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Things They Say 4

TECH: What type of PC is it madam?
PUNTER: Its a QMS (or something like that)
TECH: Is that a HP madam?
PUNTER: Don't be so cheeky...I paid cash!!!

I've got this new game for my PC, it's called Plug & Play Configuration Update....

PUNTER : I need a new Master CD for my computer.
TECH :Okay, if I can take a few details, I can send it out to you. Can I start by taking your name please ?
*Silence at the other end of the line*
TECH : Hello, Hello, are you still there ?
PUNTER : Yes, the computer is in my wife's name.
TECH : Okay can I take her name please ?
*Another long period of silence*
TECH : Okay (Maybe it's a tough question), can I take your address and telephone number.
PUNTER : It's ....
TECH : And can I have the computer's serial number please.
PUNTER : Where's that ?
TECH : On the back of the computer, it's a 10 digit number starting s/n.
PUNTER : Is it on the receipt ?
TECH : No, it's on the back of the computer.
PUNTER : Hold on, the computer's upstairs,
*5 Minutes later*
PUNTER : Hello the number is .....
TECH : Sorry that's the wrong number, it should start s/n.
PUNTER : Hold on.
*Another 5 minutes pass*
PUNTER : Is this the right number .....
TECH : Yes, So if I can just take your name then we're finished.
*Again silence*

TECH : Okay if I can take your surname please.
PUNTER : Certainly it's Mr ......

TECH : If you can type in "H-S-UPDATE" and Press Enter.
PUNTER : So I have to spell update myself do I.

PUNTER : I've just restored my Acer computer and I can't get the cards back in.
TECH : How do you mean the cards?
PUNTER : You know the cards inside the computer.

The guy had assumed that restoring the computer involved opening the case removing the modem, soundcard etc, then running the recovery CD, before putting the cards back in again. Needless to say he'd totally shafted the computer.

This is an excerpt from a real E-Mail message sent round an (unnamed) Tech Support Department -

" Unless there has been some major revelation, the PB900x problem of "Keyboard Not Detected" is NOT resolved by advising the customer to buy a pot plant and place it next to their PC to reduce static buildup. Nor does buying a dehumidifier, or a rubber car mat to place their feet on."

PUNTER : I'm trying to delete Windows, I type in DELTREE but something seems to be missing.
PUNTER : Oh yes, thank you, bye....

I've just bought my computer and printer. I'm trying to set up my printer, and it's come up with the message "Please insert the printer driver disks, these should have been supplied by your computer manufacturer". I didn't get any printer disks with my computer, but I did get 2 with my printer, will they do ?

PUNTER : I can't get past the fingerprinting password on my Apricot computer.
TECH : So you're typing in the password exactly as you wrote it down ?
TECH : Have you tried the backup password ?
PUNTER : Yes, that does the same thing. I type the password in and nothing happens
TECH : You are pressing Enter after typing the password in ?
PUNTER : I'll just try that ... Oh it's worked!

TECH : Can you put your CD into the CD-ROM drive ?
PUNTER : Oh you are using computer jargon there, what exactly do you mean by CD-ROM drive ?

Recently had a call from someone who bought a 2 CD game, so he went out and bought another CD-ROM drive for his computer.

A customer was advised to run the Master CD and failing that to call for an engineer because MSWorks was deleting the text in front of his cursor whenever he pressed the space bar. Tech guy has obviously never heard of the insert key.....

I have just had a lady on the phone who was just a little upset that her Packard Bell was taking a long time to Remaster. When I asked her how long it had been going for she replied "for the past 5 days".

I informed her that this should only take just over an hour. She then told me that one of Packard Bell's technicians told her that it would take 5 days.

I'm not sure how true this story is, but it just goes to show some of the idiots tech support staff have to deal with.

Actual dialog of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee:
- "Ridge Hall computer assistant may I help you?"
- "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
- "What sort of trouble?"
- "Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
- "Went away?"
- "They disappeared."
- "Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
- "Nothing."
- "Nothing?"
- "It's blank it won't accept anything when I type."
- "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
- "How do I tell?"
- "Can you see the C:\ prompt on the screen?"
- "What's a sea-prompt?"
- "Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"
- "There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type."
- "Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
- "What's a monitor?"
- "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"
- "I don't know."
- "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
- ".....Yes, I think so."
- "Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall"
- "......Yes, it is."
- "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
- "No."
- "Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."
- "Okay, here it is."
- "Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."
- "I can't reach."
- "Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
- "No."
- "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
- "Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."
- "Dark?"
- "Yes-the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."
- "Well, turn on the office light then."
- "I can't."
- "No? Why not?"
- "Because there's a power cut."
- "A power... A power cut? Aha! Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in ?"
- "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
- "Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
- "Really? Is it that bad?"
- "Yes, I'm afraid it is."
- "Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"
- "Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."

This is the true repair procedure for a certain laptop computer sold in the UK. All names have been removed to protect the innocent.

"As of now, all X Laptops are to be repaired by X, at their repair centre in Holland. Below is the recommended procedure to follow for booking a call for the customer.

Customer calls Technical Support. If a fault is found on the X Laptop then a repair is logged and a cardboard box is posted out to the customer. Please note that this box contains all the paperwork needed to return the X Laptop to X.

The customer should be advised that when they receive the box they should fill in the paperwork following the detailed instructions provided. Once this paperwork is completed they then have to phone Technical Support once more and pass the information on the form to the Technical Support Staff, who will then fill in a collection form on the internet which X will then receive a copy of.

Within 24 hours the customer will be contacted by X to arrange the best time for collecting the customer's computer."

And remember this is only the procedure to pick the machine up, lord knows what happens when it comes to delivering it back (Or if anyone has ever managed to get that far).

PUNTER : My AOL isn't working.
TECH : Okay, we'll remove it and reinstall it (This was after a load of diagnostics). So if you can go into the Control Panel and Add / Remove Programs, and double click on AOL.
PUNTER : It's not on the list.
TECH : Are you sure ?
TECH : Okay, if you can read out what is on the list.
PUNTER : America On Line, .....

Customer phones up panicking. She'd been playing around with her scanner, scanning some pictures in, and had decided to scan in a 50 note. At that point the program crashed with the message "This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shutdown".

When I started my computer up, it came up with the message "Invalid System Disk". So I put the Master CD floppy disk in and started the computer up using that. Well it asked me to put the Master CD in, so I did that. It then came to a menu with 3 options, so I wasn't sure which one to choose, so I selected number 3 "Restore System". Anyway that ran for 30 minutes or so, and then the computer restarted back into Windows 95. My only problem now is that all the games I put on the computer have now vanished. Can you help?

Whenever I try and run Encarta, it asks me to insert the CD, but I cannot find the Encarta CD. I spoke to one of your colleagues earlier, and he told me to run the Master CD. I've done that, but it still asks me for the CD when I run Encarta!

PUNTER : I've just bought Office 97 for my Packard Bell Executive Multimedia 905 computer. How do you install it?
TECH : Normally the CD should autorun. Have you got the CD in the drive ?
PUNTER : No. I'll just put it in the drive.
TECH : Have you got anything on the screen at the moment ?
PUNTER : Nothing, apart from this welcome to Office 97 box.
TECH : And is there a button called Install on there ?
PUNTER : Yes. Should I click on it?

I was working on a 5 page Word document when I managed to highlight all the text. I then stood up and accidently pressed the delete button, and all the text vanished. So I thought the best thing to do would be to close it all down and try it again. So I exited out of Word, and then clicked on Yes to Save the changes. I suppose there's no chance of getting the text back ?

Just to prove that the above is not a one off. A woman phones up in tears. She'd just added 2000 words to her essay and then gone to close Works down. It had asked her if she'd wanted to save the changes, and she'd clicked on NO. She wanted to know if there was anything we could do...

When I go to shut my computer down, I click on Start / Shutdown, and then click on yes. Then my screen goes blank, and the only way I can use my computer, is to use the power switch. Then I get a load of white writing on the screen, before it goes into Windows 95. I spoke to one of your colleagues earlier and he told me to run the Master CD, but that made no difference....

Punter phones up complaining that his computer won't start up, it just gives him loads of error messages. Managed to get to an MS-DOS prompt using the Master CD boot disk, and then got him to do a directory of what was on the Hard Disk Drive. Instead of the usual files, there were just 26 directories labelled A through to Z. When I asked him what he'd done, he admitted that he'd decided to sort all the files on his computer into alphabetical order. Needless to say he was left running the Master CD (apparently it had taken him hours to do!).

TECH: Do you get any error messages when the machine starts up ?
PUNTER: What's an error message ?

PUNTER: Can you confirm that I need a power cable for my printer ?

TECH: Can you press the rest button on the front of the computer.
PUNTER: Do you mean the crashland button?

PUNTER: My keyboard isn't working ?
TECH: Okay, if you can switch the computer off, reach round the back and unplug the keyboard. Then plug it back in.

*** 5 Minutes Later ***
PUNTER: Done that.
TECH: Right if you can switch the machine back on.
PUNTER: My keyboard is working now but my mouse isn't.
TECH: Was it working before?
PUNTER: Yes it was. Do you want me to plug the mouse back in?

PUNTER: I've just had a power cut. What happens when the power comes back on?
TECH: ????????????

TECH: Have you got a Windows 95 Startup Disk ?
PUNTER: Well I've got one labelled CD ROM Setup Boot Disk.
TECH: Can you put it in the disk drive.
PUNTER: I can't it's made of cardboard.

It turned out to be a disk shaped order form for his recovery set.

PUNTER: I've got a Compaq Pulsar 20 computer.
TECH: Are you sure it's a Compaq and not a Packard Bell ?
PUNTER: I'm positive.
TECH: What does it say on the front of the machine ?
PUNTER: Packard Bell .... Hold on they sold me a Packard Bell, but the salesman told me it was a Compaq. I'm taking this back to the store!!!!

Customer phones up from Liverpool. He was trying to setup IBM Voice Type software, and it was going fine until he got to the bit where you train the computer to understand your voice. No matter what he did he couldn't make it understand his accent. He wanted to know if there was a Scouse patch disk available....

PUNTER: I cannot connect to the Internet. I've spoken to Compuserve, and they say its a faulty modem.
TECH: So what happens when you try and connect ?
PUNTER: It says dialling, then it makes a beeping noise and then disconnects.
TECH: What telephone number is it dialling ?
PUNTER: 0801000
TECH: Try 0845 0801000.

* And of course it connected perfectly, but then again, you wouldn't expect Compuserve to know their own phone number would you? *

PUNTER: Whenever I connect to the Internet, it runs very slowly. I've spoken to Compuserve, and they say its a faulty modem.
TECH: Okay, what is the baud rate set to?
PUNTER: 2400
TECH: Try changing it to 28800, and I bet that'll speed it up.

PUNTER: The screen is all fuzzy on my Compaq computer.
TECH: Okay. If you can restart the computer, and press F10 to enter the setup. Does the screen still look fuzzy?
PUNTER: Hold on, I'll just put my glasses on .... It looks okay now.

People think that computer technical support is a recent invention. But recently discovered in the archives at UK Technical Support , is what is reported to be the first ever Technical Support call. Let me set the scene ...

It is a cold night in the City of London. Snow is thick upon the ground. A little match-girl lays dying on a street corner. The Marconigraph rings..

PUNTER: Felicitations, my good man, would perchance I be speaking to the Babbage Marconigraph Helpline?
TECH: Yus guvnor! Gord blessya! (tugs forlock) Calls is bein' charged at tree and a tanna a minute yer 'onner! And 'ow can I h'assist you?
PUNTER: Well, it was my recent pleasure to acquire a copy of that most interesting and innovative piece of computerised software, "Windows 1895". But it is my misfortune to inform you that I am experiencing voluminous deficiencies in performance of said purchase!
TECH: Gorblimey guvnor! Luvvaduck! An' wot machine woz you h'attemptin' to install it on might I be so bold as to h'inquire? (pauses to extract nits from head)
PUNTER: Why, 'twas one of your very one Babbage Highscreen Difference Engines, purchased not three summers ago from your esteemed establishment on the Bromley High Street!
TECH: Cor strike a light! There's yer problem guvnor! Winders 1895 don't run on one of them 'ighscreen machines! Never 'as an' never will, or my names not Typhoid Lil!
PUNTER: But when I purchased the said Difference Engine, I was assured that such elementary computations would be well within its capacity!
TECH: Well, yer 'onner, if I may make so bold, you wuz 'ad!
PUNTER: Had? Had? But... what can I do?
TECH: Well, yer 'onner, yer could always return it to the shoppe from which you got it from..
PUNTER: Take it back! Why, the bronze bearings alone weight several tons! As for the quartz! Look! The responsibility for my predicament is solely yours! What course of action do you propose to take to rectify this situation?
TECH: Sorry, yer lordship (coughs consumptively), oooh! mother, me lungs! T'aint nuthin' I can do!
PUNTER:You shall not hear the last of this! By the Lord Harry, I shall take this to the highest in the land. Mr Disraeli is a very good and personal acquaintance of mine.. (Slams down Marconigraph receiver loudly and heads for Whitechapel, knife at the ready)

My computer is a Pentium 120, which I've just had upgraded to 64 kilobytes of memory...

I've just installed your internet software, and I've searched the whole CD but I cannot find my 5MB of free Webspace anywhere...

TECH: Which Packard Bell computer have you got?
PUNTER: Windows 95...

PUNTER: I'm trying to install the Arabic version of Windows 95. Can you help?
TECH: I'll try. What does it say on the screen?
PUNTER: I don't know, I cannot read Arabic...

Apparently the guy was trying to learn Arabic, and he thought that it would help by installing the Arabic version of Windows. You work it out...

This one was emailed to me by David Wickens :

A travel agent called today to say her monitor wasn't powering up when the base unit was re-booted up. She confirmed she had checked that everything was connected properly etc and it was passed to the hardware support desk. They diagnosed that it was a possible faulty motherboard and a replacement was courier'd over. An engineer arrived later this morning and found the following :

Keyboard connected to the mouse socket.
Mouse connected to the keyboard socket.
Monitor connected to the Network Card socket !!!

All the agent claimed she had done was re-boot her set as it froze on her. Poltergeist's perhaps !!!

PUNTER: Hello there I've just brought an Advent 8712 from your Birmingham branch and there appears to be no sound.
TECH: Are your speakers ...
PUNTER: I don't have any speakers do you think I need some ?

Customer phones up technical support after having problems with the colours not looking quite right when printing with certain packages (Mainly MS Paint or Corel Draw) on a Canon Bubblejet printer. The technician informed the customer that the fault was with the Computer's printer port, and sent an engineer out with a new Motherboard and Power Supply for the computer. Surprisingly this didn't solve the problem.

This one was emailed to me by Anita Luckett :

I work as an IT & Communications Specialist within a reasonably large company and some of the users that we get to talk to are interesting to say the least.

One of the ones that sticks in my mind from this job was a call that I got from one of our sales representatives who happened to be stationed in the office for a few months. We had just upgraded her laptop to a sleek black DELL which she had had for about a week. She rang the HelpDesk requesting a new desk phone. I ran through the usual questions of what was wrong with it and was told that the phone was fine, but it was a grey colour and this did not match her new laptop. Please could she have a black one.

This is taken from the signup page for Flexnet, an internet providor in Hawaii

Notice to current America Online Users

If you are currently with America Online, please don't bother to sign up! You have been warned...

This advice will save both you and us needless frustration. We are incompatible with your computer system as screwed-up by AOL configuration software and You. In fact, a lawsuit is in the works against AOL. So be warned, NO REFUNDS or CREDITS will be given.

As a general rule, America Online users are not computer savvy or it seems, capable of the level of technical sophistication necessary to operate a computer outside of an AOL environment.

Notice to Everyone Else

If you sign up for a FlexNet account, you will only have three things to work with: Username, Password and Modem phone number. If you have questions after this such as: "Huh? ...What's the next step? ...Where's the Internet Menu, Anyhow? ...I just got my computer last week! Can I call you, and have you walk me thru the setup?", then PLEASE DON'T SIGN UP.

Remember, FlexNet does not have a technical support department. We don't have the time to baby or pamper you. We won't let you bring your computer down, for us to "work on it." No Ways. You have to be able to configure your own computer, or find a friend that can do that for you and have that friend explain what the Internet is all about and how to do stuffs.

If you are this friend, please just don't setup the user's computer, and split. What will eventually happen is this user will start calling us up, asking how to read email, or other silly things like that. There will be a lota hard feelings on both sides when we tell them to go sign up with a full-service ISP like PixiNet or Hawaii Online or LavaNet.

If fact, if we get a whiff when a user calls up that they are newbies, we automatically suggest they go sign up with someone else. While this may seem hard and cruel to you, please, PLEASE know that newbies calling for tech support, and if FlexNet relents and gives such requested tech support, will definitely "broke da shop" and cause FlexNet to go out of business.

We don't offer tech support. So please don't ask for any. We are targeting the ever-growing market of experienced Internet users.

This is why our monthly fees are half-priced what other ISPs wanna charge you. This is the string. That's the catch. No Joke.

Taken from page 39 of the PC100 M741LMRT motherboard manual -

Using the PCI Sound Application

1. Before you install the PCI sound drivers, make sure your Operating System has been installed, otherwise the PCI sound might be detected as "Other device" by the device manager of your OS.

Compaq FAQ: Where is the ANY Key? (FAQ2859)

This is not a key. When you are instructed to press any key, this means you can press any of the keys on the keyboard (such as the Enter key, the R key, or the space bar).

This one was sent in by Luke Wetherall -

PUNTER: Ive put in the Restore CD in my eMachine and its crashed completely!
TECH: Ok... what error message has come up on the screen that indicates that?
PUNTER: *pauses* ....well i cant move my mouse to select Restore on the menu
TECH: Right then, what options do you have in front of you?
PUNTER: Restore and Cancel....
TECH: Ok, all you have to do is Push R on your keyboard to start off the recovery
PUNTER: *longer pause*.... theres an "R" on the KEYBOARD???

One of my former colleagues recently got this reply from Dell E-Mail Support, nice to see that they are honest about the power of their machines..

Thank you for choosing Dell e-Support for your Dell system.

We appreciate this opportunity to assist you. I have gone through your mail & understood the problem with your computer.

Unplug the power cable from the back of the system and push the power button for 15 seconds to discharge power & see of the computer starts. This is mainly due to the fact that of there is flea power in the machine, the computer won't start normally. So when ever your computer Jams or hanges, try doing the above step. That will surely solve the issue.