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Help-desk hell: Can YOU beat this iPad-winning tale of woe?

Support desks, sysadmins jockey for fondleslab prize

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A competition to find the best help-desk tale of despair, with an iPad up for grabs for the winner, has solicited a collection of bizarre and amusing anecdotes.

Long-suffering IT technicians submitted their best yarns of dealing with users' problems to the "Confessions of an IT Professional" contest over the last two months. There were enough stories to fill two series of the The IT Crowd, the British sitcom of IT dept bods fed up of asking users: "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

The Panda Security-sponsored contest ended on 31 October and the winner was André Geada from Portugal, who received an Apple fondleslab after his anecdote, published below, received the most votes in an online poll:

Client (on the phone): Oh, I'm seeing the mouse pointer move on its own.

Me: Yes, sir. It's me. I've already got remote access to your computer. I will solve your problem right away.

Client: Oh, that's nice. Do you want me to turn on the lights? Maybe you'll see better.

Other amusing stories of help-desk hell shared by participants included:

It was December 28, and my mother had a problem with the PC because she didn’t know how to access the internet, and I told her: “You need to open the window and that’s it.” And she spent the Christmas holidays with a big cold.

A user was having trouble printing documents. He told me that the computer said it can't find printer, adding: "I've tried turning the computer screen to face the printer, but the computer can't see the printer."


A client was having trouble with his fax and called me. When asked to try and send a test page to me, he faxed his company price list. I solved his problem and we ended the call. A few minutes later he called back and said: "I am not sure I should have sent that list, can you fax it back to me?"


Help-desk: “Please go to 'My PC'.” User: “Do I have to go there? Take into account that I am in another building.”


“I have a problem when writing my password. I tried to enter my password and the only thing I see are asterisks.”

Panda ran the competition as a means to plug its Panda Cloud Systems Management remote control and monitoring technology. Other help-desk software packages are available, of course. May contain nuts. ®

Share your tales of help-desk hell in our forum right here.

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