Sunday, September 12, 2004

Stupid User Tricks

When I first got started in the computer industry, I worked on a helpdesk - the place people call when their computer is not working. When I was there, I saw and heard of some of the stupidest questions about computers I've ever seen. Some people, it seems are perfectly normal but as soon as they sit in front of a computer, their brains switch off and they turn into total morons.

Here are some of the funniest questions and situations I've seen....


User: My computer is not working. Can you please have a technician sent out here to fix it?

Helpdesk: What's wrong with it?

User: It's just totally dead. I move the mouse and hit keys on the keyboard and nothing happens. Oh, and the monitor light is orange.

Helpdesk: Is the CPU turned on?

User: The WHAT?

Helpdesk: The CPU?

User: What's a CPU?

Helpdesk: The big box under the monitor that you put the floppy disks into. Are there any lights on that box that are normally on that are not on now?

User: Well, there's a light that's normally green that's not on now.

Helpdesk: Are there any buttons on the front of this box?

User: Yes, there's one.

Helpdesk: Can you press it for me?

User: (after a 30 second pause)... YOU'RE A GENIUS!!!!!


User: I'm going to install Lotus 123 on my laptop computer. Can you please tell me how much more the laptop is going to weigh after Lotus 123 is installed?

Helpdesk (being sarcastic): Well, that really depends. Are you installing the full version of Lotus 123, or the "Lite Edition"?


I had one (serious) call from a user wanting to know how to connect his computer into a sewing machine. I was amazed after doing some research that there is a way to do this.


One of my old clients when I was doing consulting used to have a mixture of Windows and OS/2 servers in their data center. The client asked me, "do you know how you can tell the difference?" I told him no, so he showed me something on a couple of the OS/2 servers that made me crack up laughing: kick-marks.

Apparently, every so often the IT people would get pissed off when the OS/2 servers would crash, walk into the server room, and kick the server a few times.


I was at one of my old clients and just happened to be in the room for this exchange:

User: "My password isn't working."

Administrator: "Good observation. I disabled the account."

User: "Can you please re-enable it for me?"

Administrator: "No!"

User: "Why not?"

Administrator: "You shared your password with someone else in violation of our policy. So, I've disabled your account, I'm not re-enabling it. And if that means you can't do your job, well tough, it sucks to be you now doesn't it?"

Note: Many IT people wish they could have a conversation like this with someone, but this is the only time I've ever seen someone really do it.


One user called saying he was trying to setup his new home computer and the foot-pedal was not working. After some investigation, the helpdesk technician figured out he was referring to the mouse!


A user called in to say the cupholder on his computer was broken (he was referring to the CD-ROM).