IT Professionals Shared Their Funniest Stories On The Job — And I Suddenly Feel Like A Tech Whiz
"He was asking why a computer repair place couldn't repair his computer. I told him it was because he brought in a dehumidifier and not a PC tower."
Let's face it: All of us have dealt with tech issues in our lives (and if you're Gen Z and a tech whiz, all I have to say is give it time.)
1. "A friend's dad offered me $100 to come fix his computer, no questions asked. I said I couldn't promise anything, but that I'd take a look. He showed me that when he opens Internet Explorer, nothing comes up, so his internet must be broken. I looked at the address bar. It said "ww.msn.com" Somehow his homepage got set to ww.msn.com. I told him he didn't have to pay me, but he insisted, saying he doesn't go back on his word. In other words, I got paid $100 for typing a W."
3. "Working as a tech in the military, I got a call from the shop that one of the computers won't turn on. I show up, and sure enough the thing won't power on. Open up the case, and a flood of grease pours out. Apparently the fan was making too much noise, so the user decided to spray half a can of WD-40 into it."
4. "A co-worker of mine once told me a story — while he was working help desk, a user had an issue copying files to his new computer. He went to see what the problem was, and the guy showed him what he was doing. He had the mouse plugged in to his old computer, right-click, copy. Then he would unplug his mouse, plug it into the new computer, and was trying to right-click, paste."
5. "It once took me about 15 minutes to explain to someone how to hit CTRL-ALT-DEL to log in to the computer. He could just not get the concept of hitting two or three keys at the same time. Lord only knows how he made out once he logged in."
6. "I'm a local IT for a small consulting firm. One day the owner's partner comes to me and says, 'Drai, the screen isn't working.' I reply, 'OK, did you hit the power button to turn it on? They say, 'Yes, that was the first thing I checked.' 'Perfect, Let's take a look.' I walk into the room and giggle. The screen sure enough was not showing anything on the display. I wave my hand over it, and the screen shows in my shadow. It was the glare from the window all along."
7. "I had a person call to say their printer wouldn't print yellow. It would print green and orange, but not yellow. While troubleshooting this odd issue, they tell me it only happens when they try to print out fliers for their daughter's birthday party. Which is on yellow paper."
8. "I used to work for a place that rhymes with 'Bell' as a printer tech. I explained to a young person that 'wireless printer' doesn't mean wireless power cords, which haven't been invented yet."
9. "A friend called me to find out why their printer was printing really faded documents. I explained that it was probably just out of ink. They said, 'Yeah I got the pop-up and bought more ink — it still doesn't work.' I asked if they checked the cartridge, and they had no idea what I was talking about. They thought ink would download through the internet to her printer."
10. "When the head of IT at my former job thought he could combine two Excel documents by saving them both with the same name."
11. "When I worked at a computer repair place, a guy brought a unit in to get repaired, and I looked at him and said that I couldn't help him. He was kinda irritated and was asking why a computer repair place couldn't repair his computer. I told him it was because he brought in a dehumidifier and not a PC tower."
12. "I'm not an IT professional, but my boss once asked me for my help to log out of Gmail. She was in Excel."
13. "It boggles my boss's mind when he asks me how to do something in Excel and I don't know, but I google how to do it then show him. He looks at me like I’m a wizard."
14. "I wish I kept the picture because this was pure gold, but it was lost in an office move. It went something like this: 'Hello, I seem to be having a problem with my PC; it keeps flashing up an app error.' Me: 'OK, could you tell me what application you are in and send me a screenshot?'
"'User: Sure, I'll get onto that right away.' Considering it would normally take a fair amount of time to get her off the phone, I was pleasantly surprised how cool they were. Anyway, fast-forward three days, haven't heard anything, and I get a letter in our internal mail with the word 'screenshot' in big bold writing. I shit you not, they had taken a picture of the computer screen, had it developed, and sent over to my office."
15. "A few years ago I worked as an IT trainer. We were training plumbers how to use a new system to log their work and all that business. Day one, trying to get people to log in, one guy who would've been in his 60s tried to physically put his mouse on the screen to 'click.'"
16. "Sweet old lady calls up saying her computer isn't turning on. She's a bright lady. Knows all of our rates and policies before we even have to explain them: '$100/hour, yep. $100 same day rush fee, yep. $30 destination fee, yep.' She asks, "So if it takes you two minutes to fix the problem, it'll cost me $230?' I say, 'Yep.' 'OK. Come on down.'"
"We get there only to discover that everything was hooked up correctly with one exception. The surge protector, instead of plugging it into the wall, she had plugged it into...itself.
Unplugged the surge protector from itself, plugged it into the wall. Boom. Computer turns on.
'Oh, my. I'm so embarrassed.' As she fetches her checkbook, 'Hurry along. Don't tell my husband.'"
17. "I once spoke to someone who was convinced that typing anything into their PC used up the ink in her printer."
18. "I helped build a local ISP when I was in high school. We had a nice older lady, in her 90s, who would call us every time she needed to check her email. She only did it once a week, and she was super sweet about it, but literally every single time she needed to check her email, it was like she had never seen a computer before. We had to walk her through the whole thing, step by step. If she even so much as felt a twinge of déjà vu at a step, she would congratulate herself, and goddamnit...we would congratulate her too."
19. "I had to install Yosemite a few weeks a go on a girl's Macbook. Three hours later she goes, 'I don't like how it looks; if I move the clock back three hours will I get the old look back?'"
20. "Someone 'plugged' a power cable into a USB port. There was nothing I could do for the poor violated thing. Apparently they made use of a screwdriver and a hammer."
21. "I worked at the Apple store, and I was taking appointments like normal. This lady comes in with a G4 iBook (one of the very last; I think it was a 900MHz model), and cannot get into the computer. Simple 'forgotten password' stuff. Well, I hooked up a FireWire drive that we had an OS installer image loaded on, and reset her password for the account. In order to confirm that the reset was successful, I booted the machine and logged into the account in question."
"I noticed something very strange right away — there were a BUNCH of folders on the desktop with very odd names. For example, there was a folder called 'I'm thirsty,' another called 'Hungry,' another called 'I love you,' 'Thank you,' etc. These things were all over the desktop.
I double-click on one of them, because I expect that there are files inside...however, there's NOTHING in the folder, BUT WHEN I CLICKED ON THE FOLDER, THE OS X VOICEOVER" FEATURE IMMEDIATELY READ OUT THE NAME OF THE FOLDER 'I'm hungry' (or whichever one I clicked on).
The woman started to cry, literally cry, and I assumed it was because there were no files in the folder. I was preparing to console her and try to find her files, but she stopped me and thanked me, then explained: This computer was owned by her now-deceased husband, who'd suffered a pretty severe stroke in the last year or so of his life, and to make communicating with his wife easier, he would click on a folder with the phrase he intended to convey.
I'll never for the life of me forget what that woman said to me: She thanked me for 'giving her back her husband's voice.'"
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.