It doesn’t matter how experienced you are in a topic or skill, you always need to remember the basics. This tale from a tech support worker teaches us that you should never ever neglect instructions — it can save you some serious time to just read them.
Here's the story
The story begins with a client, who seems to have extensive knowledge about computers and operating systems. This was already a rare sight, as most people who require technical support seem to be inexperienced, new users. Our subject however appears to have far more familiarity with the system than the support worker.
So, what could the issue be if a technology expert can’t figure it out? It’s actually a lot more simple than you’d assume.
Everything begins with an embedded system, using a custom Linux distribution as the operating system. This kind of OS requires periodic updates, which means the administrator must download the update files from the manufacturer and copy them to a USB stick, which then can be plugged into the Linux system and used to update.
The client expressed how no matter what he seemed to do, the update option just wouldn’t be available. Even after downloading the update countless times, trying out a different USB stick, and restarting systems, he was simply not able to get the update working. Naturally, he decided it’s best if he calls support.
Enter our tech support agent. After searching through all the menus, rebooting the system, trying out all of the different USB ports, the option to update still didn’t appear on the menu. After almost an hour of trying out all these methods, the agent finally decided to look up the update instructions.
Lo and behold, they found the answer! The tech support agent started reading the instructions, written neatly on the page. Step 1, download the .zip file onto your computer. Check. Step 2, unzip the .zip file and copy its contents onto the USB stick.
Just to reiterate — everyone involved in this story was very familiar with technology, including the concept of .zip files. Can you already guess what the problem was?
“ZIP is an archive file format that supports lossless data compression. A ZIP file may contain one or more files or directories that may have been compressed.” — Zip (file format) on Wikipedia
Neither the client nor the support agent read the instructions up until that moment. Upon suspicion, the support agent finally decided to take the USB stick to a different system running Windows 10 to check the contents of the USB stick. As expected, a single .zip file was sitting on the stick, ready to be unzipped.
From there, the troubleshooting was quite simple. Right-click, select “Extract” and voila. The .zip file is unzipped, just as the instructions said to do. After taking the USB stick out of the Windows machine and sticking it back into the Linux OS, the option to update has become available in an instant.
That’s right. Something as simple as reading the instructions for an installation cost this client, as well as the tech support agent hours of troubleshooting. Overconfidence is never a good quality to carry around in a technology-based setting, as you’re never above the level of reading instructions.
The moral of the story is: don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions, but always make sure you read the instructions first. It’ll save you some time, and might even save you some money you’d spend on getting in touch with a support agent.
If you found this story entertaining or interesting, be sure to check out our other Tales from Tech Support (TFTS) blogs by heading to the Softwarekeep blog section. You can find more technology stories, news, and other things to read!
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Original post written by python_megapixel on Reddit.