The Lighter Side of Sysadm |
Ranting & Raving |
Pete's Back Yard
Guidelines for Working With Tech Support
Guidelines for users from the Technical Support department.
- Don't write anything down. We can play back the error messages
- When a tech says he's coming right over, go for coffee. It's nothing to
us to remember 4000 screen saver passwords.
- When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave
it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals,
dried flowers, bowling trophies and Popsicle art. We don't have a life, and
we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.
- When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's
keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you
can't get into your mail because your computer won't power on at all.
- Don't put your phone extension in your emails to the help desk.
We need to keep an eye on the address book performance.
- When tech support sends you an email with high importance, delete it at
once. We're just testing the public groups.
- When a tech is eating lunch in his cube, walk right in and spill your
guts right out. We exist only to serve.
- When a tech is having a smoke outside, ask him a computer
question. The only reason why we smoke at all is to ferret out those
who don't have email or a telephone line.
- Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and
flags it as a rush delivery.
- When you call a tech's direct line, press 5 to skip the
bilingual greeting that says he's out of town for a week, record your
message and wait exactly 24 hours before you send an email straight to the
director because no one ever returned your call. You're entitled to common
- When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support. There's
electronics in it.
- When you're getting a NO DIAL TONE message at home, call
computer support. We can fix your line from here.
- When you have a dozen CGA monitors to get rid of, call
computer support. We're collectors.
- When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on a tech's
chair with no name, no phone number and no description of the
problem. We love a puzzle.
- If you hate your mouse, get some other pointing device and
discard the manual. We know all the keyboard accelerators.
- When a tech tells you that computer monitors don't have cartridges in
them, argue. We love a good argument.
- When you get a message about insufficient disk space, delete
everything in the Windows directory. It's nothing but
- When you get a message about a hard disk controller failure,
and then you reboot and it looks okay, don't call tech support.
We'd much rather troubleshoot it when it's dead as doornail.
- When you have a tech on the phone walking you through changing a
setting, read the paper. We don't actually mean for you to
do anything; we just love to hear ourselves talk.
- When a tech tells you that he'll be there shortly, reply in a scathing
tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you
mean by shortly?" That'll get us going.
- If you have a 14-inch monitor that says VGA on it, set the display to
true color, 1024 x 768. You'll never again have to worry about people
reading confidential files over your shoulder.
- When we offer training on the upcoming OS upgrade, don't bother. We'll
be there to hold your hand after it's done.
- When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print
jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.
- When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to all
68 printers in the branch. One of them is bound to work.
- Don't learn the proper name for anything technical. We know
exactly what you mean by "my thingy's outta whack".
- Don't use online help. Online help is for wimps.
- If you're taking night classes in computer science, feel free
to go around and update the network drivers for your all your co-workers.
We're grateful for the overtime money.
- When a tech makes popcorn, help yourself while he's checking
out your access rights. And we keep chocolate in the top
- When you have a tech fixing your computer at a quarter past
noon, eat your lunch in his face. We function better when
- Don't ever thank us. We're getting paid for this.
- If you're a student, feel free to bring in all your friends from uni
have your Daddy complain to our boss when we won't let them use the
We had no friends when we were at uni; that's why we're such a bunch of
tight-assed little twerps.
- When a tech asks you whether you've installed any new software
on this computer, lie. It's nobody's business what you've got on your
- When a tech finds the porno pictures in your Recycle Bin, tell her
you've never seen those before. We couldn't tell
bullshit if it kicked us in the face.
- If you have NT, feel free to change the local administrator's
password to "blowjob" and promptly forget it. We like installing NT.
- If the mouse cable keeps knocking down the framed picture of
your dog, lift the computer and stuff the cable under it. Mouse
cables were designed to have 45 lbs. of computer sitting on top of them.
- If the space bar on your keyboard doesn't work, blame it on
the mail upgrade. Keyboards are actually very happy with half a
pound of muffin crumbs and nail clippings in them.
- When you receive the new Yanni CD for your birthday, shove it
into any slot on the front of your computer. We like getting physical with
5.25 floppy drives.
- When you get a message saying "Are you sure?", click on that
Yes button as fast as you can. Hell, if you weren't sure, you wouldn't be
doing it, would you?
- When you find a tech on the phone with his bank, sit uninvited
on the corner of his desk and stare at him until he hangs up. We
don't have any money to speak of anyway.
- Feel perfectly free to say things like "I don't know nothing about that
computer crap". We don't mind at all hearing our area of professional
expertise referred to as crap.
- When you need to change the toner cartridge, call tech support.
Changing a toner cartridge is an extremely complex task, and
Hewlett-Packard recommends that it be performed only by a
Professional engineer with a master's degree in nuclear physics.
- When you can't find someone in the government directory, call
tech support. Due to budget restrictions, we double as 013.
- When you have a lock to pick on an old file cabinet, call tech
support. We love to hack.
- When something's the matter with your computer, ask your
secretary to call the help desk. We enjoy the challenge of having to deal
with a third party who doesn't know jack shit about the problem.
- When you receive a 30-meg movie file, send it to everyone as a
mail attachment. We got lots of disk space on that mail server.
- Don't even think of breaking large print jobs down into smaller
chunks. Somebody else might get a chance to squeeze a memo into
- When your eyes fall on the family pictures on a tech's desk,
exclaim in a flabbergasted tone of voice: "YOU have a child?!?" We need to
be reminded of how lucky we were to ever have gotten laid.
- When a tech gets on the elevator pushing $15,000 worth of
computer equipment on a cart, ask in a very loud voice: "Good
grief, you take the elevator to go DOWN one floor?!?" That's another one
that cracks us up no end.
- When the Finance folks are printing a 100-page spreadsheet on
the LaserJet, send your black and white print job to the color printer. We
get the black toner for free.
- When you lose your car keys in Canberra, send an email to the
entire department. People in Perth like to keep abreast of what's
- When you bump into a tech at the grocery store on a Saturday,
ask a computer question. We don't do weekends.
- When you see a tech having a beer with a member of the
opposite sex on a Friday night, walk right up to them and ask a
computer question. We don't do dating; the reason why we have that
horny look on our faces is because we're discussing the new Intel
- Don't bother to tell us when you move computers around on your
own. Computer names are just a cosmetic feature in NT 4.0;
they won't be doing anything useful until the next major release.
- When you can't access some shared directory on your boss's
machine, just tell us that you've lost your X: drive. We
know all that shit by heart.
- If your son is a student in computer science, have him come in
on the weekends and do his projects on your office computer.
We'll be there for you when his illegal copy of Visual Basic version 6.0
makes your Access 95 database flip out.
- When you bring your own personal home PC for repair at the
office, leave the documentation at home. We'll find the jumper
settings on the Internet.
- We're aware of that problem with computers just sitting there
and not doing anything. We're confident that with the next service pack
they'll be able to dance the jig.
- The correct location to store important files is the Recycle Bin. It's
just like a real office, where you keep your tax receipts in the blue can
under your desk.
- If you miss Windows 3.1, find the line that goes shell=explorer.exe in
your SYSTEM.INI file and replace it with shell=progman.exe. It makes
troubleshooting infinitely easier when we ask you whether you have a Start
button at the
bottom of your screen and you truthfully answer us that you
- If you curse every morning when you start to type your
password and the Virus Shield splash screen pops up in your face,
disable the Virus Shield. Again, this is just like real life: if
you don't like condoms, just don't use them, that's all.
- If you hate PCs, get on the Internet and download one of those
desktop enhancements that make your computer look just like a
Mac, down to the sad faces replacing verbose error messages. We
find it refreshing to troubleshoot the nuances in that sad little face
instead of some cold forbidding hexadecimal integer.
- When you detect a French accent in a tech's voice, switch to
French. We don't mind that your level of fluency is that of a Mildly
retarded 4-year-old; you don't make a whole lot of sense in your own mother
- We don't really believe that you're a bunch of ungrateful twits. It
hurts our feelings that you could even think such a thing. We wish to
express our deepest gratitude to the hundreds of clueless losers portrayed
herein, without whom none of this would have been remotely possible.