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UK's 10 Dumbest IT questions

BT’s Home IT advisors are trained to cope with anything that is thrown at them - from misbehaving modems to wayward wireless networks. However, a recent survey of how customers are using the service reveals some IT issues that have left BT’s specialist advice team scratching their heads.

Anthony Vollmer, head of home IT propositions at BT, said: “Some of the calls we get from customers have certainly raised a smile, as you can see from the examples here. What they highlight is a real demand for a service like BT Home IT Advisor.

Here are the top ten quirkiest calls:

Customer: “My mouse mat isn’t wired up”

Advisor: “I’m not sure I understand, your mouse mat shouldn’t have any wires.”

Customer: “well how does it know where my mouse is? Is it wireless?”

Advisor: “Press any key to continue.”

Customer: “I can’t find the ‘Any’ key.”

Customer: “I keep getting inappropriate pop-ups on my computer and don’t want my wife to think that it’s me.”

Advisor: “I will remove them for you.”

Customer: “How do I get them back when she is not in?”

Customer: “I met a man on the internet, can you give me his phone number?”

Advisor: “You have spyware on your machine which is causing the problem.”

Customer: “Spyware? Can they see me getting dressed through the monitor?”

Customer: “How do I change channel on my monitor?”

Advisor: “Your monitor won’t have channels like a TV.”

Customer: “But I was watching the internet channel the other day and now I just get the word processing channel.”

Advisor: “Can you click on ‘My Computer’?”

Customer: “I don’t have your computer, just mine.”

Customer: “My 14 year-old son has put a password on my computer and I can’t get in.”

Advisor: “Has he forgotten it?”

Customer: “No he just won’t tell me it because I’ve grounded him.”

Customer: “I have lost my work.”

Advisor: “Let’s see if we can get your documents back for you?”

Customer: “You don’t understand, I’ve lost my job and I want to get on to the internet to find a new one.”

Customer: “My internet isn’t working”

Advisor: “What modem are you using, is everything connected up?”

Customer: “No I haven’t taken the computer or the modem out of their boxes yet!”

BT has been able to resolve computer problems for 150,000 callers since the service began in March 2006, with issues ranging from badly configured routers to PC settings interfering with internet access.

Vollmer added: “People are used to having IT support at work – why shouldn’t they get the same level of service when at home? With the average amount of computers per household approaching two, there are always going to be people seeking help.”

“Whether its help setting up a computer, fixing a problem that is hindering internet access, or helping to teach someone how to do something new with their computer, BT Home IT Advisors are available 8am to 11pm, 365 days a year to solve the problem quickly. Most questions can be answered over the phone, using technology that allows advisors to fix problems over Broadband.”

BT’s Home IT Advisor service gives customers a single point of contact with a team of highly trained advisors dedicated to providing comprehensive support for customers’ PCs, networks, applications and up to 20 devices for the home. For more information, go to (opens in new tab). Services are available from £9.99 per month for a subscription to the service, or £25 for a Pay-As-You-Go Service where callers pay per incident.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.