back to article The state of desktop support

This week we've been looking at desktop management from the point of view of supporting users. It can be a jungle out there, as one reader illustrated: Somehow, people still sneak through with all kinds of configurations and it's killing us - so many deskside visits it's unbelievable. But is that the norm, or are some of you …


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  1. Stew Wilson

    Remove all users from the picture

    With a shotgun. And napalm.

  2. mrlumpy

    if we can't kill 'em, please we train 'em

    Using facebook and iplayer does not qualify someone to be able to use business systems on a business network. The people who double click hyperlinks, quadruple click the excel shortcut 5 times, save things twice "to make sure it saves" should be taken out and shot, trained how to do things properly.

    " isn't showing anything on the tellything.." "..oh, that right click, I didn't know you could click that.." " just won't do it.." " can I sort these rows by colour?" "..well I don't know, how am I supposed to know that, I'm not technical.." these people who shouldn't be left alone with a mobile phone let alone a dual core, 2gb ram, 150gb hdd pc connected to a 100mb network with web-apps and confidential data.

    You can't knit a jumper without knowing how to knit yet everyday people are let loose on machines with no idea what they are doing.

  3. MrPatrick

    The single biggest cause of problems...

    ...on our (major clients) network is that we've taken over a stack of legacy systems that have been poorly managed by incompetent fools who have little understanding of anything even approaching best practice.

    The users generally don't cause that many problems, certainly not major stuff, its maintaining their rickety folder structure on the thousand year old file server, the million OU AD structure and the most incomprehensible distributed network devised by man that cause me the most headaches.

    And then no-one carse when you suggest that they need to spend a couple of quid and fund a small project to reorganise it they freak out. So then you try and do it on the cheap (which means thath tey need to get involved) and they freak out 'I haven't got the time'.

    Best of luck to ya when it all goes breasts in the air.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @MrPatrick Posted Wednesday 7th October 2009 12:57

    Well said - at my last few placements, around 80% of the problems are down to Legacy or even just downright bad software.

    Honestly, there are sites out there using Clearcase, Lotus Notes, Windows ME, etc. Costs them a fortune, puts a huge dent in everyone's productivity and causes massive problems, but the squealing when you point out that it might cost more than £3.49 to replace them with something the users already like, and is cheaper, faster and better, gods...

  5. Jason 71

    I am fed up of saying.......

    Have you tried looking at the Help Option????

    I get soooo many calls from prople that just dont know how to do something in Word, Excel, Poweropint, Outlook etc...

    There is always 1 user that thinks its My Job to know how to format their documents...

    26 years working on Computers (Building, Writing Apps, Network Support etc...) and I am reduced to talking a user through recalling a message in Outlook because THEY attached the wrong document.. Then its my fault that the Recall Fails when the user has read the incorrect email...


    Need Coffee.....

  6. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    Shovel. Hole. Lime.

    99.9% of all support calls we get are simply because the user refuses to remember how to do something.

    We have trained them.

    We have made video for them.

    We have created detailed step-by-step click-through-guides to solving simple problems.

    We have created signs to plaster everywhere.

    We still have users that won't move the mouse when the monitor is in power-saving and insist we come over to their machine and "fix their computer, it always turns itself off."

    We have users who after 10 years of using the damned things can't understand AT ALL the concept of switching windows, and that just because you can't see the window in the foreground DOES NOT MEAN THE APPLICATION IS CLOSED.

    Right clicking and then reading the context menu to discover the possible options you can use on an object/link/app/whatever is utterly beyond them.

    There are users who, a decade in, still can't understand the CONCEPT behind copy and paste, let alone actually accomplish it.

    We have hired specialists to train them. We have a nice friendly tier 1 just for them, who is so patient it makes my teeth hurt watching him. We have done everything imaginable...but it is as if their brains were WORM, and the media was locked thirty years ago.

    There is only one way to fix these kinds of issues, no app or hardware in the world will do it.

    A shovel

    A hole

    A bag of lime

  7. The Beer Monster

    Does this sound familiar?

    User: "There's a message on my screen saying Z"

    IT: "There's no such message, what does it really say?"

    User: "I don't understand it"

    IT: "That's ok, I just need you to read me the full message"

    User: "Ok, it says Y"

    IT: "Ok, what did you do prior to that?"

    User: "Nothing"

    IT: "That's strange, because you can only get a message saying Y if the computer asks you question X and you click OK"

    User: "I didn't get any message"

    IT: "Ok, let me have a look"

    User: "Oh, I might have got a message"

    IT: "And you clicked OK?"

    User: "I haven't got time to read these messages, I just need to get on with work, so I clicked on some stuff"

    IT: "Ok, I've sorted that for you, but next time you get a message you don't expect, ring us then and we can talk you through it"

    User: "Ok"

    Two days later...

    User: "There's a message on my screen saying Z"...

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