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September 25, 2012

  • Customer: “I installed Windows 98 on my computer, and it doesn’t work.”
  • Tech Support: “Ok, what happens when you turn on your computer?”
  • Customer: “Boy, are you listening? I said it doesn’t work.”
  • Tech Support: “Well, what happens when you TRY to turn it on?”
  • Customer: “Look, I’m not a computer person. Talk regular English, not this computer talk, ok?”
  • Tech Support: “Ok, let’s assume your computer is turned off, and you just sat down in front of it, and want to use it. What do you do?”
  • Customer: “Don’t talk like I’m stupid, boy. I turn it on.”
  • Tech Support: “And then what happens?”
  • Customer: “What do you mean?”
  • Tech Support: “Does anything appear on your monitor? I mean, the TV part.”
  • Customer: “The same thing I saw last time I tried.”
  • Tech Support: “And that is what?”
  • Customer: “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
  • Tech Support: “Yes, sir. What is on your screen?”
  • Customer: “A bunch of little pictures.”
  • Tech Support: “Ok, in the upper left corner, do you see ‘My Computer’.”
  • Customer: “No, all I see is that little red circle thing with the chunk out of it.”
  • Tech Support: “You mean an apple?”
  • Customer: “I guess it kind of looks like an apple.”


  • Me: “What operating system are you running?”
  • Student: “Hunh?”
  • Me: “Do you have a Mac or a PC?”
  • Student: “Um, I don’t know.”
  • Me: “Ok. What does the screen look like?”
  • Student: “It’s yellow.”
  • Me: “Ok. What does it say on the computer CPU?”
  • Student: “What’s that?”
  • Me: “The big grey box.”
  • Student: “It doesn’t say anything.”
  • Me: “Never mind that…do you have a little ‘Start’ button at the bottom of the monitor?”
  • Student: “Monitor?”
  • Me: “The thing that looks like a TV sceen sitting on the grey box.”
  • Student: “Oh! That! No. No start button.”
  • Me: “Ok. Is there a little apple symbol anywhere on the screen?”
  • Student: (very puzzled) “Why would I have fruit on my computer?”


  • Customer: “Something’s wrong with my computer.”
  • Tech Support: “Like what?”
  • Customer: “When I turn it on the screen goes all black.”
  • Tech Support: “Totally black?”
  • Customer: “Yes.”
  • Tech Support: “Does it say ‘C:\>’ in the corner?”
  • Customer: “Yes.”
  • Tech Support: “Then it’s not really all black, is it?”
  • Customer: “I guess not.”
  • Tech Support: “Type ‘win’ and press the enter key.”


  • Customer: “My machine won’t do anything.”
  • Tech Support: “What’s on the screen right now?”
  • Customer: “It’s frozen, it’s showing my Windows desktop.”
  • Tech Support: “Try hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete, tell me what happens.”
  • Customer: (taptaptap) “Nothing.”
  • Tech Support: “Did you hit all of them at once?”
  • Customer: “Umm…just a second.” (taptaptap) “I did that time. Nothing happened.”
  • Tech Support: “Try it again.”
  • Customer: (taptaptap) “No, it’s just sitting there.”
  • Tech Support: “Move the mouse around. What happens?”
  • Customer: “Nothing, the arrow doesn’t move.”
  • Tech Support: “Ok, last try, hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete again.”
  • Customer: “Still nothing.”
  • Tech Support: “Hit your numlock key. Does the light flash?”
  • Customer: “No.”
  • Tech Support: “Ok, you’re going to have to shut your computer off. Just press the power button, wait for a couple of seconds, and turn it on again.”
  • Customer: “I’ve heard that’s bad for Windows.”
  • Tech Support: “Um, well, you can’t do anything else, right?”
  • Customer: “No.”
  • Tech Support: “Well, you can’t hurt it any worse then.”
  • Customer: “But I’ve heard it’s bad for Windows to just shut it off without shutting down first.”
  • Tech Support: “Yes, but it’s locked up. There’s nothing else you can do.”
  • Customer: “Will it hurt my Windows?”
  • Tech Support: “Probably no worse than it already was by locking up.”
  • Customer: “Well…ok…but if it doesn’t work, will you come over and fix it for me?”

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