Abracadabra! Harry Potter, ghosts, and magic at the help desk

Skills or sorcery? When you're working tech support, sometimes you need a little of both to get to the bottom of the issue

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Of mice and mirth

We all know how much fun it is to provide remote support for keyboards and mice that aren't working, don't we?</sarcasm>

Well, a particular user in the company was having problems with her wireless mouse. We spent a solid 15 to 20 minutes on the phone going through all the basic steps, such as making sure it was turned on and confirming that she had successfully changed the batteries. I even remoted in to make sure this wasn't one of the "fun with corrupted drivers" moments.

Everything checked out just fine. The next step was to have her reseat the USB receiver for the wireless mouse into a different USB slot.

Her tech level hovered somewhere between "casual user" and "I use it because the job makes me," so I explained the next move by saying, "I want to try one more step. Do you know the small receiver that is plugged into your computer through a USB port?"

This prompted her to respond, "Oh, yes! Do you want me to plug that back in?"

She had unplugged it before calling our support desk while she was trying to figure out why the mouse wasn't working. I had to mute my headset temporarily while I took a moment for a facepalm and a big sigh.

I had her plug the USB receiver back in, and she yelled out, "Oh wow! You're a genius! It's working now!"

I figured this was an occasion to hold my tongue and accept the compliment so I could get off the phone before I let my sarcastic nature get the best of me.

All in all, it can be a relief when a problem turns out to be so simple. I gotta admit -- they're also memorable in their own way.

Send your own IT tale of managing IT, personal bloopers, supporting users, or dealing with bureaucratic nonsense to offtherecord@infoworld.com. If we publish it, we'll send you a $50 American Express gift cheque.

This story, "Abracadabra! Harry Potter, ghosts, and magic at the help desk," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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