Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Not So Safekeeping

From: [Customer]
Sent: 22 September 2010 13:55
To: Service Desk
Subject: Delete email Items

Having had a new PC installed this morning, all my Microsoft Outlook “deleted items” in my email account have been deleted. I did not do anything to delete them, but watched them appear to auto delete. There were some items I would like to access. Is there any way they can be restored.

Kind Regards


Tuesday, 3 August 2010


From: [Customer]
Sent: 03 August 2010 15:30
To: Service Desk
Subject: printer not working


The printer at my desk is not working


Thursday, 29 July 2010

Shhh, I'm a pirate. Arrrr.

Customer: Hi, I was looking to use [software package] but it costs a lot of money to buy so I found a pirated version online that I wanted to download but the University's filter blocks it, can you unblock it for me so I can download it?
Me: Uhhh... no, the filter blocks it because it's illegal to download pirated software. We can't unblock it for you to do that.
Customer: Well, can you download it for me so I can use it?
Me: No, I won't do that because it's illegal.
Customer: But I'll only need to use it for half an hour and then I'll delete it, it's not like I'm gonna call the cops on you
Me: Well even if I wanted to I wouldn't be able to because I have the same restrictions that you do, so no, I can't download it.
Customer: Right...ok...bye.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Ha ha

 This is what happens when people look at something new and think "oooooh shiny" and it blinds them to the point that they don't read any instructions or warnings when installing:

From: [Customer] 
Sent: 06 July 2010 14:37 
To: Service Desk 
Subject: Windows 7 
Importance: High

Dear Staff,

Yesterday I borrowd a Windows 7 disc and installed it on my new personal laptop.  Unfortunately, this apears to have deleted all my original manufacturer's installed programmes, as well as my home internet settings and Mcaffee which I installed immediately after following the manufacturer's start-up instructions.  At that time everything was fine.  when I try to use Windows 7 it does not recognise my word or pdf files (I copied a few over via pen stick).  I have no idea how to rectify this problem and the deletions mena that I have no information regarding how to contact the manufacturer. 

I need this laptop to complete a project  and I'm now getting behind.  Pleas can you help? 

Best wishes,


Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Ello ello

Customer: Hi, I just called up five minutes ago and spoke to someone from IT and got my email password reset but I've tried it and it doesn't work. I've been having problems with it for a couple of weeks now and it's getting very frustrating.
Me: Ok, can I have your User ID please?
Customer: Oh..yeah..sure.. Hang on a second *sound of phone being dropped*
Customer: I just dropped the phone.. hi?
Me: Hi
Customer: Hi
Me: Hello? Do you have your- *customer talks over me*
Customer: Hi, sorry I just dropped the phone. I just called up five minutes ago and spoke to someone from IT and got my email password reset but I've tried it and it doesn't work. I've been having problems with it for a couple of weeks now and it's getting very frustrating.
Me: Ok, do you have your User ID?

I eventually got her User ID and checked her password, there were no problems with it at all, I guess in all of her frustration she must have been hitting the wrong keys. I don't hold high hopes for her.

Friday, 21 May 2010


The following is a typical email that we receive. When people like things to be fixed as quickly as possible they try to turn it into a game where we have to guess what the problem is. Given that she emailed in her request, it seems her email isn't causing that much of a problem.

From: [Customer]
Sent: 21 May 2010 09:44
To: Service Desk

My email is not working properly. Could someone come over and look at it



Wednesday, 12 May 2010

All Staff (But Not You)

This call occurred shortly after the department was renamed from IT to Information Services.

Customer: I was just trying to email you but your email address has disappeared from the list.
Me: Don't worry, it's still there. It's in the same place in the global address list as before but it's called Information Service Desk instead now, it's not called IT any more.
Customer: You should really let people know that you've changed name, it really confused me.
Me: An email was sent out the other week to all staff to let people know that the department was changing name.
Customer: Well, nobody reads those emails!

The Cold Truth

This customer had called about something else but then asked questions about her own laptop at home which had stopped working...

Customer: My laptop has stopped working, the lights come on but nothing else happens. My husband said that someone told him that putting it in the freezer can make it work again, is that right?
Me: Uhh, I really wouldn't advise that you put it in the freezer. I think you may be better off going to a PC repair shop and letting someone look at it.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Not A Healthy Mind Or Body

Customer: I'd like to cancel my gym membership
Me: You've come through to the wrong place, do you want me to put you through to the gym?
Customer: No, I was told that you can cancel it
Me: Sorry, we're IT, we have nothing to do with the gym. Who was it that said that we could do that for you?
Customer: Someone in AV
Me: OK, well unfortunately it's got nothing to do with us. You'll need to speak to the gym, do you want me to transfer you through to them?
Customer: *sigh*
Customer: *hangs up*

Part-time Job

As a University, we are part of a large network designed and used by all of the Universities in the country and it typically blocks any less than savoury websites.

From: [Student]
Sent: 05 May 2010
To: Service Desk
Subject: access to a website


I am currently living at <University Halls of Residence>  and have a new part time job. Unfortunately i need access to a website to be able to do this job and it is blocked by the University. As this is my only form of income I really need to get access to it and i was hoping you would be able to unblock it for me.

My details: [Student]
Username: [username]

Thanks in advance

For information, "" is a website where "individuals can distribute and market their own adult products, services and content". I find it unlikely that the block will be lifted

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Don't press the red button

Not a call I had taken myself, unfortunately, but the following are the call notes that were made afterwards

***** called to report a possible 'virus' on her PC.  Her machine operates as normal, but Outlook, Word, etc close randomly.  ***** informed me that if she wants to close an email/Word document she must go through File>Close; she can't press the red X at the top right as the whole program closes.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Here's one I made earlier

Whilst I mainly deal with phone calls we do get some gems of emails. One that was received today contained an attachment that had screenshots of three error messages that somebody had received on her PC. Having looked at the Word file attachment it turned out that, to get all three error messages on the one page, the customer had:
  1. Taken screenshots of the error messages
  2. Printed them out individually
  3. Cut them out with a pair of scissors
  4. Taped them to a blank sheet of A4 paper
  5. Scanned them to her PC as an image in a Word document.
If only there was an easier way!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Security steals the answer from your brain

Students have a security set up that we can check to verify them in case they need a password reset, etc.

Me: Before I can reset your password, I'll need to check you on your security word
Customer: I don't have a security word
Me: Oh, there's one listed on your account
Customer: Well I didn't set it up, I've never set one up, someone else must have entered it
Me: Only you can set it up, unless someone else knows your password?
Customer: No, I haven't told anyone
Me: Right, well shall I check you on your security word just in case it is yours?
Customer: Ok, but I haven't set one up
Me: Can you tell me letter X and letter Y of your mother's maiden name?
Customer: *gives letters*
Me: Correct, let me just get your password reset for you...

Perhaps just stick to alphanumeric characters

The customer was spelling out their personal address so that we could get in touch with them...

Customer: ...lowercase hyphen...

She meant an underscore.

An IQ of 0 or O

When resetting passwords I always read out a "0" as "zero" so they don't get confused with an "o", or that's the plan.

Customer: When you say "zero", do you mean the number zero or the letter zero?

Monday, 29 March 2010

Some human input required

Colour printing costs 35p per sheet of A4 (compared to 5p for black and white). We deliberately make it slightly more difficult to print to to avoid countless students complaining that they have accidentally used up all their print credit from printing to the colour printer by mistake. Sometimes we do get students ask how to set up the colour printer to be able to print to.

Customer: Hi, I've just tried to print to the colour printer, but I'm not sure if I've done it right
Me: Ok, what have you done?
Customer: *explains step-by-step what she's done*
Me: It sounds like you've done it right...hasn't your work come out of the printer?
Customer: Oh, shall I check it?
Me: *facepalm*

Turn off and on again...or not

Turning the PC off and on again is indeed one of the most regular things we ask people to do and one of the things that fixes a lot of problems (save firing the people who cause the problems), this doesn't always go according to plan. This customer had been on the phone a few minutes previously and was told to restart her PC as it had been sitting "loading startup scripts" for ten minutes

Customer: Hi, I was just on the phone and was told to restart my PC but I'm still having the same problems
Me: Ok, so you've rebooted your PC, it's loaded up again and the same thing has happened?
Customer: Yes
Me: How long has it been like this since you switched it off? (She'd hung up literally a few minutes previously)
Customer: About ten minutes
Me: Right.. and this is since you turned the PC right off and back on again?
Customer: Well, I turned the monitor off and that went off but when I tried to turn the hard drive off that didn't do anything.
Me: So you've only turned the monitor off?
Customer: Yes

Had to advise customer that to reboot the PC she had turn the actual PC off and not the monitor. After actually rebooting, it worked!