SysAdmin Horror Stories

*Cue wolf howling in the background

We’ve all heard spooky tales of hardware stored in rooms where the temperature was up to 140 degrees, servers drowning because someone left the window open during a rainstorm, and IT tickets that made the hair on the back of an admin's neck stand up..

Tell us about the strangest request you’ve ever gotten, the dumbest question a user ever asked, or those days when Murphy's law seemed to only apply to you.

Write a short SysAdmin horror story in the comment box below to complete this activity for the July Mission and earn 150 points!

  • A few years ago back when I occasionally made service calls for clients at an old job. Received a call that an office computer at a rural location was 'not working' but the lights would turn on. There was a potential for future business, and this was a first time/large client so my boss went with me to try to sign them up on some sort of service contract.

    Get out to the client location, taking a look at the pc while the boss was talking to the client. PC was about 6-7 years old and would not post, so I pop the side cover off hoping for an easy sign of a problem (swollen capacitors, loose component, etc).

    Literally 5 or 6 field mice run out of the computer and scatter. They made a nest on top of and below the graphics card, and it looks like they made their way in from a single missing expansion slot cover. Nest was big enough to clog the gpu fan, mouse *** all over the inside of the case, etc.

    The best part of the trip was one mouse in particular came out from behind the desk and kept trying to crawl up my bosses leg. He would lightly scuff it away, and it would be back 15 seconds later trying to climb up the shoe. I dont know how either of us maintained our professional composure at that point.

    The client simply did not understand why it was not worth paying us hundreds of dollars to "wash" the boards and case up with soap and water/cleaning solvent on a PC that was "still good."

    We never ended up getting that contract/work, and it was probably better for everyone in the long run.

  • One of the users called and said their print was not printing.  I went down and the power cable was in a knot.   I told the knot was stopping the power to the printer.  They unplugged the print and took the knot out. Of course turning it off and on reset the print, which was all I had need to do.  I felt a little  bad for pulling that on the person but, not bad enough to tell them what the real fix was. 

  • I was amazed the first time I saw TAC do that.

    No matter how many certs you may get, there's always need for training and refresher courses.

  • Older lady calls in, she asks me to turn her on.  I reply what do you mean turn you on.  She said she can't do anything and needs me to turn her on...  I think for a moment and check her AD account and thankfully find she's locked out, I unlock the account let her know to go ahead and try again...  Wasn't much of a nightmare just a little scary.

  • Emailed everyone about a server shutdown at 5:00pm due to a scheduled power shut off by the power company. They needed to do some upgrades on the building. A user sends back I want to work past 5 so can you show me how to shut the server down after 5:00. I sent back that wont be possible because we wont have any power.