He paused for a minute, then asked what a hard drive looked like. I described it, and sure enough, he found something that looked just like it in the bottom of his computer bag.
Apparently, the screw holding the drive in had worked its way out, and after some jostling the drive followed suit. Back in its bay, the drive worked perfectly.
The most foolproof fix of all
Bets are off when users try to fix problems themselves while on the road. One user took it to a new extreme.
A few years back, a user's computer kept giving error messages, leaving him unable to work. It was the weekend, and he tried tech support but didn't reach anyone immediately. We attempted to return his calls soon after but couldn't reach him. In the interim, he panicked and put a brand-new $800 laptop on his company credit card.
This set off an inquisition by the finance department, and he had a lot of explaining to do. The problem with his company computer was eventually solved with a switch to a previous restore point. As for that entry-level consumer-grade laptop he purchased, it's spent most of its life on the shelf.
But let's face it: Routine tech support would be unbearably monotonous if not for the human element -- from both sides of the help desk.
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This story, "Even road warriors can spin out and crash," 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.