Some Of The Strangest Things Sysadmins Have Ever Said (And Heard)

Some Of The Strangest Things Sysadmins Have Ever Said (And Heard)

Image Credit: Andrew Malone

Being a sysadmin can be really, really weird.

When you work with people who understand little about your job – and even less about the technology you work with – there’s the tendency for bizarre questions, unusual cases, and downright aggravating conflicts. At least there’s a silver lining to all that: they make for some pretty good stories.

Today, we’re going to look at some of those stories – snippets of them, actually. We’ve compiled a list of some of the weirdest things administrators have ever had to say, do, or hear over the course of their careers. Have something to add? Feel free to toss a comment our way.

First, a few words sysadmins never thought they’d need to utter – without context, of course (source):

  • “Why is there a water softener in the network closet?”
  • “Yes, even notebooks have a Windows key.”
  • “No, I haven’t done anything with the servers or network that could impact the coffee machine.”
  • “So tell me again, how’d you manage to put the usb device the wrong way up?”
  • “The UPS is smoking again.”
  • “Don’t unhook another sales associates equipment and move it to your desk because they aren’t here.”
  • “The dev server is in the bathroom? Under the sink?!?”
  • “Your USB device doesn’t work because it’s plugged into the Ethernet port.”
  • “Sir, please do not remove the firewall so you can watch porn.”
  • “No, you cannot simply solder two runs of CAT5e together or use wire nuts to fix it.”
  • “Yes, that poweredge caught fire…”
  • “That’s not the microphone jack, that’s the power button.”
  • “Why is he allowed to hang his wet bathing suit in the datacenter?”
  • “Two undergraduates were making out on the compressor unit and shut it off.”


And some of the craziest user comments and requests (source):

  • “[User] sent company files to her AOL account. I want you to hack in and get them back. We own those files so it’s not illegal.”
  • “I pulled out all the drives in the server to make sure they were all the same ones.”
  • “Our old Sysadmin just put all the hard drives from the computers in the server room in his car then came in and said he quit and he left. We need you to track the hardware and get our stuff back. The backups are at his house.”
  • “The building maintenance dude is out sick today and you’re the smartest guy we know, so can you help fix the toilet that isn’t working?”
  • “The Field Engineer responsible for remediating hardware problems got mad at the mainframe and threw his screwdriver at the I/O Controller’s blinking lights.”
  • “It turns out that box under the desk wasn’t an extra hard drive, it was a subwoofer.”
  • “If I steal my ex-girlfriend’s phone, can you help me hack it and see if she was cheating on me?”
  • “I reset my Outlook password, but I have two screens and forgot to enter the password on the second one now it’s asking for me to log in again. I forgot my password. Can you just reset it again?”
  • “Please let me know if you don’t get this e-mail.”
  • “What do you do if your monitor catches fire?”
  • “I clearly and plainly sent the EXACT print colors we need via fax moments ago.”
  • “Next time, send me an email about the email server being down.”
  • “Every time I send an email, a photo of Blue Man Group automatically gets attached to the email as I send it.  How do I shut that off?”
  • “I want to keep the new laptop at my desk and set up the old laptop in my home office so I can work from home.”
  • “I thought it would get power from the network cable.”
  • “What kind of scam are you trying to run? You say it’s wireless but I need to plug in wires? This isn’t what I was sold.”

Think you’ve anything that can top any of these quotes? Let us know!

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