Top 8 IT help desk requests, answered

May 16, 2017
Archived, Productivity

The help desk deals with the same issues over and over again; learn how to resolve them as quickly as possible so you can focus on the big issues of the day.

Every help desk technician has their favorite example of a ridiculous support call — but they are memorable because they are unusual. The reality is that the same issues come up again and again.

This means your team needs to develop techniques to deal with these routine calls as quickly as possible, freeing up resources to concentrate on other, more pressing tasks. Here are eight you need to consider now.

  1. I’ve forgotten my password.

The first support call on a Monday morning is almost certain to be password-related. You reset their log-on but it doesn’t work. You confirm the spelling with the user, ask them to confirm as they type it in and, unsurprisingly, it still doesn’t work. So, you reset the password a second time and the dance begins again.

In future try firing up a remote desktop session and asking them to enter their password while you watch — you’ll find that the user gets it right first time.

  1. My shortcuts are missing.

Some users are completely reliant on desktop shortcuts to work. If those little pictures disappear these people immediately freeze, apparently unaware of the Start menu and Search bar tools. No links, no work.

Your tech support team faces a choice — ask the user to reboot and logon again, or use a remote desktop session to paste those-all important icons back onto the desktop. Often, it is quicker and easier to take the second option and avoid the complaints that typically accompany a request to reboot.

  1. I can’t print my documents.

“I pressed Ctrl+P, but nothing happened. No printouts, nothing,” says Val in accounts. Save yourself a trip to the accounts department. Log into Val’s PC remotely and delete the holiday photo print job that is currently jamming her print spooler.

  1. I’ve printed too many copies of a document.

“I was just printing a funny email to put on the break room noticeboard, but the printer went crazy and now I have 18 copies. Oh wait, 19!” Val screams shakily at your luckless help desk agent. You can save another desk-side trip to accounts by logging into her PC and clearing down the print queue, a direct result of Val’s impatient clicking.

  1. The on-screen text is too small; how do I change it?

How small is too small? Who knows. But have you ever tried to talk a user through the process of adjusting screen resolution or system-wide font settings when they cannot see what you are describing?

If your support technician uses a remote support tool, they can make the necessary adjustments there and then — without having to make a wasteful and expensive desk-side visit.

  1. I’ve received an error message.

For some reason, users love to report error messages after they have clicked OK and forgotten what it said. Others will send an email documenting the error message in full — but without the all-important context that helps you diagnose the fault.

The fastest way to assess the severity of the problem? Have the user repeat their last action while you watch on a remote desktop session — that way you get the error message and the context in one go.

  1. I need to access John Smith’s email.

You know that the day after John Smith goes on holiday, Dave will be on the phone demanding urgent access to John’s email. “We’re waiting for a very important email from a customer — and I think it’s been sent to John,” squeals Dave.

For some reason asking the client to resend is never an option, so you will need to set up an out-of-office mail redirect on John’s email. And disable it again when he returns and complains that all of his messages are being forwarded to Dave.

  1. I need XYZ app right now!

Deadlines have an extraordinary effect on users — but that is probably because they are doing real work while you sit around pressing buttons. It also means that you never receive software installation requests until it is too late.

Fortunately, remote desktop tools allow you to carry out urgent app installs immediately — and without having to leave the comfort of your button-pushing help desk lair.


For help desk technicians, all of these issues are incredibly trivial — but for non-technical users, they could be show-stoppers.

Using remote desktop tools not only allows you to see and fix problems, but also to impart some of your own knowledge and experience. With some luck, your users may even learn a few new tricks that help reduce help desk call volumes in future.

Give your colleagues the information they need to resolve common requests. Share this article now.

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