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, , , | Right | July 25, 2019

(One of my jobs is to help people log into their accounts, make sure their active directory and exchange accounts are working, and do remote tech support. A guy calls up and says the following:)

Caller: “Hi… Um, I have no idea what I’m doing. How do I log in?”

Me: “Okay, you type ctrl + alt + delete, and then the system will ask you to input your username and password.”

Caller: “What’s that?”

Me: “Oh, I can give you that. What’s your name?”

Caller: *gives his name and employee ID*

Me: “Okay, your username and password is your last name plus your first initials. Your temporary password is [password].”

Caller: “What’s a username?”

(At this point, I am starting to wonder if he is messing with me.)

Me: “Well, that’s your unique account ID that allows you to use the computer.”

Caller: “Oh, okay. So, how does it work?”

Me: “You input your username in the top box.”

Caller: “Okay.” *inputs username*

Me: “Then, you type your temporary password into the bottom box and hit Enter.”

Caller: *does this and then pauses* “Uh… It’s not working.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Caller: “It says, ‘Other login options or insert smart card.’”

Me: “Okay, that’s weird. Did you hit Enter after typing in your password?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay, let’s try it again, then. Put in your username and your password, and then press Enter.”

Caller: “It did it again! Why doesn’t this stupid thing work?”

Me: “Did you press Enter?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “Are you sure you pressed Enter?”

Caller: “YES!”

Me: “Did you click on anything with your mouse before you pressed Enter?”

Caller: “No… Well, yeah. I thought it was like the Facebook on my phone, so after I typed in my info, I clicked the big button underneath.”

Me: “Don’t click that. That leads you to other methods for logging in.”

Caller: “Oh… So, how do I log in?”

Me: “You type in your username. Don’t click anything, and then type the enter key.”

Caller: “It’s telling me my password is blank.”

Me: “Did you type your password in the password box?”

Caller: “No.”

Me: “Why not?”

Caller: “You told me not to click anything.”

Me: “Okay, listen carefully and do exactly what I tell you to do. Do not do anything unless you hear me say, ‘Do that.’”

Caller: “Okay.”

Me: “Click on the box that says, ‘Username,’ and type in your username.”

Caller: “What’s that?”

Me: “…”

(I explain again.)

Caller: *types in his username*

Me: “Okay, now click on the password box and type in your password. Do not click on anything else, and then press the big button on your keyboard the says Enter.”

Caller: “Okay. It’s telling me my password has expired.”

Me: “Okay, now you need to type in a new password — something that will be easy to remember. Make sure it’s a combination of eight or more number or letters.”

Caller: “Okay!” *types in new password* “It didn’t work!”

Me: “Okay, did you use a combination of eight numbers and letters or more?”

Caller: “Oh… I only used seven…”

Me: “Okay, type a new password. Make sure you have a combination of eight numbers and letters.”

(I finally managed to get the guy logged in, and he hung up and went along his merry way. About an hour later, one of my buddies shouted over his cubicle saying that one of my customers had just called and forgot his password and didn’t know what his username was.)

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