Have support-related stories of your own? Then by all means, send them on in!


Somewhat Unclear (from Bob S)
After working in Tech Support for several years, I have come to value the rare request that actually contains enough information to solve the problem. Below is the worst technical support request I have received so far. The kicker is that it arrived with no subject line, no signature, and of course no attachment.

-----Original Message-----
From: Prashant P
Sent: Monday, January 24,  6:35 AM
To: Support
Subject: 

    Hello sir

     Plz Attached find the file which i did,and 
i didnget anythin after Geomaety step so plz help 
me and send me the detail of that step which is 
metnion what it says.

    Plz Let me know if u need futher information :
     
    Regards

 

Maybe it's the drugs? (from Evi Vanoost)
One of our executives was on maternity leave, and sent me this rather bizarre email.

did you change the folder structure of email? 
my account on iPhone no longer records my sent 
messages and the structure is different. I'm 
in the hospital, on drugs, and need to be able 
to keep track of sent emails...can you fix it?

 

Defective Storage (from Chaz)
A defective thumbdrive. It happens every now and then in the company, so I sent a new one to the user.

A second defective thumbdrive. That's pretty rare. Better make sure the user is actually plugging it in. Yep, it's plugged in. Does the USB port work? Yep, the mouse works just fine.

A third defective thumbdrive. There's something wrong. Better go check it out.

Yes... those are USB ports right beside the atrocity.

 

A Story of Stories (from Christian Riesen)
Yes, I have currently not much better to do than read the archive of WTF. Can you tell I'm looking for a new job?

I had tech support experiences that were rather fascinating back then. Around the year 1998 or so, I worked in a large insurance company as tech support, or as they liked to call it, first and second level. It was their way of saying that we first get screamed at by angry users and then they thank us for solving the problem later on.

First up the clattering noise lady. She was complaining about her PC making those noises in the morning when it booted up. Then she thought it would be better to shut it down over lunch as well and the complains doubled of course. Because it was only at the startup and only for a few seconds, it was low priority until one day there was nothing else to do.

My first guess was a fan going, or maybe she had a floppy that made those awful crunchy sounds when it was seeking at boot up. Although all diagnosis by a couple phone calls and email did do nothing to affirm or rule out anything, I decided to go there and just pick it up. Worst case the whole box has to be replaced anyways and the woman in question was out on holidays.

It was one of those old desktops, put on the side to abuse them as a tower. At the lab, I of course placed it flat on one of the tables, hooked it up and pressed the power button. I heard a crunching, a bang and then noticed my arm bleeding, before I could even react to turn the thing off. There was a size able scratch on my arm, but nothing that needed more than to wipe it clean. Curious what the hell that was, I opened it up. Nothing in there indicating anything. Armed with a cardboard box as shield, i stood to the side and turned it on again. Again the crunching, no bang and nothing else.

And then I distinctively heard a fast spinning motor power down.

Turns out, there was a broken CD in the slotin drive. How it broke, when it broke, or if it was even in one piece when it was shoved in there has not been found out. But apparently once it was laying flat, the broken pieces aligned and slingshot a few of them out, grazing my arm in the process. I have cut myself a lot on computer cases over the years, but this was the weirdest injury ever.

I opened the drive, removed all pieces, put it back together and strangely it still worked after that. The lady was very happy that it worked now without the weird sound every time she turned it on.

##

Still in the very same company, I got another suspicious call. You know the kind that makes you feel like someone has no idea what they talk about. It went along the way of "The computer is not working and the person who needs it will be here tomorrow, fix it."

Recognizing the tone, I decided to go look, which was becoming a habit, it was often quicker to just walk for 5 to ten minutes to the office in question than try to pry the needed info from their brains through a phone. I bought new walking shoes the second week I started working there because of all the long walks through the large buildings.

So the office number I had was pretty much an empty office. Nothing in the shelves, two empty desks, two chairs. A few offices down the caller was located and I asked them what the problem exactly was since the office was empty. Walking back to the office with him he went around the desks and pointed to the ground. There sat, for some reason wrapped in plastic, a large CRT monitor (still pretty high tech back then), a keyboard, mouse and of course the tower. Each individually wrapped, but no cardboard boxes anywhere.

"There", he told me accusingly, "it's not working."

After setting it up for 2 minutes, it turned out there wasn't even an OS installed on the machine. How it came to be there in that office, wrapped in plastic, without an operating system is a mystery all to itself, since we did all the roll outs ourselves as well. Unfortunately, my "team" was three people, including me. One left 3 weeks after I joined (already gave his notice) so he basically did nothing all day long and the second one had a habit of disappearing on me no 5 minutes after he arrived, until it was time to leave in the evening.

Our "team" was responsible for 1500 workstations. I'm still amazed I didn't go crazy in that time.

##

Coincidentally, my sister got a gig at the same company for tech support (although a different location in the same city). She had her own story to tell about one especially nice calling lady.

First she started just shouting incomprehensibly. After a minute or three, she calmed enough down that my sister could ask what the problem is. After some more shouting and swearing and saying that it's blindingly obvious what the problem is, she finally coaxed from the lady that there was a message on the screen that wasn't going away.

"Please insert boot disk and press Enter"

Well, did she press enter? Yes she had. So there is something else wrong. My sister remembered that there was a problem like this if you left a floppy disk in your computer that was empty, since all stations are configured to boot from floppy by default (for staging purposes). So is there a floppy disk in the computer?

No of course there isn't and queue some more swearing and shouting. My sister was almost certain that was the problem and pressed on. Is there a knob at the floppy drive slot sticking out? Yes there is. Aha! Well, there is a floppy in there, you need to press that knob and it comes out, then hit enter.

Silence, a click, and then the lady says "Ah, good" and hangs up.

She also had a mini experience with a guy swearing his monitor was turned on, and after minutes of distinguishing his computer from his monitor and learning that that green light at the screen should be ON if the monitor was on as well, they handled the problem of the turned off monitor in almost under 10 minutes.

Neither of us stayed for a full year there.