Sort of like Where's Waldo, except he's everywhere

This pilot fish is at the start of his IT career at a fast-growing company, doing help-desk support and occasionally serving as a PC tech.

"I would mostly troubleshoot by email or phone or remoting in, but occasionally was able to help out with the PC tech side of things," says fish.

"I was working on an fresh image file for a new PC, in case I needed to restore. I loaded up all the software needed for our business including my help desk utilities and the basic Microsoft package."

One of the fulltime PC techs sees what fish is working on and asks for a copy of the image -- he wants to use it as the base for a standard user disk image, because the company is hiring and handing out new PCs like candy.

Sure, says fish, but make sure to wipe anything related to my user profile first.

Not long after, fish gets a call from a user, asking fish to please get out of a shipping document on the file server that the user needs to edit.

I'm not in that file, fish explains. I don't even have the program open.

User hangs up, but calls back a few minutes later with the same request. Why do you think I'm in that file? fish asks.

Because Microsoft Word says you are when I open it, user replies.

Fish remotes into the user's PC. Sure enough, there's his name. He looks up who has that file open on the file server. It's not him, but someone does have the file open.

It doesn't take fish long to figure out what's going on. After he gets a few more calls and emails from users demanding he get out of files -- and fish (and his boss) get calls from high-level users almost screaming that he shouldn't have access to private shares that contain company financials -- it's evident that the PC tech wasn't very careful about cleaning up the image he got from fish.

"Needless to say, I had the explanation well rehearsed to calm them down and tell them who was in the file or how to break the share so they could use it," fish says.

"The PC techs changed the image eventually, but there were 30 or 40 PCs already across the plant that had the old one. I learned my lesson quickly, but I was reminded of it constantly.

"Man, I was so glad when those desktop PCs finally started to die or get replaced..."

Sharky is always careful about filing the identifying marks off your story. So send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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