The strangest IT requests

Have you ever been asked why a wireless mouse isn’t connected to a computer?

What to do if someone’s laptop gets run over by a truck? A new survey has revealed old chestnuts and hilarious new conundrums in the world of IT help-deskers.

The telephone poll, developed by California IT consultants Robert Half Technology, asked more than 1,400 chief information officers across the United States a simple question: “What is the strangest or most unusual request you or a member of your help desk or technical support team has ever received?”

The responses, however, were far from straightforward. They included:

“Why isn’t my wireless mouse connected to the computer?” (Please put the mouse down and move away from the computer.)

“My laptop was run over by a truck. What should I do?”

“Can you rearrange the keyboard alphabetically?”

“How do I read my e-mail?”

“My computer is telling me to press any key to continue. Where is the ‘any’ key?” (This is an oldie but a goodie).

“Can you reset the Internet for me?”

“There are animal crackers in my CD-ROM drive.”

“Can you build me a robot?”

But it wasn’t always about tech gear. Some users called to report problems with mice — not the electronic kind — and other pests:

“Can you get the mice out of the ceiling?”

“A server went down, and I found a lizard had crawled into it and died.”

“A skunk ate my cable.”

Other requests signalled more trouble than just a technical glitch:

“How can I block e-mail from my manager?” (Not that bad an idea, really…)

“Can I open the bank safe using my computer?”

“Can you install cable TV on my PC?” (Again, who doesn’t want this?)

“Can you order joysticks so that we can play video games?” (see above)

“I’d like to stop receiving e-mail on Fridays.” (Wouldn’t we all)

Help desk professionals are known for lending a hand, but these end users took the concept too far:

“Can you come and install my car stereo?”

“Where can I locate dry ice?”

“I’d like wireless computer access in my motor home.”

“Can you fix my typewriter?”

“How long does it take to bake a potato in a microwave?”

“My daughter is locked in the bathroom, can you pick the lock?”

“Can you tell me the weather forecast for next year?”

“The elevator is broken.”

“How do I wire a robotic turkey?”

“Where can I get software to track UFOs?”

“Can you repair my motorbike?”

There was no word on whether a Canadian survey might be in the works, but we can be sure of one thing: Tales of cable-eating beavers and robotic moose are just waiting to be told.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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