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IT Horrors Straight Out of Friday the 13th

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Technology can get horrific. Failing hardware, poor planning, or unreliable users–whatever your IT-phobia might be, here are several scenarios that you would not want to be stuck in.

Virus on a terminal server—and it got worse

Removing a virus from a terminal server is scary to say the least, especially when antivirus software does not do the trick. One such IT technician found himself tasked with removing a virus infection on a machine running Windows Server 2003. Unfortunately, Symantec was not successful in removing the virus and a call to their support line was required. They required him to send them some suspicious .NET binaries, which he couldn’t copy and upload.

While he found a way to “open” the file, it had the unfortunate side effect of writing a lot of extra keys in the registry—causing server reboots to take several hours. Ultimately, they incurred 48 hours of downtime, and needed Microsoft intervention to fix the issue.

If you are still running Server 2003, beware! Having Microsoft come in to fix your machines will result in a huge bill after end of support on July 14, 2015.

Have you tried turning off and on again?

Ever experience an issue that seemingly just seemed to go away for no real reason? Sure, you are glad the problem resolved itself, but the sense that it can happen again blocks any feelings of catharsis. When this happens during a firmware update, it is nothing short of terrifying. One IT tech found himself having to perform firmware updates on several new IBM servers, and because of unfamiliarity with the interface, decided to use the simple “Update Firmware” option. But unfortunately it did not work as intended.

Thanks to some Internet sleuthing, he did manage to dig up an update utility provided by IBM. The utility created a disk image file loaded with the latest IBM firmware updates and was to be mounted and booted. Unfortunately for the tech, four of six updates failed. His response was to reboot and start over, which also did not work.

So then he decided to call IBM Support and explain that he needed to update several machines. As if talking to Roy Trenneman, they first asked if he tried rebooting the servers. Thinking that he had nothing to lose but some time, he obliged. And it worked, narrowly diverting disaster. But for our technician, maybe he could convince upper management to perhaps to move to more easily updatable servers.

Never tell me the odds of catastrophic A/C failure

The server room is one of the most important rooms in an office considering that it houses some of the most expensive equipment required to perform a variety of functions. One IT professional tells of how his office’s server room was put in danger and only happenstance saved the company’s equipment.

As many know, server rooms often have dedicated air conditioning units to maintain temperature. So one Saturday, he decides to go into the office to work the weekend—something he rarely does. As a part of his duties, he goes into the server room to give it a quick look only to find that the AC unit for the room was malfunctioning. Rather than merely not working, the unit is pushing water out of a hose at an alarming rate.

The water was already one foot deep when he arrived. Thankfully, his server rack mounts kept his hardware 18 inches above the floor.  He was able to turn off the A/C and call a company to service the unit and clean the mess. But had the tech not come in on a Saturday, it would have been a complete and utter disaster. Let this serve as a warning to those that don’t properly service their air conditioning units in their server rooms.

Sources:

  1. http://www.reddit.com/r/talesfromtechsupport/comments/2yrulw/a_story_about_ibm_updates_or_how_i_had_to_reboot/
  2. http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/813172-anyone-have-any-it-horror-stories-they-would-like-to-share
  3. http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/394902-share-a-server-monitoring-horror-story-win-thinkgeek-and-copperegg-treats

 

So what IT problems give you a headache? Regale us with IT horrors you don’t want to face or have already faced.

Photo by Andreh Santos, from Flickr Creative Commons
Summary
IT Horrors Straight Out of Friday the 13th - HardBoiled
Article Name
IT Horrors Straight Out of Friday the 13th - HardBoiled
Description
Horror movies are a fun break from reality, but unfortunately the same cannot be said of IT horrors. Those can result in some very real headaches.
Author
Wallace Chu

Wallace Chu

A self-professed tech hipster that loves computers and music. Uses an iPhone ironically.

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