Super UserWhat is the most spectacular response you have seen to a computer problem?
[+26] [12] Axxmasterr
[2009-07-31 16:39:37]
[ failure fun ]

I will throw the first one out there.

Years ago I worked for a man who was not computer literate at all. To inflame matters this man also ran out of patience rather quickly. After spending a good bit of time trying to figure out the operating system he became so enraged that he picked up the whole computer and monitor, walked it over to the window in his office and then let gravity take over. The computer smashed in quite a few pieces as this was a three story drop.

Needless to say it was amusing the short exchange I had with him when he was hoping I could fix it and make it work after all of that. Computers were quite expensive back then.

(3) That is what we call the windows test! - Troggy
(1) Actually it was a MAC test. Hard to believe, but he was so computer illiterate that even the extraordinary GUI on the Mac was too much of a stretch for him. - Axxmasterr
[+15] [2009-07-31 17:25:52] raven

Without a doubt, it was this [1].


(1) "This video is private" - Loren Pechtel
[+10] [2009-07-31 18:55:55] JohnFx

Years ago when I was phone support for a software package I had an exchange like this:

Customer: Your software sucks! Ever since I installed it my monitor is showing all sorts of weird characters and acting funny in general.

Me: Well...

--interrupted by a loud POP that sounded suspiciously like an electrical arc--

Customer: There is smoke coming out of my computer!

Me: I'm sorry sir, that's a hardware problem, please contact your computer manufacturer and/or local fire department.

The guy did try briefly and unsucessfully to convince me that our software was responsible for setting his computer on fire.

100% true story.

Define " Fire " - Revolter
(7) A chemical combustion reaction that converts oxygen and carbon into Carbon dioxide and water. - JohnFx
[+9] [2009-07-31 17:45:12] fretje

When the printer doesn't work... [1]


(1) Funny how low resolution security cameras don't help much. He looked pretty calm before ripping the monitor from his desk, but I suspect his expression was anything but. - Ernie Dunbar
[+7] [2009-08-01 13:41:07] scunliffe

For the techie folks the UK show "The IT Crowd" is a must see.

From the first episode of the first season... how IT handles a computer problem support call [1]. Absolutely classic.


Somehow that video is not available in my country due to copyright restrictions... except I'm in the UK!! - DisgruntledGoat
[+6] [2009-07-31 19:20:51] facepalmd

The most recent one that I came across was right here on SU [1] as told by Jim McKeeth [2].
Scroll down his lengthy answer to the Environmental section


[+6] [2009-08-01 06:45:20] Ernie Dunbar

I just about got into a fist fight with a lady once who came into the Internet cafe where I was working to use a computer to type up some document or other. This was in 1996 I believe.

I'd let her use one of the computers for the requisite $5, and all was well and good and the relationship was pleasant until she was ready to leave. The trick was that she had forgotten to close the document beforehand, and as she was making for the door, I took the liberty of closing it for her. Or at least I was about to when she noticed me touching the mouse.

That's when she went ballistic. She started screaming at me, launching immediately into a deranged rant about how I was stealing her work, and that she only had to turn around for a second before I would stab her in the back. I of course, had no idea what she was going on about and I was utterly stunned for about a full minute. I eventually tried to calmly reassure her that I was just closing the program so that someone else could use the computer, but she kept at it. I tried repeatedly to get her to listen to reason and "look, watch, I'm just going to close it without saving anything".

She would have none of that and said "Oh no you don't!" and grabbed my arm away from the mouse. It was that point where my patience had frayed to breaking, and I shouted "Look lady, why would I want to steal your work? I have no idea what you just wrote!" but her ranting continued as my boss approached, and I hit the "power" button on the computer. "There!" I shouted, "Your work is gone, okay?" If my boss hadn't intervened, I would have stuffed my fist in her mouth to shut up her next volley of ranting. He had heard the whole thing, and as a forensic psychologist had some experience dealing with this kind of thing.

He firmly asserted himself and then shamed her for upsetting me so badly, before telling her to leave or be carried out. He watched her very closely as she left, then turned to me with his diagnosis: "She's definitely some kind of paranoid. I caught her stealing one of the little figurines a couple of weeks ago. Paranoids are usually most afraid that other people will do to them the things that they do wrong. And she's totally klepto."

I needed a break after that.

[+4] [2009-09-17 14:38:20] admintech

One customer of ours had this problem

Customer - The fax machine isn't working

Me - is the paper not going through, is there a jam

Customer - i dial the number and the paper comes back out again

Me - What?

Customer - The paper doesn't disappear it just comes back out again

I had to put my boss on the phone while i laughed so much i nearly cried

(1) Fax (or facsimile) machine is a pretty stupid name, though. "Long-distance copy machine" or "telecopy" or some such would've given a better picture of what a fax machine does. - Kyralessa
[+4] [2009-07-31 19:25:47] Josh Kelley

An acquaintance of mine took a bokken [1] to his keyboard after having problems during a computer game.

I'm told that it was rather funny watching him afterwards calmly collect the keyboard and keys and try to peck out a school paper on it.


+1 for Samarai nostalgia - Axxmasterr
[+2] [2009-08-01 00:31:04] Ciaran

This [1] (A German kids angry reaction to bad lag (slow connection) to his online game). For those that don't speak German there's a version with English subtitles [2]. (warning: contains foul language and keyboard violence)

I assume lag was the issue


[+2] [2009-08-07 14:08:40] FerranB

On an Oracle Support Note i read something like this:

To solve this issue you can: * Wait for a patch * use this workaround .... (it was very useless). * You can live with the problem

yes, the note said: "You can live with the problem".

(2) Which finally is quite close to "wait for a patch", in most cases. - Gnoupi
(1) That's redundant. Aren't "Wait for a patch" and "You can live with the problem" essentially the same thing? That seems redundant. - phuzion
[+1] [2010-09-16 17:33:11] JNK

I have a couple of stories from working helpdesk. We were a POS support company for restaurants, so we did computer work (remotely, all across the US) for people who sometimes didn't know ANYTHING about computers. I once had to explain to someone where the mouse was located.

Anyways, one of the better stories revolves around some programming. These were fast food restaurants, so they had special promotional items pretty routinely. One of the things my company did was connect to the stores' back office PC, make changes to their menu file and the screens on the registers to add the new items, then call them to test. Doing this for several hundred stores, sometimes things go wrong.

We were towards then end of a long run of programming these specials, and were calling stores back. One of my employees called the location, and immediately got yelled at by the manager: "Since you guys were in here, my whole system has been down! Fix it now!!!!"

The manager insisted everything was fine until we downloaded the new program to the registers. We went through the regular troubleshooting process, and about 45 minutes later we finally found the issue - a cat5 cable was unplugged which killed all communication to the PC.

The tech support person on my end had an immediate (and memorable) response: "Sorry, sir! Next time I'll be sure not to download the files that way. I think we downloaded so hard it knocked out the cable!"

[+1] [2009-08-07 14:04:01] Gnoupi

Without an hesitation, this [1]

Evrybody stand back. I know regular expressions.


(1) Though it's more "what is the most spectacular 'solution' you have seen to a computer problem", and not a response from a user to a problem, I read the title a bit fast. - Gnoupi