Cannot Save This Situation

, | Learning | July 25, 2013

(I work in our university’s IT department, which also maintains three computer labs on campus of which two are in the library. All of our lab computers use software known as ‘Deep Freeze’ which, upon re-start, completely resets a computer’s settings, registry, and wipes saved data. The background of every machine, and various signs, tell users to ‘Save often!’. A young student approaches the lab help desk.)

Student: “I was upstairs working on my paper for the last six hours, and now it’s gone!”

Me: “Which station are you working at?”

Student: “One on the 4th floor.”

(I follow her to our 4th floor lab, and we head to her station.)

Me: “So, describe what happened.”

Student: “I was working on my paper and needed to go to the bathroom. When I came back the screen was dark, so I held the button down.”

(The student points to the CPU’s power button.)

Me: “Did you save your work to a flash drive, or e-mail it to yourself?”

Student: “No. Why? I should have to do that!”

(I explain Deep Freeze to her, show her the desktop background warnings, and the signs we have around the lab.)

Student: “I shouldn’t be expected to read! Get my paper back!”

Me: “There’s one thing left to try, but I doubt it will work.”

(I open the word processor, and attempt to access the auto-recovery section, which is blank as I knew it would be.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, but your paper is gone. Are you sure you didn’t save it to a drive or online document storage?”

Student: “No! I don’t know these computer things. You’re not being helpful! You will call my professor and tell him you lost my paper! I want your manager!”

(I get the name of her professor,.who teaches in Computer Information Systems; the kicker is he doesn’t teach lower division classes!)

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