Corny calls that confound the help desk

We received quite a few funny responses to our article about strange questions we received through our Web site help desk feature.

Below we’ve included some of the best ones. We’ve kept the last names of the readers anonymous, but thanks to Brian Y., Len K., Ganesh K. and James H.

And if you can top these, please send your stories to me, David Ramel, at, and I may share them in a future article.

Just following directions

I work on a help desk in Philadelphia.

I was using a tool to remote control into one of my user’s computers, which for security purposes requires the user to click a “Yes” pop-up button in order to allow me access onto their computer.

So I told the user to “say yes when you see the prompt on the screen.” However, after a minute, I still did not have access. It turns out that the prompt was still on the user’s screen, because instead of clicking the “Yes” prompt, she had said the word “Yes.” — Brian Y.

No idea what this is about

sir can u help me i a project that we have make a application of car control throw computer

— Len K.

Copying across the void

My manager was sitting in the server room and breaking his head. When I entered, he asked me to solve his problem.

He explained, “I’m trying to copy files from old server to new server. I am able to copy the files, but not able to paste them onto the new folder.”

When I “researched” I [found out] that he was using on the keyboard of the old server, and using on the keyboard of the new server. Both were different machines with different keyboards and he expected copy/paste to work “across” machines.

Tired mouse

The same manager asked me to solve his “mouse” problem another day. He said that due to shortage of testing machines, one of his subordinates ran a test automation script on his PC.

Since the “mouse moved around” too much, it must have got “tired” and hence was not functioning properly. I was amused to hear this. Then I figured out, he saw the mouse cursor move all over the screen when the automation script was running. He thought that the mouse was also physically moving and that caused it to malfunction. I just removed the mouse-ball and cleaned the dust and it started working fine.

But the manager still thinks that his assumption was right.

More fun with mice

One of my colleagues wanted to fool around with me, so she removed the mouse-balls from my mouse at work. I was not at my desk when she did that.

Later I came to my desk and my manager was with me. He wanted an important file from my computer. I tried to use the mouse but found that the cursor did not move as someone has removed the mouse-ball. I showed my frustation and then used the keyboard to locate the file and email it to my manager.

The manager returned to his desk. Five minutes later, everyone in the office started laughing at me and told me to check my email. I was shocked to see an email from my manager to all employees that read: “Office is not a place to fool around. Whoever stole Ganesh’s balls, please return it.”

— Ganesh K.

System Error 1D10T

When I worked at MCI (Formerly Worldcom, formerly prior to MCI/WorldCom naming) in 1995, we had a trouble ticket arrive for a user having a problem with Microsoft Word. It seemed, so he reported, that he couldn’t see anything on his monitor. So, I took the ticket and went to see if I could assist him. His Desktop, Windows 3.1 was fine, He maximized his Word application, it too, was fine. So, I asked what the problem was.

It seemed he needed to print a flyer on yellow paper, but he wanted to use white letters. So he changed his font color to white. Of course, the default background in Word is, you guessed it, white. I used the left mouse button, highlighted his text, and sure enough, it was all there. His test print didn’t show it, as he didn’t put the yellow paper in the printer yet either.

I called the help desk on the radio as I left the office and reported the problem was caused by a System 1D10T Error (one of the codes we used at IBM in Austin on the LAN Server team.)

Sometimes it’s the tech

We had a tech who like to play jokes on people at MCI back in ’95 or ’96. So, one day, I decided to get even:

While he was out on a trouble call, doing a Printer Maintenance Kit, I changed his Windows 95 Shell program in his “.ini” file to our e-mail program. So, every time he rebooted his computer, it would boot to his e-mail program. When he shut down his e-mail program, it shut down his Windows. 🙂 ( Mean? I know, but he was asking for it.)

So, he has a problem and reboots his computer. We all knew what happened, but no one else in our area really watched to see what I did. But they got a kick out of it. After several attempts to find and fix the problem, while I was out on a service call or two, he decided to rebuild his Windows 95. (Nobody stopped him either.)

After he got it rebuilt, he went on another service call, and I was told by one of our senior techs to set him up again… which I did… Same scenario… he wasn’t missing much work, just an annoyance with his system… as he put in the boot diskette to start rebuilding his system for a second time, he realized our Team Lead (now my wife’s boss) and our senior tech were laughing almost non-stop and so hard that they were basically crying.

That is when the practical jokester realized he was the butt of this joke. I calmly went over to his desk and launched the explorer.exe and then edited his “.ini” file so he could boot his computer normally again.

Just having fun in the tech world at the expense of others… and they pay us to work with all these fun toys… I love this job.

— James H.

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