsaw was the one the phone was plugged into. The tech continued trying to\ndescribe the data port, but the user continued stating the only port he saw\nwas the one the phone was plugged into. To prove his point, while still on\nthe phone, he unplugged the phone from the jack. I not sure how long it took\nbefore the user realized he had been disconnected. -Douglas L.\n\nScanning problems\nAbout a month ago I received a support call from a user who claimed to be\nhaving trouble with her new scanner. Apparently a member of our support team\nhad installed it while she was at lunch and it "just didn't scan anything."\nAfter asking her if it was powered along with the usual check-outs, I told\nher to start the scan program and click on scan in an attempt to scan in a\ntest page. No luck. She said she could hear it working but the image it\nproduced was black. I decided I would be better off seeing the situation for\nmyself and told her "I'd be right up." She agreed and said she would\ncontinue to try and make it work herself while she waited. When I arrived at\nher office the problem was immediately apparent. Picture the scene yourself:\na very frustrated young woman pressing a magazine cover firmly against the\nmonitor in total confusion. I did my best to contain the evil pleasure I\ntook while explaining to her the proper workings of her new flatbed\nscanner. -Jason K.\n\nPolly want a cable?\nI am a consultant who works with smaller and sometimes technically impaired\nbusinesses. One day I received a call from a client stating that his modem\ndid not work and he couldn't connect to the Internet to get his e-mail.\nSince the vast majority of his business transpired over the Internet, the\nproblem needed to be addressed quickly. I arrived on site and began running\ndiagnostics on the system and the modem. It appeared that everything was\nworking correctly. I spent almost two hours trying to find out why the modem\nwould respond to a diagnostic command yet would not dial. In a fit of\nexasperation I stated that I would take the modem back to my office and get\nhim a replacement until I could isolate the problem. As I went to disconnect\nthe serial cable, I noticed that one wire had been severed. When I asked if\nhe had any dogs or cats in his home office he replied negatively but seemed\nsomewhat embarrassed. It seems he does have a pet cockatoo that he would let\nloose in his office for exercise. I wonder if this bird had a taste for\nplastic? ;o) As soon as I replaced the cable, things immediately began to\nwork and I left with a smile and one thought on my mind. Who was really\ntechnically impaired that day, me or my client? At least now I always check\nmy cables...and my pets... -Tim M.\n\nLefty loosy, righty tighty\nI'm a helpdesk technician for a large company here in Philly. Recently, a\nremote user called in asking for help on how to remove the monitor cable\nfrom the back of the PC. She said that her husband had tried pulling it out,\nher 19 year old son tried and even her next door neighbor tried to remove\nthe cable from the PC. None could remove it, she said. So I asked, "Do you\nsee those two round knobs on the side of the plug?" "Yes," she said. "Well,\nunscrew them counter clockwise," I said. Next thing I heard were shouts of\njoy from the people congregated around the PC. -Fernandez\n\nEliminating redundancies\nWhen I first started, I was administering a 30 user Novell 4.1 LAN in a\nmid-sized company. We were on a single server, and ran applications from the\nsame directory where the shared data was stored. When the users would log\nin, they would get mapped to this directory three times, each time a little\nfurther down the directory structure. Well one day I got a phone call from a\nVP who was in a panic. He was obviously bored and was browsing the network\ndrives. He noticed he could see some of his data on each of the network\ndrives just in a different place. He interpreted this to mean that there was\nmore than one copy of his stuff on the network and being a helpful fella, he\ndeleted what he thought to be redundant directories, and was very upset when\nhis data completely disappeared. Thank goodness for the old Novell salvage\nutility! -Michael K.\n\nTight squeeze\nI had a user ask me for a floppy to back-up a file off of her hard drive.\nShe then asked where to insert the floppy. I told her to insert it into the\nsmall slot that's about the same size as the disk itself. Unfortunately for\nme, I was unaware she had an external Zip drive. She decided to ram the\nfloppy into the Zip drive as far as it would go. She then called me asking\nwhy she couldn't read anything off the floppy. -Mike P.\n\nAdvanced data storage\nI haven't done user support for over a year, thank God. Since coming to my\nnew job, I've been a great big network engineering nerd, so my stuff isn't\ntoo fresh, but dumb is dumb. These stories are true. I wrote them down as\nbest as I could remember it right after it happened because I wanted to make\nsure I remembered it.\nUser: "Oh my god, I've got a non-system disk error! I need a new computer\nnow!!!!"\nMe: "Is there a floppy in your drive?"\nUser: "What's a floppy? Aren't you going to bring me a new computer?"\nSide note, user was on fastest machine available on the market at that date.\nSomeone told these users that calling the techs can get you a new computer\nbecause they don't always feel like fixing it. The company I was working for\nwas very lazy, so this was essentially true. Why worry about troubleshooting\nwhen you can give a new machine and throw a clean image on the broken one?\nAnyway, back to the story.\nMe: "They're the small, plastic diskettes you save your data on."\nUser: "Oh. Well I don't use any of those."\nMe: Silently pulling out my hair because it's going to be one of those\ncalls, "OK, could you check the drive for me?"\nUser: "I don't listen to CD's at work. So are you going to get me a new\nmachine?"\nMe: "I understand. Could you check the drive above the CD?"\nUser: "OK."\nMe: "Is there anything in it?"\nUser: "How can you tell?"\nMe: "Press the little button by the side of the drive. If anything pops out,\nthere is a disk in the drive."\nUser: "The message is gone!!!!!!!!!! But now the light on my monitor is\norange."\nMe: Banging head against the wall.\n"Did you press the round power button?"\nUser: "Yes."\nMe: "The power button is on the left hand side of the computer. I want you\nto press the little rectangular button on the right side of the computer,\nthen press the power button again."\nUser: "The CD player won't open if you don't have the computer turned on"\nMe: "What's your location? I'll come on over?"\nUser: "Are you going to bring me a new computer?"\nI drove 25 minutes to another office to fix this lady's computer. There was\na disk in the drive, by the way. When I showed it to her, she just replied,\n"Oh yeah, that's how we all store our data." And no, she did not get a new\ncomputer. That's why I'm an engineer now at a respectable firm and my\ncolleagues at the old place are still doing level 1 support.\n\n"War Games"\nI had a user ask me once, "How do I get my computer to talk?"\nMe: "I'm not exactly sure what you mean."\nUser: "Talk, have conversations. Like in that movie, 'War Games'".\nMe: "That was a fictional movie. We don't have the technical capability to\ndo that here."\nUser continues to argue that it can be done, because his cousin has it on\nhis home PC. I later find out that the cousin is blind, so he has some kind\nof device that reads his email and documents and what not to him (sorry, I\ndon't know what it's called). Someone from the user's family came to the\noffice and set it up on his PC for him (I don't know if it was hardware or\nsoftware, never saw it, didn't care to). Anyway, the user got what he\nwanted, but I don't think he wanted what he got. I get a call to support his\nnew talking PC. Apparently, he was using this talking deal to look at Web\npages and it was reciting line after line of HTML code. I heard it over the\nphone, "Less than, capital H, 1, greater than, hello, less than, backslash,\ncapital H, 1, greater than". It took all self-control not to laugh at him. I\nsure wasn't going to support it. He had me on speaker phone, and I received\napplause from his cubicle mates when I informed him that non-standard items\nis grounds for me to take away his computer and give him a typewriter.\n\nI worked at an ISP in early 1995 when there was a sudden boom of morons\npurchasing PCs for home use and wanted to get online. I got at least one\ncall a week where someone paid for their service, had all the proper\nsettings on their machine, but still weren't able to connect. The answer to\nthe problem was always a) didn't plug in the phone line, or b) didn't even\nown a modem. You don't have to be a computer guru to check to make sure you\nhave the necessary equipment before paying for an ISP. -Anonymous\n\nMore password fun\nI was helping my sister-in-law establish a Web e-mail account [she's a real\nblonde by the way]. When we finally made it to the entry that asks you for a\nquestion in case you forget your password, I explained to her what is was\nfor, I then asked her to type it in, the question was encrypted and I\ncouldn't see it, It then occurred to me to remind her of something..."you\nneed to know the answer to the question", she immediately deleted her entry,\nand we timed out not soon after and had to start over again. -Doc, Systems\nEngineer\n\nLost cause\nA user called in regarding a problem with an Excel worksheet. After\nattempting to troubleshoot the problem with the user for quite a few\nminutes, it was clear the user should not be allowed to use Excel or even\nher PC for that matter. Without remote control available, I asked the user\nto send the file to me at my e-mail address [omitted]. She then asked if she\nwould be able to send the e-mail to me because she was on an IBM\ncomputer. -Danny C.\n\nThe infamous any key\nI am an electronic tech for one of the biggest retail chains in the world\nand have had quite a few funny questions presented. I suppose that we take\nfor granted that everyone is computer literate up to a point, but it's not\nso. I remember two incidents that I would like to share. The first was when\nI received a frantic call from one of my fellow associates that she needed\nhelp with her program. She said, "I've looked and looked but I cannot find\nthe 'any' key. Where is it?" The second was from a manager who wanted me to\norder him another coffee cup holder for his computer. I said excuse me but\nI'm not sure that I understand what you're asking for. He went on to explain\nthat it was real neat how it worked. Every morning when he turned his\ncomputer on his coffee cup holder would come out, but he had broken it and\nreally would like to have another. Think about it. -Fgask1949\n\nAnd the ever-popular coffee cup holder\nI was working tech support for a major corporate-level printer manufacturer\nand received a call from a user complaining that her printer was smearing\ntoner all over the page. In fact, she told me, in the three months she had\nit, it's always done that. My first thought was that the envelope levers\nwere flipped, so I had her open the left side of the printer to look. I\nasked her, "Do you see the small gray levers under the big blue levers?"\n"No," she replied. "Are they behind this orange thing that says 'remove\nthis'?'" And of course her next question was, "Should I remove it?" -Warren\nH.\n\nRepeat offender\nMy users are always guaranteed to make me laugh but one is really special.\nHere is her story via her help desk ticket history! First ticket: "User\ncan't log in." I call and tell her to be sure she is using the correct user\nID-her first initial and the first seven letters of her last name. Her\nresponse "...and what is that?" Second ticket: "Scanner is only scanning\nhalf a page." I arrive and take a look and pull the document back up on the\nscreen. Her response, "Golly how did it get down there?" Third ticket: "Your\nsoftware won't print." (Notice the "your") Again I make the trek to her work\narea, walk to the printer and retrieve the printed document. "Gee where did\nyou find that? I swear I looked!" Fourth ticket arrived late today: "User is\nin new department and this computer doesn't like her network password." I\nknow the help desk is howling and I can't wait till tomorrow morning to see\nwhat this turns out to be. -Another Anonymous Tech Support Person\n\nThe blinky thing\nA little over a year ago, I came across the user that defines computer\nilliteracy. I took him to DOS prompt because he could not use any Windows\neditors. I get him into the DOS Editor. We make the changes to the\nconfig.sys. He says, "Hey, something is wrong here." I ask him what is\nwrong-to describe it to me. His answer is: "I move the blinky thing and I\ncan't stop that dash from following it." I ask him to not move the blinky\nthing and ask him if the dash is at the bottom or middle? He says it is at\nthe bottom. "Okay, that is normal." -Roby M.\n\nIt's different in Canada\nI had a UK user call me up the other day asking what cables they required\nfor their laptop when traveling to Canada., i.e., for his external mouse &\nfloppy drive. He also added that he did not know what make his laptop was\nand could I tell him...Try opening your eyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! -Tuli\n\nMy arrow won't move\nI work for a holding company that supports several hundred employees. One\nday I get a call that a user's mouse is no longer working. I run through the\nnormal battery of tests (Have you moved your computer, possibly unplugging\nthe mouse, etc.). After having her check everything I could think of I\nthought I should personally examine the situation. As I approached her desk\nshe says "see my little arrow won't move". I tried to hold back my laughter\nand instructed her to let go of her stapler and use the mouse instead.\nAnother satisfied customer. -Jack A.\n\nSomething doesn't add up\nEveryone is familiar with the standard response of "I can't find the 'any'\nkey". Well I have one that is almost as priceless. I got a call one day from\na senior manager at a previous job who was having trouble completing an\nupgrade to one of her programs. The message that was being displayed was\npress any key and she was pressing the enter key and this was having no\neffect. She even used the mouse to position the arrow over the button and\nhit enter, still with no results. Well I knew that she could use the mouse\nto click the button, but I suspected her keyboard may have been unplugged so\nI told her I would come to her office and take a look. When I asked her to\nshow me the problem, I almost hemorrhaged trying to keep a straight face.\nYou see, on her desk right beside her keyboard was her adding machine. Yep,\nthat's right, one of the new ones with an enter button in place of an equal\nsign. Keeping the straightest face I could and coughing quite a bit as\ncover, I completed the install, moved her adding machine to the other side\nof the desk, and blamed it on those ever present Windows glitches. You see,\nshe wasn't just the world's dumbest user, she was also a SENIOR MANAGER!\nThanks. Have a nice day. -Dave R., Information Management Support\n\nThe power of power\nOne of our office personnel was complaining about the fact that she had\nproblems with her printer. She couldn't print anything from MS Word. She\nkeeps trying and trying but the printer just is not working and she wants a\nnew one right away. So, before considering her request, I take a quick look\nat her machine to notice the she has 35 copies of the document in the print\nqueue (obviously deciding that if it didn't work hitting the print button\nover and over was going to make it work) and the power light is not on. I\nhit the power button, informed her of the marvels of electricity and walked\naway. No, I didn't tell her how to clear out the print queue and I know she\nwas too embarrassed to ask. -Anonymous\n\nHungry computer\nSeveral years ago, one of my customers called and complained that his Altos\nminicomputer "ate" diskettes. I told him that this was not possible but he\ninsisted-the computer had already swallowed a lot of them. After some\ndiscussion it showed that he had put the diskettes in the slot between the\ntape and diskette drives! Remembering this still gives us (and the customer)\na good laugh. The best was when we visited his company to empty the computer\nfrom diskettes.... -Stefan B.\n\nWhere IS that icon?\nOne day a particularly technologically challenged individual called me for\nhelp. Fortunately, someone I knew was there when he made the call, or I\nnever would have heard this little gem. Bear in mind, this individual has\nbeen using PCs to do his job since MS-DOS was just a pup. I asked him to\nlook for the MS-DOS prompt icon on his desktop. After a very long pause the\nuser reports back "I don't think I have one of those. I can't find it\nanywhere!" My acquaintance told me later that the in-duh-vidual was\nfuriously sliding the papers around on his desk, trying to find the MS-DOS\nicon under the papers on his "desktop." -Greg B.\n\nIt's not always the user who's at fault\nWe work in a university and to give our team a bit of slack we encourage all\nour students to e-mail support questions to us rather than knocking on our\noffice door. One lad met me in a corridor just as I was trying to leave one\nevening and said he had a problem. I told him that he should e-mail me and\nleft. This happened on numerous occasions, always as I was walking out of\nthe building. The conversation would go something like : Him: "Oh, I'm still\nhaving that problem with my..." Me: "Look, I asked you to e-mail me, I\nhaven't received it yet so I haven't fixed your problem." Him: "But I...."\nMe: "Look I can't deal with it now, e-mail me." Him: "Ok," walking away\ndejectedly. After about 6 days of this I received an e-mail from one of his\ncolleagues apologizing but telling me that his friend's e-mail was broken.\nNeedless to say after I fixed it, I received about 10 e-mails from the poor\nguy very politely asking If I could do something about his broken\ne-mail. -Anonymous\n\nFun with users\nWe used to love winding up our users when resetting their passwords, a\nfavorite was to reset the poor user's password to DONTKNOW. Here's the\nconversation: "Hi, what did you reset my password to?" "DONTKNOW." "What do\nyou mean you don't know, didn't you reset it?" "Yes." "So what is it ?"\n"DONTKNOW." "What!" "DONTKNOW." "Why don't you know?" "Your password has\nbeen reset to D O N T K N O W " (spelled out very loudly on the phone so\nthat their colleagues nearby would hear). Drivel & abusive language would\nalways follow from the user for a while. We always replied with the\nstandard: "We reset it because you didn't know it-seemed pretty logical to\nme!" Please treat this as ANONYMOUS to protect the innocent! -Anonymous\n\nThe flip side\nYou may not believe this one. I had a hard time trying not to laugh. One of\nthe user's functions was to print on pre-printed forms and distribute them.\nThe forms were in a box and were to be loaded into the paper tray of a laser\nprinter. I received a call from a user at one of our ten sites. She had been\nprinting for a year now with a LaserJet onto the pre-printed forms. The\nalignment was crucial. She called one morning (after the first cup of\ncoffee) and told me she didn't want to complain, but the forms were placed\ninto the boxes in the wrong direction. I wanted to confirm and asked, "You\nmean some are in one direction and the forms change direction partially\nthrough the stack?". She said, "No, the forms are in the wrong direction in\nthe box." My reply to that was "You mean they are upside down?". She said\n"No the forms are in the wrong direction when I remove them from the box." I\nwanted to tell her to take them from the other side of the box. Or perhaps,\nremove the forms from the box and click her heels three times and say,\n"There's no place like home...". -Dwayne\n\nStolen keys\nI was employed as Network Administrator for the local school system when\nthis happened. My responsibilities also included handling help requests from\nteachers and faculty. I had been at work for about an hour when I received a\ncall from one of our oldest teachers. She knew nothing about computers and\nthe district had just purchased a new computer for her. It had been in her\nclassroom for two days. She reported that someone had stolen the keys from\nher keyboard!! I didn't know what to tell her so I told her I would be right\nover. I wanted to see this one for myself. I had never heard of anyone\nstealing keys off the keyboard. When I got to her room and looked toward the\ncomputer, I had to consciously keep myself from bursting out in laughter,\nwhich I knew would hurt her feelings. Without saying a word, I walked over\nto the computer, picked up the keyboard, and turned it right-side up.\nSomeone had flipped the keyboard over. I glanced at her quickly, and with a\nsmall smile on my face I quickly left. As soon as I was outside the building\nI had to laugh my head off. She later thanked me for not making her feel\nmore foolish about it, and now uses her computer more, and a lot better,\nthan most of the younger teachers in our District. -Doug P.\n\nWrong slot\nOne morning I received a panicked call from a client, saying that she had\nput a CD into the CD-ROM drive, but now it won't come out. I wasn't supposed\nto be into the office for another hour and a half, but such is the life of a\nconsultant. When I got to her office I asked her to move so I could take a\nlook at the computer, she responded that she had put the CD into another\nmachine. I don't remember why anymore, but that's irrelevant. We walked into\nanother room and she pointed to a machine. I looked at the machine, looked\nat her, looked at the machine again, looked back at her again...and said\n"That computer doesn't have a CD-ROM drive in it!" She had put the CD into a\n5 1/4" floppy drive! I ended up removing the CD with a pair or\ntweezers. -Ryan G., Network Specialist\n\nUserids\nI run a small campus network and a computer lab that is used by close to 300\nK through 8 students and teachers. To make things simple I have generic\nuserids and profiles set for up for each grade (i.e. Grade 1, Grade 2,\netc.). The teachers, of course, have individual userids and home\ndirectories. No matter how many in-services I give the teachers, I still get\nasked to come and see why their "password won't work". Inevitably, I watch\nover their shoulders as they carefully type in their password, while leaving\nthe User Name box set to Grade 5! -Sharon P.\n\n\n\nShut the door\nI've been in support for years, but by far, the best one I had was about a\nguy having trouble with his floppy drive. This was in the days of the 51/4\nfloppies. He kept trying to access the floppy, but always got an error. I\nproceeded to ask him if the door was closed. Maybe I should have specified\nthe "drive door". I heard him put the phone down, walk across his office,\nand shut the door. When he came back, I was in tears, and had to call him\nback because I couldn't contain my laughter anymore. I'm not sure if he\nnoticed though... -Gaspare\n\nPlug it in\nWe have a user that is a director of the department. I received an issue to\ngo help get the user on the network (a notebook) I received the same thing\nabout a day or two later. What I put into the issue to resolve this was "\nOnce again it helps to plug the Cat 5 cable in." -Henry S., Computer\nTechnician\n\nTough wrapper\nA few years ago, we had a client that had just bought a Unix system from us.\nWe shipped the system preloaded and all the client needed to do was connect\nthe cables and turn it on. The client called a local tech in to connect the\ncables and the system booted with no problems. After a short while the\nclient needed to install an update on the system, so we sent the client some\nfloppy disks. The client kept complaining that the disks were hard to take\nout of the wrapper and put in and take out of the computer. None of the\ndisks would work. Finally we sent the client a set of disks that I\npersonally had tested. Again, they did not work. We called a technician out\nto check on the problem with the floppy drive. When he arrived the client\nwas out on an appointment but he used his own disks to verify there was\nnothing wrong with the drive. He could not test the disks that I had sent\nout because the secretary could not find them. I finally asked the client to\nmail me back a set of bad disks. When they arrived, I couldn't stop\nlaughing. The client had taken the disks out of the black protective plastic\nsleeves and tried to use them. Most of them were very bent. -Anna\n\nIs this thing on?\nI am the only IS person (NT 4.0 network) for our company of about 45 users.\nOne day I got a call from a user who we always have problems with. The\nreceptionist had been called off so she was working out at the front desk.\nShe wanted to know if I could transfer her personal documents over the\nnetwork from her computer to the one at the front desk. I told her to just\nlog in as herself, not the receptionist, since I have roaming profiles set\nup. She said there were a bunch of files open and she didn't want to close\nthem all, log in again, and open them all back up. I then remembered that I\nhad helped her share her personal folder a few months before so that another\nemployee and the receptionist could have access to them. Problem solved! The\nperson she was logged in as had access to the share, so I reminded her of\nthis. She then proceeded to tell me that she couldn't connect to her\ncomputer herself over the network that I would have to do it, because since\nthe receptionist called in sick, she never even turned the PC on in the\nmorning! -Marc K., MCP, IS Director\n\nJust a little adjustment needed\nAs a former support person for a law firm, I have many, many stories\nregarding lawyers and technology. However, one in particular stands out.\nWhen the firm moved from a DOS-based to a Windows-based environment, this\nparticular lawyer "didn't have time" to attend the training we provided. The\nday we switched to Windows, he called me into his office because he couldn't\nget the mouse to move appropriately and the buttons didn't work properly.\nAfter he showed me what he was attempting to do, I quickly turned the mouse\naround and explained that it might work better right-side-up. -Kelly B.,\nMCP, CAN, Technical Training Consultant\n\n\n\nI'm hanging up now\nI was working at a major online service at the time. I was talking to a\nwoman who was using a Macintosh with our software and she was not on our\nlatest software build. I noticed in the call log that the previous tech\ninstructed her to download the latest software and install it and then she\nwould be okay. So I asked her, "Did you go out and download the software and\ninstall it already?" She responded, "Oh no, I haven't gone anywhere, I've\nbeen home the whole day." I clarified, "Okay, but did you download the\nlatest software from our Web site?" She said, "Didn't that guy I talked to\nlast time do that for me?" I asked, "Did he download the software for you to\nyour computer? Is that what you are saying occurred?"-which we neither had\nthe ability or desire to do, so I knew this was not the case. She said,\n"Well sure. He described it as he was doing it." I said, "Ma'am, he was\ngiving you directions so that YOU could do it. I'll go ahead and put those\ndirections in an e-mail for you. You just go online and check your e-mail\nand follow the directions okay?" She said, "Okay, but I have to hang up to\nuse the phone line to get online." I said, "Yes ma'am, you sure do." Thank\nGod for single-line households. -Paige L.\n\nCreative installation plans\nI had a user who wanted me to install some printer drivers for her manager.\nAt this time her manager was traveling and had taken his laptop with him.\nShe took me into his office and said: "Can you install the printer drivers\nfor his new printer?" I said: "OK, but I could not install the drivers,\nuntil he returns with his laptop" Well she said: "Can't you install the\ndrivers in the terminal (referring to his monitor)" I said: "How would you\nlike me to install the drivers?" So she went over to the monitor and turned\nit on. We both stood there looking at the monitor for a couple of seconds.\nThen she realized that nothing was happening and turned off the monitor, and\nsaid: "I guess we will have to wait until he comes back with his laptop" I\ncould not believe this user (who has a computer of her own at her desk) was\nso blind to the fact that you need a computer to install printer\ndrivers. -Jason\n\nIs there an antidote?\nI had a user a few years ago ask me if he needed to go to the doctor to get\na shot to protect himself from the computer virus going around. It was all I\ncould do to not burst out laughing while explaining computer viruses. -Randy\nS., Sr. Programmer/Analyst\n\nAll I did was.\nI worked at a manufacturer of network management software a few years ago,\nand we had a client (alleged network admin) who used LAN Manager 2. He\ncalled us one day in high dudgeon because our blessed software had stopped\nblinking working (I paraphrase slightly). On questioning him further, I\nascertained that it was recent, and that our (OS/2 1.3/LAN Manager-based)\nservices did not now run. "No, nothing's flaming changed..." quoth he\n"...all I've done is apply an upgrade." "What upgrade?" I asked innocently.\n"All I chuffing did was upgrade my chuffing PDC to NT, I followed all the\nchuffing instructions...". I did my best to explain to him that different\noperating systems didn't necessarily run the same software, but he was\nfairly incoherent by then. Mentioning that he could contact our sales\ndepartment about purchasing an upgrade was possibly less than\npolitic. -Anonymous\n\nI'm not that dumb\nI work for a public relations firm. We had a user very recently call me and\ncomplain about how slow the laptop we'd given her was. It was actually my\nold laptop, so I knew the thing was actually pretty speedy and I wanted to\nfind out why it was slow for her. She complained that she'd been at a client\nsite giving a PowerPoint presentation and the slide transitions crawled,\nsometimes taking 10-30 seconds to bring up a slide. I thought to myself\n"Sheesh, she ran it off a floppy, and that's why it's slow." I asked if this\nwere the case and she acted indignant and said "No, I'm not that dumb, I ran\nit off the network." I asked her how she'd run it off our network if she was\nat the client's site. It turns out she'd dialed up a RAS connection and been\nrunning her 10Mb presentation across a phone line. -Anonymous\n\n\nSystem crash\nA customer wanted to know why their system kept crashing every time they\nwere running AutoCAD 12 or 13. We looked at their system setup and you would\nnot believe what they had. 486DX2/66, 8MB RAM, 540MB Hard Drive I think the\ndrive was compressed, Windows 95. Hopefully I can remember the other ones to\nsend also. -Jennifer\n\nNeed an acre or so\nA couple of years ago I worked with a woman who complained that her mouse\npad wasn't big enough. We used optical mice so if the mouse went of off the\npad, the pointer stopped moving. She would slide her mouse over to the end\nof the pad and the pointer was still in the middle of the screen so,\nobviously, the mouse pad wasn't large enough. It never occurred to her to\npick the mouse up and reposition it. -Tim P., Software Engineer.\n\nIntermittent problem\nAfter one of my techs completed some installs on one of our more\n'challenged' end looser user I received a call from her. Apparently whenever\nshe hits her spacebar; one of the phones in the next cubicle rings, but not\nall the time. She wanted to know when we could fix this 'intermittent '\nproblem? -Doug Greenfield, Performance Engineer\n\nNot-so-mass destruction\nA guy from my office brings in his computer and asks me if I can rebuild it\nfor him, reloading Windows and all of his applications. He claimed that all\nof his programs were corrupt, none of them worked right, and a virus must\nhave destroyed everything. The solution was a bit simpler than he expected.\nHis hard drive was full. I removed a couple of programs that he no longer\nused and everything then worked great. -Stan Durbin, Technical Trainer\n\nNo sugar added\nOne story still sticks with me. A supervisor in the accounting division\ncalled me and reported that one of her clerks had spilled a soda in the\nkeyboard and it would not function properly. I told her that the keyboard\nuses electricity and that the liquid probably was causing a problem. Her\nresponse: "But it was a diet soda!" -C.E.\n\n"ID Ten T"\nI had recently set up a docking station for a user. They were expecting\nproblems and sure enough a few minutes after leaving, she called me to\nreport their keyboard was locked up. Nothing she typed was being entered. A\nquick visit to her office showed the problem. She was trying to reply to an\ne-mail but nothing she type showed up. She had not actually hit return yet.\nBecause she was only viewing the e-mail, naturally she couldn't edit it.\nJust another error code with the ID Ten T (ID10T). -Bob F.\n\nMake it go away\nI would like to nominate my Ex Sister-in Law for the dumbest user award.\nAfter building and setting her up with a new system, she called me to ask\nabout the computer going on idle. I told her that, yes, her system could and\nwould go on idle. After discussing this with her to explain everything\nproperly, she called back to ask how to shut down the monitor, while the\ncomputer was on idle. Which of course I responded: by simply turning it off.\nI found this to be a very funny question. Thought you would too! -Teresa H.\n\nHow do you drive this thing?\nI have a great one for you. About 4 months ago I was installing new\ncomputers in a securities firm on Wall Street. I brought the computer in to\na broker, set it up and left. The next day he requested I come to his\noffice. He lifts his mouse and asks, "What the hell is this?" I reply,\n"That's your mouse." He responds to me, "What the hell do I need this\nfor?" -John C.\n\nKissing cousins\nThe story I have to tell isn't really about a dumb user, though I can't help\nbut think of him whenever the topic comes up. The scene: I'm a tech for an\nISP, and taking new account configuration calls. This fellow calls in with\nproblems. He can't understand the instructions on the CD sleeve for how to\ninstall the software, get online, and start chatting. Okay-we have this all\nthe time. So much so, that we have a step by step walk through, complete\nwith screenshots of every step as a guide. I pull it up just to make sure I\ncan be as explicit as possible with this gentleman who seems to be having so\nmany problems. I spent nearly an hour and a half with him on the phone\ngetting him configured and connected. He required three or four repeats and\nadditional explanations for every step of the process. He was very earnest,\nand tried very hard, and I could tell he felt sorry for his inability to\ncomprehend what I was trying to explain to him. When we finally got him\nconfigured and ready to go, he was very pleased. It was his parting shot\nthat's stuck with me through the years. "I'm really sorry that took so long.\nYou'll have to forgive me, my parents were related!" I barely managed to\nhang the headset up before losing control of the burst of laughter that\nerupted. To this day, I still chuckle whenever I think of that phone\nconversation. -Tom S., Micro Computer Services, Desktop\n\nCan I get a copy of that?\nRemember the good old "486"-days when every CPU had a keylock switch? One of\nour customers called us, saying he was unable to start his computer, because\nhe hasn't got a key to start the engine. Also, a customer called because he\nhad a problem with a diskette he wanted to use. Our sales representative\ntold him to send us a copy of this disk. After two minutes the fax machine\nprinted out a copy of the diskette. We sent the fax back with the\ninformation that it is a double-sided disk, and we would need the other side\nalso. (Not nice, but a good laugh for us) Sorry for my English. -Michael W.\n\nWhere does this cord go?\nOur software company hired a new "remote" salesperson who called each of the\nadmins in our department at least once a day for the first two weeks with a\nnumber of different complaints/problems. At one point she called complaining\nthat her laptop battery wasn't holding the charge and something was wrong\nwith the power supply. I had tested everything before sending it out to her,\nand another admin and I tried troubleshooting the problem over the phone\nwith her. We ended up having her send everything back. We tested it and all\nworked fine. We returned the laptop to her and she was still having\nproblems. My co-worker finally deduced that she was trying to connect the\npower supply through the CPU cooling vent which was located next to the\npower supply input. -Anonymous\n\n\n\nHuman error\nThe first happened earlier this year when a printer was delivered directly\nto a user, rather than the IS department. The user, taking the initiative,\ndecided to install the printer himself. He did amazingly well for a\nnon-computer person, and got everything connected correctly. Reading the\nmanual, he discovered he had to now install the drivers, which were on CD.\nHis computer was rather old, and unbeknownst to him did not come with a CD\ndrive. It did, however, feature a 5 ¼" floppy drive which he had never used.\nIn many car CD players, you simply push the CD into a slot, and the\nmechanism will "grab" it and pull it in. Thinking a PC CD drive was the same\nway, he stuck it into the 5 ¼" drive slot. About halfway in, it stuck, but\nwith just a bit of a push he managed to get it all the way in. He finally\ncalled us when, in spite of flipping the drive lever down, the computer\nstill wouldn't find the drivers. We never did get the CD out.\n\nAnother incident involved the Operations Manager for our company. A normally\ncalm and intelligent person, he was frustrated by an error within Outlook.\nWhenever he would open mail, suddenly lines would start inserting at the\nbeginning of the letter. The body of the message scrolled down off the\nscreen so quickly, he couldn't read it. While it happened to him regularly,\nour tech support department was unable to duplicate the error, even on the\nuser's computer. Finally we noticed that, when reading email, his forearm\nwould lay across the keyboard, just clipping the "Enter" button on the\nnumber pad. -Jim P., IS Support Center\n\nSalesman didn't know jack\nI just moved my daughter into her dorm at UC Santa Barbara and the dorm has\njust installed a new Ethernet network. I had installed the Ethernet card but\nI did not have the patch cord needed to connect to the network. I went to a\ncouple of large electronics stores (Circuit City & Radio Shack) but they had\nrun out because of the large demand from the school dorms. The third place I\nstopped at was Staples and when I ask if they had any Ethernet patch cords\nthe sales person took me to where they were supposed to be located (after he\nhad asked someone about the location) and there were none in the area. The\nSales Person then proceeded to take me to another location and pulled a\nphone extension off the rack and told me that this would work just as well.\nI am a Technician at an IS shop and very familiar with networks and its\nequipment and I knew that this would not work. As I explained to him why\nthis would not work I wondered how many he had sold to parents that did not\nhave any technical training in this field. My guess is that there are a few\nunhappy parents out there that wondering why the cord will not fit in the\njack. -Bob R., Desktop Services\n\nThat's what you do.\nThen there's the one about the "IT Professional" who bought a brand-new,\nfully configured system. It was delivered and set up by the technician who\nbuilt it. Imagine the tech's surprise to receive an irate call from Mr.\nProfessional that his system would not boot into Windows. After a grueling\n60 minute telephone run-down, the tech went back (a 60-mile round-trip) to\nMr. P's home. Imagine the tech's even greater surprise when he found that\nMr. P had fdisked his hard drive. When asked why he did that to a\npre-configured machine, he replied "It's brand-new and that's what you\nalways do with brand-new computers." "Sigh" -Nancy W.\n\nFloral life\nAll right, here's one for the record books: I had a user who consistently\nhad problems with her monitor. I visited her PC multiple times, and each\ntime she complained that the monitor was malfunctioning, and she wanted a\nnew one. I replaced the monitor twice before getting suspicious. After the\nlast call, I pretended to walk away, only to turn and see her stand up and\nwater the plant she had just replaced back ON TOP OF THE MONITOR! She will\nbe waiting a long time for a replacement now. -Jonathan F., Network, MIS\n\n\n\nWindow pains\nPanicking, one of my users came running into my office. "Something is really\nwrong with my machine. The Windows all look funny." I walked with the person\nback to their office and had them show me what they meant. "See, the Window\nfills the whole screen. It was never like that before. I can't work with it\nlike that." After explaining how to resize Windows with the Maximize,\nMinimize, Restore buttons, and making the person walk through the steps so\nto be able to do it in the future, we still had to go through how to get the\nscreen exactly the right size so that the user could "work normally." It was\namazing how the Window had to be a certain size for the person to think they\ncould use it. Showing them that they could still work in any size Window did\nnot matter. It took about 30 minutes to fix the problem to their\nsatisfaction. Well, two days later, the user comes back into my office. "You\nknow that problem I had where my computer looked all funny? Well, it\nhappened again!! Can you fix it?" -Anonymous\n\nIs that a fedora?\nI was handling support calls for a fairly complex financial package. The\nend-user assured me she knew her way around the PC and that she could handle\nmost problems on her own. As we began to work through the system, I asked\nher, "What do you see on your screen?" I suggested she get some remedial\nhelp, when she answered "Oh, I've got a "C" with a funny little sideways\nhat." -Ron E.\n\n\n\nSpaced out\nHere's a dumb user story for you. I was working in a help desk environment\nand working with a user over the phone. I was trying to get her to type the\nfollowing command " assign c: d: ." I told her to type exactly what I said,\nwhich was "assign space c: space d:" and every time she typed in the command\nshe said it came back with bad command or file name, so after a couple of\ntimes I asked her to tell me what she was typing letter by letter, to which\nshe responded with the following "assign space c: space d: " As you can see,\nshe was typing the word space instead of using the space bar. -Gary Y., NT\nSystem Engineer\n\nDisk errors\nThree users come to mind, all involving floppy disks.\n\n1. While working for the Education department I had a phone call from a user\nwho needed a document off a disk, but was having problems with the document\non the disk. I asked her to send me a copy of the disk so I could have a\nlook and retrieve the document. 5 minutes later I had a copy of the disk,\nfrom the fax machine. She had copied the disk on the photocopier and faxed\nit to me.\n\n2. A school principal rang and told me he had problems with a floppy disk\nwhich had very important information on it, and no, he had not made a\nbackup. I went to the school and asked for the disk, which was given to me\nin three pieces. His cat had been playing with it and pulled it apart!\n\n3. A school was having problems with all disk drives, but only when using\ndisks the school had created. I went and had a look. No problems, it read\nevery disk I put into it and created. It was then I saw the problem. A\nteacher came in with a disk with student work on it and asked for it to be\nlabeled. The office girl took the disk, put a disk label on to it and\ninserted it into the typewriter to type the name on to the disk. I thought\nthe disks looked a bit bent! -Tim Sayre\n\nBack to basics\nWe have a user here at our office who was using his daughter's name as the\nmain part of his password and has a number on the end of it. Each month he\njust adds one to the number and he has a new password. Even though this\nseems like a relatively easy thing to do when prompted by the network to\nchange his password, he always has a problem and locks up his system. The\ntechnician or admin usually has to help him change his password. One month\nhe forgot how to spell his daughter's name-her name is Catherine and he kept\nspelling it with a K! -Mamie A.\n\nOne small adjustment\nI work in a government agency, but I won't quote who or where (to protect\nthe users), in an IT Branch, and we'll get inundated by users requesting\nassistance. This particular day, I received a call from a manager\nproclaiming her disk drive was malfunctioning because she couldn't insert\nthe diskette. Making sure she wasn't trying to insert a 3.5" into a 5.25"\ndrive and vice versa (yeah, we get those too), I told her I'd stop by after\ncompleting another run. Later that day, I walked into the facility and asked\nfor the manager who proclaimed, "Thank God you're here." She escorted me to\nthe machine in question and demonstrated her plight..."See it won't go in."\nI stood there for about 15 seconds examining the disk drive, then flipped\nthe diskette over and it promptly went in (it was one of those boxes that\nhad the user pop in the diskette on the side). I quickly walked out of the\nfacility and busted out laughing. -Ralph\n\nBig splash\nWe recently took the browser service and network neighborhood icons away\nfrom our users, as many of them were venturing into the world of "browsing"\nour servers, causing many potential security threats. As a result, they lost\ntheir mapped drives to their personal folders on their local file servers.\nWe emailed everyone the instructions for the "net use persistent" command to\nrestore those links, but there were a few who didn't quite "get it". One of\nthese called and insisted that he had followed our instructions to the\nletter, but still could not map the drive. Over and over I asked him to\nrepeat to me what he had heard from me: "net use x: /persistent:yes\n\\server\file" . He repeated it word for word, but still insisted that it\nwould not work. I finally dialed in to his PC with our remote software to\nsee what he had typed. This is what was on the command line: "net use x:\nforwardsplashpersistent:yes \server\file." Genius, sheer genius. -Bill A.\n\nHead of the class\nI used to work for a 2-year branch college of a 4-year school as the Senior\nInformation Systems Technician. I received a call one day from one of the\nMath Professors and she said that her printer would not work. I asked her if\nshe had turned it on and received a barrage of indignant responses stating\nthat she had a Ph.D. in mathematics and she knew enough to turn her "damn"\nprinter on. I went upstairs to the Doctor's office and looked at her printer\nwith her standing there next to me. I turned the printer on and watched as a\nbunch of files started printing out. I was quickly informed that if I told\nanyone about this incident I would fail Calculus IV. (I passed the class\nwith an "A" and promptly told the entire school after I finished the\nsemester). -Bobby C.\n\nAnother under-cover disk error\nThis happened to me some time ago while I was working for the Support\nDepartment of an accounting software company. At the time I was doing\ntelephone support. We had just sent out an update to the software, with\ninstructions to call the help desk if anyone had problems installing. I\nreceived a call from this guy saying that the disk didn't fit into his\nfloppy disk drive. After quite a bit of messing around, I finally worked out\nthat he actually had a 5 1/2" disk, instead of the 3 1/2" I was expecting...\nNo problem, I also got him to measure his disk drive, and we worked out that\nthis was also 5 1/4" (a rare case of sending the correct sized disk to the\ncustomer). After telling the guy to turn the disk around, and upside down,\nand everything else I could think of, I started to wonder how stupid this\nuser really was, or if I was missing something....So I asked if he had\nremoved the disk from its cover (you know, the paper slips the 5 1/4" disk\ncome in). He replied that he hadn't realized that he had to take it out of\nits cover, but that's not the end of the story....After coming back to the\nphone a few minutes later, he said that although the disk now fitted into\nthe disk drive, he couldn't get the software to run. At this stage, I\narranged a site visit to go out and help the poor bloke. When I turned up\nonsite, it turned out that when he had taken it "out of its cover", he had\ntaken a knife and opened up the disk, taking out the actual floppy inside,\nthen jammed this into the drive. The reason it hadn't fitted in the first\nplace was that there was another disk still in the drive....Soon after this\nthe client changed brands of software, and started using another company for\nsupport....We were so sorry to see him go... -Andrew W.\n\nGreen with envy?\nMy husband and I own a small computer sales/service business. I got a call\none day from a customer who had recently purchased a computer system,\ncomplete with printer. She was complaining that her new printer would not\nprint in color. I went through the normal procedure for troubleshooting\nprinter problems, but still she got no color. The document she was printing\nwas a Microsoft Word document and she was trying to print it green. Finally,\nI asked if she had set her font color to green, and her response was, "What\nis font color?" Problem solved!! -Kerry L.\n\nIt ain't heavy, it's a program\nHere's one that tops all the stories I have ever encountered or heard....One\nof the advancement planning committees in the area had actually gotten to\nthe point where it had a huge staff and a growing technology problem. They\nfinally hired someone to be on point for tech questions. He was\nvery...creative ...in his solutions to problems. One day, he was talking to\nthe receptionist downstairs and she mentioned that she wanted a monitor\nstand to let the monitor go above her desk surface, since she was running\nout of room to do her work. Very seriously, he advised against getting one\nbecause they did not work after a while. She asked him why they stopped\nworking and he replied, "Well, every time you add a program onto your\ncomputer, it puts an icon on the desktop and adds an entry to the start\nmenu. After awhile, too much gets on there and the monitor becomes heavier\nand heavier, and the stand can't support the weight. The whole thing can\ncrash down, just because you put a few more programs on." He recently left\nthe position because he said nobody took his advice seriously enough. Wonder\nwhy.... -Elisabeth McM.\nLawyer was in the dark\nThe lawyer's secretary calls me and she is all in a fluster. Her monitor is\nnot working. Attempts to talk her through the routine steps, "Is it plugged\nin?", "Is the power switch on?" etc., were met with a screeching "fix it\nnow!" I requested she put her boss on, the lawyer gets on the phone, and I\nattempt to begin the problem identification process again. The lawyer is\nalmost as bad as the secretary. After a few minutes of futile attempts to\ncalm them down, I informed the lawyer that I would come to the office to\naddress the problem. I told him that if the problem was a hardware failure\nthere would be no charge but if the problem was not a hardware failure then\nthey would be billed a service call minimum, .00 plus taxes. He agreed to\nthese terms. I drove to their office and identified the problem within 1\nminute. Someone had turned the brightness on the monitor down to the minimum\nsetting. At least they paid the bill I presented without argument. -Mark D.,\nOperations Manager\n\nWhat are you running here?\nI have two. A lady called the shop I work at and asked to speak with a\ntechnician. I answered the phone and asked her how I could help her. She\nsaid she had printer problems. After asking several questions and I was not\ngetting anywhere I asked her what program she was running when she had the\nprinter problem. There was long silence and great disgust in her voice when\nshe finally said, "I am not running a program I am running a computer." At\nthat I was lost as what to say.\n\nSecond story: I was working on a computer one day when a young man came into\nthe shop and was asking me if the owner needed any more help. He stated he\nknew everything there was to know about computers and was looking for a job.\nI told him he would have to talk with the boss about that. As we continued\nto talk I discovered the computer I was working on was his and he had\nWindows totally corrupt. I never let him know I was working on his computer\nbut it was hard to keep a straight face. The cover to his computer was under\nthe bench so he did not realize that it was his computer I was working on. I\nhope you get a chuckle out of these. -Wesley R.\n\n\n\nThe chicken or the egg?\nHere's the one that won our Ticket of the Year at our site's Ticket of the\nWeek Sweepstakes. Other than the problem in the trouble ticket, there was\nanother problem: we of the tech support staff didn't know whether to give\nthe award to the user or to the help desk for not resolving the issue and\nwent ahead and opened the ticket. The ticket read, and I quote, "User cannot\nread files in Microsoft Word after they have been deleted." -Bill S.\n\nCouldn't you just wave?\nWhile I was working at a customer's site one day, the system manager walked\ninto the computer room, sat down in front of the console terminal, looked\nstraight into the terminal, and very loudly said "HELLO" to his console. He\nthen proceeded to log in to the system. I had to stop what I was doing to\nsee what he was saying hello to. Digital Equipment Corp had an operating\nsystem called RSTS-11 which typed "SAY HELLO" on your terminal screen when\nyou attempted to log in to the system. You were then supposed to respond\nwith your account and password. This system manager (who had a Ph.D.)\nresponded to the login message by verbally saying "Hello". I asked him why\nhe was shouting hello to the terminal. His response was that he had to shout\nhello so the computer could hear him over the computer system's noise. If he\ndid not say it loud enough, the system would not let him log on. Needless to\nsay, I had to leave the room before I busted out laughing. -John D.\n\nDo disks gain weight?\nI had a user say that she has a 3.5" floppy disk that she had been using for\nseveral months and now it no longer fits in the drive. When I visited her\nPC, sure enough, her floppy disk was half way inserted and she could not\npush it in any further. I removed the floppy and tried it myself, and it\nwould only go in half way. Upon examining the floppy, I saw that she had\napplied a new label. The label was the long version that wraps over the top\nof the floppy, but she applied it only to the front of the disk, thus\ntrapping the metal sliding door under the new label. -Dave U.\n\nMissing equipment\nOkay, while performing the duties (punishment?) of the help desk I received\nthis call: Ringing Phone.\nMe: Help Desk! How can I assist you today?\nCaller: Well my scanner isn't working.\nMe: I see. Is the power turned on?\nCan you see a green light next to the power button?\nCaller: Yes!\nMe: Is the cable connected from the scanner to the back of the computer?\nCaller: Yes!\nMe: Does your computer report any errors when you attempt to scan a\ndocument?\nCaller: No! It just doesn't scan this report in. I need this done in two\nhours and I can't get this thing to work.\nMe: I'll send a technician out. Ringing phone after technician dispatched.\nMe: Help Desk! How can I assist you today?\nTechnician: (holding back laughter) This ticket on the scanner is closed.\nI'll put my comments on the repair ticket.\nTechnician returns Laughing and having a great time.\nMe: What's up with the scanner?\nTechnician: Read the ticket.\nI pull up the ticket and read: No scanner. User needs a brain transplant.\nUser attempted to scan a document into the monitor by holding it up to the\nscreen and stepping on the mouse. By the way, the mouse needs to be replaced\nas the user crushed it. Now that's dumb! -Neal R.\n\n\n\nShift in thinking necessary\nI work for a computer repair company. One day I got a call from a woman who\nwanted to know how to delete files in Windows 95. I got her into Windows\nExplorer and then asked which files she wanted to delete. She responded with\n"All of them". I explained to her that she did not want to delete all of her\nfiles because this would make her computer inoperable and found out that she\nwas trying to delete files because the new version of AOL would not install\nuntil she had enough free space on her hard drive. I asked her to read the\ndirectories that were on her computer and found out that they were aol30a,\naol30b, aol30c, etc. I decided that it would be safe to remove some of the\nold AOL directories so I told her to highlight the folders, hold down the\nShift key and then press Delete. I heard a repeated beep and asked her which\nkey she was holding down. "The long one at the bottom." "Ma'am," I replied,\n"that is the space bar. The shift key is the one with the word "Shift"\nwritten on it. -Christian H., Support Specialist\n\nOblivious developer\nI belong to a mailing list for developers using a certain product. The list\nmoderator is an author who has written a book on learning how to develop\nwith this product. In her signature line she lists the title and publisher\nof her book. Recently a subscriber to the list posted a note to the group\nasking her for the title of the book. DUH! -Scott D.\n\nBut the light goes off!\nThis is close to one which I read on your site. A user called to complain\nthat her virus scan didn't work first thing in the morning like everyone\nelse's in her department did. I asked her what happened when she booted her\ncomputer in the morning. She said that nothing happened. While she was away\nat lunch, I rebooted her PC and the virus scan automatically scanned her PC.\nNext day she called to complain that I still hadn't fixed it. I immediately\nwent to her desk, and asked her to show me what it does. She turned her\nmonitor off, then back on and said "See!". Apparently she was just turning\noff her monitor at night and she thought turning it on, rebooted her\nPC. -Fred R.\nOne liner\nHere in Tennessee when you mention "megabytes" they think you mean a good\nday at fishing. -Thad\n\nColor blind\nI was called to assist the MD's PA who was complaining bitterly about how\nbad her PC was (again); this time she was complaining that whenever she\ntried to type anything, nothing happened. This really threw me as it only\nseemed to happen in Microsoft Word. After a little bit of investigation, and\nmultiple denials of culpability, it turned out that she had set the colors\nto white text on a white background. -John H.\n\nThat's not nice!\nWe recently migrated to Lotus Notes, which displays the 'folder' name the\nuser is in at the top of the screen, along with the user's name. One poor\nsoul called the Help Desk with the following: "It says, Jane Q. Doe - Trash\non my mail screen. I AM *NOT* TRASH!" Enjoy :-) -Nancy A.\n\nHide and go seek\nI had a user call about a problem printing a letter using Word 97. After a\ncertain point beginning with an "h", all the words had dots (.....) under\nthem and did not print. She swore that it was something wrong with her\ncomputer. I tried to tell her that she had somehow hit [Shift]+[Control]+H\nat the same time which is the shortcut to hide text. The next day she called\nwith the same problem, again insisting it was a problem with the computer.\nWhen I told her once again how to remove the hidden text option, she said\nshe would write it down so it wouldn't happen again. I'm sure it is still\nhappening and she still thinks it is her computer. Thanks for the\nlaughs. -Melinda J.