Laptops don't lie: Filthy tales of tech repair

You'll need a strong stomach to brave this techie's stories of the extreme abuse inflicted on laptops by oblivious users

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Some people never learn

On the surface, it looked like just another dirty laptop. But it was more. It was proof that some end-users are too clueless to own computers.

To start with, the ticket from the help desk was terse: "Laptop is overheating again. User says this is the fourth time she's brought it in for this issue. Please fix it right this time."

I decided to do the help desk's job for them and look up past tickets to see if this was true; in this case, it was. Every single time, the laptop was caked in filth. I know this because each time we took photos of it and attached it to the computer's file.

Every single time, we implemented the solution: "Laptop was extremely dirty. Heat sink and fan were clogged with dust and hair. Cleaned the laptop and it now operates within normal temperatures. Please educate user on proper routine cleaning procedures or suggest she bring laptop in on a regular basis to have it cleaned to avoid this issue recurring."

really dirty IT

In all probability, the help desk did tell the user what was wrong with her laptop and how to avoid the problems from recurring. But even if the help desk was slacking and didn't inform her, you'd think her brain would click: "Laptop gets hot. I bring it in. The ticket I sign with the solution on it says they cleaned it. There must be a connection!"

Alas, the lesson never seems to sink in.

Honesty is sometimes the best policy

After hearing every excuse and obvious lie in the book, it's refreshing when a user is simply honest about what happened -- even if it is surprising.

Several years ago we received a laptop that was covered in chocolate cake and had an arrow through the LCD. (See previous mention of other disastrous meetings of food and tech.) The user stated that he had "become frustrated" with the Windows BSODs and "sort of lost it." That's putting it mildly!

I guess users like these keep the job interesting. And accidents happen, of course. However, I can't help thinking that some users should never go anywhere near technology.

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

This story, "Laptops don't lie: Filthy tales of tech repair," 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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