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11 Things IT Professionals Don’t Want You to Know

Here's what your computer technician is actually thinking when you march into their office to get their help.

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Young engineer businessman in server roomMark Agnor/Shutterstock

We use the word “corruption” when we don’t have a real answer

Occasionally, when trying to fix a problem, something goes wrong and some part of the system breaks or stops working, or more damage happens. I was helping a customer a couple of weeks ago move email over from one system to another and accidentally lost all of his calendar items. Of course, I didn’t tell him it was my fault. What happened? Corruption. Watch out for the red flags someone is actually spying on your computer.

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Close up male hands holding big smart phone while connecting to wireless, businessman using technology sitting at modern loft wooden desk, people and modern devices everywhereGaudiLab/Shutterstock

What we mean by “only one option”

Sometimes it means that there’s only one fix for this problem. But more likely, we mean that the proposed option offers a higher margin of profit for us, our friend sells it, it’s newer and we want to get experience working with it, we are very familiar with this option already and don’t want to or have time to learn opposing solutions, it’s easier in general, or we’re worried that the right solution will be too costly or risky and potentially scare you off.

3 / 11
google phoneNuttapol Sn/Shutterstock

Google can be your friend, sometimes

Google will not solve everything.
Google is an amazingly helpful tool where you can find most answers to your tech questions by searching yourself… BUT I know which solutions are true and which are not. I can do a Google search for something and weed out all the illegitimate answers and know which ones make sense, which ones work, and which ones will cause more problems. The average user can’t do that.
Although Google is sometimes best for everyone.
It’s often easier to accomplish certain things using home-based technology than the big corporate office technology. For example, Gmail vs. Microsoft Exchange. Gmail is simple and easy to use whereas Exchange is super complicated.

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Loft workspace mockup desktop computer and minimal gadget.mirtmirt/Shutterstock

No, Macs aren’t really more secure than PCs

“Both operating systems are susceptible to malware and vulnerabilities,” says Brian Mulligan, Vice President of Sales at IT firm Kelser Corporation. “Users of all brands of devices must make sure they patch and update regularly and on time, maintain solid anti-virus software, and don’t download software from third-party sites.” No matter what type of computer you have, these are the computer security warnings you shouldn’t ignore.

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Closeup Magnifying glass on an white keyboard in blue keydoomu/Shutterstock

You can’t hide anything from us

Think trashing cookies and clearing your web history are keeping you invisible? Think again. Everything still goes through my firewall, which sees all traffic when you connect to the Internet. It goes from your computer to a device that directs the traffic out. That’s why we can use things like content filters that block sites like Facebook, YouTube, and pornography. But hey, we aren’t here to police your every move. If you need a site that’s blocked by a filter to do your job, ask for your boss’s permission and come to us. We can give your computer specific permissions if need be.

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Attractive young businesswoman wearing glasses sitting in a chair in a modern office looking focused while working on a laptopmarvent/Shutterstock

It drives me crazy when…

You don’t listen.
If I tell you not to go to a site or to avoid doing something and you do it anyway, and then your computer gets a virus, I will not want to help you as much because I know why you’re having a problem. It’s because you did not follow our instructions.
Or when you just ignore the work I’ve done to explain something.
People will ask me how to do simple tasks that I have spent time documenting for them. Read the document. I’m taking screenshots and writing instructions to make things easier for you.
But also when people are afraid to ask.
We get it. Sometimes our tech lingo, or what we consider basic Internet sense, may not be enough. If you don’t understand what we’re telling you, or something comes up that isn’t covered by our basic instructions and guidelines, just ask! You can also make your next interaction with an IT professional easier for both of you by avoiding these computer mistakes you should stop making.

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Beautiful female customer service representative answer client's questions.Branislav Nenin/Shutterstock

I can’t make a four-year-old computer fast

“Old computers become a drain on productivity and effectiveness for the end user,” Mulligan says. “Over time, leaving that device in production causes stress, strain, and frustration for the user, which is why it’s important to refresh or replace devices every three to four years. There are only so many things that can be done to improve an older device.” But before you get rid of your device, try these simple tips that help your computer run faster.

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Network administrator with notebook computer sitting in data center room and working with networking device on rack cabinetantoniodiaz/Shutterstock

Urgency is based on priority

Just because you say your problem is urgent doesn’t really mean it’s urgent to me. Your email not working is not as important as another customer’s server being down.

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Closeup shot open laptop computer with macro keyboard and beautiful outdoors day light reflection, ready to start new project, began to createGaudiLab/Shutterstock

Email me

I prefer email over phone calls. I would love to talk to you on the phone, but it’s not efficient. Email me a list of your problems and questions and it’s a lot easier for me to respond to them all. “Many IT professionals have multiple monitors,” Mulligan adds. “Email descriptions of issues can present an opportunity to be efficient by viewing the problems on one screen while working on a resolution on another.”

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Close up of box with working stuff including pot plant and documents. Fired man is standing outside and holding all his things after leaving companyOlena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Sometimes we’re asked to get dirt on employees a company wants to fire

I was once asked to sniff out all of an employee’s traffic and show what sites she went to and how much time she spent surfing. Most companies won’t ask us to do this as, if they want to fire someone, they already have a reason. Of course, if that reason is that every time your boss walks into your office you’re online shopping and your work isn’t being finished, yeah, they might involve us to get proof.

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Part of a mechanical stopwatchGoolia Photography/Shutterstock

You’re right

Sometimes we make five-minute jobs last an hour. “Time estimates are just that: estimates,” Mulligan confirms. “Sometimes, something that seems like it will be a five-minute job takes an hour or vice versa.” Now that you know what the pros say, learn the cyber security secrets hackers don’t want you to know.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Isabel Roy
Isabel Roy is the newsletter editor at Reader’s Digest. She writes and reports on home, culture, and general interest stories. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse in 2017 with a B.A. in Rhetoric and Writing.