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Can’t Get With The Program(ming)

| Boise, ID, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I receive a phone call from a user who is trying to get admin privileges on his computer and he needs assistance with getting the update for those privileges.)

Me: “Sir, I need you to open a program for me called Command Prompt. To open it, can I have you click on Start?”

User: “I am the engineering lead for three departments and have a degree in computer programing. Do not patronize me and assume I don’t know how to open Command Prompt. I have it open now.”

Me: “All right, sir, can I have you do a Group Policy update?”

User: “Okay.”

(Wait…)

User: “The command failed.”

Me: “Okay. Just to verify, what did you type in for the command?”

User: “’Update.’”

Me: “Sir, let’s try this instead: ‘gpupdate /force’.”

User: “’gp/force’.”

Me: “No, sir.” *I spell it phonetically*

User: “’gpupdat /for’.”

Me: “Like this, sir.” *spells it again*

User: *angrily* “There. I got it.”

Me: “All right, sir, now we need to restart the computer.”

User: “Why?”

Me: “For the group policy to apply, just like you learned in programming.”

User: “We didn’t use Command Prompt in programming.”

Me: “…”

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The Final Word On Passwords, Part 4

| MS, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I often have to reset passwords on various systems. Because of strict password restrictions, these systems require lowercase, CAPS, numbers, etc. To make it easy on users, we always reset to “Password123” without quotes. This is a very typical phone call:)

Me: “All right, I’ve reset your password. The new password is ‘Password123’ with a capital ‘P’.”

User: “That didn’t work.”

Me: “Are you sure you typed it in correctly? It’s the word ‘Password’ with only the ‘P’ capitalized and the numbers ‘123’ after. There are no spaces.”

User: “No, that still didn’t work. Do I have to type in my username?”

Me: “Yes, you use your same username, and where it asks for the password, it’s ‘Password123’ with the ‘P’ capitalized.”

User: “I know; I’m typing in what you tell me but it isn’t working.”

Me: “Are you sure your CAPS Lock is not on?”

User: “Yes, I’m sure.”

Me: “Can you tell me exactly what you are typing in as you type it?”

User: “p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d-1-2-3-c-a-p-i-t-a-l-p”

Me: “Okay, it isn’t the phrase “capitalp” at the end. The word ‘Password’ has a capitalized letter ‘P’ at the beginning.”

User: “Oh! Okay. P-p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d-1-2-3. Nope, that still didn’t work.”

Related:

The Final Word On Passwords, Part 3

The Final Word On Passwords, Part 2

The Final Word On Passwords

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Out Of Control Panel

, | Portugal | Technology

(I work in a tech support company that is outsourced by some of the largest ISPs in the country to provide IT support to their customers. The average customer knows almost nothing about computers. This is a sample of a conversation that happens with several customers, too often to count…)

Tech: “All right, now I’m going to ask you to open the start menu and go to the Control Panel.”

Customer: “So where do I click?”

Tech: “The start menu.”

Customer: “And where is that?”

Tech: “It’s that little round button with the Windows flag on it, usually on the lower left corner of your screen.”

Customer: “So, do I open the Internet?”

Tech: “No, the start menu.”

Customer: “…”

Tech: “Do you see the time and date? On the lower right corner?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Tech: “On the opposite end of the task bar, which has the time and date… all the way to the left… What do you see?”

Customer: “I see… Oh, I see a ball with a Windows symbol inside. Is that it?”

Tech: “Yes. Click there, please.”

Customer: “Do I click once or twice?”

Tech: “Once.”

Customer: “Left or right mouse button?”

Tech: “Left.”

Customer: “Ok, I clicked it. It opened a rectangle on the left with many options.”

Tech: “Ok, so if you look closely you’ll see that rectangle is divided in two columns, correct?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Tech: “And on the right column you can read ‘Documents’, ‘Pictures’, ‘Computer’, etc… And if you continue going down you’re going to find the Control Panel.”

Customer: *taking an unusual amount of time to read half a dozen options on a menu…* “Oh, yes, I see it. Do I click it?”

Tech: “Yes, please.”

Customer: “Once or twice?”

Tech: “Once.”

Customer: “Left or right mouse button?”

Tech: “Left.”

(By now, it had been like five minutes, and all we had managed to do was open the Control Panel. And that was when we were lucky enough to manage even that! These calls weren’t free. And we often had to hear the customers complaining that they’re “spending a lot of money and the problem hasn’t been solved yet!”  Well, at this pace, it’s no wonder…)

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