Random Thoughts

The 40 Rules of IT (From a Help Desk’s Perspective)


  1. Users lie, but the logs won’t.
  2. Turn it off and back on, especially if the user insists that they have already done so.
  3. If it’s worth having, it’s worth having a backup.
  4. Never disassemble anything you can’t reassemble from memory.
  5. A problem does not officially exist until a ticket has been submitted.
  6. Not until the most experienced person in the room says “oh, shit,” is the issue an official “oh, shit moment.”
  7. There is no such thing as “extra” screws.
  8. A quiet ticket queue is not always a good sign.
  9. Nothing is, never has, or will ever be “user proof.”
  10. You never want to know what the mysterious fluid is.
  11. UPS and Mr. Screwdriver are not friends.
  12. If you can smell the magic smoke, you already done goofed up.
  13. “Working just fine” and “too screwed to log an error” look an awful lot alike.
  14. Loose wires will attempt to mate. When wires mate, things get messy.
  15. The Principle of Least Privilege is not a suggestion.
  16. Respect your sysadmin; they’re the one who fixes your fixes.
  17. A backup isn’t a backup until you’ve restored successfully from it.
  18. Online backups are only as reliable as their security is strong.
  19. RAID is not a backup.
  20. “Offline” is a required property of “backup.”
  21. Virtual machines. They’re a thing. Know them. Love them.
  22. Sandbox virtual. In a sandbox, no one hears your screams that the backups are worthless.
  23. The system logs prove you lied. Quit digging a bigger hole.
  24. Constantly interrupting and asking “How long until we are back up?” will not get systems operational faster.
  25. No Change Fridays.
  26. If something can fail, it will.
  27. Your network is only as secure as your dumbest user.
  28. If the service desk phone isn’t ringing, something is probably wrong with the phone system.
  29. There’s always a price for saving money.
  30. Product lifecycle is only ever a suggestion in the eyes of management.
  31. ALWAYS let a user demonstrate/provoke his problem. It’s the difference between digging deep inside the servers or immediately fixing the problem because the user went to offline mode. Again.
  32. If it works correctly on the very first run, something is wrong.
  33. If payment is submitted under the table, there will never be a ticket, thus continuing plausible deniability.
  34. We know where the bodies are buried; often, this is because we put them there.
  35. If you hide the body carefully, nobody will ever know you closed that user’s ticket without fixing it.
  36. A backup folder on your desktop is not a backup.
  37. No matter how well it works in dev and cert, you are going to find issues in prod.
  38. “Everything is down” does not mean everything is. Trust, but verify.
  39. Just because you CAN access everything, doesn’t mean you SHOULD access everything.
  40. Nobody cares about your video game streams.

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