10 tech support requests you never want to hear from your family

family tech issues
Archiboldian licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’re a techie it’s likely that someone in your family will ask you a question about their cell phone, their computer, their iPad, their you-name-it … and not long after the whole family will use you as their personal tech support. You become the go-to guy for every tech question. I’s hard to turn down a plea from your mother or sweet Aunt Mabel. While some problems are easily solved (“There’s no ‘any’ key, Mom, it means just press any key”) there are other questions that will make your blood run cold. Here are the worst of the worst family support requests. If you have favorite family support requests, please comment below then follow me on TwitterApp.net, and Facebook.

family tech requests
Alex Bellink licensed under CC BY 2.0

#10: “Remember that problem we fixed a year ago? Well, it’s gone wrong again and …”

This is annoying in every way you can think of. Of course you don’t remember the problem and you can bet that Dad doesn’t really remember it either but somehow he’s joined up the dots in some random fashion and is convinced he knows the cause was something “we” (ha!) fixed. This is where you start crumpling a piece of paper in front of the phone and say “Sorry, Dad, we have a lot of interference on the line, let me call you back in a bit …”

family tech requests
Kevin Dooley licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Creative Commons BY or BY-SA)

#9: “Why doesn’t (program | web site) work any more?”

Of course your sister isn’t necessarily being accurate here because “doesn’t work” could mean anything from “I can’t find it” to “I used to know how to do (something) but I’ve lost my mind”. This can be a long conversation because after you’ve slogged your way through what she actually means you’ll either be running a training session or reinstalling an application from scratch. If it’s an application just pray she’s got the registration key because even though it’s not your fault you don’t have the key, her anger has to go somewhere and your ear is the nearest target.

family tech requests
Hunter00047 licensed under CC BY 2.0

#7: “My keyboard doesn’t working any more …”

Bro! Really? First stop and change the batteries if it’s a wireless keyboard. What, no new batteries? You’re off the hook until your brother gets some. What, the keyboard still doesn’t work? Has the dongle come loose (“Oh, I pulled it out to dust it and forgot to put it back.”). When that doesn’t work, you’ll have to get your brother to go through what’s plugged in where, have drivers been removed, is it still paired, … the whole nine yards of diagnosing the problem. And even then, your brother will probably finally mutter “What’s this switch on the side of the keyboard?” At your end you’ll wind up with key-shaped dents in your forehead …

family tech requests
Leigh Blackall licensed under CC BY 2.0

#6: “I can’t find my file! Would you help me?”

Once again, Uncle Bob has saved his document in some random subdirectory so you’ve got to walk him through finding with the file manager … that is, if he ever saved it at all. Oh, yes, Uncle Bob doesn’t realize that most software just isn’t helpful in that way. If you don’t save the file and you just reflexively click on “yes” when asked if you’re sure — as Uncle Bob is wont to do — there’s no force in the universe that can get it back for you. But it doesn’t matter how many times you tell him, he’ll never remember … and so you’ll be finding files and or looking for nonexistent ones until your last breath.

family tech requests
Garry Knight licensed under CC BY 2.0

#3: “Could you help me move my stuff to a new computer?”

This is the kind of request that makes Sisyphus’ labors look trivial. It’s going to suck up at least 12 hours of your life and Mom won’t understand why it’s taking so long; “I thought I’d be back playing online poker by now, dear. Will it take much longer? Perhaps I’ll have a little drink while you have fun.” Fun? Kill me now.

family tech requests
American International Pictures licensed under CC BY 2.0

#2: “Why is Google broken?”

What do you mean “broken”, Aunt Flo? Well, I can’t get to its, what do you call it, home range. OK, what does your browser say? What’s a browser, dear? I’m using Internet  Exploder … it says it’s version 6 … is that OK? No, there’s no lights on my, whadyacallit, router … oh, really? Why yes, I did unplug it when I was vacuuming …

guy yelling

#1 “I got an email from my (bank | Google | eBay | …) about a problem with my account so I clicked on …”

O. M. F. G. Civilization as we know it is doomed. Our families will make every technical error known to man and then add a few more only known to hyperintelligent shades of blue from the planet Tralfamadore. Short of developing Tourette’s, which might make most of ‘em stop calling you, you’re stuck. You are the official unpaid tech support guru (or maybe slave) for your kith and kin and short of having a lobotomy there’s no way that you can avoid this honored, storied role. Good luck, my friend, and lay in a good supply of Aspirin and scotch; you’ll be needing both.