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Helpdesk phrases explained [Feb. 8th, 2002|10:11 am]
Peter Sheil
Since at times I have to take helpesk calls this struck a chord with me - hope it makes some of you smile too :)


There are a number of key phrases that are used on a regular basis at help desks around the world.

They sound harmless enough but often have hidden meanings, understood only by those who have been initiated into the black art of the help desk. In this listing of common phrases and their true meanings, I�m sure you�ll see some that you�ve heard before and some that you might have even used yourself.

Jeff Dray
� 2002 TechRepublic, Inc.

What we say vs. what we mean
"To tell you the truth/To be honest�"
Meaning: �I am about to heavily bend the truth.�

"It would probably be best to re-install the software."
Meaning: �I don�t know how to fix this, nor does anyone else here. By the time we�ve worked out the solution, you could have re-installed the package a dozen times.�

"Hmmm! That�s a good one!"
Meaning: �What the heck are you talking about?�

"There must be some incompatibility problem."
Meaning: �I haven�t got a clue.�

"I�ll check with my team leader."
Meaning: �He hasn�t got a clue either.�

"We have passed the problem on to the developers."
Meaning: �Even they don�t have a clue.�

"Let me just check with a colleague."
Meaning: �I�ll press the mute button now because I can�t stop laughing.�

"What operating system are you running?"
Meaning: �Do you know what an operating system is?�

"Are you getting a login error?"
Meaning: �You�ve forgotten your password, haven�t you?�

"Let�s check your system settings."
Meaning: �I wasn�t listening the first time.�

"I apologize unreservedly for my mistake."
Meaning: �Damn! I just broke the first help desk law!�

"Let�s run through that procedure one more time and check the exact error message."
Meaning: �I need to play for time while I reboot my machine, swallow this huge lump of sandwich I just bit off, find the relevant help file, or finish making the tea.�

What the callers say vs. what they mean
"I haven�t touched anything."
Meaning: �I have just fiddled with some registry settings/DLLs/system settings and now it won�t work at all.�

"I really truly haven�t touched anything."
Meaning: �I�ve really done it this time.�

"What would happen if�?"
Meaning: �I�ve just done this and feel a bit silly. How would I fix it without anyone knowing?�

"I�m a personal friend of the chairman."
Meaning: �He once swore at me for using his parking space.�

"I�m running Windows 97."
Meaning: �I don�t know the difference between an operating system and an office package.�

"Of course everything is plugged in! Do you think I�m stupid?"
Meaning: �Something is not plugged in.�

"I really can�t waste any more time on this, goodbye!"
Meaning: �I just spotted what I did wrong, and I�m very embarrassed.�

"My screen is blurred and I get headaches.�
Meaning: �The guy across the corridor just got a new screen and I want one too.�

"Is there a problem with the network?"
Meaning: �I forgot my password.�

"It won�t let me in and I know I entered the password correctly.�
Meaning: �I have caps lock on.�

�I checked my caps lock and I still can�t log in."
Meaning: �I forgot my password, and the last time this happened I had my caps lock on.�

"Has this problem been reported by anyone else?"
Meaning: �Am I the only clueless pony on the block?�

Jeff Dray
� 2002 TechRepublic, Inc.

(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: petersheil
2002-02-08 04:49 am (UTC)
and there was me thinking you were pretending to be a dumb user ;)
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[User Picture]From: angel2dy4
2002-02-08 05:49 am (UTC)


Reminds me of a couple weeks ago when I call support after my cable modem being down for 1+hour * GRIN *

I found a really nice guy on the other end...I could have just chatted all day....sounded like a older man...very friendly though...who obviously loves his computer time as much as I do mine.

Anyway...He answers with how may I help you...and I burst out...OMG..my net has been down for over a hour and I'm having major withdrawls here. I hear a chuckle...then let me check to see if we have any reports of outtages in your are. NOPE...lets try this! Bahaha ( your post will give new meaning the next time I'm on hold ) Well he tells me to unplug the modem and he was gonna check something else....I said well, I should probably reboot too since I unplugged my modem right? Yep...it wouldn't hurt. Okay....so I unplugged it..rebooted and WALAH...it worked...he comes back and says, how we feeling? I said Ummm pretty dumb.....why he ask..I said cause it is working now! He assured me I shouldn't feel dumb! LOL

Truth is...if I didn't have friggin' @HOME service I would have thought to do those things..I just thought it was another problem there on their end.

Now that I've rambled...I'll say..."THANKS" for the post...really cute...next time they tell me to hold...I'm gonna say.."don't choke on your sandwich" LMAO

Ang =o)
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[User Picture]From: petersheil
2002-02-08 08:22 am (UTC)

Re: LOL....

But Ang you don't have to pretend to be a dumb blonde do you? ;)

It is always hard getting a user to check the dumb things ... it is even harder if it is a manager and you have to try and not make them look dumb. I tend to do the "We have a set problem solving procedure and I wonder if you could help us eliminate any possible problems with your machine before we look at the xxx program". Mostly I get away with it - if you call getting a user to help you problem solve with you "getting away with it".

I must get around to e-mailing you. I've had a thought *gasp of shock* I want to run past you and see if you are interested. But it isn't something I want to do from work. There that's got you intrigued :) I'll tell you soon.

Take care

btw you said "WALAH" - what does that mean? If it is what I think then it is actually from the French "Voil�" meaning "there it is" or "here it is" :) *end of boring bit*
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: petersheil
2002-02-08 07:50 am (UTC)


You I think :)
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[User Picture]From: angel2dy4
2002-02-08 10:00 am (UTC)

Ummmm okay......

send the email already! =o)
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[User Picture]From: petersheil
2002-02-08 10:39 am (UTC)

Re: Ummmm okay......

Don't stress! I'll probably e-mail you Saturday, or Sunday if I'm being stressed by my tax return :(

Take care and have a good weekend
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[User Picture]From: angel2dy4
2002-02-08 12:47 pm (UTC)


Okay - but yes you have me wondering! =o) Walah has virtually the same meaning =o)

Good luck with taxes...fun fun fun - NOT

Look forward to your email
Ang =o)
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