A selection of true
stories from IT Helpdesk Staff
Customer: 'I received the software update you sent, but I am still getting the same error message.'
Tech Support: 'Did you install the update?'
Customer: 'No. Oh, am I supposed to install it to get it to work?'
Customer: 'I'm having trouble installing Microsoft Word.'
Tech Support: 'Tell me what you've done.'
Customer: 'I typed 'A:SETUP'.'
Tech Support: 'Ma'am, remove the disk and tell me what it says.'
Customer: 'It says '$PC manufacturer! Restore and Recovery disk'.'
Tech Support: 'Insert the MS Word setup disk.'
Tech Support: 'Did you buy MS word?'
Customer: 'I'm thinking about writing a book on the problems I'm having with S3 Video cards and warp and...' (blah, blah, blah, etc.)
Tech Support: 'What exactly is your problem?'
Customer: 'I've downloaded the video drivers for the PS/VP's with
the S3 chipset, and they won't work on my machine.'
Tech Support: 'Have you got a PS/VP sir?'
Customer: 'Do I need a computer to use your software?'
Tech Support: 'What type of computer do you have?'
Customer: 'A white one.'
The customer was using release 1 of Windows 95, and I was using Windows 98, so I had to ask her a question about what her Explorer window looked like:
Tech Support: 'Up at the top it says File, Edit,a nd View. What does it
sayjust to the right of View?'
Tech Support: 'No, to the right of View.'
Tech Support: 'Ok, what's on the other side of View?'
Customer: 'Oh, Tools.'
Tech Support: 'Click your left mouse button.'
Customer: 'Which one is that?'
Tech Support: 'Well, you know your left from your right, so click
the buttonon your left.'
Tech Support: 'What happened?'
Tech Support: 'You did click the left mouse button?'
Customer: 'I think so.'
Tech Support: 'The one on your left?'
Customer: 'Which one was that again?'
Someone complained that her monitor was 'all green.' The problem,
I guessed, was due to the monitor cable not being correctly connected, so that the red and blue pins weren't making contact. I talked her through the checking process, but she was adamant that the cable was correctly plugged in. Somewhat puzzled, I decided to visit her office. Sure enough, the cable wasn't correctly inserted. She'd forced it ina nd bent some pins. I pointed it out, and she said with some astonishment, 'It wasn't like that a moment ago'
I fixed it, then asked what it had been like before. She said
that theplug had been a different shape. I finally figured out
what she meant. She had been checking the other end of the cable,
where it plugs intothe desktop chassis. I pointed this out to
her. She said, quote, 'Oh I didn't know it had two ends'
Customer: 'I'm going to be using Windows NT. Should I get the
Server or Workstation version?'
Tech Support: 'Well, are you using it as a workstation or as a
Customer: 'A server. So, which one do I get?'
Tech Support: 'The server version perhaps?'
Customer: 'Which one is that?'
Tech Support: 'Windows NT Server.'
Customer: 'Ok, thanks.'
Giving instructions on how to use Microsoft Word 7:
Me: 'Type in a few words, or a test sentence.'
Secretary: (skeptically) 'With what?'
Me: 'The keyboard.'
Secretary: 'The what??'
Me: 'Keyboard. The jobbie in front of you with the keys on it.'
Secretary: 'Oh. That.'
Me: 'Yeah, it works like a typewriter.'
Secretary: 'I don't understand. (types a few words) 'Oh Hey
It works justlike my typewriter'
Customer: 'Uhh...I need help unpacking my new PC.'
Tech Support: 'What exactly is the problem?'
Customer: 'I can't open the box.'
Tech Support: 'Well, I'd remove the tape holding the box closed
and go fromthere.'
Customer: 'Uhhhh...ok, thanks....'
I told one of our customers to send an email message to me so
I could see if her mail was working. I told her that my address
was mjq@$host!. She replied, 'How do you spell 'mjq'?'
Customer: 'What's a colon?'
Tech Support: 'It's the key next to the 'L' key on your keyboard.'
Customer: 'How do you spell 'L'?'
Tech Support: 'Type 'A:' at the prompt.'
Customer: 'How do you spell that?'
Once I was walking a gentleman through the steps to do something
-- Idon't even remember what -- and when we finished, a dialog
box appeared. It offered to do what we wanted it to and had a single button -- the OK button. He sat there for a minute and hen, frustrated, asked me what he had to do next. 'Tell the computer 'OK,'
'I said. He leaned forward and said in a loud but clear voice, 'OK'
Tech Support: 'Can I help you?'
Customer: 'Let's get something straight right away. I'm a Mac
tech, so I know what the hell I'm doing.'
Tech Support: 'Ok.'This caller needed to reinstall fonts; we started
the install, and a couple of minutes later...
Customer: 'Uh...it's telling me I have to insert disk 2. What
do I do?'
Tech Support: 'Um...insert disk 2?'
Tech Support: 'Ok, now press the right arrow key.'
Customer: 'The bar is going down.'
Tech Support: 'Are you pressing the right arrow key?'
Customer: 'Yes, and it's still going down.'
Tech Support: 'Are you sure you're pressing the right arrow key?'
Customer: 'Yes, oh, that's the key with the arrow pointing right,isn't
Tech Support: 'Er, yes.'
Customer: 'Ok, another menu has come up.'
Once a student had a problem printing. What was the matter? 'It's
not printing,' he said. So I went to take a look. On the student'scomputer, a message was displayed: 'The select light is off. Please press the 'select' button, and click OK to continue.' Sure enough, pressing the select button and then OK worked.
Customer: 'I can't get into the database.' I check the usual stuff,
but it's all fine.
Tech Support: 'Can you go and check if the server is working?'
Tech Support: 'What do you mean, 'no'?'
Customer: 'No, I can't do that.'
Tech Support: 'Why not?'
Customer: 'Well, it's not there.'
Tech Support: 'It's WHAT?'
Customer: 'They took it away to be upgraded.'
Tech Support: 'What seems to be the trouble?'
Customer: 'Well, my monitor is going out. Does that have anything
to do with my hard drive?'
My best friend's family recently bought a new computer. They had
all the hardware set up and the software ready to be installed when the step dad picks up the Windows 95 box and says to his wife:'Dal, how do they get the box into the computer?' I cracked up in his face and haven't been welcome there since. Apparently he thought that to install software you had to get the boxin there somehow.
Customer: 'I'm having a problem installing your software. I've
got a fairly old computer, and when I type 'INSTALL', all it says
is 'Bad command or filename'.'
Tech Support: 'Ok, check the directory of the A: drive -- go to
Customer reads off a list of file names, including 'INSTALL.EXE'.
Tech Support: 'All right, the correct file is there. Type 'INSTALL'again.'
Customer: 'Ok.' (pause) 'Still says 'Bad command or file name'.'
Tech Support: 'Hmmm. The file's there in the correct place --
it can'thelp but do something. Are you sure you're typing I-N-S-T-A-L-L andhitting the Enter key?'
Customer: 'Yes, let me try it again.' (pause) 'Nope, still 'Badcommand
Tech Support: (now really confused) 'Are you sure you're typing I-N-S-T-A-L-L and hitting the key that says 'Enter'?
'Customer: 'Well, yeah. Although my 'N' key is stuck, so I'm using the'M'
key...does that matter?'
I recently overheard this family conversation:
My Mother-In-Law: 'The computer you have works, right?'
My Husband: 'Yes, it's brand new, why?'
My Mother-In-Law: 'Well I was wondering if I could put mine like
My Husband: 'What do you mean?'
My Mother-In-Law: 'Well the big box, it's on the wrong side.'
My Husband: 'What big box?'
My Mother-In-Law: (pointing to the CPU case) 'That one.'
My Husband: 'I don't know what you mean.'
My Mother-In-Law: 'Well ours is on the right.'
My Husband: 'It doesn't matter which side it's on, as long as
thecablereaches.'My Mother-In-Law: 'Really?'
My Husband: 'Really.'
My Mother-In-Law: 'So that means I can put the printer anywhere
My Husband: (chuckling) 'Yeah, Mom