Screwy laptop problem

Tech-savvy manager pilot fish receives a new laptop from IT with all his applications and documents loaded and ready to go -- and everything seems to be working perfectly.

"After using it all day with no issues, I shut down, removed the laptop from the docking station and packed it in my computer bag for the ride home, as I do each night," says fish.

"Next morning, ready to put some last-minute touches on an important presentation, I place the laptop back in the docking station to boot up."

But when the screen lights up, there's a strange line of text displayed, followed by an ongoing progressing pattern fish has never seen before.

He restarts the laptop in the docking station. He restarts it while not in the docking station. The result is the same.

One call to the IT help desk later, a support tech arrives to figure out what could be wrong with the brand-new laptop. But after several minutes evaluating the situation, the tech is stumped. "That's very strange," he says. "I'll need to take it back with me."

Overhearing the discussion, an employee in a nearby cube calls out as the tech is walking by, "Does it have a hard drive in it?"

Reports fish, "The tech stopped dead in his tracks and turned the computer over. Sure enough, the drive slot was empty.

"In the bottom of the computer bag was a loose hard drive. Someone forgot to put the retaining screws in when the computer was configured."

Whether or not you've got a screw loose, Sharky wants your story. So send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

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