Similar Symptoms, Exactly the Same Problem

I should probably be used to this by now, and to some degree, it’s actually understandable. Users tend to think that similar symptoms means they’re having the same problem as the last time they had a problem like this. I can understand how “can’t print” is the same to them every time, even if the last time the problem was that the printer wasn’t mapped and this time the problem is that their connection to the printer has crashed. What I can’t figure out is why they think “document failed to print” and “printer is out of toner” are the same problem.

But it’s worse than that. Users don’t know the difference between “shared drive failed to connect” and “you don’t have permission to access said drive”. I’ve had people say “I can’t access my shared drive”, only to find out that they have never had access to it, but felt they needed it (or were told they did) and expected it to magically show up and/or let them in. Oftentimes, after such permission has been granted, they’ll have an issue where the computer loses connection to those drives, and even though there’s a clear message saying “failed to connect to shared drives”, they call us up and complain that someone removed their access.

We recently had an office migrated to a new server. The people in this office are…well, they’re special people. They go beyond “don’t know much about computers” and have headed straight into “how do they function in the modern world”. Migrating them to a new server, and the calls this caused, was fresh Hell. It’s still going on. I’m on the opening early shift today, and twice already I’ve gotten calls from people who have normal “failed to connect” errors (probably caused by a refresh in the night) that both times has been solved with a simple reboot, but because they fly into panic mode whenever they “can’t get to my files!” which is how they all phrase it, they’re sure it’s that we took their access away.

5 thoughts on “Similar Symptoms, Exactly the Same Problem

    • To some degree I feel the guy’s pain. I know that when we let someone go, one of the first things to be disabled is their email. A few weeks ago, I suddenly couldn’t get into my email on either Outlook or Webmail, and no one else had a problem. I was sure I was being fired. Turns out we were individually being migrated to a new server ourselves.

      But that guy, yeah, talk about leaping to a conclusion.

      • Same with us – shut down the email and computer access first, then call them into the HR office to let them know their services are no longer required. Minimize the chance of damage… disabling the domain account disables email.

        Of course, the opposite has also happened – couple of people who had been let go called to ask if we were having internet problems when their email suddenly didn’t work. What can I say? “Thanks for letting me know, I’ll get right on that.”

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