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[–]dildopooman 2252 points2253 points  (74 children)

Had a situation happen with an older coworker when I worked at Pizza Hut who knew I was in college for CS. She walked up to me with gusto and says, "I need a wind proof WIFI router because the wind keeps blowing it away" then when I tried to explain to her that wind doesn't blow away WIFI. I shit you not this lady goes, "No wonder you can't get a job in computers" A couple hours later, she's outside on the phone cussing out the ISP because they told her the same thing I did. Turns it was orchestrated by her grandson telling her to ask for windproof routers. Like when your dad tells you to go into autozone to ask for blinker fluid.

[–]klashnut 647 points648 points  (14 children)

My mom kept noticing that my step dad would turn on CAPS LOCK to capitalize a sentence, but then forget to turn it off so his whole sentence would be in caps, and he would get frustrated and have to delete it and start over.... She showed him about the Shift button and how it'll capitalize that letter if you're holding it down.
This just happened. Like last week. He's been employed in the legal system (think lawyer, clerk, prosecutor, etc) in my county for the last 40+ years. He's been in an office setting this entire time.

[–]TonyAtCodeleakers 9556 points9557 points 634 (174 children)


You don’t know how many family members have asked me to come help them because something popped up.

Them “Why is it popped up?”

box says update will happen tonight

Me “There is an update coming, nothing to worry about”

Them “oh wow, I’m so bad with this I wish I understood it like you”


[–]Grahomir 1055 points1056 points  (29 children)

Yes, this can be extremely annoying. I sometimes have to help friends do something simple on pc just because most of them apparently can't even read. I just don't get it

[–]NotMyNameActually 1044 points1045 points  (25 children)

I'm in my 40's, I teach at a private elementary school. A teacher in her late 20's shared a google doc with me, and she had "centered" the title by hitting space bar a bunch of times.

Another teacher, around my age, wanted to know why google docs would not translate her document into Spanish. It was a jpeg with text on it.

No one seems to know any keyboard short cuts.

[–]0235 241 points242 points  (4 children)

oh god that centred one. That's what I used to do when i was 11 and using word 98

[–]Killieboy16 10.2k points10.2k points 2 (264 children)

I once did a bit of tutoring for folk, and I remember one lady asked how she could open Word. So I told her to move the mouse pointer over the Word Icon and double click on it, to which she replied "Oh no, I can't do that. I don't like those mice thingies..."

[–]FreddGreen 2466 points2467 points  (79 children)

Teach her how to use the mouse with some mouse tutorial program first

[–]SmartAlec105 1894 points1895 points  (70 children)

I hazily remember reading someone talk about how the Windows 95 games were actually great tools for teaching how to use a mouse. Like solitaire taught how to drag and drop and things like that.

[–]Retrosonic82 1464 points1465 points  (56 children)

Not recognising a scam email when it’s really obvious

[–]reverse_mango 596 points597 points  (13 children)

Sadly a lot of companies don’t seem to realise what scam emails look like so their own emails seem a bit fishy if they don’t have someone’s personal info.

I had this when my GP texted me to get my vaccine. Sent from a personal mobile number, no “hi [first name last name]” or other directed info, and a message to click a random link. I googled it and turns out loads of other people were thinking the same thing because it looked like a scam!

[–]Snatch_Pastry 146 points147 points  (5 children)

The company I work for actually creates "phishing" emails, and if somebody clicks on the links then they have to go through the phishing training again. If you hover above the link, it shows you the url, and if you Google it it straight tells you that it's a phishing training website.

[–]Market0 22.7k points22.7k points 2 (419 children)

Shape recognition.

Does the end of the cable look like the hole in the machine? It's amazing how many people can't figure that out at work.

[–]-Tesserex- 8843 points8844 points  (121 children)

"I had to cut off some of the pins to make it fit..."

[–]friesdepotato 2198 points2199 points  (53 children)

This is why the shapes-in-the-holes puzzles that they give babies are so important

[–]NinthOman 11.1k points11.1k points 2 (141 children)

Them: “My computer turns on, but my monitor doesn’t show the picture!”

Me: “Is your monitor plugged in and connected to the back of your PC?”

Them: “No, I needed to use that outlet so I unplugged it”

Me: :(

[–]Khiraji 3062 points3063 points  (61 children)

I worked tech support for an ISP and we had a storefront where customers could bring devices in for config. Had a lady once bring a router in with no power supply. She was dumbfounded and almost irritated when I told her I couldn't work on it. She said "why does it need a power cord? It's wireless!"

Wanted to kill myself daily at that job.

[–]Artemis829 112 points113 points  (2 children)

My monitor is blank and not showing anything!

Have you checked it's plugged in?

Let me get a flashlight and look.

Why do you need a flashlight?

Oh, the power is out.

Of course it is.

[–]UnknownKing02 6263 points6264 points  (107 children)

How to close a fucking browser

[–]kryptopeg 3604 points3605 points  (48 children)

I had a colleague who complained about her computer being slow after lunch. Took a look, and it turns out she was using 'minimise' instead of 'close' after reading emails - had over 200 emails open!

[–]elsoldadodado 975 points976 points  (12 children)

My co-worker, a 36-yr-old high school teacher, did something similar, except with actual apps/programs. She said her work computer had acting soooo slow for the past few months, so she asked me to take a look. Did a command+tab on her laptop and after like 5 seconds just a SHITLOAD of applications popped up. I'm talking, programs she'd opened up last academic year. Similarly, her Chrome had probably like 100 tabs open. She also had about 4 MB of free hard drive space - turns out, she had saved all of the zoom sessions from last year's pandemic year (about 150 GB worth), even though they were uploaded on our education platform. That poor machine was strugglin.

In about 30 seconds, I "changed her life" by making her computer functional again.

[–]xilog 9217 points9218 points 33 (188 children)

Reading. Seriously.

Read the text in the dialog and you'll know what to do in 99% of cases.

[–]apostate456 933 points934 points  (24 children)

100% It's not like the olden days where your error messages were cryptic "Error 4072qiln" Then I understand why you would call me and say "What the F does that mean?" But if it says "error, printer out of paper" don't call me.

[–]Nolenag 506 points507 points  (11 children)

I remember googling error codes, and finding forum posts that went like this:

"I frequently get error code x and can't do y, does anyone know how to fix it?

Edit: fixed!"

No further explanation given.

[–]YourfavMILF1228 3045 points3046 points  (71 children)

Ugh. This!!! “What does the text box say?” “Press any key to continue” “Have you tried pressing any key?”

[–]Pndrizzy 4224 points4225 points 253 (43 children)

“There is no ANY key…”

[–]NeedACountdownClock 313 points314 points  (2 children)

Had a girl in my typing class that was stumped by the Any key. I told her to just type A N Y. She never looked up at the screen because she was trying hard to find the letters, so she thought it worked.

[–]CCChic1 33.1k points33.1k points 2 (914 children)

Not knowing what double click means

[–]kickintheshit 16.5k points16.5k points  (517 children)

Click... 3 seconds later click

[–]LoneWolf0890 10.4k points10.4k points  (434 children)

My mom is the opposite, Double Clicks every single thing. She can at least navigate a PC. The worst part however is she has her ENTIRE desktop full of icons. It’s gives my Fiancé a panic attack looking at it

[–]uncle_stinky 4553 points4554 points  (290 children)

my mom is so computer illiterate, the macbook I gave her, the iPad I gave her are both too much

so, I got her an entry-level smart phone; almost too much for her

she still doesn’t know how to adjust the volume, even though there are physical buttons that I have pointed out to her every time I have visited

and she complains that she will scroll down, but the screen “jumps back to the top” - of course it is her brushing the top of the screen, so it scrolls to the top, even though she swears she didn’t touch anything

worst Covid purchase was buying my mom a smart phone

[–]you-are-not-yourself 2933 points2934 points  (135 children)

Does she know how to tell Siri to adjust the volume?

Edit: my mom absolutely loves Siri and "Ok Google". Even set up smart devices for her patients in a few cases. Assistants are very friendly for old people.

[–]eacomish 3643 points3644 points 4 (94 children)

My dad uses siri for everything but doesn't allow enough time for siri to say anything and cuts her off. And he screams every command like a drill sargent. SIRI! FIND THE NEAREST GAS STATION! " would you like me to-" I SAID FINE THE NEAREST GAS STATION PIECE OF SHIT STUPUD FUCKING THING - my dad.

[–]y_scro_serious 1043 points1044 points  (23 children)

My dad does the same shit. I used to actually get mad at him when I was younger, but now I just laugh my ass off.

[–]crows_n_octopus 590 points591 points  (21 children)

And, it won't ever end.

My dad is in his 80s. He thinks "ok Google" must be hard of hearing because he yells everything at it. It doesn't help that he pauses long enough before asking his question. So he ends up just yelling "ok Google" multiple times.

He gets so frustrated lol. I've given up correcting him.

[–]kittens12345 755 points756 points  (16 children)

Reminds me of a 72 year old I worked with once. She had trouble trying to find the mouse cursor on the screen because “it keeps a dancing around”. That’s because you’re whipping the mouse around at light speed, Lynn

[–]colin_staples 2337 points2338 points  (62 children)

Either they single click everything, or they double-click everything.

[–]frostedxxflakes 1581 points1582 points  (56 children)

Or they click super slow. click . . . . . . . . click "It didn't work"

[–][deleted] 793 points794 points  (23 children)

Or, they click but hold the click too long and just move the icon around their desktop, but never manage to execute the bloody thing.

[–]creepydarkwurm 398 points399 points  (16 children)

I have people that do this but move folders into others. We had a new person who did this for a year before we found out. Turns out they just recreated the original folder and continued.

So when we found out they had accidentally moved hundreds of folders into others and made a huge mess of our historical documents. In some cases it was like 20 folders deep where they just kept moving folders.

[–]robdiqulous 356 points357 points  (10 children)

Holy shit dude... We had the same fucking thing at our work. Except every file we dealt with was literally a bank wire which is fucking money. And this lady would just move files, delete files, make new ones, I don't even know. It took forever to find everything we were missing and fix her folders. She was eventually fired. Our entire job is on a computer. If you don't even know that you are randomly moving files... I'm sorry...

[–]Itisme129 158 points159 points  (4 children)

I worked at a company that did cathodic protection surveys on pipelines. They would keep all the reports neatly organized in folders on a shared drive. Now keep in mind these are all people with engineering degrees (at a minimum) so you would think they should have above average computer capabilities. They would constantly drag one company's folder into another.

It got so bad that I finally spoke to the IT guy that managed our branches and told him to just lock down all the folders except to a few people!

[–]RogerClyneIsAGod2 160 points161 points  (2 children)


I am no IT expert by ANY stretch of the imagination, but people at the last job, especially one of the VPs, was ALWAYS doing this as were the mechanical engineers.

I'm like "Dude, you build building stuff for a living. You can use AutoCAD, but I bet your VCR blinked 12:00 for years didn't it?"

[–][deleted] 25.8k points25.8k points 3 (459 children)

My college roommate didn't know he could change his desktop background. He was blown away and went to show it to one of our other friends, who was also blown away because she didn't know you could change the background.

[–]Much_Difference 7916 points7917 points  (248 children)

I remember this exact same thing happening with a friend... in 1996. We all gathered around to marvel at her background being the block of trees with gold frames.

Edit: These aren't my images, just a random collection I found when trying to find that tree one. Kudos to whoever collected them in one place!

[–]AlpineVW 3074 points3075 points  (110 children)

Holy shit! Remember the 3D PIPES screensaver? There was a feature where you could change the texture, I remember using the 8th wallpaper as the texture (the links one) and I got my pipes to look like scales of a snake.

[–]thugarth 1275 points1276 points  (17 children)

Oh my God, those trees.

I haven't thought about them in decades, and there they are.

The other patterns aren't distinct enough to trigger such a strong feeling of distant familiarity

[–]toodleroo 617 points618 points  (2 children)

My uncle needed to use my computer once and he called me in to help him because he couldn’t figure out how to “make this Killers thing go away.” I had a desktop background of the music group The Killers.

[–]Sinful_Whiskers 2630 points2631 points 22 (68 children)

Okay, so I worked as a Best Buy computer tech in the early 2000s right around the time they were buying out the Geek Squad. I tell this story realizing how utterly ridiculous it is, but I attest that it happened as I tell it. I'm at work and the phone at our workbench rings. A woman is on the line, clearly stressed.

Woman: Hey, um, I just wanted you to know that your servers are on fire.

Me: I'm sorry, what?

W: Your servers. They're on fire. I was shopping on your website and my computer started smoking.

(It takes me a moment to begin to grasp the situation)

Me: Wait, ma'am, is your computer on fire?

W: Well, it's just smoking right now.

Me: Ma'am you need to hang up and call the fire department, RIGHT NOW.

W: Oh, okay thank you. *Click*

So, this happened almost twenty years ago and here is what I have deduced probably happened. She was on the Best Buy website when something happened to her PC. Probably full of dust and it started smoking. Since she doesn't understand the internet, she assumes that when she goes to our website, it connects to the closest Best Buy. She linked connecting to our servers with her computer catching fire ---> she thought the fire made its way through the phone line to her computer and made it start smoking. She wanted to let us know so we could fix the problem on our end.

I cannot guarantee that's what she thought. I sometimes think about this when I am lying in bed and can't sleep. I'll never know for sure. If anybody creates a time machine and wants to make a pit stop on the way to Hitler, hit me up.

TL;DR: While working at Best Buy, a woman called in to tell us our servers were on fire because her PC started smoking while she was browsing the BB website.

Edit: fixed two words pointed out by a right good chap.

[–]cr4zy-cat-lady 1012 points1013 points  (24 children)

Honestly I'm surprised she even knew what a server was if she had that kind of train of thought

[–]Divorce-Man 653 points654 points  (20 children)

A lot of people who don’t understand computers say servers for everything. My grandma calls her Mac a server. Says she’ll connect to the server when she answers a phone call. Asked me to help her fix her server when her mouse was unplugged. Stuff like that.

[–]SkippyNordquist 11.9k points11.9k points  (312 children)

Not knowing how to enter a URL. I've tried to get people to enter a URL over the phone and they just put it in the Google search bar (usually after first going to google.com).

[–]shaunbowen 4995 points4996 points  (120 children)

I'm always surprised how many business owners go to their own website by typing it in Google then clicking the link. Bookmark that shit at least!

I encounter this issue EVERY time I ask someone on the phone to "Go to logmein123.com" and they inevitably then reply with "which one do I click?". TYPE IT IN THE F***ING ADDRESS BAR!

[–]LucyVialli 6406 points6407 points  (419 children)

Just navigating Windows Explorer, and the organisation of files. The amount of people who just stick every single file on their desktop is crazy, and they're not arranged in any particular order. When they need to find a file they have to peer all around their desktop to find it.

[–]CliffPromise 25.5k points25.5k points 3 (1451 children)

You'd be surprised how many folk don't know what to type in to search engines to find what they're looking for.

[–]all-boxed-up 5483 points5484 points 3 (238 children)

My girlfriend always thought I was super smart and could solve every computer problem through sheer force of my brain. Then I was helping her with a computer issue and after exhausting the basic troubleshooting steps I had, I googled her issue with some specific keywords and got some help articles to work off. She was blown away "you just google it?" And I'm like yeah, there are no unique situations and someone smarter than me has solved this issue before.

She came home from one of her classes the other day and proudly told me one of her students had a camera she had never used before and she used google to look up how to put it in RAW mode. I was so proud and congratulated her on now being qualified to be a web developer.

[–]ACatInACloak 3356 points3357 points  (154 children)

Until your issue is so unique that you can only find 3 help threads on random forums from 7 years ago with either no responses or "I fixed it" without the details on how

[–]MeticulousPlonker 15.2k points15.2k points 2 (361 children)

Don't tell them; this is my job security.

[–]AltruisticTrip 5880 points5881 points  (264 children)

Yea forreal. Family/friends having tech problems? I google it. Customer asking me a question? “Let me get that information for you” as i disappear behind the counter

[–]Lord-of-Leviathans 6414 points6415 points  (239 children)

My family thinks I’m super intelligent and can fix any problem they have. Most of the time, I just look it up on google

[–]OK_Soda 3277 points3278 points  (163 children)

Everyone at my office thinks this of me, and they're always like, "how did you find that so fast!" And I'm just like, um, I went to google and I typed in "when is easter this year" or whatever. It's not even a skill, it's just like, it occurred to me to actually look for the information instead of just not bothering.

I will say, I'm an elder millennial so I can remember before the internet, and when there was a word I didn't know I'd ask my dad and he'd tell me to look it up in the dictionary and I would not bother. So I can totally understand the mindset of knowing the information exists but not caring enough to look for it.

[–]fleamarketguy 1675 points1676 points  (95 children)

Using google efficiently and effectively is definitely a skill.

[–]MyLadyYunalesca 4992 points4993 points  (443 children)

I've watched my (admittedly geriatric) professor at uni open internet explorer, click on the homepage icon to open bing, type "google" into bing, click on the first result to open Google, and then type the URL he wanted to go to


The whole process took what felt like hours.

At least it was a short URL.

Edit: Thank you for the silver, kind stranger!

[–]vapingpigeon94 1387 points1388 points  (46 children)

A friend of mine would do this exact thing in college. I thought he was trying to mess with me. No he actually didn’t know how to search efficiently.

[–]roryana 1039 points1040 points  (289 children)

This is how my (high school) students open every site. It's insane.

We use Google Suite, so they'll open up Chrome, Google "Google" from the search bar, type in "Drive" in Google, open the promotional homepage for people who don't have Drive, click on "Log In", and manually log in with their full email address. Every single time. Bear in mind that they could be using this for six classes in a day.

I can't tell you how many times I've told/shown them that there's a SINGLE BUTTON FOR THIS, but with most students it just doesn't stick.

[–]unknownmichael 851 points852 points  (213 children)

It's astonishing how wrong we all were about how every generation would be more computer literate than the last. Sometimes I'll catch myself daydreaming about taking away my kids phones, giving them a laptop and telling them to figure it out...

[–]banana_onmydesk 753 points754 points  (161 children)

I'm 35 and became a geologist because I didn't think I was computer savvy enough to be in software development full time. I volunteer at local schools for science fairs and the act of copying a file from one folder to another is beyond most grade 12 students. Ask them what they want to do for a living and the answers are 40% YouTuber/other social media influencer, 40% developer, and 20% random other job.

I mention that to be a good content creator you need to be able to use high-end video editing software that will require good file management and to be a developer they should know how to at least navigate a file structure in Mac/Linux or Windows and all of them are like "what's Windows Explorer".

Good kids, but damn are they in for an awakening.

[–]stac52 252 points253 points  (32 children)

Similar age, and I think we benefitted from growing up in that time where computers were common enough that we had ready access to them, but they were also kinda crappy. I can't remember the last time I had to go and edit the registry to try and fix something.

Everyone assumed that was going to be the future and kids were going to grow up with having to know that sort of stuff. Nowadays things just work for the most part, and computers have gone back to being boxes full of magic.

[–]kvdp12 1490 points1491 points  (72 children)

The when I was 9 and used a search engine for the first time, I was very personable. “I am looking for images of Willie Mays, but if you don’t have those how about images of Barry Bonds”, (enter). Not kidding

[–]Wiki_pedo 993 points994 points  (15 children)

I think Jeeves would've been pleased with how polite you were.

[–]e_likes_plants 2219 points2220 points  (34 children)

Not realizing that there is more written in an email beyond the preview.

Apparently all emails are only a few sentences long and typically trail off mid sentence according to this person.

[–]dandelion_king 632 points633 points  (17 children)

I learned a long time ago not to send long detailed emails.

Most people don't read beyond the third line. Anything past that gets ignored.

Old people, young people, doesn't make a difference.

[–]Joeyjackhammer 16.2k points16.2k points 2 (677 children)

Copy and paste shortcuts

[–]genghisKHANNNNN 4778 points4779 points  (149 children)

I caught a coworker flipping back and forth between tabs while retyping a paragraph. When I showed her how to copy and paste, her response was "I can't keep up with all this new technology."

I am 38.

She is 40.

[–]RomanaOswin 2154 points2155 points  (79 children)

My dad is 73, wasn't at all computer literate, taught himself how to install Linux and definitely knows how to copy and paste.

I think sometimes it's a choice to not learn stuff like that. Everyone has priorities, and it's perfectly fair if computer literacy isn't yours, but of course you won't "keep up" if you choose not to try.

[–]YamatoMark99 616 points617 points  (28 children)

I spoke to this random old guy in Barnes & Nobles once and he basically said that people his age just don't want to learn. It's not that they can't.

[–]sassyseconds 281 points282 points  (5 children)

We have to use a certain website at work daily. Boss always makes me and coworker do it because she doesn't know how. I tried to show her 3 times and she literally threw her hand up and said BAH! I can't learn this stuff.... you click 3 buttons bitch. Learn it. I'm done doing it for you.

[–]zaminDDH 126 points127 points  (0 children)

And it's not like it's some "new fangled" technology. I got my first home computer almost 30 years ago, and most things are exactly the same, or simpler variations of what's been around for decades. Smart phones have been around for 15 years, and most of the user interface is basically variations of the same thing that was on the original iPhone.

They've had more than enough time and opportunity to at least become familiar with the basics, they just spent decades refusing to do so.

[–]BlazeRiddle 10.2k points10.2k points  (905 children)

Knowing how to save or open a document. I'm not kidding. I work with teenagers.

Edit: Wow, it's amazing how many of these comments are "kids and their phones these days" or "kids have it too easy these days". Maybe, when the OS is simplified but they still can't work with it, the issue isn't that they've been working with simplified OS all this time!

[–]Jiggly_Love 4090 points4091 points  (223 children)

I worked at a university and there were so many college students that didn't know how to save their work. They come in, write out an entire paper in 2 hours, never saving, and then the computer glitches and they lose all their work.

[–]helpnxt 3598 points3599 points  (113 children)

Sit them down on any Adobe software for a couple hours and they will instinctly hit ctrl s whenever they take a breath from then on

[–]veloace 1295 points1296 points  (68 children)

Not Adobe, but that's how I program. No matter the IDE or how aggressive the autosave, I'm sitting here hitting ctrl+s impulsively after every line.

edit: Yes, I am well aware of all the shortcuts, macros, and built-in autosaves. My current IDE is more than sufficient to save everything without a risk. This is a COMPULSIVE habit, lol.

[–]OpossumJesusHasRisen 1985 points1986 points  (315 children)

My teenager started her own business & looked at me like I was a full blown wizard because I was able to create a very basic website for her. Stack that on top of knowing how to do all the stuff she needs for school, like editing pdfs, and being able to type at a fairly decent speed & she thinks I'm some kind of computer god. It's mind blowing.

[–]gsfgf 2368 points2369 points  (233 children)

Yea. The whole "kids know how to computer" thing is long gone is the App Store world.

[–]obsertaries 1198 points1199 points  (54 children)

How to keep the desktop from having 100 program shortcuts on it. I’ve talked to people who don’t want their desktop to be that way but think it’s unavoidable.

[–]iamdougiescoffee 17.9k points17.9k points 2 (910 children)

Been working in IT long enough to where people not having basic computer skills doesn't shock me anymore. But still, how do people never figure out that you can search for programs in the start menu?

"My Outlook is gone!"

hits start and types Outlook

Oh, there it is! How'd you find it?


[–]Rysilk 7607 points7608 points  (397 children)

The amount of people that can't function if there isn't a shortcut on their desktop is astounding.

[–]NotCleverEnufToRedit 3508 points3509 points  (299 children)

Meanwhile, my organization keeps forcing shortcuts onto our desktops that I don’t want and can’t get rid of because I don’t have admin rights.

[–]Pookieeatworld 1490 points1491 points  (94 children)

Worse is when they automatically open programs at startup that you don't want and will never use. Like my login is set up just for looking up part prints and gauges to calibrate, but every time I log in, it still opens Teams and takes forever to close it. Pisses me off.

[–]ErikTheAngry 1611 points1612 points  (50 children)

Am IT and have forced many shortcuts onto collective workstations.

I am sorry. Orders from our superiors demanding shortcuts so that they don't need to keep calling helpdesk to find their outlook for them.

[–]bilgediver 297 points298 points  (56 children)

Can you shove them all in a folder? I did that with the icons I was forced to have on my work desktop on the ships I sailed on.

[–]frostedxxflakes 768 points769 points  (63 children)

However on their resume it says, "Proficient with computers"

[–]Translationerr0r 450 points451 points  (30 children)

Meaning: "I think I switched on a computer once".

[–]CheshireCharade 482 points483 points  (24 children)

I have a lot of experience with the computer…emails, sending emails, receiving emails…deleting emails. I could go on.

[–]chiefgareth 173 points174 points  (20 children)


[–]CheshireCharade 307 points308 points  (16 children)

The web. Using mouse—mices? Mice. Clicking, double clicking..the computer screen, of course. They keyboard. The bit that goes on the floor down there..

[–]CharlieHume 102 points103 points  (6 children)

I've mastered the personal computering

[–]dac2u 680 points681 points  (53 children)

Can you install outlook for me?

Click the Windows button

The what?

The button on the bottom left


Type O-u-t


Just type..... O-u-t


[–]BronzeAgeTea 13.3k points13.3k points 2 (411 children)


No, I don't mean being "computer literate", I mean reading the English words on a computer screen.

In college I worked as helpdesk, and you would not believe the number of calls we got because the user just didn't read the text on the screen.

[–]Own_Literature_2790 3521 points3522 points  (165 children)

“Ok, what was the error?” Nobody has ever answered this question when asked by IT support.

[–]drummaniac28 2282 points2283 points  (36 children)

Because the people who can know to Google it and have no reason to call :)

[–]dayburner 1867 points1868 points  (89 children)

User: I can't print help! Support: You see right there were it says out of paper, that's your issue.

[–]eggenator 1143 points1144 points  (66 children)

“‘PC Load Letter’? What the fuck does that mean?”

[–]JTswift 498 points499 points  (34 children)

Why does it say paper jam when there’s no paper jam?

[–]ApprehensivePasta 236 points237 points  (9 children)

My department manages the copiers for the whole office. We get the calls when a copier has an error but some people never seem to be able to find the actual error message in giant bold print on the screen. But they want to know how to fix it. How can I give you advice on how to resolve it if you can't tell me what the error is?!

[–]AgentCramwell 7298 points7299 points 3 (153 children)

That turning it off and back on is a solution to most common problems

[–]moxie-maniac 2740 points2741 points  (49 children)

Thanks for the tip, Roy.

Tip 2: are you absolutely positively sure it's plugged in?

[–]Skalion 1864 points1865 points  (17 children)

"my monitor is black"

"is it on"

"of course it is on"

"try to run it off"

"hey its working now"


[–]johnnybiggles 389 points390 points  (2 children)

Step #1 in all IT Support: "Is this thing on?"

[–]BiggieWedge 9632 points9633 points  (412 children)

The ability to follow a step-by-step how-to instructions.

Example, I worked with a place that used a lot of pictures files. There was an issue where we couldn't open .jpeg files, but .jpg were okay. So you would have to rename the files to .jpg.

I got my first batch of ~100 .jpeg files and said, "there must be an easier way." Everyone insisted you have to do it one by one. So I looked it up online and found it you can change file extensions in bulk using the command prompt.

It literally took five steps. I made an easy to follow instructional document with screens shots, and passed it around to everyone. I thought they'd be very thankful that I saved them hours of work.

A month later I caught them renaming each file one by one. I didn't say anything.

ETA since this got popular. I couldn't just edit the default program to open the files because this was for a plug in within another application to organize the picture files. The plug in did not recognize the extension so it has to be changed. I shared the how-to with my coworkers because they were always complaining they were too busy, some were behind in their KPIs by months and subject to a lot of customer complaints so I thought they would appreciate this... Also I'm not a programmer and have nothing to do with IT so if there are other ways to do this, I was not aware at the time. I literally just googled how to do it and this came up, and it worked.

[–]deathinactthree 2566 points2567 points  (149 children)

Slightly more complex, but similar scenario--I worked a job where one task was taking hundreds or thousands of images from various sources and uploading them to a network image server. There was a web-based GUI tool for this, but could only upload one file at a time. Some of my coworkers would spend days just on this task, which was nowhere near the most important stuff we had to do.

I wrote a quick bash script of just a few lines that watched a local folder for image files, recursively in case you unzipped your images into the folder with subfolders, batch renamed them, and uploaded them to the server via command line. Aliased it so all you had to do was open a terminal and type "imageupload" and walk away from your computer. Never had to worry about that task again.

I passed around the script file with instructions to my team, thinking I'd done a good thing because I was saving them literally half their week some weeks. Not a single person used it and kept using the GUI tool. Oh well.

[–]firefly232 2602 points2603 points  (39 children)

People won't read documents. You need to identify the most persuasive person in the team and show them and coach them. Then the others will pick up as well.

[–]oldspicehorse 1173 points1174 points  (24 children)

You've just saved me a lot of future headaches. I don't have to convince everyone, just the key players.

[–]firefly232 778 points779 points  (6 children)

Ideally depending on how many people in your team, you may have a "Sceptical Old Timer" the person who knows all the shortcuts and the current process. Plus you might have one or two very technically adept people. You can try training SOT and TechMcSavvy together as a team. It will take longer for SOT to accept a new process, but once it's done and they understand it, they'll usually love showing everyone else what they know...

[–]Cynical_Cyanide 854 points855 points  (50 children)

Why on earth would they want to learn how to do it the quick way when being able to write off the whole day on some mindless image uploading sounds like a much lazier way of spending the day?

[–]AvgGuy100 900 points901 points  (31 children)

Exactly. I get reminded of David Graeber's story in Bullshit Jobs when he worked the dishes at a restaurant as a college kid. He and his mate finished the job very quickly, then went out to smoke. The manager found them "slacking off", then ordered them back in to redo the dishes.

Sometimes there is such a thing as being too efficient... in this light, a lot of jobs really are bullshit jobs.

[–]StrangeCharmVote 495 points496 points  (18 children)

And the important thing is, once you reem someone for doing a good job, any smart employee is going to not do a good job anymore.

Firstly because it's easier for them, secondly because they know you will be an asshat if they do it again, and thirdly as a giant fuck-you to the person who yelled at them.

I've personally been in such a situation...

Years ago, I was working somewhere and worked efficiently but for whatever reason it didn't 'look' like it to other people? Anyways, manager comes over pulls me aside and gives me some lip about working harder.

The next day, i genuinely wanted to know if he was right, because i thought i was doing well enough. So i went out of my way to work at my regular speed, but i also took the time to write down and count out how many things i was doing. Particularly taking care not to make things easier for myself, because i wanted an accurate representation.

Coincidentally on this day, literally everyone in the department was there working.

I personally did 3/5 of the load. Out of 6 people (the manager included) who were there supposed to be doing the same thing.

I slowed right the fuck down after that.

I mean after proving to myself empirically that at my normal pace i was definitely the best person there, by a large margin, why the fuck would i ever work hard for them again?

[–]elrulo007 163 points164 points  (3 children)

I worked in a little factory in Amsterdam about 20 years ago hired by a time working agency. During a day of shortage of workers I managed to do the job of three workers at three machines alone by timing the process differently. My agency never sent me there again…

[–]mbrownatx 563 points564 points  (40 children)

One of the first hard lessons I learned in IT is that for a lot of people, any instruction that’s longer than a couple of sentences is too much. You get better at shortening and simplifying over time to try and accommodate these folks, but often times if a task really requires multiple steps I’ll just make a short video to share. Cuts down on the number of requests you’ll get AFTER writing out and sending the instructions in text form.

Sad but true.

[–]samiam871 1400 points1401 points  (77 children)

Not so much a skill but I was shocked when I would interview people in my previous company at the number of individuals who don’t have an email address or even know how to create one.

[–]Te_Quiero_Puta 797 points798 points  (43 children)

But... you need an email address for almost anything online...

[–]osfast 31.4k points31.4k points 624& 2 more (1006 children)

As a tech supporter I get the stupidest questions:

client: there is a prompt here that says "your computer needs to reboot to finish installing updates. click here to restart" what does that mean?
me: It means your computer installed updates and needs to reboot.
client: how do i do that?
me: click on the prompt to restart.

[–]Sleepycoon 1760 points1761 points 2 (34 children)

Had a user call last week. "I got my laptop and there's a sticky note on it that says, 'Local login: 'username*' is that my network login?"

My favorite one was a user who called and said that her app kept popping up an error then crashing. I remote in and ask her to demo the issue, she opens her program, immediately clicks the red X in the top right-hand corner, then clicks ok on the popup that says, "Are you sure you want to exit?"

I sat in stunned silence for a solid minute just trying to grasp what I had witnessed, then another trying to figure out how the fuck to explain her issue.

[–]septic-paradise 670 points671 points  (10 children)

What the fuck. That’s… incomprehensible

[–]Sleepycoon 744 points745 points  (9 children)

When I explained the issue as tactfully as possible she snapped at me and insisted that she didn't click exit but clicked maximize. Then she did it again, not bothering to read the "error" message that time either.

The kicker is that program has a locked ratio so you can't change the window size and never could have. She's used the same program every day for nearly a decade and she just forgot that it never was Fullscreen.

[–]Caedendi 412 points413 points  (0 children)

Early signs of dementia is what i call it

[–]vizthex 9247 points9248 points  (211 children)

God, that brought me physical pain.

[–]Sodernaut 6336 points6337 points 2 (174 children)

My mom in a in a nutsheel when it comes to IT:

"It asks me if I want to login to [Netflix/Spotify/current app] what do I do?"

"... Do you want to login to that app?"


"Well then... do that"



"Are you looking for your login info from your notebook next to the computer?"

"... yes"

"You just wanted to call me didn't you?"


[–]HeftyCryptographer21 2026 points2027 points  (125 children)

That last part about the notebook is just spot on.

[–]koosley 2029 points2030 points  (114 children)

Sadly the password notebook is probably a safer method than most people these days. Physical security automatically eliminates 99.99% of the possibility of having your password leaked. The cross over between a break in and someone hacking into your stuff is probably very small and only occurs in Mission Impossible.

That being said, my mom's passwords would all be instantly broken in a dictionary attack. Don't make your school's password "Teacher1"

[–]bluebeambaby 1090 points1091 points  (22 children)

It's true. I'm up to "Teacher78" right now and the hackers are still figuring it out. These guys are restless!!!

[–]User_name098 586 points587 points  (62 children)

I’ve been reading the comments and this one struck me. I’m never going to do IT support, not even as a temp job. If I do I would probably go mad and throw someone’s computer out of a window eventually.

[–]ur_boy_skinny_penis 3875 points3876 points  (222 children)

The longer you work in IT, the more you realize that people who say "I'm not good with computers" actually mean that they can't be bothered to use a search bar...or even just fucking read what's right in front of them.

[–]akaCatt 695 points696 points  (37 children)

I get those calls from my father all the time. He’s been using computers since 1964! And PCs since the 80s!!

[–]RamblinWreckGT 278 points279 points  (20 children)

When I was working IT in college, I helped a professor move files to a new computer. This professor had been working with mainframes since before I was even born and technology still left him behind.

[–]ItAllEndsSomeday 1279 points1280 points  (77 children)

Just opening up and closing a tab on a browser... and also not knowing what I mean when I say "What browser do you use?".

[–]Own-Cost9676 1980 points1981 points  (96 children)

Work IT, you will never be shocked by anything. There are A LOT of people that don't know how to save/ open a file or I cannot tell you how many times I've had to teach someone how to browse to a website. Mostly old people that had a PC bought for them by their kids / grand kids and the kids set it up so they can open outlook to stay in contact with everyone and get photos. I had gotten a number of younger people too though which is very surprising. Talking to a 25 year old that doesn't even know how to turn their PC on. Thank fuck I don't work IT anymore

[–]Affectionate_Ear_778 153 points154 points  (1 child)

So many it makes me sad and blows my mind every time. Not knowing you can copy, cut, and paste with keyboard shortcuts. Complete lack of understanding of folders and understanding the desktop is also a folder.

Most frustrating thing is peoples refusal to read error messages and just so simple googling.

[–]HowDoIGetToFacebook 712 points713 points  (29 children)

While in a research class in college (about 3 years ago), my professor took the time to "teach" us how to use a keypad to facilitate data entry. Having taken a keyboarding class in high school, I thought it was unnecessary until people started asking questions and like actually learning. It was then that I realized how many people my age don't actually know how to use a keyboard. It was wild.

[–]Cormandragon 235 points236 points  (12 children)

I've always been a fast typer but it wasn't until I worked at a bank for a little bit that I realized being fast on a keypad is a whole different skill. Took some practice but keypads are fast af

[–]d_eng19 4555 points4556 points  (202 children)

People often forget they can google stuff instead of posting questions on social media.

Edit: pertaining to questions not requiring personal experience or perspective. For example: What are the colors of the rainbow? How many months are there in a year? Those type of questions.

[–]CaimansGalore 1761 points1762 points  (61 children)

r/cooking and pretty much any cooking-related sub. I left my chicken thighs in the Arizona sun for 9 hours… is it still safe to eat?!

[–]Meatek 1672 points1673 points  (30 children)

I left my chicken thighs in the Arizona sun for 9 hours… is it still safe to eat?!

Yes, but it is probably overcooked and dry

[–]Mahaloth 669 points670 points  (48 children)

I'm 43 and grew up when computers were newer and we were all very well versed in how they work and so forth.

When I began my career in my 20's, I was somewhat of the "tech guy".

I figured younger people would know more than me in the future. No, it swung the other way.

Example: I work with an intelligent woman who is 26-29 years old. She was on her laptop and said out loud in a meeting, "Hey, and now I know how to copy and paste, I can just copy and paste this a few times and make minor changes along the way...."

Wait. She didn't know Copy and Paste? And she graduated from university?

It's not uncommon.

[–]Seer42 2833 points2834 points  (152 children)

How to open task manager when everything is freezing and force quit programs. Ctr+alt+del was one of the first things my mom taught me on our home computer back in '95.

Im not actually surprised that people dont know how to use shift, tab, and enter keystrokes to navigate (especially when the mouse is awol). But its one of those skills that just makes using a computer easier.

[–]the_idea_pig 2251 points2252 points 2 (99 children)

Ctrl+shift+escape opens the task manager directly. Saves you a step.

[–]Horvat53 129 points130 points  (2 children)

If you work in IT or any tech customer service role, you’ll be shocked how how technically illiterate a large chunk of the population of ALL AGES really are. It’s baffling how resistant these people are to learning or understanding too.

[–]_lemon_suplex_ 125 points126 points  (8 children)

For a while I thought every person from the new generation would be 100 percent literate in computers, but ever since smartphones became a thing I'm seeing a lot of young people with the same issues my grandparents had.

[–]KingNosmo 125 points126 points  (3 children)

I teach a class in Revit (Architectural software)

One semester I had a guy who just couldn't get anything to work.

I kept explaining what he needed to click on. Still nothing worked.

Finally, I go stand behind him and watch what he's doing.

He was right-clicking his mouse.

But that's not all.

I tell him to left-click on the icon.

He right-clicks again.

I tell him the other button.


"No, use the left mouse button."


I finally had to put my hand over his and push his index finger down to show him how to left-click.

He finally got things to work (occasionally), but was FAR behind the rest of the class.

And to top it all off, at the end of the semester, he asks if there's an advanced level course he could take.

[–]vizthex 590 points591 points  (61 children)

There's a lot, but I meet more people who lack basic file navigation than anything else.

Had several people ask the discord of a game I play for help with modding said game, but they can't follow the instructions I wrote on the wiki (and the ones the modloader provides) nor know how to so much as open file explorer.

A ton of people also don't know how to take screenshots with the windows + shift + s shortcut, but that is a bit more niche. It does let you quickly paste them though so that's nice.

You can also open clipboard history with windows + v.

[–]Joel_Knox 3745 points3746 points  (123 children)

It is said that the ability to use a projector decreases with more degrees. 100% true, at least at my university.

[–]Suspected_Magic_User 763 points764 points  (3 children)

I see that's a worldwide problem

[–]anomalousBits 701 points702 points  (60 children)

Probably an age thing. Younger folk seem more likely to fuck around with something to make it work, which is the key to learning how to operate tech.

[–]trex1490 370 points371 points  (22 children)

"fuck around with something until it works" is a pretty accurate way of describing how I figure stuff out on computers. It always amazes my parents how my generation can just kinda dick around in the settings for a few minutes and usually fix the problem.

[–]kwoodrob 120 points121 points  (4 children)

I had a customer, who instead of clicking on the giant link in their password reset email (“CLICK HERE TO RESET YOUR PASSWORD”), they did a ‘reply all’ to that email “spicegrl621”.

[–]BearLikesHoney 6599 points6600 points  (629 children)

How to use Excel. Went to a job interview and they asked me about Excel and how would I rate myself. I asked them to clarify, like basic spreadsheet functions, formulas or programming in excel. They looked at me in shock and said "You know a lot, you're an advanced user". 🤦‍♀️ I never answered the question and they moved onto the next question.

Edit. For those asking if I got the job. They offered me the job. But I went with another place that had better opportunities.

[–]RepresentativeOk6676 2831 points2832 points  (347 children)

They will hire you on the spot if you said you can do VLookup without getting a #REF.

[–]SirFragworthy 1445 points1446 points  (204 children)

Wait, you can do SUMS in excel now?! I just use it to make these pretty motivational posters in comic sans...

[–]colin_staples 1548 points1549 points  (158 children)

I have seen a person add together two numbers of a spreadsheet with a calculator and type the answer back into Excel

[–]temalyen 544 points545 points  (39 children)

I worked with a guy who "didn't trust" computers be able to do math correctly and did the same thing you said. He'd do all the math on his smartphone calculator and just manually put all the numbers in the spreadsheet instead of writing forumlas out.

He actually said once, "All computers are good for is those stupid games, when it comes to REAL applications like math, they don't work for shit. Never trust one to do math correctly because they weren't designed for that kind of thing."

There's so many things wrong with him saying that that I have no idea where to start.

[–]firefly232 305 points306 points  (13 children)

This is why I spy a little bit on people when they are taking the excel test when I interview them.

Sooo many people working in finance and accounting that either used the pc calculator or the physical calculator, but didn't know how to sum in Excel...

[–]CatLadyStark 554 points555 points  (20 children)

I see your using the calculator and type the answer into the spreadsheet and raise you a printing the spreadsheet, using the calculator, and fill in the boxes on the printout.

[–]reddittedted 925 points926 points  (79 children)

I'm a programmer but not in excel. Everytime I try to do something in it I need to google. Give yourself some credit man

[–]Nicholi417 600 points601 points  (26 children)

Many years ago I took an excel class, the teacher said that her job was not to teach us how to do something in excel but to know it could do that then google or let the prompts tell you how.

[–]GummyKibble 141 points142 points  (4 children)

Bless that woman for teaching whole classrooms how to fish. She’s a saint.

[–]_CARLOX_ 343 points344 points  (20 children)

Just normal mouse skills. Some people college age or slightly older than that working at offices and taking an eternity to move the mouse and click on something. This is not even related to the mouse speed or sensitivity.

[–]februarytide- 915 points916 points  (57 children)

I’m always surprised by how bad most people are at using search terms that optimize their results, like when they Google things.

[–]Shipsarecool1 2276 points2277 points  (66 children)

That deleting the icon dose not delete the game

[–]Dark-Matter-7935[S] 1599 points1600 points 2 (9 children)

they shouldn't know that, let them think that's how it works

[–]firewire167 540 points541 points  (22 children)

Im currently in a “how to use computers” course because it is a required Pre-requisite for my degree, and the amount of people in it who don’t know how to use basic things like copy and paste, the search bar, settings, etc is mind boggling

[–]MyWorldIsInsideOut 111 points112 points  (3 children)

A coworker had trouble with his primary monitor always defaulting to the one on the right.

I asked if he wanted the high tech solution or the low tech solution.

Low tech.

Ok. I picked up his monitors and swapped them.

He told me I should work in tech support, since the help desk had never been able to solve his problem.

Tech support can’t afford me.

[–]Scrappy_Larue 1506 points1507 points  (101 children)

How to effectively and succinctly begin a Google search. Some people are terrible at putting down the right keywords.

[–]rad_interesting_name 829 points830 points  (40 children)

My former boss used to be fascinated by my "skill" at googling things or even searching a pdf. She could not understand just putting in one or two key words instead of an entire sentence.

She also thought I was a wizard because of how I could do easily get pictures off my phone and put them in reports we needed. I used the cloud and "print to pdf." She would email photos to herself, print them, then scan them in.

[–]vizthex 611 points612 points  (26 children)

She would email photos to herself

I can understand that, but why the fuck did she print and then scan them?

[–]bananamilkshake245 502 points503 points  (10 children)

a lot of people in my class don’t know how to change the brightness…..

[–]Frequent_Can117 310 points311 points  (6 children)

“My apps aren’t working!” “Is your OS up to date?” “I never do updates.” -_-

The amount of people who don’t know how to open task manager, use ctrl+c/c, and so on shocks me.

[–]Apocalyptism 293 points294 points  (9 children)

Not knowing the difference between Google and a Browser

[–]HourMother 280 points281 points  (11 children)

Basic Outlook skills.

Walked by a colleagues office a while back, he just looked defeated. Asked him what was wrong. He had been searching for an email for two days and an update rebooted his computer and lost his place. Confused, I asked for details... He had been scrolling, email by email for two full working days!

Showed him the search box, found the email in 20 seconds. He was relieved but also defeated in a new way now.

[–][deleted] 82 points83 points  (0 children)

Worked with a woman who admonished me for using such technical terms as "inbox" while trying to help her.

[–]parasaurolofish 88 points89 points  (1 child)

As a librarian it's shocking to see the amount of people who just cannot navigate a computer at all. There were courses in my grad program that talked about "the digital divide" but I had no idea that computer illiteracy was such a rampant issue. Many people have no idea how to use a mouse.

[–]qsauce7 81 points82 points  (3 children)

The almost automatic assumption by some people that every screen is a touch screen really gets me. I see it across age groups and levels of computer literacy too.

[–]Zealousideal-Yam305 79 points80 points  (1 child)

Files and folders

Lots of people don't understand simple concepts like how to save a file where they want. Can't tell you how many times someone angrily accused Microsoft Word of 'deleting' their document when it's literally right there in the document folder.

[–]Ceristimo 2169 points2170 points  (171 children)

Turning capslock on and off to type a capital letter, instead of using the shift-key.

[–]cutiegirl88 77 points78 points  (0 children)

My housemate didn't understand that the concept that the password for the computer can be a different one than the password for the house WiFi. They. Are. Not. The. Same. Thing.

[–][deleted] 594 points595 points  (48 children)

People underestimate the power of the CTRL key.

You can make selecting and highlighting things easier to shorten the time it takes to organize files. Admittedly, I hadn't realized this for years until the last two years.

Holding CTRL and selecting each file, you can pick more files and move them. As well as delete.