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Episode 17 BOFH 2001: Episode 17

It's "Hello, helpdesk, how can I help resolve your call?" The PFY asks - the epitome of compassion and altruism - in response to our seventeenth call of the morning.

"It's my machine," the user sighs across the office - thanks to the wonders of hands-free technology. "It won't start."

"Booting problems?" The PFY asks, faking the sort of deep concern you only hear in Party Political Broadcasts and reruns of M.A.S.H.

"Yes, the machine keeps telling me that N-T-L-D-R isn't found."

"Right," The PFY responds calmly. "Has someone else been using your machine recently?"

"No."

"Have you been doing tidying up on your machine - maybe a bit of deleting to free up a bit of space?"

"No" the user responds, "but.."

"But you moved some stuff around?"

"..Well there were files everywhere and it was such a mess that I..."

"Of course I understand completely. And you've probably chosen to display all files, including hidden ones, on your desktop?"

"Well yes, I always like to know what's going on on my system - see if anyone's put an viruses there!"

"Yes, you never can be too careful. Well, we're going have to recover some of your system - what version of Windows were you running?"

"Oh, that would be Windows 2000."

"2000? We've not released 2000 to the users yet, as we're waiting until we have the Service Pack media available for the consultants."

"That's OK, one of the guys here bought some copies of it for three quid a disk when he was going through Malaysia on his holidays. He got us all a copy."

The PFY's countenance almost cracks for a moment, but he manages to hold it together against tremendous odds - This is, after all, a battle of wills.

"Right," he gasps, between clenched teeth. "I'll just transfer you to our Windows 2000 expert."

Sadly, but truly, The PFY and I are manning the helpdesk after a tragic Giardia epidemic struck down the previous helpdesk, causing them all to be sent home ill. (Those that could be prised out of the toilets, that is.)

The Boss, being unneccessarily vindictive, directed us to helpdesk duty simply because we were the last people seen in the vicinity of the offending water cooler prior to the event.

...The curse of the helpdesk touches us all...

With time on our hands The PFY and I decide to play a couple of days of Good Helldesk Person/Bad Helldesk Person to see if we can completely destabilise the users - swapping roles randomly so as not be predicable.

I meantime, have a call to take over.

"Hello, Simon here. What seems to be the problem?"

"I can't start my machine."

"YOUR Machine? It's the company's machine!"

"Well yes, but it won't start."

"I see. What did you do to it?"

"Nothing."

"Don't lie to me! Did you take the covers off?"

"No!"

"Install any programs?"

"No"

"Run any of those stupid attachments that your friends keep sending you?"

"No"

"What about that Monkey.exe that you got yesterday?"

"How did yo.. No"

"I think you're lying..."

"I ONLY RAN IT ONCE"

"I see - so you WERE lying?!"

"It was only once!"

"Once is all it takes! Now, have you been stuffing around with your Operating System?"

"No.."

"I think you're lying again. I bet you tinkered with the Hidden files setting, didn't you"

"I just wanted to se.."

"So you were lying. Now if Microsoft had wanted you to see the files, they wouldn't be hidden them in the first place, would they?"

"But.."

"No buts! I'll pass you over to our Operator, who'll give you information on where to deliver your machine."

I transfer him back to The PFY.

"Hello. Operations!"

"Uh, I've been told I'll have to deliver my machine somewhere - but I need to use it.

"Oh I'm sure we can manage to fix it in-situ without a problem, it shouldn't be more..."

>DING!<</b> The time desktop timer chimes, signalling role reversal time.

"..than six or seven weeks before we get around to popping down to have a look."

"But I need to use it today!"

"Well I think you should have thought of that before you tinkered around with your software. Which reminds me, do you have a LICENSE for that software?"

"I.. "

"Don't lie to me, my phone has voice stress analysis and I'll know."

"It's not my software."

"Well that rings true, but did you install it?"

"No, I got someone else to."

The PFY presses down on one of the buttons on his phone to send a tone back to the user. >beeeep< "The phone says you're lying"

"I didn't mean to. I thought it was NT 4."

>beeep<</p>

"Would you care to revise your story? Remember, this conversation is being recorded"

"RECORDED? What for?!"

"Evaluation and Quality Control. To see how well I've helped you."

"You haven't helped me! Can I speak to the other guy again?"

"Why?"

"He was going to get me to deliver my machine..."

"Ok, I suppose so."

"Hello, Systems," I blurt.

"Yes, I wanted to know where I could deliver my machine?"

"Your machine?"

"Yes, you told me I could get it re-installed after that software problem."

>beeeeep<</p>

"Pardon?" I ask, caringly

"After I accidentally moved some files around."

"Oh, OK. Well if it's that simple I think I could probably bring a recovery CD down there and do a quick fix. Should only take about 10 minute.s"

"Is this the guy I was talking to before?" the user asks, confused

"I'm sorry?" I respond.

"Nothing. My mistake. So can you get my system up with a stable operating system?"

"Sure I can. I'll slap Windows 2000 >beeeep< I mean Windows NT4 >beeep<, I mean Windows >Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep<. I'll sort something out"

"Ok, when do you think you'll be able to do that?"

"I can pop down now if you like. Sort it out before lunch!"

"ohthankyousomuch!" the user gasps, ringing off.

I grab the CD and make a break for the door as the superhero of the helpdesk, pausing only when I hear the >BING<</b> from the clock the PFY's just wound forward.

The cheating bastard.

"Chuck us that OS2 install media will you?" I ask, dropping the Recovery disk into the bin.

"You cruel bastard.." the PFY cries.

Special Note: Messages defending OS2 will ONLY be read by the Bastard if written clearly, legibly and succinctly on banknotes. No other correspondence will be entered into. Priority will be given to larger denominations.. ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2001, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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