Software Install Technical Support
It was ~1990 and I was working in the technical support department for a computer & software warehouse company that changed its name during IPO and no longer exists.
I was working the technical support help line and have a very distressed user call in trying to install a product called Paradox that had about 35 x 5.25" floppies for the install.
Mr. Customer: Hi! I'm having a really hard time installing this software product called Paradox and I'm hoping you could help.
Me: Sure. What seems to be the problem?
Mr. Customer: Well, I'm following the on screen prompts. The installation started just fine after I put in the first floppy. It keeps telling me to "insert next disk" and so far I have put in 6 and I'm trying to insert #7 but there just isn't room for any more disks.
Me: What is the error you are getting? Is it saying "out of disk space" or is it some other error?
Mr. Customer: It isn't giving an error. It just keeps popping up a little window that says "Insert next disk" with an OK button. Ive put in 6 disks so far and then clicked OK but there isn't any room for any more disks.
Me: I'm not sure I under stand. How do you know there isn't any room for more disks if it isn't giving you an error?
Mr. Customer (starting to sound really miffed): Because there isn't any more room to fit any more disks. I keep sliding them into the slot for the next disks and I can't fit any more into the slot.
Me: Can you hold on a second. I want to go grab the build sheet for your computer so I can confirm something. ( I place the customer on hold. I go pull his build sheet. He has a single 5.25" floppy drive and 2 empty drive bay slots below with blank covers on them. I'm pretty sure I know what has happened now.)
Me: Mr. Customer, I think I understand what is going on now. Is there any way you could please bring in your computer and the remaining disks and we can help get you through this as quickly as possible?
Mr. Customer: I guess if I have to. Can't you just tell me how to solve the problem?
(By this time, I have 5 guys standing around me with smiles on their faces. They have figured out the problem as I'm sure most of you have as well)
Me: Well, I'm not 100% positive, because I am going to have to see your machine to be completely positive but I'm guessing there is a small space below your primary floppy drive and the empty drive bay below. Have you opened the locking lever and taken the first floppy disk out and then inserted the second disk and closed the locking lever again, then when it asked for the next disk you opened the locking lever, removed the second disk, inserted the third disk and closed the locking lever, etc. etc.?
Mr. Customer: No. It didn't tell me to open the drive and remove the first disk. It just said "Insert next disk" so that's what I have been doing.
Me: Exactly. So now you have 6 disks in an empty space in your case and we are kinda stuck. So if you bring in the rest of the disks and your computer, we can help you get things finished real quick.
Mr Customer grudgingly agrees. Upon bringing the computer to the technical support window, you can see the half crumpled floppy disk #6 shoved into the small gap below his primary disk drive.
We had to rma the "defective" copy of Paradox and exchange for a new pristine copy without folded and mangled floppy disks and the software installation proceeded as expected. We canceled the install and pulled Mr. Customer into the tech room as we started the installation and walked him through the first 3 disks swaps. We then got him a cup of coffee and asked him to take a seat while we completed the installation. 35 minutes and 22 disks later the installation finished. We brought him back one last time to see "Installation complete", boxed up his software, powered down the computer and sent him along his way. I really wanted to charge him an hours labor for "Custom software installation" but my manager chalked it up as a learning experience for both of us.