Tech Support People Share The Most Awful Situations They've Ever Had To Deal With

Tech people or "techies" as we sometimes affectionately call them are often thought of as the guys and gals who would wait in line for a Star Trek convention or the friend you can cheat off of in Geometry. 

Basically, they're the nerds. 

But the older we get the more we realize that those who are knowledgable are the keepers to the kingdom and that can be sexy. 

Techies are our saviors. Most people have trouble getting a password to work. When we go to Apple or the Geek Squad, we are flocking to our saviors. But they are rarely ever treated that way because they are also life's punching bags.

And boy have they seen and lived through it all.

Several tech people shared some of their best war stories on Reddit and they are too good! 

Reddit user self.talesfromtechsupportrecalls how it's NOT always the server. 

Here's another tale from the out of hours hell desk... This gem happened a few days ago.

Me: Service Desk


Me: Which server are you referring to?


Me: okay... what is it that you are trying to do?


(yes, she was SHOUTING the entire time)

Me: Please can you stop shouting at me and tell me which server you are talking about or what it is that you are trying to do? has many different servers for different things, I need to know exactly what isn't working?


(In the background I've already loaded up our server monitoring tools - no alerts)

Me: I've checked our monitoring, I'm not seeing any servers as being down. Which department are you calling from?


Me: Can I get your Staff ID please?

Caller: IRRELEVANT. click

10 minutes later...

Me: Service Desk


Me: Nothing.


Me: You still haven't told me which server is down or what is not actually working?


Me: Ma'am I can see you are calling me from your Desk Phone, is that correct?

Caller: YES!

Me: and this is the phone you can not make calls from, correct?

Caller: YES!

Me: ...

Me: Do you see why I'm having trouble understanding the problem?


Me: Ma'am that number is 3 digits short of a valid number, that is why the call is not connecting.


I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.

Macaveli54and boss decided to have a little fun with the ridiculous.

 So I had a customer call me up in mobile tech support with the problem that his data wasn't working for 20 minutes, pretty quickly I find out why; he had accidentally turned off his data on the phone menu (which happens a lot but usually the customer goes "oops silly me"). So this customer starts demanding that he want's compensation for his time without service and being very rude about it. After a couple of minutes he's not taking this is not something we did, but his mistake as a answer, so I get an idea, I tell him I'm going to go speak to my manager. I went up to my manager, explain what's happening, he says the customer's being ridiculous and I said,

"Listen I have this idea for him, are you okay with this?" then explain my idea.

"Are you kidding? Let me get on call listening before you go back, I wanna hear this."

I go back to the phone, he gave me the thumbs up that he was ready to listen and I proceed.

"Right sir, I just had a word with my manager and I've managed to swing something for you, so let's break this down, you pay us 39.99 a month for 3 services; calls, texts and data, so let's divide your bill by 3 that give us 13.33, so let's divide further by 30 days to gives 44 pence for your daily data, now you had your data turned off for 20 minutes but for the purpose of this I'll round it up to an hour so we just need to divide that 44 pence by 24 hours so that means your looking at compensation of 1.8 pence so let's just say 2."

I looked over at my manager during and he was covering his mouth laughing. Customer goes;

"Are you having a f@#*ing laugh?"

"No sir the math is there."

"............Go on then I'll take it"


Each of us is someone's IT person now and again.

LTLFTP+Hard to format on mobile.

Ok, so I am by no means an IT but the one who everyone in my family call when they need help.
So I get a call from my grandpa (89 yrs old) about a new win 10 laptop he just got and he needs help setting it up.

Now keep in mind he is the kind of person to blame the machinery if he clicks on the wrong thing so I already knew this would not end in a phone call - so I drove to his place expecting to see it still in the box. That was not the case.

When I arrive, I see him already in his desktop, after he somehow managed to install windows correctly on his own accord - and waiting for me while playing minesweeper. As he greets me, he freaking ALT+F4's to close the game and then tells me he cannot connect to the internet.
Not sure what happened in the week I wasn't there, I ask if he could show me the problem.

He then OPENS CMD AND PINGS HIS OWN CELLPHONE and then points at the 0 packets text to show me there is no connection.

At this point id probably look less surprised if I see an alien invasion.

So after showing him that you need to enter the password to connect to his home wifi, he then asks me how to see his email account again.
Still completely stunned, I show him how to access his outlook account and how to delete some messages.

And the craziest part- when I asked him how did he know about CMD his answer was: "I learned it from grandma". thegur90

Give me my recyclables!! WHERE ARE MY RECYCLABLES?!! 

Hey everyone, thought I would share this tale from one of my IT buddies. He had this one woman that would always puts tickets in for the smallest things. But this one takes the cake.

IT - IT Buddy
CW - Confused Woman

IT saw a ticket had come in and it was from CW. It said: "You deleted all my files! I need them to do my job!" IT called CW to see what was going on because we don't delete personal files off of people's computers unless there is a good reason for it and we have the user's permission. So while he was on the phone, he remotes into her computer and noticed everything but the recycling bin was missing on her desktop. He noticed that there was files in the recycling bin, so he opened it and all her files are there.

IT: Here are all your files, did you move them into here?
CW: Yes I did, I moved them in here to recycle them so they will be clean for me to work on them.
IT: .....Excuse me?
CW: Yes, I move them to the recycling bin to make them new again so I can reuse the files.
IT: This is the trash bin, you would move files here to delete them off of your computer.

So for the next half hour, my buddy had to teach her how to use the recycling bin.  thedarkavengerx

First post in quite some time! I work at a local authority on the helldesk. Social workers are the bane of my existence but you learn to cope with their general incompetence as part of the job. But sometimes they can still surprise you. This happened today.

So, we use a generic username for most of our computers so that people can log onto the machine, then from there they log into Citrix to work. Everyone knows the username and password for this. It's literally written on the walls in most areas, because the only thing it can access is another login page, so it isn't a security issue. Most of these accounts stay logged on at all times to save confusing the geniuses that work here. A guy rang up, said hello and asked for the generic login details. I've changed the exact username and password but other than that this is more or less word for word:

Genius: So what's the username?
Me: It's 'Computer'.
Genius: so is that the asset number of the PC?
Me: No no, it's just the word 'Computer'
Genius: And then backslash my name?
Me: NO. It's the word 'Computer.' C-O-M-P-U-T-E-R. Computer. nothing else.
Genius: And what's the password?
Me: It's 'P4ssword'. As in, the word 'Password' with a capital 'P', but you replace the 'a' with a '4'.
Genius: So it's 'Password4'?
Me: NO. It is not. It is 'P-4-s-s-w-o-r-d' With a capital P at the beginning. Everything else is lower case.
Genius: Ok, so the username is ComputerP4ssword. What's the password?
Me: NO. The username is Computer. The password is 'P4ssword'. That's everything. Just two words. Two boxes, two words.
Genius: type type type It didn't work. I typed in 'password' but it said it's incorrect.
Me: Spell out what you typed for me please.
Genius: 'p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d'
Me: very slowly and clearly, in case it was my accent or something ... Like i said. CAPITAL P. NUMBER FOUR. LOWER CASE S, LOWER CASE S, LOWER CASE W, LOWERCASE O, LOWERCASE R, LOWER CASE D. P4ssword.
Genius: type type click Nope. And it says the account is locked. I used a capital P this time definitely.
Me: did you use a 4 instead of the a?
Genius: Use four whats?

I remoted to the machine and typed it in for him. He complained that the system was needlessly complicated.  Bombadils

Yay, that about sums that up.

Every office has their special users. The ones who can't figure out anything technical, everything is an emergency, and everything has to function exactly the same or they can't work. At my job, it is the HR lady. Since she is just HR, all her problems boil down to a printer error, excel, word, reboot and it works type of issues, and since I am the System admin they are all my responsibility.

However, every issue she has she comes back to IT, walks right by my desk goes to the programmer, manager, network admin and explains the issue. Every time they either tell her to go me (even though she gets bitchy), or relay the info to me to fix.

A few weeks back, she had a problem with the calculations on an excel spreadsheet. Everyone was at lunch, so she's forced to ask me. Immediately, I say it is probably rounding up or down because it is only off by a penny. This doesn't suffice, so she ignores me and waits until lunches are done to return. She goes to programmer guy and like usual, he passes it to me. I email her with a breakdown showing how it is rounding. She still wants programmer guy to look at it, so my manager responds with a message saying he will get to when he can.

Well, programmer guy is swamped, the new website launch is getting pushed out, her excel "problem" gets shelved with her emails coming ever more frequent. My manager even resends my explanation, but she wants programmer guy to look at it. This is unacceptable, so she goes to the VP saying we aren't helping her.

My boss sets up a meeting with the 3 of us for me to explain the issue. It was the shortest meeting ever because I start explaining it and our VP completely understands right away. The VP cuts me off, looks at HR lady and says "You pulled me into a meeting for this shit?"

TLDR; HR lady with easy issue ignores obviously solution only to be burned by VP.    self.talesfromtechsupport

Seriously, techies have the patience of Gob.

I witnessed this astounding IT meltdown around 2004 in a large academic organization.

An employee decided to send a broad solicitation about her need for a local apartment. She happened to discover and use an type of email address that included everyone. And by "everyone," I mean every employee in a 30,000-employee academic institution. Everyone from the CEO on down received this lady's apartment inquiry.

Of course, this kicked off the usual round of "why am I getting this" and "take me offa list" and "omg everyone stop replying" responses... each reply-all'ed to, so 30,000 new messages. Email started to bog down as a half-million messages apparated into mailboxes.

IT Fail #1: Not necessarily making an email address - that's quite reasonable - but granting unrestricted access to it (rather than configuring the mail server to check the sender and generate one "not the CEO = not authorized" reply).

That wasn't the real problem. That incident might've simmered down after people stopped responding.

In a 30k organization, lots of people go on vacay, and some of them (let's say 20) remembered to set their email to auto-respond about their absence. And the auto-responders responded to the same recipients - including So, every "I don't care about your apartment" message didn't just generate 30,000 copies of itself... it also generated 30,000 * 20 = 600,000 new messages. Even the avalanche of apartment messages became drowned out by the volume of "I'll be gone 'til November" auto-replies.

That also wasn't the real problem, which, again, might have died down all by itself.

The REAL problem was that the mail servers were quite diligent. The auto-responders didn't just send one "I'm away" message: they sent an "I'm away" message in response to every incoming message... including the "I'm away" messages of the other auto-responders.

The auto-response avalanche converted the entire mail system into an Agent-Smith-like replication factory of away messages, as auto-responders incessantly informed not just every employee, but also each other, about employee status.

The email systems melted down. Everything went offline. A 30k-wide enterprise suddenly had no email, for about 24 hours.

That's not the end of the story.

The IT staff busied themselves with mucking out the mailboxes from these millions of messages and deactivating the auto-responders. They brought the email system back online, and their first order of business was to send out an email explaining the cause of the problem, etc. And they addressed the notification email to

IT Fail #2: Before they sent their email message, they had disabled most of the auto-responders - but they missed at least one.

More specifically: they missed at least twosfsdfd

Sometimes people should come with warning labels. 

Last year, Help Desk got a call from a user complaining that the laptop we issued him would not read DVDs. He was one of those "I'm a very busy and a very important man, and I don't have time to follow your troubleshooting steps over the phone. Just fix it, dammit." kinda guys, so he said he would get someone to drop off the laptop at our office and pick up a loaner.

 We received the laptop a couple days later, there was a note attached saying that now it wasn't even booting into Windows anymore. Sure enough, he was right - it didn't even attempt to load Windows, and instead we were greeted by the "Non-system disk or disk error" message. It sounded and looked like the PC was trying to boot from the DVD drive instead of the HDD.

 We opened the disk tray, and saw the culprit. There was a DVD in there, all right - but it was placed upside down.

 We flipped the disc over.

 He was trying to watch "Dumb and Dumber".   brenkelieshere

Nothing lasts forever!

This comes from the wonderful world of home security systems customer support. My coworker fields this one.

$CW is coworker.
$GOG is grumpy old guy.

$CW: "thank you for calling Blah Blah Blah Security, how may I help you?"

$GOG: Gives name, address, password, blood sample of first born for verification purposes. "Well my system isn't accepting codes and won't turn on or off. I think it started after the storm that came through last night."

$CW: "Did lightning strike your house or close by?"

$GOG: "yes"

$CW: "I see. Based on the age of the system, it probably took a surge. We're unable to get replacement parts anymore, so you'll need an upgrade. I can get someone in sales to call you with a price."

$GOG: "Well can't you just send someone out to fix it?"

$CW: "We certainly can, but as it's obsolete equipment it's unlikely they can repair it. You'd still be billed for the service call."

This is where the customer gets irate


$CW: soft voice "Well Sir, it was brand new in 1986."  DaWayItWorks

JurassicJeremy  It's been a bit since I've posted, so quick rundown. I work for a small software company doing IT and customer service work supporting the users of our order-writing software.

We brought on a new company 6 months or so ago, and along with it, came a sales rep we'll call Virginia.

Virginia is 75 years old, "not good with computers", but has the best sense of humor and understanding I've ever had from a client. Every time she calls in she's always got something to say, which usually ends in a "I hope you've got your Vallium nearby!", And considers us all Wizards.

We recently updated our software, and sent an email out notifying users of this. She calls in yesterday, and we chat it up while I explain to her that yes, this was a real email, not spam, and that she should in fact update her program.

She says "Ok, I'm going to try to be a big girl and update this myself, but stay by the phone!"

A few minutes go by, and the phone rings, sure enough, it's her on the Caller ID, so I pick up without using the standard greeting, and say "Hey, Virginia!"

She responds, "Darn, how did you recognize me with my hat and fake mustache on!?"

I lost it for a bit. Having a long week full of incompetent, ignorant, or intentionally destructive users was washed away because this little old lady told the most Dad-like joke over the phone.

TL;DR - Not all old users are bad, especially if they can laugh at themselves.

nagol93  So, I had to walk a client through setting up a printer over the phone. Which required her to set an IP address to the printer. Also she is not tech smart at all.

Me: "Ok, do you have a usb cable? Sometimes they come with the printer"

Her: "No, im looking in the box now. Theres no usb cable. Only the printer and power"

So it needs to me networked, great. I walk her through getting the printer on her network

Me: "Ok, do you see a place to enter 4 numbers?"

Her: "Yep, its right here"

Me: "Ok the number is"

Her: "Ok, I put in 19216803. Whats the 2nd number?"

Me: "No, lets start over. The first number is 192, second is 168, third is 0, and fourth is 3"

Her: "Ok, so 192.168.03?"

Me: "No, the third number is just 0, the fourth is 3"

Her: "So,"

Me: "no,"

Her: "But what about the 0?"

Me: "What about it?"

Her: "Shouldn't it be a number?"

Me: "0 is a number"

Her: "Look this it to complex for me, cant we just use the cable it came with?"


Me: ".....yes"

Edit: I should say, this is the shortened version. IRL this conversation went on for 30 min and this ticket lasted 2 days.

Edit2: I said "Zero", NOT "o" and I said both "period" and "dot"

Some people just need an exorcism!

self.talesfromtechsupport   backstory - I do end user implementation, training, and support for a web application that was developed by my firm. Our clients skew older.

client: I can't get into my account. My login isn't working. This is ridiculous. I've been trying for hours and now I'm locked out.
me: My apologies for the inconvenience! I've just reset your password. You should receive an email with a link to set and save a new password in a moment.
c: I don't want to set a new password. I liked my old password. It's the same password I use for everything else and it's easy to remember.
me: My sincere apologies, but you will need to set a new password in order to gain access to your account.
c: Can't I just use my old password?
me: No, our data security standards do not allow that. However, if for any reason you aren't able to follow the password reset link, I would be happy to generate a random password for you, and share it with you over the phone.
c: Do that, then, and email the password to me.
me: Again, my apologies, but part of our security policy states that we cannot email passwords in plain text. I would be happy to give you a call and share you password with you over the phone.
c: Why are you being so difficult? I just want my old password to work again.
me: Sir, I'm so sorry that this process has been frustrating for you. I want you to have access to your account. Have you followed the link in the password reset email?
c: No. It looks like a virus. I don't want to click on it.
me: I can assure you that it is not a virus. It is a hyperlink. You can just click on it, and it'll open a page in your browser where you can reset your password.
c: That's ridiculous. That's so much work. Why do you make it so hard? This should be simple. I want to speak to your manager.
me: (eager to pass them off on someone else) No problem. My manager is cc'd. He would be happy to assist you.
manager: How can I help?
c: Your employee is rude, stupid, and not helpful. I just want to log in, I don't want to reset my password, I don't want to click on this virus she sent me, and this is taking forever and it is ridiculous.
manager: Sir, respectfully, we are going to need you to meet us halfway and change your password.
client: (in all caps, this is via email) THIS IS BULLSHIT. I DON'T WANT TO CHANGE MY PASSWORD. YOU ARE IDIOTS.
manager: Again, we are sorry that this is frustrating for you. Please let us know what we can do to help.

Manager cc's client's boss, the director of their org and the one whose signature is on the contract. My manager does not take shit from clients.

client's boss (to their employee with us cc'd): Are you serious? These nice people are doing everything they can to help you, and you are abusing and belittling them. This is an embarrassment to our organization. You owe them both an apology, and you need to reset your password, stop complaining, and log in so you can get me that report that was supposed to be on my desk yesterday. The fact that you've wasted your entire day on this is ridiculous and this will definitely be included in your performance review.

My manager and I were in tears. Client's boss was savage af and did not pull a single punch. The client did end up resetting his password but did not apologize. Last time I sent out an email to clients, his bounced. His ass got fired. evil cackle

No. I'm Spartacus. NO! I'M SPARTACUS!!

Here's a weird one that happened the other day...

Phone rings

Me: Hello this is the IT department.
Evil Clone: Uhhh, no this is the IT department, what can I help you with?
Me: No sorry there's a mistake there, this is the IT department you've called, what seems to be the trouble today?
Evil Clone: Sorry I think there's some confusion here, you've called the help desk for (REDACTED COMPANY).
Me: You're right I am confused because I work the help desk for (SAME REDACTED COMPANY). My phone rang so I answered it.
Evil Clone: My phone ran I answered it.
Me: So now here we are...talking to each other...
Evil Clone: Are you working from the (REDACTED STATE) branch?
Evil Clone: This is weird...
Me: Yeah...soooo talk to you later then?
Evil Clone: Sure, have a good shift.
Me: You too. Bye.

Seriously...who was phone?  therobotjeff

Ok so this little gem started yesterday, currently working in managed print industry - customer logs a call saying no devices in a building are working, so definitely server/software related.

I log in with their IT, the server is freezing and when logging in with a new account there is a disk space error. So i inform him he needs to clear it down or add some HDD space and we can then troubleshoot anything if there are issues once its done.

Call the end user who logged the call, and let her know but... it makes no sense to her, depressing conversation occurs:

Me: Morning, just calling regarding your printing issues at site X, its due to a server fault your IT are looking into - they should hopefully have it resolved soon which will likely resolve your issues.
User: Oh, well the printer still isnt working, none of them are, this is URGENT.
Me: I understand, but your IT is looking into it due to a server fault and should have it sorted as soon as possible.
User: Ok, so when are you coming out to fix it?
Me: I would not be able to fix the machine on site, it is a server issue as its run out of disk space, and your IT are looking into it.
User: This is urgent the ENTIRE site cant print, whats the ETA on the fix?
Me: I am not your IT so i am unable to advise, you would have to call them as they need to resolve it.
User: I need an ETA to inform the users and management.
Me: Im not in your IT so i cant give an ETA unfortuantely.
User: Talk to my manager.
Manager: we need an ETA for the fix or send someone on site, i want this actioned ASAP.
Me: I'm not your IT, i'm from the managed print support company, the issue is with your server and your IT are looking to fix it. An engineer from us wont be able to assist.
Manager: So you are categorically stating YOUR print engineer cant fix the printer? What kind of support is this?!
Me: The issue isn't with the printer, its with the server the print software is on, which your IT are looking to fix urgently.
Manager: No, the PRINTER is not PRINTING so its a PRINTER problem, we don't have servers.
Me: You do have servers, it's what governs the pull print and login for the devices, and it's currently down, your IT are looking to fix it.
Manager: why are you refusing to fix this? You can't just say no we have a support contract!
Me: Your IT fix your servers, we fix the printers and the software thats on the server. You need to call your IT.
Manager: Im escalating this to my director - expect a call back shortly


Had several calls since then i have ignored - informed their account manager whats going on - this is now his mountain of stupid to deal with.

Tl:DR printers don't work - server has no space on C drive, IT fixing - IM NOT THE USERS IT TEAM.    Ten_DU

Lesson to walk away with? 

Be nice to your techies and they'll be nice to you. Or, get a therapist and some Xanax! 

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