OK, that one WAS an emergency

President of the company calls the IT department to ask how to recall an e-mail message, reports a pilot fish in the loop.

Impossible, tech tells him. Once an e-mail message has been sent to the server, it can't be recalled, and trying to do so will just draw attention to the e-mail. The president does not want that.

"Next day, my boss calls me and two other members of our department into her office," says fish. "She says that we have to get that e-mail back. And we can't let any of the 70 people it was sent to know what we're doing. Oh, and it was sent two weeks ago."

"That's nigh unto impossible, right? Well, we regularly have to make the impossible possible."

So fish starts calling the 70 employees, asking them for their passwords and IP addresses and explaining that their computers have to be checked for "viruses and stuff."

One by one, fish remotely controls the employees' PCs to enable remote desktop.

Then the other IT staffers, following fish's instructions, log on to each PC using remote desktop, which locks the PC so the user can't see what's going on. Then the IT people search through in-boxes, out-boxes, deleted items and computer folders, just in case the file attached to the e-mail was saved.

"It took us a day and a half," grumbles fish. "All the while, I'm getting the regular calls for help that usually come in.

"What was in the e-mail? Apparently, the payroll information for the entire company was accidentally included on the second tab of a spreadsheet attached to the e-mail."

Sharky doesn't ask for the impossible -- just that you 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.

Now you can post your own stories of IT ridiculousness at Shark Bait. Join today and vent your IT frustrations to people who've been there, done that.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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