Things a legit IT guy will not do, (and you shouldn’t ask them too)

What you are about to read is real. The names have been removed to protect the innocent.
(They have also been removed so I won’t get sued, beat up, or have voodoo curses put on me) 
You know I try to do my best for my clients. I do whatever I can to accommodate them, and I have been asked to so some unique things since I started working in I.T. However there are just some things I cannot or will not do. That does not keep people from asking though. Here are a few.
Sit down we need to talk about a few things….

I can’t give you free licensed software

(Me) “There you go sir your new PC is setup”
(Client) “Oh great, how do I get to word?”
(Me) “uh sir word is part of Office it doesn’t come with Windows.”

(Client) “Oh, Can you put it on for me?”

(Me) “Sure, we can do it right now we just need to setup a Microsoft account for you and we can buy you a key”

(Client) “Wait can’t you just put it on for me?”

Many people get the idea that Office and Windows are the same thing, but they are two distinct Microsoft products. People buy new computers with Windows then surprise!  Office is not there or only just a trial version.
I get this a lot with Office and sometimes Adobe products. The really becomes an issue when I show the client how much the software costs. Now do I think that MS and Adobe software is exorbitantly priced? Absolutely.  However saving my client $149.99 retail for office home and student is not worth risking pissing off the biggest software company in the world with seven figure lawyers on retainer.

What do I do?  Well if the client can’t or won’t spend the money I try to find them a free alternative. Open office and Apace office are the old standard. Google Docs can work, but it takes some training for the user to understand it.  If all the client needs is to be able to read files MS has free viewers for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Also I usually don’t do trial versions of anything.  Why?

(Client) “My Photoshop isn’t working anymore! Help”

(Me) “Okay what exactly is it doing?”

(Client) “It keeps asking me for a licences number, and I need this to work now!”

(Me) “Okay what happens when you put it in?”

(Client) “Um….

If the software is that important then buy it.

I won’t help you figure out your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, significant others, or boss’s Facebook,Twitter or Email passwords. 
(Client) “Can you hack passwords?”

(Me)”I can help you reset passwords, what are you trying to get into?”

(Client) “Facebook”

(Me)”Oh that’s not bad we just use the forgot password feature we can send a reset code to your phone”

(Client) “Um…that won’t work you see…..”

Let me be clear if you get locked out of your own account I’ll be more than happy to help you figure out the password for your account or help you navigate the systems to reset it. However I will not help you invade somebody else’s privacy.   The other side of that coin I will help you protect your own, by helping you get your passwords rotated and find an effective way to keep and remember your passwords. Also letting you know when to change them.

I will not help you copy licensed digital media

(Client)”I need to copy some discs”

(Me)”Okay what kind?”


(Me)”Miss these are movie DVDs from the library”

(Client)”Yes can you copy them?”

If you get a bunch of DVDs from the library I’m not going to help you copy them. If you have movies that you bought and want to copy them for someone else I can’t help you there either. I am more then happy to help you transfer home movies, pictures, and your own content. Just like with Microsoft I am not looking to get in a fight with Dreamworks because a client doesn’t want to spend $7.99  on a Netflix account.

I will not help you steal your neighbors WiFi

(Client) “My internet stopped working”

(Me)”Okay lets check it at the source where is your router?”

(Client) “Router?”

(Me) “The box that your cable or phone company put in, where is it?”

(Client) “I don’t have one….”

(Me)”How were you getting on the internet then?”

(Client) “I connected to this network but now its asking me for a password”

Now one I applaud anyone for having an secured network. There is no reason why you should be providing internet for your whole neighborhood.  Now if you need free internet there are a few options, check on my previous post. “You got an office great, I got 5”   I have listed plenty of places to work that include free WiFi. If these don’t work for you talk to you neighbors, maybe they would be open to share there internet for part of the bill.

I don’t (or try not to) Work for free.

(Me) “Hello”

(Client) “Yes my computer keeps showing a blue screen with an error *********”

(Me) “Okay when would be a good time for me to take a look at it?”

(Client) “Can’t you just tell me whats wrong with it?”

(Me) “Not until I see it”

(Me) “Sir?… Hello?”

I get one of these kind of calls about two three times a week. Some people just don’t want to pay for a service call. They just want me to give them an answer.  They don’t realize that just like Doctors, Lawyers, and financial advisers, my product is what is in my head.  I have said before if I could I would hook a meter up to my head and sell my brain power by the kilowatt.

Also I don’t like diagnosing over the phone mostly because I almost never get the whole picture, and honestly I am at the mercy of the computer literacy of the person on the other side of the phone.  Have you ever tried to do that with a mechanic?  No matter how good your impression of the noise your breaks are making is, the mechanic is most likely going to need to see it before committing to anything.

It is true that sometimes I get presented with an issue that peeks my interest so much that I start troubleshooting right then and there, but its a habit I am trying to break.

The bottom line is that I am willing to help you with your computer problems, but I am not willing to go to jail get sued or get in the middle of anyone personal issues.  Also lets be clear if you do find someone to do the things I have talked about above, most likely they are not someone that you want to trust with your computers.

I am Joseph Serrago, I am the owner of Lanterns Light LLC and because I don’t do these things you can trust me and I want to help you.  (and no I am not running for public office) 


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