Superuser mostly helped IT, until a BSOD saw him invent a farcical fix
It was only a matter of time until enthusiasm alone wasn't enough
On Call As Christmas approaches, The Register wants to thank readers for the gift of On Call – the weekly column you make possible by sharing stories of your most torrid tech support encounters. On Call appears every Friday morning, UK time, and based on the volume of traffic and comments it generates appears to be a reader favorite.
Which is why we'll keep it going through the holiday season … including with this tale submitted by a reader we'll Regomize as "Tim" who told us of his adventures a few years ago working for a private academic institution in western Japan.
"Originally, I was hired for my teaching skills and good looks," Tim told On Call. But as the institution is on the smaller side – and he had previous tech support experience – he also became the network administrator, the help desk, and frontline support "when anything with a plug plays up."
A year into the gig, Tim was joined by a new and rather young teacher he identified as "Yoshi."
"He was one of those know-it-all types that are unfortunately all too common in schools," Tim told On Call. "This extended to computers as he considered himself a tech genius because he could hack a simple Excel macro together."
Yoshi liked to show off his tech skills, and often came up with fixes that lightened Tim's workload.
"I felt he couldn't cause too much trouble so left him to glow in his own limelight," Tim recalled.
Then came the day Tim was called to help a user whose PC displayed the dreaded Blue Screen of Death.
Next to said PC was Yoshi, looking a little sheepish. Or maybe even guilty.
- You don't get what you don't pay for, but nobody is paid enough to be abused
- Bank's datacenter died after travelling back in time to 1970
- Bank boss hated IT, loved the beach, was clueless about ports and politeness
- User read the manual, followed instructions, still couldn't make 'Excel' work
The user had mistakenly erased about six months of work, asked Yoshi for help, and received advice that "all his deleted files would magically reappear if he reversed the time/date on the PC back to before he erased them and rebooted."
Tim had never heard of this method of instant and infallible disaster recovery.
He therefore "spurted a load of totally incomprehensible (to my Japanese co-workers) English expletives" – many of which concerned Yoshi.
Who offered precisely zero information about how the PC had entered its state of disrepair, although Tim felt sure it hadn't happened spontaneously.
"After a few minutes I had the PC back up running again, but was only able recover about half of the erased files," Tim lamented. "As for Yoshi, he carried on as if nothing had happened, but left us a year later."
Tim's not sure where Yoshi went next, but fancies he may have gone to work on a time machine.
Have you let power users handle some support chores and then regretted it? If so, click here to send On Call and email and we may use your story on a future Friday. ®