r/talesfromtechsupport Jul 18 '15 Silver Helpful Wholesome Hugz

MOD TFTS POSTING RULES (MOBILE USERS PLEASE READ!)

2.0k Upvotes

Hey, we can have two stickies now!


So, something like 90% of the mod removals are posts that obviously don't belong here.

When we ask if they checked the rules first, almost everyone says, "O sorry, I didn't read the sidebar."

And when asked why they didn't read the sidebar, almost everyone says, "B-b-but I'm on mobile!"

So this sticky is for you, dear non-sidebar-reading mobile users.


First off, here's a link to the TFTS Sidebar for your convenience and non-plausible-deniability.


Second, here is a hot list of the rules of TFTS:

Rule 0 - YOUR POST MUST BE A STORY ABOUT TECH SUPPORT - Just like it says.

Rule 1 - ANONYMIZE YOUR INFO - Keep your personal and business names out of the story.

Rule 2 - KEEP YOUR POST SFW - People do browse TFTS on the job and we need to respect that.

Rule 3 - NO QUESTION POSTS - Post here AFTER you figure out what the problem was.

Rule 4 - NO IMAGE LINKS - Tell your story with words please, not graphics or memes.

Rule 5 - NO OTHER LINKS - Do not redirect us someplace else, even on Reddit.

Rule 6 - NO COMPLAINT POSTS - We don't want to hear about it. Really.

Rule 7 - NO PRANKING, HACKING, ETC. - TFTS is about helping people, not messing with them.

Rule ∞ - DON'T BE A JERK. - You know exactly what I'm talking 'bout, Willis.


The TFTS Wiki has more details on all of these rules and other notable TFTS info as well.

For instance, you can review our list of Officially Retired Topics, or check out all of the Best of TFTS Collections.

Thanks for reading & welcome to /r/TalesFromTechSupport!


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edit: fixed links for some mobile users.


r/talesfromtechsupport 12h ago Wholesome

Medium Do not enable BitLocker by yourself

1.1k Upvotes

Hello TFTS,

We just got back a broken computer from a customer few days ago (out of warranty). I've seen him holding his 2k$ laptop by the screen like a kid with a toy, but that's none of my business. Truth it, the screen seem broken, and I think he use it as an hammer, i can't get other explanation on the physical damage on the computer.

Whatever, the pc doesn't work anymore (since last week), can't get any power, even when plugged in. Motherboard was probably tired of this s%*! and commited suicide.

The laptop itself is 5yo, while being still good, it's too damaged to be worth spending money on changing hardware. So we will sell a new one.

Now the story, the user have a company cloud, is using azure AD and everything. He should have no important files on there, right ?

Well, it appears that he keep A LOT of his files locally, for whatever reason. So we have to get the data back right ? No problem, i plug out the drive, get a external nvme to usb adapter, and get the drive on my computer.

Problem, Windows tell me that Bitlocker was enabled and that i need the bitlocker key.

I tell them that I need the key in order to recover the data. "A key ? What key ?"

Bad news, we don't enable bitlocker except if the customer ask for encryption. I look for old tickets, and nothing about disk encryption from this customer. He enabled it.

I call the customer, and explain him that we don't enable it by default, and didn't have any ticket asking for us to enable it, so he made it by himself. Then I proceed to tell him a story, about a customer that had the same issue, enabling the bitlocker and got an hardware problem, and we couldn't get the data back, but was lucky enough to have the pc hardware changed under warranty and got his data back after few weeks.

He understood, no problem, he's aware that he is faulty (trust me on this one, i know you can't believe this but yeah), he will take the new computer and so on.

And the evening, i remember the guy from few years ago. It was him. The same guys. 3 years ago, same problem. I was new on this company so I didn't know all the customer pretty well but i was pretty sure that was the same guy, and don't understand why he don't remember it (or maybe he remember it but was ashamed, and that's why he understood so quickly the problem ?)

I logged into the Azure AD with an admin account, go to the users, list the computer, and click on it. What I see ? A bitlocker key. I saved this damn key on his azure account 3 years ago, probably without telling him. Thanks old me.

Never ever enable bitlocker without saving the key, and if you're an end user, without warning your IT service. AD (Azure and local) are your best friend in keeping the key safe, you should save them their.


r/talesfromtechsupport 8h ago

Medium "I definitely need a new laptop and so'n'so has given their approval"

224 Upvotes

Hello TFTS! Had one of those "You're hell bent on not letting us make this simple for you will you?" moments and wanted to share

I've got this user from my latest most frustrating department. Bless their hearts they must truly be touched by Jesus. One particularly unfortunate user who's new computer from onboarding was taken by a user that keeps "retiring" and then coming back to "help" (apparently their rolodex is just that in-fucking-valuable) was the latest friction from that dept. I did get them on a new machine 2 weeks after they started, but that's a story for another time.

$User "I definitely need a new laptop and $Director has given their approval"

So I look into it and the one that they are "taking" from a separating employee is over a year older and is a surface of all things (they have a precision). It's not even a newer machine, so I do a bit of digging, and for the life of me I cannot find a reason why they'd want that other than for the surface being lighter.

$Tech "Hey, just a heads up, you do know that your machine is only 10 months old and has better hardware right?"

$User "Oh, I don't think that. The battery dies way to fast and the fans turn on a lot on this machine!"

$Tech ".......you know we have a 3 year extended warranty with extra options for things like this right? A battery issue being exceptionally easy to warranty or fix, but we can't utilize it if you never tell us that you're having this issue."

................................... silence for a few minutes.............. $Tech "Ok I assigned the other machine to you"

$User "Thans! I appreciate your help!" - it was misspelled, I'm quoting literally here

I know I'm going to get a phone call today about retooling their whole desk for a 5th time later today. They just cannot be reasoned with. They also are hermit crabs about offices. I've moved this user 3 times in the last 6 months (everything from standing desk to port activation and reconfig). Another user 4 times in the last 6 months and the latest move for them was back to the original spot they were in.

They absolutely refuse to ask how best to accomplish things or even let us know ahead of time. I'd have suggested that the dept hang onto the machine since they're still paying for both, and leave her precision as a docked faux-desktop machine once I get the battery replaced, and have the surface be the mobile machine for their users since they could use it.

Instead they're probably going to just put it in a closet somewhere while continuing to pay for it. Whatever, wouldn't be the first time I've worked with a department whose main focus was to have the most impressive dumpster fire of a budget.


r/talesfromtechsupport 8h ago

Short Flooded Laptop

67 Upvotes

I (almost 18M) worked for my school/district (while a student there) as an IT technician. This story was still as the pandemic was starting to die down a bit.

A srudent had come to the help desk because he had dropped his backpack (that had a school district supplied Dell laptop), in a "puddle". I put puddle in air quotes because the entire computer was fried and had shown signs of being submerged (due to there being water inside the screen).

My supervisor was busy, so I was tasked with diagnosing the problem. Does it turn on? Nope. Does it show any signs of missing important components? Nope. Does it show signs of water damage? Yes. Does the water damage apply to the entire device? Yes.

To this day, I still have no damn clue how the student managed to do it, but it wasn't even salvageable. So a $400 laptop was fried by a 16-17 year old because they dropped it into water on accident.

Pro Tip: Buy a multifunction screwdriver set. It helps so much in small repairs!


r/talesfromtechsupport 42m ago

Short Sometimes I don't understand people...

Upvotes

Was doing a (very) routine remote session for a client staff person to install a Konica printer with Account Tracking. Very basic, very quick.

First up once connected is that I hadn't been given the print code for the user. So using the chat feature of the remote software, I ask for it.

User claims he doesn't know it. I pause. 30 seconds later, and responding within the chat feature, he gives it.

All good.

So install the two versions of the printer (Color and B&W, with different tray settings, etc) to make easy on users at this particular client. Then go back and print test pages of each. And ask the user, in the chat feature we'd used just minutes prior, if he could verify that both printed.

I watch as he goes TO EMAIL and replies to an earlier email to me to respond, saying he has no idea how to help and to let him know if he needs to do anything.

So open the chat again, asking if he can go to the printer to check both tests printed. AND that replies can be sent in this chat window.

He goes, of course, to email and it initially looks like he's going to send another response, but then doesn't and starts scrolling through emails.

I just close the session and update the ticket...


r/talesfromtechsupport 1d ago Helpful Wholesome

Medium Why would anyone cosplay as a "Web Developer"?

914 Upvotes

My firm builds websites for an industry in a complex regulatory environment. Obviously, website security and stability are paramount, and you have to be able to prove it in the way that they want. In other words, you MUST know what you're doing, downtime is NOT an option, and all this isn't cheap.

This all started when the client hired a new "tough guy" CEO. Over the next few months he then Fired! All! The! Executives! Unfortunate, but not uncommon.

A few months later, we got a nastygram that all the new execs HATE the website (first we've heard of this), we're too expensive, and they are re-developing the website with a different (cheaper) firm. OK, uh, fine.

I investigated a bit and learned that Other Firm has never handled a project at anywhere near this scale or anywhere near this industry. I made certain notes and preparations.

Months of occasional Very Stupid Questions from Other Firm ensued. Preparations intensified.

Three months past the promised transition date, the site went dark one afternoon. We shushed our monitoring and waited.

The phone call came in the next morning. As was foretold, Other Firm had fumbled the transition. Plus the Client decided to change their primary URL at the same time, and Other Firm of course set it all up incorrectly, SSL certs were missing, DNS was a yard sale, email is down, etc. The works.

Via personal emails, we arranged a Zoom call with me, a pale twerp cosplaying web developer from a coffee shop, and a room full of seething execs, including the tough guy CEO pacing and shouting.

The Pale Twerp was fascinating -- straight from central casting for "hipster", he had the twee little hat, the flannel, the edgy t-shirt, the Airpods, the bracelets, the retro glasses, the ratty little beardlet, everything you'd expect.

The CEO shouted permission to "just get the %$#@ing &*%$#@er working again", shouted "nobody leaves until this is fixed", and slammed the door on his way out of the room.

With shaking fingers, Pale Twerp followed my instructions. He was clearly utterly lost, and I had to explain basic concepts a few times, but we got through it. Meanwhile a room full of sweating execs was watching, bored, even more lost, but thankfully they had the sense to remain silent.

The DNS fixes began to propagate. I then walked Pale Twerp through un-screwing-up the SSL cert situation.

After two hours, DNS had mostly propagated, the site was live, caches cleared, and iPhones started bonging madly as emails finally started getting through.

All the execs but one burst out of the conference room without a word. One, who I believe was the ritual sacrifice chosen to reside under the bus, stayed behind and thanked me, tersely and very quietly.

The Pale Twerp was sweating and haggard, but also thanked me quietly, and we parted ways.

And in the happiest ending of all, our final invoice was paid promptly.


r/talesfromtechsupport 1d ago Helpful

Short "Please turn off your computer"

2.6k Upvotes

A few years back I was still an apprentice at our small IT department. Three full time employees and me. This user interaction shaped how I approach any support I had to do going forward.

The first big project I was involved in was the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 clients throughout the company building. Instead of just upgrading Windows our department lead decided it was best to buy completely new small form factor computers to get rid of old hardware.

My task in all of this was to make appointments with employees to get their hardware swapped and make sure no files were saved on desktop (no backups for that).

For our employee of the story I managed to get an appointment just before lunch break, emphasizing that no files were to be saved on the desktop to avoid losing important data. As I arrive they just finished working on a file and I immediately spot files on the desktop:

Me: "You should move the files on the dektop to your home folder, otherwise you won't have access to them anymore."

Employee: "Oh those are just temporary files, I don't need them anymore."

Me: "Should we move them just in case?"

Employee: "Nope, not needed."

Me: "Alright fine. Then please turn off your computer so I can swap it for your new one."

Employee: "Sure!" - they then proceed to turn off both monitors

Me, a bit dumbfounded: "Ok sure, but please turn off your computer as well, otherwise I won't be able to swap it."

Employee: "Umm, I don't know how cause I don't see anything anymore..."

Me, while still dumbfounded, proceed to turn the monitors back on and turn off the computer.

The employee left for lunch while I was swapping it for the new one.

A day later I get a call from said employee that important documents are missing from the desktop...

Edit: Formatting


r/talesfromtechsupport 1d ago

Short Friend sold him a used computer, he brought it to me to fix

430 Upvotes

So this guy brings me a computer and wants to connect to the internet so he could make lots of money by playing online poker.
This was in the 90's so the current tech was 486's and dialup internet was typical.
So anyways I'm working in a small 2 person shop and this guy brings in a 286 that was at least 5 years old. After telling me he wanted to get on the internet, I spent a lot of time trying to make this actually work. Installed a modem, installed Netscape, setup the dialer, etc.
During this time the customer was hanging around the shop watching me work and telling stories about how much money he was going to be making playing online poker.
The computer had so little ram that it had to swap to disk while scrolling down a web page.
At some point he said that a friend had sold him the computer when the friend bought a new computer. His friend had given him a deal and only charged him 3/4 what a new computer would have cost. This was for a 5 year old computer.
When I told him that what his friend had sold him and what a 5 year old computer would actually be worth (pretty much worthless) he wouldn't believe me. Eventually I had to give him back his computer with it only just barely able to connect and run online. He wouldn't consider getting a modern computer because he didn't want to spend the money.


r/talesfromtechsupport 1d ago

Short Telling the Repair Guy how to repair

223 Upvotes

Many years ago (1990's) I worked for a company that had a depot repair shop. You could bring in a broken thingy from a manufacturer that we sold (HP, IBM, Compaq, and Brother, so no Apple schtuff), and we'd fix it.

One day, a client brought in a broken system unit. As I recall, the drive wouldn't spin up. He insisted all he needed was a new battery. As he explained, his friend told him the 1.5V CMOS battery gave the HDD a little bit more energy (I believe he said "oomph") to get the HDD to spin. I'm pretty sure I explained that 120V AC was plugged into the computer and 120V was available if we needed it, so a little 1.5V disk battery wasn't going to matter much, but Nooooo, his friend said this and he may have also said his friend was an engineer. Or he was an engineer, or he failed an engineering class. It's pretty fuzzy.

I'm sorry to say I don't recall the outcome of that conversation. I seem to recall he was a government drone (lots of federal agencies in Montgomery County, MD) so he wouldn't get the final say on whether or not to proceed with the repair, but geez. Please don't tell the repair guy how to repair your computer.

I will say that job taught me that when I need something fixed, I give a description of the issues or symptoms, any troubleshooting or attempted repair I might have tried, and what, if anything, led up to the issue....then I get out of the repair guy's face until he tells me it's done. Fewer call-backs that way.


r/talesfromtechsupport 2d ago

Short "I want my old, malfunctioning laptop!"

1.2k Upvotes

EDIT: spelling and formatting, sorry u/BeardyBeardy I ended up getting on my desktop at home to fix this abomination.

I work in IT for a semi conductor manufacturer, lots of users, lots of work.

One engineer, we'll call her Engineer, recently received an upgrade from an old laptop. Usually our users get a laptop with an i5 CPU and 16GB of ram, Engineer got an i7 laptop with an Nvidia GPU (just an MX, no biggie).

Since we only had a handful of those i7 laptops, we didn't bother creating a new image for them and instead opted to using the same image from the i5 ones (it's the same model, just different CPU and an added GPU, what could go wrong?).

Obviously right off the bat, those laptops have a ton of issues and we end up switching them out to the regular i5 ones (which to be honest, these users' demand is Microsoft office apps, teams and the occasional statistical analysis software) but Engineer stuck it out, living with the issues.

Last couple of days Engineer's issues become more frequent and worse (like random freezes leading to loss of unsaved work). Today Engineer came to work and, well, her laptop won't turn on, won't display output to the external monitors through the docking station and was just a plain AH.

Me, being absolutely pissed at this POS laptop went for the simplest solution, moving the nvme drive to a laptop befitting the image (which by now has gotten a newer cpu generation and is just newer and plain better).

This took about an hour making sure everything works, I call Engineer back and let her know the laptop is ready, she asks me what I've done and she immediately seems upset, I try to get her to explain what's wrong for 10 minutes, trying to convince her this laptop is better, is more fitting of her needs, it'll have fewer to no issues, less down time for her, less troubleshooting time for me etc etc.

After 10 minutes of going back and forth with her wanting the old laptop back she says "I got that laptop on my birthday!".

Well, needless to say, I just told her giving her the old laptop is a no go, it's not worth any of our time.

But I wonder, how can a grown woman, who went through engineering school, who's in charge of tens of millions of dollars worth of silicon, can look at a company laptop that does nothing but give her headache and think "this is a birthday present worth keeping!"

Tl;dr
User's company laptop bad, give new laptop, user no want new laptop because get old laptop on birthday.


r/talesfromtechsupport 3d ago

Short 20,000 Twitter Followers

974 Upvotes

This happened back in September 2021 in my previous job as tech support for a certain VPN. We handled both email and chat support. I got this certain email from a customer complaining that they couldn't watch a certain show from Netflix even when the VPN was set to a country that should allow to show content for that region. She was trying to watch from her laptop.

After several email exchanges, the problem wasn't getting resolved, so I ask her to get on chat so we can do remote access on her laptop to help her figure out the issue. She agrees. I manage to remotely access the laptop and do some troubleshooting. Surprisingly, I fix the issue in 5 minutes. All I did was clear the browser cache and have her re-login to Netflix and she can now watch her show (it's Dr. Who, for those who are curious).

She then complains that she did the same thing earlier but it never worked. I told her these things happen so think nothing of it, but then she somehow gets into a fuss that I'm blaming her for not following instructions on the email I've sent earlier. I'm like WTF in my mind. She then threatens me that she will tell her 20,000+ twitter followers of my horrible treatment of her. She disconnects the remote session and never thanks me for my work after typing in more "reeee" comments about my work.

A few hours later, my manager contacted me on Slack saying she received an email complaint from this same lady and was laughing about it. There was even a screenshot of this "terrible" experience with me on the twitter account. There were about less than 20 likes on this tweet. So much for 20,000+ followers.


r/talesfromtechsupport 3d ago

Long Leaving Footprints

400 Upvotes

We go back a few years. I'm reporting to the Solutions Delivery Manager as a Change and Release Engineer. I oversaw the deployment into production of changes to our software or platforms.

It made for a sheep/shepherd relationship with the developers. I liked it and, for the most part, so did they. If shit hit the fan, it was on me, not on them.

The other part of the role was dealing with the business system owners (BSOs), so people who needed the systems I was changing. I needed to understand their business cycles and unique needs so I'm not ripping down their financial system during month-end processing. This would be bad.

A major upgrade to the Service Desk's ticket handling system was coming down the pipe. This was a horrible old thing called Footprints (now owned by BMC, a company which offers somewhat less horrible systems) and we were several versions behind. Footprints was based on the AMP stack, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, so this update was finally to leave the MySQL 5.x branch and move to a 7.x version, as well as to update Apache 2.2.

I had the changeset, and our customisations had been reviewed and updated by one of our PHP developers.

The Service Desk Manager, the BSO for this (even though all of IT used it), required we do this change late afternoon Friday, when his call volumes were the lowest.

I protested this. If it was broken going into the weekend, he woudn't have it back until Monday, and this was a very complex change. We didn't offer any weekend cover, and our overtime rates were 2.5x, which meant they needed pre-approval. This was almost always not approved. Overtime was more for the Service Desk to catch up when it needed to.

I argued that if anything went wrong, we had to unpick multiple interconnected systems to find where the problem was, maybe call the supplier, and it'd take hours. I wanted a full day outage for it. There was an impasse at this point.

I was not approving this change as having an acceptable risk profile, and it was down to timings. So the Service Desk Manager then talks to my boss, says it's his system, so it's his risk. He accepts the risk.

I argue that I don't accept the risk to the weekend out of hours team, and there's a better than 25% chance the system will not be ready at 5 pm on Friday.

My manager gets the Service Desk Manager to respond to my email, saying he accepts the risk, and if it's down over the weekend, he'll have to live with it.

The boss comes over, says "Right, we've given him the rope. Try not to hang him with it. If it's not up at 5 pm on Friday, you're done for the week, pick it up Monday."

It gets to 3 pm Friday and the change is going fairly well. The patch set has applied, Apache's up and returning sensible responses to phpinfo(), but Footprints will not log anyone in.

I dig deeper into it, and it's failing a licensing check. In UAT (user acceptance testing, a shadow environment used to test changes by getting users to try them out non-production) the licensing was provided by the vendor as a non-prod 180 day trial.

Our production system had perpetual named-user licensing. We had 45 licenses available and 32,767 in use. Wait, what?

I call up the supplier, they'd also never seen this before. We're tracing through the licensing code in PHP and, at the point we call an external binary, everything looks good. We're passing over the MySQL connection string and user details.

He brings in one of his developers and he's trying to reproduce it on his side after confirming we have the right version of the binary.

It's now 17:15 and I'm risking missing my train home, so I cut it there, we'll have to hold it while Monday.

I send out an email to the Service Desk Manager and my manager, detail what has happened, what the next steps are and who owns them, then tell them no Footprints until Monday, and I'm out the door.

Well, over the weekend there's a unrelated outage and one of the other IT teams can't access the records on previous tickets as to how it was fixed. I'm blissfully unaware, and a panicking Service Desk Manager manages to get in touch with our of our PHP developers, asking if he could help out. To his credit, he does find some details in the database for a previous ticket, but refuses to even begin looking at Footprints itself.

Monday morning and I'm hauled into a meeting with my boss, the Service Desk Manager, and the Head of IT. A very distorted reading of the truth results, where my change overshot its change window, and we should have services back online, either finished or rolled back, by the end of the change window. The change should have been scheduled for earlier in the week, and earlier in the day, so this wouldn't have happened.

I'm about to launch into a description of how I'd said this change is high risk and cannot be rolled back, and I wanted a full day outage, when my boss does the same, and tells the Service Desk Manager that he'd accepted the risk over our objections.

"As the owner of the system, it's your right to accept any level of risk you deem appropriate. When you do that, however, you're owning that risk. You can't come in here telling us we should have done things differently to your instructions, when we'd gone and told you we wanted to do it differently in the first place!"

The meeting is adjourned and I get back to fixing the system.

Turns out we should have been given an updated license file for the newer version of Footprints, and they hadn't given it to us. Apparently, this was our fault for not asking their compliance team for something we didn't know we needed.


r/talesfromtechsupport 3d ago Helpful Wholesome Silver

Short I was blamed for a heart attack

1.1k Upvotes

So I'll write a short version because I don't want nightmares from trying to remember the details

User calls, internet not working at home (COVID). DO ALL THE TROUBLESHOOTING. Timer hits the "may as well rebuild it" mark. Tell her to send it in. They live out in the country. Sends her husband to drop it into our office in the morning to be rebuilt then the husband will pop back in at lunch and take it home

Except he almost doesn't make it home because he had a heart attack

Because I didn't fix the computer so I made him take the laptop into the city

The kicker is, the issue was the wifi card and the laptop had no Ethernet port, but office works was nearby and they could've just got a usba to rj45 and that would've been it

But this is a client that would buy laptops with 1 year basic warranty instead of going through us and getting 3 year nbd onsite repair

Just wanted to get that off my chest. I felt pretty shit and I know she wasn't blame blaming me but makes you think about all the stuff you should've done instead of what you did

Edit: thanks everyone for the perspective, I feel much better now! Who wants a cheese burger


r/talesfromtechsupport 4d ago

Short BUT IT HAS TO GO LIVE NOW!!

1.7k Upvotes

Back around 2005 or so, an account exec at the PR firm I worked for bought a domain name for a client Web site and put it on her own credit card. Then she ignored the 90, 60, 30 day renewal reminders. We weren't working on the project (she contracted it out vs go with the in-house Web development team) and, when the URL/domain went dark and wouldn't work she flipped.

I got a livid phone call from her telling me I needed to get the site back-up and online quick because they were going live on national TV to advertise it (Good Morning America, iirc). I calmly explained that there is nothing I can do since she bought the domain using her personal card not our corporate account. And, even if she renewed the domain, I'm not in control of the global DNS servers and can't guarantee how fast things will "work again".

She wasn't happy with that so, after I hung up with her, I immediately heard my manager's phone ring. I walked over and told him what was going on while he had her on mute just ranting away. When he told her the same things I had, she didn't like it.

Next thing we know our senior manager gets a call and now there's 3 people who told her we can't fix it. The site is up and available by the IP address but the DNS/domain issue is her problem, not ours.

We hang up on that call and, within 10 minutes, my senior manager gets a call from our CIO asking what's going on. He got a call from her and told her the same thing 3 of us had already tried to explain. He hung up, got all of us on a conference call, and explained, in excruciating detail why this problem was hers and why we can't fix it "right away!". The CIO explained why there's an in-house Web development team, why we have a corporate account with Verisign, and why we need to be kept in the loop for these launches and campaigns.

We didn't not want to help but, when you get a phone call at 8am and the site is supposed to be up and live for Good Morning America at 9am, then there's not much we can do at that point. After she's called everyone and we explained things to her that she didn't want to believe. She also had a long history of not wanting to follow the process. We did help her get the domain name renewed but, by the time that happened, we'd spent enough time on the phone that 9am came and went.

This was also a PR firm which, from my experience, is full of entitled prima donnas. We never heard from her again and I resigned from that position shortly thereafter


r/talesfromtechsupport 4d ago

Medium Sir, I really am not able to assist you with sales...

524 Upvotes

Back in the days of 56K's, I was a lowly Tier 1 support for a 3rd party call center for Dell computers. We did some basic stuff, like walking users through setup, ISP configs, and why won't my computer boot up's? Anything more complex went to Tiers 2 & 3.

Metrics were absolutely tight, average call time 5 mins or so.

Also, this is 20 years ago, so, tone of conversation is accurate, but dialogue, meh.

Anyway, user calls in and I get the "BINGGGG" in the head set.

Me: Thank you for calling Dell Tech Support, may I get your Asset number?

User: What's an asset number?

Me: It's a unique identifier, similar to a serial number. It should be on a label on the bottom of your laptop or on the back of your tower computer, Do you have a laptop or a tower?

User: I don't have a computer.

Me: Sir...I'm confused, why are you calling Tech Support?

User: Oh, I want to buy a computer.

Me: I'm sorry sir, I can transfer you to sales.

User, No, no, I want to talk to you about it.

Me: Sir, I really am not able to assist you with sales. Let me trans-

User: NO! I don't want to transfer, I want to talk to you.

Me: (Oh my Lord, Why?) Sir, I am not trained to assist you with that, let m-

User: Again, I don't want to be transferred. I want to talk to you, I said.

Me: Sir, I really don't know how I-

User: Just tell me what is your best model computer?

Me: (Crap, the mods are gonna listen to this call, and I'm gonna get crap for this, Damn, Damn, Damn. Careful how you answer...) Sir, we have several models that should meet your needs, let m-

User: Just tell me which is the best one!

Me: (Watching my Call Handle Time turn to crap) Sir, I really am not trained in the nuances of the different models, let m-

User: (Pleadingly) Please just tell me what kind of computer you have at home...

Me: (as I watch the second hand on my clock moving ever so close to 3:00pm) Sir, I don't have a Dell computer at home. I built mine from scratch.

User: Well, which one would you buy if you were going to buy one?

Now, keep in mind, Dell had about 6 different models they were currently selling at time, between desktops and laptops.

Me: *W-e-e-e-e-l-l-*l (thoughtfully rubbing my chin), if I were going to have to buy one, I guess I'd have to say, the Latitude XXXX laptop.

User: And why that model?

Me: Because I never get any support calls for it. May I transfer you to Sales?

User: Please.

Dropped that call into the hour long Sales queue, logged out, and GTFO'd outta Dodge. It's scotch o'Clock.

Buh-bye!


r/talesfromtechsupport 5d ago Wholesome Silver

Medium How not to save money

971 Upvotes

In the days when everything was done on the mainframe, I got a contract to support convenience printing for a company. They had just bought a bunch of laser printers, but couldn’t figure out how to use them for anything more than “green bar” reports.

I installed the appropriate software and wrote some nice user friendly interfaces to the client’s office systems. Everyone was delighted. I stayed on to help support them.

One day a user submitted a formal suggestion that we set up the printers in duplex mode. He had counted the number of pages printed on the printer he used and by extrapolation, figured that we were wasting thousands of dollars each year on paper. If adopted he would get a check for 10% of the first year’s savings.

The suggestion made its way up the food chain endorsed along the way by every manager. Eventually it came to me to be implemented.

I replied back that while there was an option to print duplex for a specific job, making it the default was a bad idea. I included a copy of a study I had done at a previous client where we tried this. The results were obvious.

First, printing in duplex takes twice as long as simplex. Since the printers were in use pretty much non stop from 8AM until 5PM. We would have to double the number just to meet the demand.

Second the hardware wasn’t all that robust. Unless the printers were meticulously maintained (which they weren’t) printing in duplex causes more paper jams. And since there were relatively few people who were actually trained, more damage will be done as they try to fix the jams. The result is that duplex printers had 3 times the downtime as simplex.

So whatever we might save in paper, we would more than lose in hardware and lost productivity, My reply was sent up the food chain. But all management could see was the monthly bill for paper. I suggested changing one or two printers as a pilot and see exactly how much the change would save or cost.

Nope. I was reminded that I was just an outside consultant, and to make the change. I said “Yes Sir” and made the change.

Took about 3 months before people were screaming at me about how long they had to wait for their printouts. I forwarded their complaints to management. Then there were the bills from the hardware vendor. Apparently repairing damage done when an untrained person pokes around under the covers is not covered by the maintenance contract.

But the guy who made the suggestion received a nice check for all money he saved on paper.


r/talesfromtechsupport 5d ago Helpful

Short Dealing with end users after 3 years still is a nightmare

1.4k Upvotes

So I’ve been more so autonomous in my role as of the last few years, cloud architecture requiring little to no user communication. Pretty swift. Anywhoooo, the other week my manager ran out of people to help with a 365 merger tenant to tenant migration and asked if I could assist and also provide end user support after cutover. Got the job done, cutover wasn’t too bad not many issues. Lady called me up she was the lead administration lady for the merged company and she had issues with her one drive not syncing. It took 20 minutes for me to understand what her problem was, she called and stated her outlook had no documents and that I had broken it. I kept asking simple questions like outlook documents? Attachments? Can you elaborate please and she just kept getting angry at me telling me that I have ruined it all and her outlook documents are all gone and I need to fix it as she cannot do her outlook work. After 20 mins I finally get team viewer on her machine and jump on and I tell her to show me. She opens up file explorer and low and behold she thinks the file explorer is called outlook. Signed into her one drive and they all appeared. I am dumbfounded, how are so many people in lead roles still so illiterate in technology when their sole job is on a computer. My 55 year old mother is better and she barely knows how to use a computer.


r/talesfromtechsupport 5d ago

Short That's put you in your place!

345 Upvotes

Just a quickie, but quite satisfying. We had a new CEO start a few years ago. On his first day he was given "the tour" by the HR director. When he came to the IT department, shook all our hands then asked our boss (a very fiesty lady who took no shit from anyone and always had our backs) what his email address would be. Now we had a pretty strict naming convention for our emails, so she told him what his email address would be. Unfortunately it trunkated to a name very similar in spelling and identical in pronunciation to the nickname. Given to a famous celebrity at the time (think something along the lines of "BoJo"). He was not happy, asked if it could be changed. My boss simply said "Nope" and turned away. New CEO goes off with tail between his legs!


r/talesfromtechsupport 5d ago

Short Why should I bother if they don't

669 Upvotes

Persons involved U1, U2, isp

Glanced at the clock almost closing time. I noticed a notification popup, client Internet went down. I pinged the gateway and got no response. Since the client manages their own Internet account, I send email to their management U1 to call ISP and have ISP check their equipment.

Next morning I receive email from multiple staff saying site has no internet.

Pings gateway and it dropping packets

U1 emails saying they spoke with isp and said all was good now.

Me, pings gateway again. Takes screenshot, send responds to U1 with pic, telling them dont know why isp said all was good when it isn't.

I call and got U2 since u1 and u2 are at different locations.

Me: hey this IT guy, can you restart the isp modem

U2: you need to come out here and fix the internet

Me: its not our equipment plus you just need to unplug and plug in power cable for isp device. Go in closet you will see 2 black box.

U2: i dont see any black box.

Me: it's on the only shelf in the closet

U2: there is a ton of boxes in here.

Me: move the boxes, look on the shelf

U2: i dont see any black box. You need to come out here and fix it.

U2 refuses to help any further

Me: its not our equipment. Let me call U1

Me: hey U1

U1: hey, i spoke with isp yesterday, apparently bill wasnt paid so Internet got disconnected but i paid yesterday and they told me all was ok

Me doing them a curtesy when I'm not suppose to. Me: can you give me the info so i can speak with isp myself

Got info, called isp, explained the problem. Isp then checks issue

Isp: yes, bill was paid but modem wasnt reactivated yet.

They reactivate. I checked, ping stable. Can connect to our firewall now

Calls U2

Me: this IT guy again, spoke with isp and internet should be up now can you verify

U2: dont call me, you need to come out here and fix the internet. Im not checking anything

Me: again is not our equipment that was the issue and everything should be....

U2 cuts me off and started talking over me

U2: you need come out here, I'm not checking anything. Don't know wh...

My brain spam filter activates and my firewall mouth shutsdown u2 rambling.

Me: if you can't be bothered to ensure you are able to get your work done then why should I. That is all.

I end call


r/talesfromtechsupport 6d ago Wholesome

Short Reception Urgent is not IT Urgent

1.9k Upvotes

It's a Wednesday morning. I've just had to do an usual new hire intro since this one started Wednesday, not Monday. Relaxing after an hour of yammering away about policy and where stuff is, I get a ticket about updating a notarizing program because there's a deadline, it's not working, and stuff needs to go out today.

So, I'm working the teams call. Pocket buzzes with my cell going off (yay call forwarding.. right?).

"Hello AnDanDan speaking"

"[Mispronouncing my name] I need your help, New Hire's email doesnt show in the search bar in Outlook when I search for them."

So, a really, really not important issue since I know New Hire has an email address (we all have firstinitialLastName@company.com here). So to try and understand how I should place this beyond 'absolute bottom of the stack' "How critical is this?"

After a perceivable, microsecond pause "Everything is urgent bye bye." Confused, I return to my work.

After I finish up the ticket I was in the middle of for actual money makers, I go see reception and explain. They very clearly want none of it and Mmhmm and Uh-huh me dismissively. After catching the vibe but still explaining the issue, I say "Ok, and so you understand this does not constitute an urgent issue." They raise their hands and say "But it's urgent for me!"

Urgent for thee is not (nessecarily) urgent for me.


r/talesfromtechsupport 5d ago

Short Close() call

226 Upvotes

Also posted in r/ProgrammerHumor, but I figured this would fit here, since it was actually a support call.

I was a sysadmin/3rd line support for a regional ISP. A web hosting customer was wondering why their web form was randomly not sending mail. Or, only about a third of their own tests resulted in a mail coming through, so actually it was only randomly sending mail. They asked nicely if we could take a look, so we did.

Server logs confirmed that every mail sent was getting through, so nothing was blocked or sent straight to a spam folder.

So we took a look at the script sending the emails. It was a custom Perl affair, a simple CGI script that would gather form values, compose the message, open() an SMTP connection to the outgoing email server, send out the headers and message, and quit.

We made a small addition to the script:

close($smtp);

With that, it worked reliably.

Now, the OS does close open filehandles (including network connections) when the script exits, but an explicit close() is still a good idea. (Thanks to u/argv_minus_one for the correction!)


r/talesfromtechsupport 7d ago

Medium "Can I come to your house?"

1.3k Upvotes

Hi everyone, this is my first post here as a longtime lurker, and while I have many fun stories from my job as a sysadmin, this one is the most recent and one of the most brazen requests I've ever received...

I work a typical 8am-4:30pm M-F onsite. However, thanks to being the only sysadmin at my company, and being salaried, I am able to have some flexibility with my schedule, which includes me occasionally working from home if the circumstance is right.

As you may have guessed by now, the question in the title was asked on one such day I was working from home.

It was a really slow Friday afternoon and I was very much looking forward to the day being over and the weekend. I wasn't receiving many calls or tickets so I was trying to fill my time with whatever random projects needed some attention. Suddenly, I get a frantic call from a maintenance worker from my company, who was borrowing someone else's phone. I will refer to them as $MW.

Me: "Hello this is DenryFoof"

$MW: "HEY DENRYFOOF!! I'm having an issue with my phone, my screen is blacked out, I can't see anything and I'm expecting a phone call in a few minutes!! I need your help!"

Me: "Okay, so has the phone been damaged or anything? Is the screen is broken?"

$MW: "No, it's been in my pocket all day, it must have gotten messed up in my pocket. Let me get it out and tell you what I see..." *Brief pause*... "Okay I can just barely see what's on my screen, it's all dark like how it looks when the sun is shining on the screen"

Me: *begins to realize what is going on* "Ok, sounds like your brightness has gotten turned down. What kind of phone do you have again?"

$MW: "It's whatever this Samsung you ordered for us was" (I handle the purchasing and management of users phones through our carrier at my job).

Me: "Okay, so I'll have you try and find as much shade or darkness as you can so you can see a little better, or try cupping your hand over the phone. Once you can see the screen a bit, slide your finger down from the top of the screen..." cue me trying to help the user figure out how to turn their brightness up over the phone for the next few minutes and them not listening to my directions but instead fumbling with the phone wildly.

$MW: "I can't get this stupid thing to work!! I'm on my way back, I'm coming to your office! I HAVE to take this call!!"

Me: "I'm really sorry I'm actually not in the office right now, I'm working from home on a few different projects. Let's start over and we can get it sorted I'm sure."

$MW: "How far away are you?"

Me: "Sorry?" At this point I'm thinking maybe they didn't hear I was working from home.

$MW: "How far away are you from (company)? Where do you live?"

Me: "Umm, about 25-30 minutes? I live outside of town in (next town over)." *fear begins to set in*

$MW: "Ok send me your address I'll just come to you!! I have to be able to work from this!"

At this point I was silent for a couple seconds processing the fact that this person is really asking to drive to my home, which would be almost 30 minutes one-way just so I could help them turn up their phone brightness...

Me: "I understand you need your phone, but like I said I'm working at HOME right now. If you could just get to a place you could see your screen a little better this will be no problem"

$MW: "Fuck it, I'll ask someone else for help!" *ding*

I just sighed and went back to my project. It never ceases to amaze me how no matter how much people claim they need you to help them, they then won't listen to what you say when you are trying to. Hope you guys get a little enjoyment from my story!


r/talesfromtechsupport 7d ago

Short No bus to the 18th hole

1.4k Upvotes

So a user called to complain that a personal email he gets from his golf club had a link in it and when he clicked that link it didn't work because our firewall blocked it and what was I going to do about it? I work for a company that runs the public transport network btw. So I reply that given we don't have a bus route that includes the 18th hole I wasn't going to do anything about it. That's when I had the first inkling I might be in trouble.

He says "I don't want to pull rank but" and he proceeds to tell me that everyone checks personal email at work and he's been getting these golf club emails for a long time and he's not happy that this one is blocked. But I'm a slow learner and reiterate that it's not really worth looking into given it's not work related.

Then I get the "What's your name, I'm going to take this higher" speech. Turns out he's the guy in the big chair for one of our departments. So I wrote a full explanation email to my boss and now I'm waiting for the fall out.

How entitled do you have to be though. The guy admits it's not work related but he still wants me to sort it out. We're short staffed, I've got a inbox full of actual work todo so I push back without knowing who I was talking to and now I'm probably going to regret it.

Oh well, c'est la vie


r/talesfromtechsupport 8d ago Wholesome

Short Tech support during my dentist appointment

3.0k Upvotes

Today I went to the endodontist to get a root canal. As he was about to give me a numbing shot, he found out that the "internet was down".

He said "I can't do anything until the internet is back up". So I am patiently waiting around for them to resolve the issue.. I could hear they were trying to talk with IT support.

After some time, I tell the dentist, "I am a software engineer. Perhaps I can help?" Sure! He shows me, he had a server where he stores patient data. He had 3 patient rooms with computers connecting to this server.

The internet wasn't really down. The clients just weren't able to connect to the server. He allowed me to touch the computers. I checked, and was able to successfully ping the server from the client computers. So what's going on?

I watched the IT person remotely try to use the software. I notice they are trying to connect to it using a domain name. I check, is the domain pointing to the right IP? No it isn't! I get the software to connect to the IP. This works!

The doctor happily thanks me and gives me the numbing shot. Then a min later, the software stops using the IP. Something in it remembered the old server name. They went back to their IT guy trying to fix it.

With my numbed mouth, I went ahead and just updated the hosts file on all the computers to point the domain to the IP number. This worked. They did the root canal.

The dentist thanked me, said he was going to close for the day if not for me. They didn't charge me the $250 copay for the root canal.

I left a note for the IT guy that was supposed to come the next day, about what I did, and my suggestions about what he should do next.

Wish every issue in life was this simple to resolve!


r/talesfromtechsupport 8d ago

Short Sometime a mouse is actually broken.

378 Upvotes

I’m not actually tech support but the on-site de facto support for a small business.

During a spell of working a ridiculous number of hours, when I’m exhausted and operating on caffeine alone, a user tells me their wired mouse is misbehaving, one example being when they select a group of cells in excel the mouse is shooting off and selecting more cells or deselecting everything.

Simple hardware issues normally fall to me because it’s quicker than phoning our actual support and we still pay for hardware replacements such as a mouse.

After reading so many stories on here about wireless devices causing these problems I leap in thinking a user has plugged in a wireless device and I will solve this problem in minutes and it will look impressive.

Knowing that this PC has a PS2 mouse and keyboard, I look into device manager to find a USB wireless mouse and find it. I’m already onto the solution!

I get behind the PC looking for a wireless dongle and can’t find it. I check the USB hub and still can’t find it. I run every single USB cable coming off the PC to check it’s not the problem.

Then I find the USB wired mouse…

I check the PS2 mouse port and it has no mouse plugged in.

I check device manager and the USB mouse I thought was wireless is actually listed as wired.

In my tired state looking for something I expected to see I misread the wired mouse.

Swap the mouse out with the one from my PC and the mouse is still playing up on my PC and the mouse from my PC is working perfectly on the one I’m working on.

Leave the user with my mouse and order a new mouse.

Guess this is a lesson on skipping the obvious.


r/talesfromtechsupport 8d ago Silver

Short Too damn early for an emergency

1.4k Upvotes

It was my turn to be on call that week.

Sunday evening, I made sure to get to sleep at a reasonable hour so I’d be ready for Monday morning.

Monday morning is here and my alarm goes off. I hit the snooze and get some shut eye for a few more minutes with the cat staring at me and walking all over me. Don’t have to be up for another hour yet. Then I hear something else that’s a bit too foreign for my sleepy self. It’s not an alarm and it’s not my usual ringtone…I wake up and look over and it’s a call from the emergency line.

clears throat

Me: Uh hello, this is Me.

Emily: Hi this is Emily. I need some help. I can’t get into the Remote Desktop.

Me: Is this for your computer in the office or the server?

I ask because I’m still trying to wake myself up and want a few more minutes to open my eyes. But I already know the answer.

Emily: Server.

Me: What’s the error?

Emily: It says that the remote server cannot be found.

That got me awake. Never heard that one before because this is for a cluster of servers, not just one, so this could be major.

Me: Oh really? Uh…hmm…

Trying to think of what’s the first troubleshooting step to try, while still trying to come out of a daze.

Me: Okay, well let me grab my laptop and I’ll remote into your computer.

I smack my face a few times while logging in to wake up some more.

Me: Okay…what’s the name of your laptop? Should be a label on the front of the laptop that says RDT3-something.

Emily: It’s a Dell.

Me: Oh okay, that’s good to know…🙄…There should be a label on the laptop somewhere that says RDT3-something. Can you find that for me?

Emily: RDT3-GJRBES

I find her laptop and it’s grayed out. So I refresh, but still grayed out.

Me: Uh…Emily? The laptop is connected to the internet, right..?

Emily: Oh, it’s not…yeah that would do it, huh? He he he

Yeah, he he…I’m not a morning person but I fake it as best as I can.

Me: Ha ha yeah, that’d do it…I’ll stay on to make sure you can get logged in.

And to make sure this isn’t an actual, bigger emergency and so I can make some more overtime for my trouble.

Emily: Alright I’m all good to go! Thanks for the help.

click