r/talesfromtechsupport Jul 18 '15 Silver Helpful Wholesome Hugz



Hey, we can have two stickies now!

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

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r/talesfromtechsupport 21h ago Platinum

Medium The Golden Floppy


Just remembered this one tonight. We're just past the turn of the century; I'm a student admin for a lab on my college campus. My lab tech asks me to pop over from my office to the lab for a user who's having an issue. Her floppy disk won't read (not a TRUE floppy, it's a 3.5" disk, but stay with me here). I try to get it to read myself, no luck.

I try ejecting the disk. It pops like an eight of an inch. It won't come out further even when you pull on it. It's stuck. See, we used to have this problem.... Our users would put a perfectly good floppy in the drive, and when it popped out--for whatever reason--it would come out without the metal slide it went in with. And they wouldn't. tell. a soul. So I grab some pliers and a screwdriver and proceed to remove not one, not two, FOUR floppy slides out of this drive. Including hers.

When a drive in our lab started collecting slides, any floppy put in there was left unreadable. Something about the magnets trying to magnet when they're not in the right position has a nasty habit of making your little portable save button no longer functional. No good for the drive, either, they almost never recover from it. But we weren't quite done yet....

I still felt like giving it another go, so we walked over into the office area and tried on one of my known-good machines. Still no luck. Notable: the user has been pretty relaxed to this point, no stress detected. I'm about ready to give up here and kinda start to tell her we can't get to what's on the disk, but then she just blurts out what's on the disk.

Her graduate thesis that she's been working on for 18 months. The one that's due in the next month or two and is almost done. THE ONLY COPY IN EXISTENCE. You could feel the air suck out of the room in that moment.

Deep breath... She's moved straight through the worried stage now and is just standing there crying silently as I'm doing my thing--no pressure. I've got that pit of dread in my stomach knowing just how hosed she is as I performed a digital hail mary over the next half hour or so. I can't remember what I did anymore--some repeated mixture of DOS/Windows 98 commands (chkdsk plus some flags and another command that's lost to the years)--but.... after a couple of tries, it worked. The Word doc loaded. I immediately saved it off to my desktop, her student network drive, and a brand new floppy. Honestly, I might have been more relieved than she was when she walked out. I am certain I never worked harder on any floppy disk problem...

That girl was blessed--that was the ONLY floppy disk we ever managed to recover that way. Any disk ever put into one of those drives that had started collecting slides I ever worked with other than hers was completely unrecoverable.

r/talesfromtechsupport 1d ago

Medium A Fluke Occurence


In 2019, I worked in hardware support for a company with about 20 locations around our city. There were a handful of primary sites and a bunch of smaller ones. Support teams worked out of the primary sites and visited the secondaries when tickets were opened.

One day I got a ticket from a secondary site on the other side of town. Low priority; there’s a computer in the storage room that they want moved. Ok, I’ll get around to that. Maybe when another ticket takes me over there. Eventually, another ticket took me over there, but I spaced it because I didn’t have to go into the back of the house. Because we had gotten our systems mostly nailed down, months could go by without a tech needing to access network cabinets or patch panels, or bother the networking team.

This was also good because our networking team was small, overworked and underpaid. There was a lot of turnover on their team, some of the hardware techs I worked with had been with the company almost 20 years; nobody on the networking team had been there longer than five. They tended to come and go without the rest of us noticing. This is pertinent.

A few weeks later, my manager was going over aging tickets and reminded me of that one. We both figured it was one of the old Dells from before the hardware refresh. I headed across town to the somewhat iffy location, then I walked around until I found the custodian to open up the combination supply closet / server room where all the local networking equipment lived. I looked around fruitlessly for an old computer for a few moments, and then I saw it, sitting on the rung of a ladder next to the boxes of paper cups and floor cleaner.

It wasn’t a computer, but a tablet. And not just a tablet but a Tablet. Specifically, a Fluke Networks Optiview network analysis tablet, probably worth about $10,000 at the time. The charger and the carrying case were on the floor nearby. Apparently one of our networking guys quit and left it there, and it had been sitting in this closet for almost six months.

I thought about telling my manager, ‘yep, old Optiplex’ and taking it to a pawn shop but I have principles, and also there were security cameras, so I turned it over to him and he returned it to networking, and we never heard another thing about how they had managed to overlook a missing $10,000 piece of equipment for half a year.

r/talesfromtechsupport 1d ago

Short Disk Utility to the rescue!


For those who don't know, Disk Utility is a built-in tool of macOS that can see all of your drives and break down information about it. It also has something called First Aid which checks the volume for errors and attempts to repair corrupted drives. A faculty member who reached out because she was trying to install software to recover data off her external hard drive but was unable to do so. I wasn't sure what the software was, so we set up a remote session. She initially started with the Service Desk, and a coworker looked at her issue but couldn't figure out why the drive wasn't mounting in macOS. He recommended going to the manufacturer or using our data recovery vendor.

She reached out to the manufacturer first, who gave her their own software to try and recognize the drive. I could see the drive, but it was asking to grant permission to allow access. Most apps will launch the System Preferences menu needed to grant access, but this didn't. It just told you how to get there. The only problem is that the instructions were pre-Ventura. If you updated macOS to Ventura, you probably know they changed System Preferences to System Settings and moved a lot of stuff around. I'm super familiar with the old System Preferences, but not the new System Settings, and poked around, searched, still couldn't find the menu it wanted me to go to. So I advised her to reach back out to the company, explain that, and see if they could help.

Before logging off, I told her I wanted to try something, and if it didn't work then no harm done. I did the First Aid trick again, and waited a few minutes. After seeing the bar not move for awhile, I asked her to let me know either way if it worked or not. The fact that it did show up in Disk Utility when it still wasn't showing in Finder was a good sign to me. We got off the phone but she waited in her office and when it finished, the drive was visible in Finder again. She emailed me after and was super grateful that my last attempt actually worked. I have a couple more interesting stories involving this fix if anyone is interested.

r/talesfromtechsupport 2d ago

Short Calculator calling


I worked as Head of IT in a municipal office, and part of my job description was help desk things. Well, one day a kindergarten called and let me know their smartphones dont work. Not willing to elaborate any further I thought welp, I guess i have to drive there and see whats up myself.

For context they had a landline phone for the past few decades and only recently transitioned to smartphones with VOIP so that they dont have to leave the children to take calls.

I get there and the older (about 50 ish) lady explained to me that she recieves calls and texts, but can't call herself. I try everything out and it works like a charm. So I ask her to show me what shes doing when she wants to call someone.

"Well, I open the number app and type in the number" - proceeds to open the calculator and type in the telephone number. "Then I put the phone to my ear but nothing happens"

I calmly explained that this is, indeed, not a landline phone and she needs to use the phone app. Although I can understand the confusion, smartphones have been around since that lady was 30 ish.

Welp, 20 mins drive there and back for nothing I guess.

Edit: fixed spelling mistake

r/talesfromtechsupport 4d ago

Short But if you don't have a photo, did it even happen?


I was a new Fruit Technical Advisor when a customer called in (2018, pre-covid). They were angry, making demands and threats.

Once they calmed down, they finally explained their issue.

They had been traveling through Europe and Asia for 12 months and had documented their trip with their top of the line, latest iPhone with both photos and videos as they didn't want to carry a heavy DSLR with them.

They have come home, logged into their iCloud account, only to find the last week of photos on their account. Completely missing majority of their 12 month trip.

So here's what they were doing on their trip; they would take their photos and videos and when they next found a place with WiFi, they would then upload the photos with iCloud Photo Library, wait until the Photos app status changed to 'Updated' and then delete all the photos in the Photos app and repeat the process. Town to town they did this for 12 months without logging into their iCloud account to check their photos.

They believed once the Photos app showed 'Updated', the photos and videos were safely on iCloud, so they could delete the media to make room for more.

I went through the explanation that iCloud Photo Library is a live sync and deleting a photo from your phone deletes it from everywhere. I then had to explain we can raise an escalation for the last 30 days to possibly (no guarantee) to see if any media can be recovered but anything past this will not be recovered.

The call went on for longer than it should as the bloke couldn't wrap his head around it and was demanding another trip all expenses paid because if he didn't have the photos and videos, it's like it didn't even happen.

- Context, this customer was in their early 20s.

r/talesfromtechsupport 5d ago

Short My laptop is overheating after my surgery


We're short staffed and they can't find anyone to hire, wait...they can't find anyone they want to hire, I duuno. So I'm straddling three desks doing 4 jobs and working 6am to 6pm everyday, and getting called every night because the emergency people can't remember what number comes after the one in their car...

And the phone rings...

Me: Hello? This is the help desk, how can I help you today?

Caller: Yah! Since my Surgery, my work laptop has been overheatin' and it's causing my work to slow down, so can you fix that ovah the phone or do I need to give this thing to somebody so they can bring it to you to fix it or what?

I quickly enter her run-on sentence into the ticket system as I think about what could be causing he laptop to overheat.

Me: Ma'am, before we begin can I ask if you are working from your bed, are you stationary from your surgery or are you able to move around?

Caller: I'm 'posed to stay in bed for 10 days...so I'm working from my bed when I feel like it.

Tipi-Tapi-Tap away at the notes.

Me: Ok, do you have a lap board, or a laptable, or is the laptop sitting on your lap?

Caller: Nah, it was on my lap, but it got to hot, so I set it on a piller...

brain break pause

Me: excuse me...did you say piller?

Caller: Yeah, a piller, like you have in bed, them thangs you put yer head on to sleep, a piller...

Enter more notes...wait for a second for my head to clear from the caustic response...nope, it just got more caustic

Me: oh, a pillow...if it's a plush pillow, it could be blocking the exhaust fan, blocking the cooler from expeling the cpu heat causing the laptop to overheat.

I cringe, think she was going to react negatively to my correcting her, but...

Caller: That makes sense, I can set it on a book until my husband gets home. Would it sitting on my pillow top mattress do the same?

Me: If it's on, I mean if the laptop is turned on, and sitting on something that's blocking the bottom left side, yes, then it could cause it to overheat. If you hold your hand up there you will feel the hot air coming out.

Caller: Ooh boy, that is some hot air...

Me: If that's all you needed, we can end the call and close out your ticket.

Caller: Yes, that's got me straightened out, thanks.

This isn't me, this is a story a FaceBook friend gave me to write up for him, he lurks in here someplace, I don't even know his reddit uname.

Apparently, I left out a word in that last sentence that caused some issues. I apologize. It was an accident, I was getting some comments FB and I thought I had written FB friend. Apparently FB means something to a lot of people that isn't FaceBook. I'm much to old and lazy to have anyone of that type of friend these days. I apologize for upsetting any of you.

I truly didn't mean to imply this was a story from a 'friend with which I do funny downstairs business' or Fockynggroue for those readers from the 1300s

r/talesfromtechsupport 6d ago

Short She fixed her stylus. Permanently.


Around 2003-ish I worked in a call center for a very large cellular company taking support calls for laptop data cards and early smartphones. This was the days before capacative touchscreens so most smartphones that had a touchscreen used a stylus that slotted into the body when you didn't need it. Think like the Nintendo DS.

"Free" or heavily discounted phones in exchange for long contracts and stiff penalties for breaking them early were the norm and buying even a basic a phone off contract was expensive as hell so the carrier offered a "no exclusions" insurance feature with a $100 deductible for a monthly fee. No matter what happened they would send you a replacement.

I once got a call from a lady asking to have her Audiovox Pocket PC swapped out. At the time this was a $600 top-of-the-line Windows Mobile smartphone. We were supposed to troubleshoot first and not just fire the replacement cannon, so I asked what the problem was she replied the stylus was broken. I told her the good news that she wouldn't have to pay the deductible, instead I would transfer the call to customer service where they could send a pack of three replacements for $10.

She then informed me that when the stylus broke she put superglue on it and stuck it back into the phone and now it wouldn't come out.

I sent her the replacement.

r/talesfromtechsupport 6d ago

Short Company paid virtual stripper


Story time:

Back when I was still in IT, I had one who was under the belief, that the whole desktop was to be balanced like a card-house, to work. So imagine the shock and horror that faced me, when I saw her desktop looking like something from the IT- Crowd TV show. Yes, she even had a desktop stripper running every 5 seconds, in lower right corner.

Mind you, this was one of the older generation of accountants, who was around mid-60s at the time, not long from retirement and have big family and all.

"She needs to be there! Otherwise the spreadsheet will crash!"

  • groans by the memory *

Solution? Gave her a temp laptop I had lying around (better spec, basic image with the necessary programs installed - always of the newest model in the house, so that when people tried it, they'd be convinced to upgrade from their 5 year old machines - CEO got a carbon-fiber covered model) took her machine and said I'd return it in 2-3 days.

Took me the full 3 days and could only return it on the 4th day. Lots of her files were heavily infected by malware. I managed to save 85%. The remaining 15% were corrupted images and her mp3 collection.

I then spent an afternoon going over the different myths she had heard about computers. Such as a specific key or combination of keys would make a computer explode. Brought along an "IT-Special Brew" Coffee so she could try it. IT department had their coffe made a bit stronger, just to be able to run from place to place, case of rush, or to stay awake during slack periods.

Now the things is, IT had a couple of accounts in case of ad hoc pruchases, ranging from hardware, software, to external consultants. In which I managed. So there is an account post, somewhere that was named "Software for employee XY - $15".

[EDIT] Spelling errors (of those I could find)

r/talesfromtechsupport 7d ago Press F

Medium I became The User™


I've become "The End User." I filled out my ID10T form and received immediate approval for End User status.

I work for a major U.S. Ski Resort. We have many retail shops that are under our purview and they all have Pandora Mood players on premise. I received a call that one of them wasn't working. I logged into it's UI page and was met with a big red message stating there was a critical error, and to call support. I lamented my fate and took a walk to the other side of the resort to check on the device.

I found the closet the device was located in, unplugged it, sat down at the nearest managers desk with a phone and called the support number armed with nothing but a singular brain cell and a serial number on the device. The departments here all manage their own Pandora accounts, I.T. has no involvement in actually managing the accounts, we just set up the devices.

The service tech asked me for our account number, and I didn't have it.

He asked me for the company name that it was tied to, and I wasn't sure what company name it was actually registered under (Some departments are under Ski Corp, some departments are under Ski Holdings, I assume there's a good reason but I really don't know why.)

He asked me for the address, and I wasn't sure what particular address this retail shop was under as some use one address, others use another.

I was absolutely useless and unhelpful to this poor tech.

Finally he asked me what the serial number was, and then spent 5 minutes tracking down all of the info I was ignorant of to pull up the device.

He then asked me to unplug the device (score 1 for me, I'm way ahead of him there) and I let him know it already was.

He then asked me to plug the device back in.

Before I could get back to the desk and ask him "okay now what?" I was being hit by the opening riff of Thunder Struck by AC/DC.

I stopped, put my hands on the desk, and contemplated how hard I would need to bang my head into to forget this had ever happened. I apologized to the tech for wasting his time and not trying that sooner, and he quickly yet professionally rattled off the closing script he probably has burned into his mind.

I wish I could offer an excuse; that I hadn't had enough caffeine, that it had been a long day, that I was unfamiliar with the tech or something. But in truth, I just completely turned my brain off as soon as I saw that red banner saying to call customer support. All critical thinking had ceased. My knowledge of the previous 8 years of working in this field fled me. I was reduced to the most primal and helpless state. The wizardry of the magic music box turned me into "not a computer person."

I know a few of my coworkers browse this subreddit. If you read this, do me a favor and pretend you never saw it.

r/talesfromtechsupport 8d ago

Short I cancelled the service and now I can’t use the service anymore. Please help.


I, like many of us, provide support for (mostly) elder family members. Today I get a phone call about some telco internet service no longer being available to one of these support clients.

After digging around with them on the phone for half an hour they mention that they did phone that service provider earlier today about their billing. As a matter of fact my family member had seen something on their monthly invoice they didn’t recognise. They had asked the support agent to cancel that service which they apparently did straight away.

So yeah, there’s a new thing to think about when trouble shooting any issues for my family member when something is not working: they might have cancelled the service themselves….

r/talesfromtechsupport 8d ago

Short Why do they lie?


Ticket comes in user unable to login to desktop and complains this happens multiple times. Their environment setup with ad connect to sync onprem with o365 with write back enabled

Calls users L: I can't login keeps saying password incorrect and this not the first time it's happening.

I look into o365 audit log sees user did self service password reset

Me: did you reset your email password 2 days ago L: no I didnt Me: are you sure? L: I told you I did not, this keeps happening to me Me: ok

I reset her password and provided it to her. Me: just so you're aware, desktop and email password are tied to each other, same password for both

L: I had reset my email password and no one told me that

Face palms...im thinking why lie about reseting your password?

I went on to further explain how it works and they hung up on me

r/talesfromtechsupport 8d ago

Short The docking station doesn’t work


Two days ago I had a user come in to me (I am 2nd line for the office, only tickets and issue-solving in person) and ask if I have any spare docking station I could give out. User purchased on his own some monitors and possibly other peripherals for home office.

I said yes of course, we usually stack a lot of older dockings as we slowly phase them out. Here you go. Docking, power and usb-c cable.

User left happy, I sat back at my desk happy. All was good.

Next day in the morning user barges in, with a smirk and a itty bitty sarcastic smile on his face. Approached me, and in a bit higher voice so people in vicinity could hear.

User: Take it back it doesn’t work this is stupid what did you gave me it’s useless. Me: okay can you elaborate please, what exactly don’t work on the docking? User: everything, does nothing only looks like a brick on my desk. Here see for yourself. Me: aight took the docking, plugged it in a test work desk with a monitor and some keyboard, plugged everything as it should and low and behold - it lights up, connects, charges the laptop and screen lights up. Said: seems to be working fine, can you show me how you connected it so I can check what was wrong? User: *completely baffled How does the monitor connects? This is a different cable, mine would not connect Me: you may have HDMI cable for your monitors home, this docking supports only DisplayPort. User: I have no idea I only know I could not connect the screen cable in.

Man, why didn’t you lead with that? Only to make yourself look like a fool with your attitude. Why do some users do this? Why do they walk in with an attitude? All would go faster, easier, if the user would just say something like “my cables doesn’t seem to plug in, idk here’s a picture can you tell what’s wrong?” Sure here you have new correct cables have a nice day. Solved in 30 seconds time. But noooo, we have to drag it out this way.

Today, user didn’t show up. Assuming it’s working fine now. But man, why.. why can’t users be more descriptive in their needs, sometimes I feel like a detective rather then 2nd line in IT.

r/talesfromtechsupport 9d ago Take My Energy Wholesome Seal of Approval Defeated I'd Like to Thank... Silver Gold Platinum Hugz

Short When long-time technical support clients pass away


I have moonlighted as in-home tech support for about 25 years now. I've been quite lucky with it. I do not advertise, and rely solely on word of mouth. I charge much less than I could, but I treat it almost as a hobby. Some months I make may make $500, some months I might make $50. Whatever it is, I just consider it bonus income.

One of the pleasant results of this type of setup, is I generally only work with very nice people, and I consider many of my clients to be friends. They don't refer me to people who would be nightmare clients. Having done it this long, there are some people that I have supported for up to 20 years, and we know each other quite well.

About 15 years ago I did regular support for a woman who lived alone in her 90s. I would generally come over and take care of whatever minor issue we had, she would pay me, and then I would generally stay and visit with her for another 30 minutes or so. When she was 98, she told me the end was near, and she was going to have to move to another state to live with family, and she expected to die within a few months. The last time I met her, she took a large framed picture that I had complimented several times over the years. She took it off the wall and gave it to me. I was not expecting that, but I was quite grateful. It wasn't an expensive item by any means. It is still hanging in my house today.

A few days ago, it happened again. I got a phone call telling me that a widow in her mid 80s that I had supported for about 15 years had passed away. I had a similar relationship with her, where I would come and fix her minor problems, get paid, then sit and visit for another 30 minutes or so. This week her daughter talked with me and told me how much that friendship meant to her mom. She asked me to come and take her computer, clean it off, then do whatever I like with it. It isn't a fancy computer, it's one that an 85 year old person could browse the web and do email, and that's about it. I went over yesterday afternoon to pick it up. There was no dog to bark frantically as I rang the doorbell. The house was nearly empty, as they were preparing to sell it. As I walked through the garage, I glanced around her few possessions that were left. The daughter asked me if I would like to take anything. I went over and found a framed picture that had hung in her computer room. Soon it will find a place on a wall in my house. She was a good woman. She was my friend.

Edit -- Thank you all for your kind words. Like I said, I feel very lucky that I almost never come across the nightmare clients that I so often read about. I have made many unlikely friends doing this work. I've found that staying extra to visit with elderly clients brightens my day along with theirs.

r/talesfromtechsupport 9d ago

Medium "I don't care if its a fire hazard."


No one could ever explain to me in non-accounting terms what she did, but $Control did something that was so specialized and niche that there was discussion about closing down a major source of company revenue when she retired. And she was very aware of this. So much so that when the head of IT (before I started) tried to upgrade her workstation from XP to Win10 she (ALLEGEDLY) walked into the owner's office and spent five minutes yelling at him.

One day I'm under her desk doing something and I notice that she has three power strips daisy-chained together.

$Me: This is a fire hazard. Can we unplug some of these devices and rearrange your cube so you don't have this?

$Control: No. I don't care if its a fire hazard.

I've already interacted with he enough at this point that I drop the issue.

When I mention it to my boss, he gets a sick look on his face and changes the subject.

When I mention it to the facilities guy he says something like "Yeah, but have you met her?"

Well, our insurance had a few ideas about what could be done. See, they required a periodic inspection for hazards, including fire. When they saw this they (ALLEGEDLY) threatened to drop us as customers if it wasn't fixed.

Smash cut to my boss, the facilities guy, her boss, and me are trying to find things we can unplug. The tower and two monitors have to stay. She refuses to give up her radio or learn about pandora or learn that her favorite radio station has a website. She agrees to have only the humidifier or dehumidifier plugged in instead of both as long as I will move them over. She had three printers but agreed to consolidate that to two and an understanding that it would become one printer when we upgraded the MFP*. There was a bunch of other things and she wouldn't give up any of it.

So the facilities guy had to go purchase a 6ft/2m long powerbank that he (ALLEGEDLY) had to special order, which then had to be laid diagonally across her work area. And I had to go out like three times to move plugs around because she kept kicking things loose.

Also, the reason she had everything plugged into one outlet is because her cube the other outlets in her cube had shelving infront of them that (because of how the shelves connected with the cubical walls) meant she could not use them. She would not accept her shelves moving, going to larger cube, or even getting her own office.

* In her defense, that MFP was an ancient piece of shit and I wouldn't want to use it either. She also did give up the second printer after the upgrade.

r/talesfromtechsupport 10d ago

Short Tales of Home Tech Support


Date: Sunday, March 19
Time: 7:30 AM (Too damn early for Sunday)

I'm slightly stirring and noticing that the TV isn't playing our normal white noise to keep the dogs quiet...

Me - "Did the Roku time out again?"
Wife - "No. When I woke up this morning it was saying No Internet. I think it's time for a new router."

I grab my iPad and have a good connection and am able to access the internet - Check Wi-Fi settings and I'm connected to our second router but don't see the main router.

Me - "I have internet through the back router but don't see the front router. Let me go take a look."

I go and power-cycle the Modem and front router. Everything powers up perfectly except that the wireless indicators are not lit on the router. Then I power off both routers and power on the front router again - No change.

I grab my laptop and plug in directly to the router and open the router's home page - Wireless is showing Off. I tried to turn on the Wi-Fi and it says that the Wi-Fi button needs to be pressed on the router first. Press/hold the Wi-Fi button and everything comes back up.

Me - "Everything is back up. It was the damn cat's fault. I think we need to put up some kind of shelf back here (Last week he turned off the UPS that powers the modem and router).

Ticket # 153874
Title - No Wi-Fi on Main Router
Resolution - Wi-Fi turned off. Pressed button to turn Wi-Fi back on
Cause - The cat is an asshole.

Cat Tax

r/talesfromtechsupport 11d ago

Short Not everyone has the knack for it


I've been in the Tech Support department of my company for only about three months, but I've had previous experience in the field. In one of the training videos for my position (from about a year before I was hired), the instructor notes that a good portion of our client base are... let's just say, less tech-savvy then the average computer user, and that they even have issues installing apps on their phones. Boy, was the instructor understating it. That'll come into play in a bit.

One client sends in a help request ticket and states that our platform has "disappeared". "That's odd." I think to myself. Have bugs and whatnot, sure, but completely disappear, never heard of it happening. I remote into the client's computer and come to understand, over our phone call, that her Chrome shortcut on her desktop to our platform, which I had made for her a week prior (despite it not exactly being part of my job, but she's a VIP, so gotta do it anyway), had disappeared.

My spidey-sense is tingling at that point and I instinctively check the Recycle Bin on the client's desktop. Lo and behold, the missing shortcut. I un-delete the shortcut, and everybody is happy.
(Side note: no, the user doesn't and didn't know how to create a Chrome shortcut)

I know, this is tame in comparison with some of the stories I read here.

But, some days, I honestly wonder how they let people this inept use computers.

r/talesfromtechsupport 10d ago

Short Say no to mild pillows


Got a couple short-ish stories that I could put but I'll just put this one that happened recently.

My dad came into the room asking me to turn on his phone. It's probably a year old, and he likes to use it while charging. He also asked me for a cable, which I assumed was because his phone was running low on power. Not a problem, I have a couple beside me already plugged in to the socket but not in use.

When I got the phone, it was off. Fine, he likes to turn off the phone when not in use, for some odd reason, so I tried to turn it on that way but it didn't work. Next I plugged it into a cable, nothing lit up. The position was slightly awkward, so I grabbed a portable charger and plugged into it. The charging animation lit up. After a few more moments, I turned it on and it was fine. That was the time I noticed something, the battery was at mid 40s. Definitely not at a stage where the phone cannot boot, and it is not possible to charge that fast. After 30 seconds, the phone screen turned off, and it appeared to be completely switched off.

That was the moment I realised, the screen was curved, and the back was slightly curved as well, and in the opposite direction. On a low-end RedMi phone. I told him to stop using, he insisted it was still usable since it can turn on, and I screamed at him to stop. He eventually did, only after I informed my mom about this, and she joined in with the screaming. He asked me to do backups of photos in it, but it was too slow, and nothing could be done within the 30 seconds the screen was on. So all I could do is tell him to dispose it off, and that the photos in there would not be recoverable.

r/talesfromtechsupport 11d ago

Short Mouse troubleshooting


So got a ticket in the system. Just a single line “mouse died need replacement”

I open up a new one and check it on my computer to make sure it pairs.

I head up to the office in question with a new mouse and an assortment of batteries.

“Hey your mouse isn’t working?”

“Yeah it just stopped working I tried replacing the batteries and no luck”

“Well I have a new one let me take a look”

I take the guys old mouse in my hand and slide the battery cover off.

There’s 1 battery in it.,

mental facepalm

I take another battery out and stick it in the empty spot and sure enough the light comes on.

“Um sir.. I think you got distracted in the middle of changing the battery” I whisper as I hand him the mouse.

His face goes red and I walk back to the elevator.

r/talesfromtechsupport 12d ago

Short Wireless printer needs working wifi


Obligatory not tech support, just the family go-to tech person, since building a PC means I must know everything and can keep a network operational in my sleep.

At home we have a wireless printer, and nothing has ever gone wrong with it. If something fails to print or scan, it's always the PC on the other end, but even that's very rare. It just works, as long as everyone is on the same network.

I work the afternoon/evening shift at the local gas station and don't get home until 11PM, so the wifi's habit of randomly dropping in the early hours of the morning is my reminder to go to bed. This also means I sleep well into late morning, and my parents are left to fend for themselves if any tech issues arise before 10AM, which I'm told is an adventure.

A few days ago, the wifi went down sometime around 8AM, but nobody noticed since nobody was using it, until my mom tried to print something and it didn't print.

I slept through most of the chaos, but was eventually woken up by "The printer still isn't working and the wifi is down!"

Me, face half in a pillow: "The printer needs wifi to work."

My dad somehow both heard and understood me from several rooms away and relayed this new information downstairs to my mom. How I was able to provide a coherent response within five seconds of waking up I do not know. Three minutes later, wifi was back up, printing was back up, and I was back asleep. Problem solved through the correct application of inaction.

I already have a deep respect for IT people, but I'm just starting to really understand the pain y'all are put through some days.

r/talesfromtechsupport 12d ago

Medium But you changed something we said you shouldn’t touch!


Long time lurker here now sharing one of the interesting days working as a Tech engineer for primary schools.

Here I am, about three years ago, just promoted to Network Engineer from a Servicedesk position, sent out to setup new Wi-Fi AP’s for a customer. The ticket states that their Alarm system is fickle and I should steer clear from it.

No biggy, 5 Ap’s. That’s about an hour work, including configuring SSID’s and checking if they are placed conform Sitesurvey. I ssh into one and… no connection. Check the IP I got from the dhcp server and it’s off.

Off to the patch cabinet and lo and behold: In a world where 90% of all primary school devices use wifi and 10/100 switches are a thing of the past I find a 1000mbit fiber switch, functioning as a core switch to a stack of 10/100 utp switches. Our Firewall can be found here as well, but no devices I can think of that could produce a second DHCP server.

So, I set a static IP in the subnet I got from this rogue DHCP server and I manage to find a Gigaset VoIP box. Log in with the default credentials and to my shock it’s actually running a DHCP server and functions as a pppoe modem towards an internet connection no one heard of.

This is where the fun starts: I turn off the dhcp function. Start configuring my AP’s and halfway through the Alarm sets off. Customer angry because I changed something. I’m flabbergasted.

I decide to go the “make the customer happy” way and go and fix it right this time. So first things first: how is this alarm system configured. Luckily VoIP and the Alarm where installed by the same provider. Sadly this provider sold all their Alarm customers and all their VoIP customers to another third party. Both unaware of what was actually installed due to a horrible handover.

The Alarm company luckily can tell that they only have systems using IP to manage and all they should need is a specific open port to the outer world. This goes against the interpretation of our customer who is 100% sure the alarm uses a phone connection.

The VoIP company doesn’t have any info on the VoIP box I found and decided to just sent someone to handle it and document everything to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Since the VoIP box isn’t in use, doesn’t contain any SIP info and can’t be found I decide to remove it from the network. These old switches, lacking proper arp support, made this an old school “let’s ping this, and pull cables” search. But after eliminating this bugger, and resetting the Alarm and actually used voip system, I’m finally ready to continue configuring the AP’s.

Done? No. The party that installed the AP’s neglected the request to remove the old ones from above the ceiling plates, probably due to lack of documentation (note: we were not in charge of the old AP’s).

So I track them down and remove these ap’s covered in crusty mouse droppings. Never was I so happy with a bar of soap and hand-sanitizer.

When packing my stuff to leave, I hear the school head on the phone with one of our Relationship managers, complaining about the fact that I managed to set off the alarm and shouldn’t have touched it.

TL;DR: IT in primary schools are usually sub-par, but this school took the cake and complained about me after fixing most of their issues, while not even being there for troubleshooting

r/talesfromtechsupport 12d ago

Short VPN Ticket


Got a ticket from a user earlier this week, just something simple.

Ticket: Hi there my VPN isn't working just says connecting in an endless loop and I can't access any network drives.

In my head: "Hmm, it might be a PW reset, stale session or just might need a reboot."

Me: *messages user on Teams* Hey there, are you free for me to remote onto your machine to look at this VPN issue you raised?

User: "Yeah sure, thanks, no idea what's wrong..."

Me: *remotes on and takes a look* "Ok, so let me check, your VPN."

*Yup the VPN is just saying "connecting" I then notice what sounds like an office environment in the background of the Teams call.*

Me: "Um, quick question, are you in the office or at home today?"

User: I usually work from home but in the office, for the first time today, only worked for the company for a month so far. :)"

*I have a little giggle to myself because I know the problem and it's a breath of fresh air for a VPN issue to be this easy to fix*

Me: "Sorry for the chuckle, yeah you don't need to turn on the VPN app if you are inside the office. You only need it when you are at home, think of it like a secure line from your home to the office so you can get your files and apps, but if you are in the office you are already on that secure line."

User: "Oh..."
*I see them put their face in their hands on the camera then they laugh*
"I'm so sorry to have wasted your time! DX"

Me: "Oh it's no problem at all, the main reason why I am here to help out, is no issue at all, plus you are not used to the systems inside the office so easy mistake to make.

User: "Thanks, big team meeting today so that's the main reason I came to the office."

Me: "Don't Sweat it, anything else you need help with?"

User: *Asks me how to customise some aspects of Outlook, file explorer and how to turn on dark mode in chrome and other apps.*

I took them through everything, and they were happy so an easy ticket close and a relaxed call, no PW resets, account unlocks or VPN reinstalls.

Plus just got off a week of doing "On-Call" work for the first time and it was pretty easy too, so really can't complain. :D

So another chill story from me this week, the new job is so much more relaxed than the other places I've worked, not had any "Karen/Kevin" on the other end of the phone.

r/talesfromtechsupport 13d ago

Medium But I didn't change anything!


I go back to the days of punch cards, this tale is not quite that old.

I was working as a VAX/VMS sys admin for an engineering firm that had a software development department. Some of these folks were eccentric to say the least. One guy in particular looked just like The Cat In The Hat, minus the hat, but he always wore a bowtie. He also had a very strange accent, no one could place it. He was a linguist by education and had been hired to help with voice processing applications. He coded mostly in FORTRAN but occasionally in C. Let us call him H.

H shows up at my desk one day very irate.

H: What have you done to the VAX! My code stopped working!

Me: What do mean? Did you get an error message?

H: No, but the output is all wrong!

Me: Did you change the code?

H: NO, nothing has changed!

Me: Go get your code and I'll go over it with you.

Now of course there's nothing as a sys admin that I could have done to make his code go hinky, no updates have been applied, and nobody else has complained about sudden bugs in working code.

So this being olden times, he brings me a 3" thick fanfolded 15"x11" listing. I have him run the program and show me the problem. I sit down and proceed to go over every inch of code with him.

One of my recurring questions is, "Did you make any changes to the code?" because I keep seeing things that don't look like they match up. And of course he denies it every time I ask.

After about 2 hours of crawling thru code I prove to him that he changed a statement. "Oh yes I did change that but IT SHOULDN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!" So I tell him to change it back and see if it still fails. Of course it doesn't.

But this scenario repeats itself about once a month for several months. Always at the end of a long debug session I get him to admit he changed something.

So one day after I did an OS update he comes to berate me once again. Once again I sit down with him for a couple of hours. And this time he has in fact not changed any code. But looking at the output from a previous run and the current run I am like, "Why are the numbers so different?". He just sits there. "Did you change the inputs?" Well yes he did. So I get him to show me the inputs. Old inputs are about 5 numbers long. New inputs are 10 numbers long. Aha, now we're getting somewhere.

I flip to the section where he has the listing for his input parser. Written in C, which is a change for him since he's a FORTRAN type of guy. I notice that his input array isn't long enough for the data. I explain to him that unlike FORTRAN, C does not do bounds checking on data and his input data is overwriting something else in memory and that's why he's getting garbage out.

Cue a massive tantrum: "WHAT A STUPID LANGUAGE! WHO WOULD WRITE SUCH A STUPID LANGUAGE!" I dunno H, but you picked it to write code in.

r/talesfromtechsupport 14d ago

Short Encyclopædia Moronica: I is for Ingredient, Secret (The)


I could be resetting someone's email password right now, I thought as I slung the crowbar over my shoulder, and entered the store.

I could be having a heated discussion about SQL indexing, I thought as I pried the cash drawer out of the cabinetry, breaking it away from the shelf it had been screwed to.

My screwdriver went to work to disassemble the drawer. I could be having that argument again, about the optimal way to perform an eleven-million row DELETE in SQL Server.

I could be sitting in an air-conditioned office, sipping my fourth coffee of the day, I thought as sweat dripped down the inside of my shirt, testament to my exertion, as I removed the cash from the disassembled carcass of the drawer.

I handed the cash drawer - and it's contents - to the lady who had called me, while I reassembled the cash drawer.

"Really," I said, "It's a failure of the design team - the drawer had jammed; the only way to clear the jam is to disassemble the drawer; the only way to disassemble it requires it be pulled off the shelf; and the only way to remove the securing screws is to take out the drawer."

She smiled. "Should I be at all concerned at the speed at which you got the money out? Or even why you had a crowbar at the ready, in the back of your vehicle?"

The reality, of course, is that a cash drawer is actually a remarkably simple machine, and once you've pulled one apart to tinker with it's innards, you've pretty much seen them all.
The money? I wear a white hat, not black - it would take a lot more than the couple of hundred dollars that a single cash drawer would have to tempt me to cross the line.
The crowbar? A few years ago, the company took on a contract to support a particularly temperamental piece of equipment - despite weighing hundreds of kilograms, it needed to be perfectly level to operate correctly, and the easiest way to level it was to put a crowbar next to the foot, take the weight off the corner so the foot can spin freely, then lower it back down. The contract had long since ended, but the provided crowbar had remained in my tool kit - unused and unneeded, until today.

It was my turn to smile.
"Oh, don't you worry about that. Don't you worry about that at all."

r/talesfromtechsupport 14d ago

Short The new intern and the hunt for a static IP


I was goofing off on LinkedIn today and saw an update from a former intern who worked the summer at an organization where I was a sysadmin in the late '00s and was reminded of this tale.

I mainly handled infra/operations IT and the new intern knocked on my door one morning, introduced himself as working for one of my colleagues on the app dev side of the shop and said he needed a static IP address to configure a small label printer to do some testing with an application.

Sure, no problem, here you go.

Hours go by, and the frustrated intern knocks again, saying he wasn't able to find the IP address I gave him. I asked him what he meant by "find." Apparently he had been plugging his laptop (configured for DHCP) into every unused network drop in the building looking for it to pick up the IP I had given him.

r/talesfromtechsupport 13d ago

Short PLC Keep Faulting, How to Remove Noise from Ground


I think this is my favorite tech support story that I have from when I worked for Quad/Tech a division of Quad/Graphics. For anyone unfamiliar, they build magazines and prepare all the shipping.

One of the magazines they build is Grainger's catalog. The Grainger catalog is over 3 inches thick, its the biggest book Quad would build. It's so big that Quad only RENTS a knife that's large enough to cut through all the pages (for final trim). The Binder it was attached to was throwing all sorts of PLC faults so naturally the electricians called us to take a look.

They argued that because Quad/Tech's Base99 was faulting we must be the ones to fix the problem. However, every PLC was faulting, including machine PLC's, so of course Base99 was going to fault. I learned that this problem happens every year when they run this job. To me, that equals machine problem, I'm blaming the huge power consumption from the knife.

I go through every machine PLC cabinet to investigate. I find the Base that bridges to the Q/T PLC's and discover the Profibus standoffs are only 1" off the backplane when they're supposed to be 2". I inform my coworkers and site electricians, they disregard and return to whatever they were looking at.

So I find a 12v output card that doesn't have a lot of used connections (in case I break it). Take a wire and fray out one end. Connect the wire to 12v and brush the frayed end against the powder-coated backplane. Eventually get a loud POP and all the lights turn off, that's how you know it worked. All the bases are faulted, restart everything for the 10th time. Start the machine back up, no more faults for the remainder of the several-day run.

This same exact problem happened the following year and I was on my day off. Back then I took calls on my day off so I explained what I did to fix the problem last time. Coworker was afraid to apply the same fix so I said I'd be right in. Did the exact same thing, re-explained the exact same problem to the exact same electricians. Machine Problem = Charging my time to Sussex.