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IT Pros Spill The Funniest Stories From Their Jobs About Clueless Computer Users (20 Stories)

Sure, I’ve probably had a few computer problems in my life, but I do generally know how to fix them or look up how to fix them. But some people still struggle with these machines that have been a part of our daily lives for decades. Redditor u/WalkerFLRanger asked:

“IT professionals, what’s the worst case of computer illiteracy that you’ve experienced?”

And I knew we were in for some excellent stories. Enjoy!


1. $100 W.

“A friend’s dad offered me $100 to come fix his computer, no questions asked. I said I couldn’t promise anything, but that I’d take a look. He showed me that when he opens Internet Explorer, nothing comes up, so his internet must be broken. I looked at the address bar. It said “ww.msn.com” Somehow his homepage got set to ww.msn.com. I told him he didn’t have to pay me, but he insisted, saying he doesn’t go back on his word. In other words, I got paid $100 for typing a W.”—KrAzYkArL18769

2. Nope, that’s not…

“A mouse literally pressed against the monitor when asked to hover over an icon.”—Orbspiders

3. WD-40?!

“Working as a tech in the military, I got a call from the shop that one of the computers won’t turn on. I show up, and sure enough the thing won’t power on. Open up the case, and a flood of grease pours out. Apparently the fan was making too much noise, so the user decided to spray half a can of WD-40 into it.”–NahualSlim

4. Copying

“A co-worker of mine once told me a story — while he was working help desk, a user had an issue copying files to his new computer. He went to see what the problem was, and the guy showed him what he was doing. He had the mouse plugged in to his old computer, right-click, copy. Then he would unplug his mouse, plug it into the new computer, and was trying to right-click, paste.”—gotmilk13531

5. Multiple keys

“It once took me about 15 minutes to explain to someone how to hit CTRL-ALT-DEL to log in to the computer. He could just not get the concept of hitting two or three keys at the same time. Lord only knows how he made out once he logged in.”—10S_NE1

6. Window glare

“I’m a local IT for a small consulting firm. One day the owner’s partner comes to me and says, ‘Drai, the screen isn’t working.’ I reply, ‘OK, did you hit the power button to turn it on? They say, ‘Yes, that was the first thing I checked.’ ‘Perfect, Let’s take a look.’ I walk into the room and giggle. The screen sure enough was not showing anything on the display. I wave my hand over it, and the screen shows in my shadow. It was the glare from the window all along.”—[deleted]

7. Yellow paper

“I had a person call to say their printer wouldn’t print yellow. It would print green and orange, but not yellow. While troubleshooting this odd issue, they tell me it only happens when they try to print out fliers for their daughter’s birthday party. Which is on yellow paper.”—FissureKing

8. Wireless isn’t TOTALLY wireless…

“I used to work for a place that rhymes with ‘Bell’ as a printer tech. I explained to a young person that ‘wireless printer’ doesn’t mean wireless power cords, which haven’t been invented yet.”—Urthrun

9. Needs ink

“A friend called me to find out why their printer was printing really faded documents. I explained that it was probably just out of ink. They said, ‘Yeah I got the pop-up and bought more ink — it still doesn’t work.’ I asked if they checked the cartridge, and they had no idea what I was talking about. They thought ink would download through the internet to her printer.”—JMJ1031

10. Combine docs

“When the head of IT at my former job thought he could combine two Excel documents by saving them both with the same name.”—wj_purdue

11. It’s not a computer

“When I worked at a computer repair place, a guy brought a unit in to get repaired, and I looked at him and said that I couldn’t help him. He was kinda irritated and was asking why a computer repair place couldn’t repair his computer. I told him it was because he brought in a dehumidifier and not a PC tower.”—all-boxed-up

12. Log out

“I’m not an IT professional, but my boss once asked me for my help to log out of Gmail. She was in Excel.”—deepasfuckbro

13. Excel wizard

“It boggles my boss’s mind when he asks me how to do something in Excel and I don’t know, but I google how to do it then show him. He looks at me like I’m a wizard.”—ourstupidearth

14. Photo of her computer

“I wish I kept the picture because this was pure gold, but it was lost in an office move. It went something like this: ‘Hello, I seem to be having a problem with my PC; it keeps flashing up an app error.’ Me: ‘OK, could you tell me what application you are in and send me a screenshot?’

“‘User: Sure, I’ll get onto that right away.’ Considering it would normally take a fair amount of time to get her off the phone, I was pleasantly surprised how cool they were. Anyway, fast-forward three days, haven’t heard anything, and I get a letter in our internal mail with the word ‘screenshot’ in big bold writing. I shit you not, they had taken a picture of the computer screen, had it developed, and sent over to my office.”—Faggitnuts

15. Mouse to screen

“A few years ago I worked as an IT trainer. We were training plumbers how to use a new system to log their work and all that business. Day one, trying to get people to log in, one guy who would’ve been in his 60s tried to physically put his mouse on the screen to ‘click.'”—ask_me_if_Im_lying

16. So sweet

“Sweet old lady calls up saying her computer isn’t turning on. She’s a bright lady. Knows all of our rates and policies before we even have to explain them: ‘$100/hour, yep. $100 same day rush fee, yep. $30 destination fee, yep.’ She asks, “So if it takes you two minutes to fix the problem, it’ll cost me $230?’ I say, ‘Yep.’ ‘OK. Come on down.'”

“We get there only to discover that everything was hooked up correctly with one exception. The surge protector, instead of plugging it into the wall, she had plugged it into…itself.

Unplugged the surge protector from itself, plugged it into the wall. Boom. Computer turns on.

‘Oh, my. I’m so embarrassed.’ As she fetches her checkbook, ‘Hurry along. Don’t tell my husband.'”—Borsaid

17. Ink via type

“I once spoke to someone who was convinced that typing anything into their PC used up the ink in her printer.”—MattyDienhoff

18. Power to her

“I helped build a local ISP when I was in high school. We had a nice older lady, in her 90s, who would call us every time she needed to check her email. She only did it once a week, and she was super sweet about it, but literally every single time she needed to check her email, it was like she had never seen a computer before. We had to walk her through the whole thing, step by step. If she even so much as felt a twinge of déjà vu at a step, she would congratulate herself, and goddamnit…we would congratulate her too.”—[deleted]

19. Nope

“I had to install Yosemite a few weeks a go on a girl’s Macbook. Three hours later she goes, ‘I don’t like how it looks; if I move the clock back three hours will I get the old look back?'”—ZenithOfLife

20. Poor Power Cable

“Someone ‘plugged’ a power cable into a USB port. There was nothing I could do for the poor violated thing. Apparently they made use of a screwdriver and a hammer.”—SenSenSen