10 Users IT Hates to Support

From the paranoid to the pathological, here are 10 user 'personalities' certain to drive any IT pro crazy.

Ben Barbante

The worst types of tech support users

Deal with enough technology users, and you start to realize something: Beneath all the nuanced, specific complaints, they're all kind of the same.

Okay -- maybe that's a slight exaggeration. But whether you're working at an IT help desk or unofficially appointed as head of your family's tech support department (total headcount: one), you quickly realize that certain types of tech users are unavoidable. And some of them are downright insufferable.

Not convinced? Read on and see if these irksome personalities sound familiar.

Ben Barbante

1. Johnny Paranoid

Johnny Paranoid earns his name by reading about every possible threat to his electronics and becoming convinced he either has been or is on the brink of being infected. 

Johnny Paranoid was the first guy to panic about Y2K erasing all of his data at the turn of the century; heck, he probably stayed up countless nights fretting about the possibility. He wastes no time calling to ask if he's protected from the Michelangelo virus, the Android Malware Monster, or whatever scary-sounding threat is managing to make headlines at any given moment.

In short, he's the hypochondriac of tech health -- and you're his go-to doctor.

Worse, his paranoia can often be preyed on by antimalware scams. Talk about irony.

Ben Barbante

2. The Constant Coveter

Merely whisper the specs of any new technology, and the Constant Coveter becomes convinced he absolutely needs it right now. 

Maybe it's a new piece of hardware -- a processor with more cores, an updated smartphone model, or a fancy new mouse he saw on EnVergeModoCrunch (or whatever it is the cool kids are reading these days). Maybe it's a new dessert-themed software update he thinks you can magically summon to his phone by lunchtime. Or maybe it's a feature he saw in a Samsung ad that he wants you to put on his iDevice (you can do that, right?).

Whatever it is, the Constant Coveter knows he needs it ASAP, even if he doesn't know why, or what problems may arise.

Ben Barbante

3. Personal Pete

Personal Pete gets his name because he treats the help desk like his own personal tech assistant. He's the guy who's always asking questions about his own non-work-related gadgets -- you know, "just this once, brah." 

Personal Pete's requests could be anything from purchasing advice ("which laptop should I get for my daughter?") to troubleshooting ("my home PC is doing weird stuff -- any idea what's up?") or lazy tutorials ("can you help me get my photos off iCloud and onto my Android phone?"). And he never -- never -- sees his requests as out-of-line impositions.

This is the same guy who'll shamelessly ask you to help him move, despite the fact that you've only spoken to him once outside of work.

Ben Barbante

4. Ms. Know-It-Some

Our next annoying user is the amateur expert -- yep, Ms. Know-It-Some herself. And you guessed it: Ms. Know-It-Some knows just enough about technology to be dangerous. 

She's the person who always tries to take matters into her own hands before calling you and always ends up making every situation 10 times worse as a result. Maybe she decided to clean up some "unnecessary" files on her computer to free up space. Or maybe she went in to tweak her Outlook settings to make her email "work better."

Regardless of the specifics, you can bet her baseline knowledge was just enough to get her in trouble -- and you can bet you'll be the one cleaning up the mess.

Ben Barbante

5. Mr. No-Skills

At the other end of the spectrum from Ms. Know-It-Some is Mr. No-Skills, the lovely fella who can't figure out anything for himself.

Mr. No-Skills has no basic problem-solving skills of his own and consequently calls the help desk for the most mundane issues imaginable -- like that time he got some trail mix in his keyboard and wasn't sure if it was anything to worry about. Or the time his inbox was almost full and he wasn't sure what to do. Or the time his computer case looked kind of dusty.

Seriously, how does this guy manage to function in the world?

Ben Barbante

6. Defiant Debbie

Oh, Debbie. Debbie, Debbie, Debbie. You sure know how to make life on the help desk hell.

Defiant Debbie is the person who refuses to follow basic instructions -- and then fails to understand why that's a problem. She ignores prompts (not to mention your beautifully crafted email reminders) to update her computer's antivirus software; she haphazardly clicks questionable links on social media sites; she opens PDF attachments left and right; and she uploads files to insecure locations with wild abandon.

Debbie, Debbie, Debbie. Why you gotta play us this way?

Ben Barbante

7. The Bad Liar

It's one thing to be defiant. It's another to lie about it.

The Bad Liar thinks he's sneaky. He thinks he's sly. He thinks he can get away with stuff without you, The Great Master of All Things Tech, ever knowing what really happened.

Common lines you'll hear from the Bad Liar:

• "I didn't delete those files -- I swear!"

• "I don't know why my company phone won't turn on. Honest, nothing unusual happened to it."

And, of course:

• "I have no idea how that pornographic video got on my computer."


Ben Barbante

8. Andy Amnesia

There's the guy who lies, and then there's the guy who honestly just doesn't remember anything. Every office has an Andy Amnesia. Heck, every family has one, too. 

Andy Amnesia forgets his passwords more often than you remember what you had for lunch. He never recalls the most basic things you've explained to him a million times ("I know you've told me this before, but how do I set a reminder on my phone again?"). When he gets in touch with you, there's a 94 percent chance it's to ask about something you've helped him with before.

About the only thing Andy Amnesia does seem to remember is how to call you. He'll never forget that.

Ben Barbante

9. Search-Impaired Sally

Also known as "your sister," our next user is so impressed with your tech-whispering abilities that she'd rather email you than look something up on Google herself.

Now, to be clear, we're not talking about actual tech support issues here. No, Search-Impaired Sally pings you habitually for things like finding out where she can download photos of France or which website she should use to buy office supplies.

It's because of people like her that the site Let Me Google That For You exists.

Ben Barbante

10. The Incessant Complainer

Do any of these sentences sound familiar? 

• "Another system update? Why do you keep making us do this?"

• "Hey, why's the Internet always so slow?"

• "I get errors every now and then, and no, I don't remember what they said, but I need them fixed immediately."

• "Isn't about time for us to get some new phones around here?"

• "Dude, seriously, what's up with these ancient computers?"

If so, congratulations: You've met the Incessant Complainer. Now go check your email before he asks why you're taking so long to respond.