What's the worst thing you can say to a sysadmin? [POLL]

Filed Under: Featured

Today is SysAdmin Day, a day for showing our respect for the embattled and unappreciated heroes whose unseen endeavours make our modern workplace function

It's also a day for running our annual poll to find out what's the worst thing you can say to a sysadmin?

This year we can offer you inspiration with an amusing video made, courtesy of our very creative marketing folks, in aid of our sponsorship of Spicework's twelve days of sysmas.

(Check out more videos on our YouTube channel)

If these folks remind you of the people you spend your days and nights rescuing poor, defenceless computing devices from then vote in our poll.

We've updated this year's poll with your favourite comments from last year but if you think we've missed anything leave us a message below.

We'll be giving away five sysadmin survival kits to the five most upvoted suggestions in our comments section, so get creative!

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105 Responses to What's the worst thing you can say to a sysadmin? [POLL]

  1. Andy · 435 days ago

    You know, the IT guys at my last job were so good.

    • Nysssa · 435 days ago

      On a similar note. "Oh yeah, we had one like you at my last job."

  2. "Can you look at my printer?" Printers have to be the biggest time drain for a SysAdmin.

  3. Adam · 435 days ago

    "Hey, you know you're my favourite IT guy..." As soon as you hear those words, you know you're going to be asked something totally random...

  4. My child's ipad/laptop isn't working. It's got their homework on it which they need to hand in tomorrow. Could you take a look? As a favour?

  5. Anonymous · 435 days ago

    "all of a sudden"

  6. Kitehead · 435 days ago

    I'm leaving for China in a couple of hours and I need you to put the corporate image on my new laptop. It's the latest model, so it should be no problem...

  7. Esteban · 435 days ago

    Surprised not to see "Oh, and I need this now"

  8. feathers406 · 435 days ago

    "Hey, by chance did anyone turn my laptop in to you?"

  9. Darin Teichmer · 435 days ago

    From your supervisor, while you are troubleshooting: "So....why isn't it working? What happened? When will it be fixed?"

    • Anonymous · 435 days ago

      So....why isn't it working?
      I don't know, it's why I'm working on it.

      What happened?
      I don't know, it's why I'm working on it.

      When will it be fixed?
      Where is X is unknown, X + 'the time your wasting me with these questions'

  10. "I asked my husband about this, and he said..."

  11. Elaine · 435 days ago

    "I have a problem with my home computer." is a good one...

  12. Pete · 435 days ago

    I just thought I would install the latest version of........

  13. Chandra · 435 days ago

    "Ever since you guys made that change the other day . . . ."

  14. ustacp · 435 days ago

    My laptop was working until I let me child play games on it last night. Oh, we aren't supposed to let our children play games on our business laptop?

  15. ustacp · 435 days ago

    Ok, I know I am supposed to put a ticket in the helpdesk, but I figured I would just stop by and see if you can fix it for me real fast. It should only take a minute...

  16. Thomas · 435 days ago

    So, I had just gotten my morning coffee...

  17. Jared · 435 days ago

    "I don't know how it happened."

  18. Gabriel Clifton · 435 days ago

    Boss: We have this program we are going to be using.
    IT: This was made for OS M and we are running OS Y, and it only uses old versions of Java which are not secure.
    Boss: I know you can make it work. By the way, we are training on the new software in five minutes and we need the software on 100 computers for them to train on.

    Boss: Have a good day.

    • gochoa3664 · 435 days ago

      HAhahah...yea...Im going to share this one on my FB. Because everything needs to be done yesterday in the last 5 mins on 100 computers that the program most likely wont work on or if it does, it will only work half hokey and cause a bunch of other problems because it just corrupted other working software.

  19. jonathanpdx · 435 days ago

    "Why am I calling you? The Help Desk doesn't know anything."

  20. ustacp · 435 days ago

    I know the security awareness training says to "Think before you click," but I couldn't find anyone in IT, so I clicked and now it says that my computer is encrypted. I have a meeting in 30 minutes, how long will it take you to fix it?

  21. cdoggyd · 435 days ago

    Are we having a problem with "the server"? Well, since we have several internal and external servers, maybe you could be more specific.

    • Anthony · 435 days ago


      Their Question: "Is the server down?"

      My Response: "What problem are you having?" (to try to get more specifics)

      I never understood the mentality that one server controls everything. So if they forgot their password, "the server" must be down.

  22. Wasn't on your list but there is "I keep getting this error... no I didn't write it down or take a screen shot."

  23. Heather · 435 days ago

    I know you're in the middle of something important for the boss, but I need you to fix my Facebook on my phone for me right now. It will only take a minute...

  24. Jeff Ramsey · 435 days ago

    "At my last job, the sysadmins let me fix my own PC... They even gave me the admin credentials, you know, because they knew I was going to make their jobs easier."


    "My friend/cousin/son/homeless-guy-who-lives-in-the-bushes-behind-my-house came to work with me today, so I gave them my credentials and allowed them to use my computer while I am not using it."

    and the topper (for me anyhow)

    "I don't care who knows my password. There is nothing on my computer that I need to keep secret."

  25. Cyril · 435 days ago

    "I didn't do anything, it happened by itself!"

  26. Justin · 435 days ago

    People at home always ask me if the internet is down/not working...

    So I reply: Can You Google Stuff?
    they Reply: No
    I state: Well then yes, it is down
    The ask: Can you fix it?
    I reply: Why Don't you? I told you how like 100 times already.
    The Reply: I forget how...

    And then I walk downstairs and simply unplug and plug back in the modem.

    Why oh why do people just sometimes never learn?

  27. David Fox · 435 days ago

    "It's never worked correctly..."

  28. Paul · 435 days ago

    "I tried to fix it myself but it went all black".

  29. Brian · 435 days ago

    I know you are on your first vacation in 5 years but...

  30. Juan Carlos Calderon · 435 days ago

    You have to start system´s migration this friday at 10:00 pm and everything it has to be all right on monday 7:00 am.. Nice weekend!, Your boss.

  31. G-Man · 435 days ago

    "We're out of coffee until next week..."

  32. Brian · 435 days ago

    I know you told me not to but i didn't think you were serious

  33. "Nothing is working"

  34. Adelore Lessard · 435 days ago

    I can't print.

  35. You have to start system´s migration this friday at 10:00 pm and everything it has to be all right on monday 7:00 am.. Nice weekend!, Your boss

  36. Doug · 435 days ago

    I bought the Tier 1 guys lunch just so they'd send the tickets straight to you.

  37. Jeffrey Ish · 435 days ago

    #1) "No I wasn't doing anything in particular when it stopped working...

    #2) "Nope, I haven't changed anything or installed anything lately... nope, wouldn't do that..."

  38. Gabriel Clifton · 435 days ago

    My neighbors kid knows about computers and he said...

    (As your jaw drops as they want you to do something very insecure and possibly illegal.)

  39. John · 435 days ago

    Nothing works since you fixed my computer

  40. Barry · 435 days ago

    "This hasn't been working for a month, but I need it for an important meeting in 10 minutes."

  41. Andrew · 435 days ago

    "My internet at home is so much faster/cheaper/better. Why can't we just get that service here?"

  42. Bmeininger · 435 days ago

    "We're gonna outsource the IT department, it's not that difficult to manage, right?"

  43. Gary Sage · 435 days ago

    But I use my daughters name as a password for everything.

  44. Deana · 435 days ago

    I have a quick question--- to which I reply "there is no such thing. "

  45. Deana · 435 days ago

    "oh, all those torrent loaded movies ? " no, I dont know how they got there. All I have is work related videos. " I say. "and when did you need the full Spiderman movie for your 15 minute presentation to Upper Staff ? "

  46. No... I didn't do anything... all I did was open it..

  47. JR · 435 days ago

    5:30 P.M., Friday...

    Manager: When are you installing the new software?
    Me: What new software?
    Manager: Yeah, the new editing software with the new templates and everything.
    Me: This is the first I've heard about this.
    Manager: Oh... yeah... we need all this setup for Monday morning on all our departmental computers.
    Me: I don't even know what the software is, or anything about the templates.
    Manager: Oh.
    Me: When did you first know about this?
    Manager: We've been going over all the details on this for a few months now.
    Me: Are you serious?
    Manager: Yeah, I thought you knew about this. Didn't someone tell you?
    Me: [walks out of the office and heads home]

  48. Gabriel Clifton · 435 days ago

    We do not need an IT Department any more. If we have a problem, we will just buy a new computer.

  49. SysAdminf · 435 days ago

    (For the eighteenth time) "My computer's been running slow lately..."

  50. John · 435 days ago

    But I can buy a hard drive at (insert retailer here) cheap, why do the ones you quote costs so much.

  51. zenbox · 435 days ago

    You run Linux? Can you teach me how to hack?

  52. n00dle5 · 435 days ago

    Like six months ago my computer started....

  53. doogalbeez · 435 days ago

    "Give this user local administrator rights, it has already been approved."

  54. Tim · 435 days ago

    Hi, call me right away...

  55. drealeyece · 435 days ago

    Why is it taking this long...

  56. Carl T · 435 days ago

    "I know you said not to, but ...."

    "You sent out an email about that risk/critical security issue? Yeah, I ignore/don't read those."

    • Brian · 435 days ago

      or they reply to said email giving you the information you expressly told them not to give out.

  57. Deramin · 435 days ago

    "We have a new person starting today that no one told you about. You have a computer, user accounts, and a desk all set up for them, right?"

    Why can't HR just tell us when they hire someone? Would that really be so hard?

  58. Charlene H · 435 days ago

    So....do you know when it will be back up?

    • Larry O · 433 days ago

      I heard that one for years.... As soon as the network went down my phone rang. all I heard was the same question.

      For the real PITA's when this happened and they stopped by my office I had 'Tinker Bell's Magic Wand' which I bought in Disneyland years earlier. I used to wave it over the server in front of the them.

  59. David R · 435 days ago

    "My son is in IT in high school and does this all the time, so this should take you seconds... "

  60. Brian · 435 days ago

    I really hate having so many passwords and you make it so hard to construct one that I can easily remember. How come I have to use a password?

    Keep in mind that iT only has them use one username, many non critical systems are the same sync'd password and that they have no issues with having 12 usernames and passwords for external use at home, shopping sites, banking, social media, mobile devices, etc. etc.

  61. James Gamble · 435 days ago

    When someone reports that they received an error (but didn't include a screenshot or error verbiage), you ask them "What does the error say?" and they reply with "It just says it doesn't work".

  62. Ben Sanders · 435 days ago

    "I swear I didn't do anything. I don't know what happened. Can you fix it?"

  63. "Please do the needful."

  64. Dan · 435 days ago

    "look. Its not like its rocket science.."

  65. Chris · 435 days ago

    I swear I didn't do anything!

  66. Anonymous · 435 days ago

    "I tried fixing it myself, but..."

  67. SoCalMatt661 · 435 days ago

    "Hey, quick question!". This statement alone is why we can't eat in the breakroom and why we have locks on our doors!

  68. Overkill · 435 days ago

    There's a LOT of bad things to say to a Sys Admin:

    My boss is always saying "Can't you just write a query/program that..." followed by a ludicrous request for a complete and utter waste of time.
    I'll send out an e-mail with an article on cryptolocker that gets replies like "Why did you send this?" or "Was this supposed to be helpful?"

    But the WORST thing to say to a SysAdmin would have to be:

    Um...I'm going to need you to come in tomorrow, so if you could be here around 9, that would be great, mkay? Oh, oh, and I almost forgot, umm, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay?

  69. Anthony · 435 days ago

    "I can't seem to find..."

  70. MD Fernandez · 435 days ago

    User: I think the problem is...

  71. james s · 435 days ago

    Why do you have to lock everything down? We have you to fix it!

  72. Steve · 435 days ago

    "Are you on lunch?" ...as I'm eating

  73. enderst · 435 days ago

    "Since it looks like you have a minute..."

  74. Steve · 435 days ago

    Whats going on with this service outage?

    It was in the maintenance notice that was emailed to everyone

    Oh yeah? i dont read those I just delete them.

  75. Brian · 435 days ago

    My application is running slow...

  76. Not a sysadmin but this kind of scenario with my family drives me crazy, especially when one of them ring me late at night like...

    Person: The computer's down again!
    Me: In what way?
    Person: It's broken.
    Me: .....what were you doing at the time? What happened specifically?
    Person: I don't know, I want to put something in an email. I don't do computers...
    Me: *lies face down on floor crying and wondering why I told my family anything*

  77. Trevor Valentine · 435 days ago

    User speaking on anything IT --- "I think..."

  78. mac · 435 days ago

    "If you right-click on..."
    "Riiiight...click.. It's not doing anything"
    "If you right-click on"
    "Oh. Right-click"

  79. undefined · 435 days ago

    "Thanks for fixing that! While you're here...."

    "That passphrase is way too hard to remember. Just set the password to nothing."

  80. pgit · 435 days ago

    "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...." (anyone remember that dumb commercial?)

    Sorry folks, don't take it out on me, but I have zero problems with any users. I have circumvented many of their potential avenues of self-abuse, trained them well and I am taken seriously...

    Nobody touches anything they are not 100% certain of, eg some people know to stop printing and call me, others know how to clear cues and select a correct printer from the drop-down and do so.

    My only real trouble is with vendors. I'm waiting to hear from one now who failed to inform me his company had been taken over almost 2 years ago, and all kinds of terms and conditions have changed in ways I'm still trying to figure out.

    I just don't have any of these 'end user' problems any more, though I sure used to in the past! (the usual, you know: all of it)

    So on this SysAdmin Day, which I just found out about today because I subscribe to the Sophos newsletters, I say to you brave souls in the trenches "Be bold, be strong, forge your own path forward ON YOUR TERMS, and try not to lose any sleep about anything. In the end, nothing is worth being miserable over."

    ...btw I voluntarily and peaceably work over holidays and weekends... the fewer people around the better. Other times I'm out enjoying the sunshine when everyone else is in their cubicle toiling away... :D (i.e. "time is relative," and I'm with my relatives when it counts)

    • mark challender · 434 days ago

      Let us know when you wake up from your dream.

  81. Tuxedo Jack · 435 days ago

    "Um, so we just sent out the wire transfer that the head of accounting asked for in her e-mail. 200K to the $INSERT_COUNTRY_NAME supplier, right?"

    "... She never sent anything about a wire transfer."

    This actually happened at one of my clients today.

  82. James Hess · 435 days ago

    Sorry, it seems that we are out of coffee.

  83. James Hess · 435 days ago

    Random salesperson: I need you to add me to the Enterprise Administrators group immediately, so I can install some trial software on my laptop. I also need the router password, so the program can forward some ports for me: this has already been approved, here's the memo...

  84. Mark Challender · 434 days ago

    My laptop was not working well over the weekend so I asked the 13 year old kid next door -- he's really smart -- to help me fix the computer. It's still not working right. Can you take a look at it now?

  85. Gilbert Ratchett · 434 days ago

    Hey Sys Admin guys, you remember the ITIL best practices we now follow, why don't you start following them too! Oh, and dont forget Service Desk is a function, why not hop on the band waggpn and start helping customers and users like the rest of us!

  86. C White · 434 days ago

    I have been having this problem now for weeks, and I didn't report it because I didn't want to bother you. But I need this fixed for a meeting I have in 15 minutes. Can you fix it or should I tell them your the reason I can't get this done?

  87. David Hughes · 433 days ago

    No, the laptop screen has ALWAYS had that crack on it

  88. The best one I EVER had was "There are different colors on my screen and I can't log in can you come fix it?".....I walked to the other side of the campus to find all I had to do was power the system on. The computer was off and the monitors were just waiting for a signal!

  89. Mauro Giavarini · 430 days ago

    Once upon a time when we were newbies in terminal server management after some day that the user started to work on the thin client we received a phone call of a user who complained that is all too slow, so we checked on the terminal server which task are abusing the processor's server with task manager and "WHAT'S WHO INSTALLED EMULE ON THE TERMINAL SERVER?!?!" was a user that normally when he needed to change the printer he telephoned to find out how to change, but emule but he knew how to install it !! after this event we learned immediately how to lock and limit the users permissions on the terminal server!!
    Another great user was a man who worked in a remote branch he called my colleague in early morning and told: "I can't turn on the computer! I push the button but not happen!" My colleague told him to check all the power cables It took 20 minutes to check the cables because he didnt undestand the difference between power cables, ethernet cable and vga cable!! My colleague patiently explained him how to recognize the cables, after this hard operation the man try again to turn on the computer but not happened! My colleague then lit a light bulb in the head and asked, "just you having this problem or other?" the answer: "no we do not work here all the power fails, but you do not control everything from there?" .......
    knowing my colleague from Sardinia was a miracle that he did not take the car and left for the branch to kill that user!!

  90. Anonymous · 64 days ago

    Ever since you worked on my computer....

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