Department head complains that a printer has stopped working correctly -- and this IT pilot fish thinks he knows the cause.

"We had upgraded Windows on the print servers," fish reports. "It took several attempts to get the drivers working correctly, but we thought the problems were solved.

"Then we heard that the department head's printer wasn't picking paper up correctly from the tray. So I ordered a roller kit for the printer and told her that everything should be fine when it is installed."

The roller kit arrives, it's installed and the printer, and everything seems fine -- for about two days.

Then fish starts hearing complaints about the duplexer on that printer regularly jamming. It looks like the duplexing unit has gone south, so fish swaps in a printer that doesn't need a duplexer, and everything seems to be working out OK.

But soon the the department head is back again, this time bringing handfuls of demo pages that just seem to appear on her printer at random. Fish and his IT cohorts check the printer, the drivers, everything they can think of, but they can't locate the source of the problem.

There's just one common factor: It only seems to happen when the department head herself is printing a document.

Fish is ready to exchange his own printer for the problem machine when he remembers something about the original printer: It had a discolored area at the front of the printer where the department head rested her hand on the printer while she was waiting for a report to come out.

The replacement printer has a large button in exactly that location.

"Could it be so simple?" fish says. "I tested out my hunch by pressing the printer button down for five seconds. Out printed the demo page. Problem solved.

"Or was it? As I am writing this, the department head just dropped by to say that her printer isn't consistently picking up from the manual tray. I will be exchanging printers after all.

"Thankfully, the department head is patient."

Sharky is patiently waiting for your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp 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.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon