Please destroy our system now



  • I’m a lowly user at work where we use Novell Netware. Perennially, I get these storms of message boxes telling me some disk volume is almost out of space. Inevitably, it’s a volume I do not use (at least directly). This morning, for instance, I’ve gotten 49 messages in the past 49 minutes telling me “/SYS out of disk space.”

    The SYS directory does not hold any of my documents. Instead, it appears, as the name implies, to be a directory for various system files. So why TF am I getting these messages? Surely they don’t want me doing anything on this directory, right? Right?

    Getting a message every minute is really irritating, so I send the following email to the Help desk, neglecting to include the sarcasm tags.

    Every couple minutes I’m getting a pop-up message like the one attached that appears to be requesting immediate action from me concerning disk space. I’ve gotten three just in the time to type this email. Should I start deleting files from /SYS now? I can get rid of all the ones ending in .exe and .dll as they tend to be particularly large.

    Help writes back promptly:

    Yes, whatever you can delete will help alleviate the problem even though you may not be the cause. I would suggest contacting anyone else you know that uses the System volume on the [that] server to also try to free-up some space.

    WTF? Have I actually been given authorization to wipe out whatever system files I can? As it turns out, I don’t have permissions to delete *.exe, *.dll, or other system files I checked. Damn. However, there do appear a bunch of documents (about 200 MB worth) stored in /SYS that I can erase. Most notably, a certain individual (apparently named Kevin) appears to be prone to store >10 MB PowerPoint documents in directories off /SYS/Temp.

    Should I? Should I? Ooooo, it would be so easy to just….

    --RA



  • do the mature thing and tell kevin to move his files from the SYS folder.  if you don't know who he is make a backup of all his documents and give it to your supervisor and then wipe them out.  if they are that important maybe kevin will start asking around who deleted them.



  • Sounds just like my office.
    Except that it's 5MB email inboxes (yea, in 2006 buddy).
    The WTF is that the email notifications are sometimes responsible for most of the clutter, since most of us hardly use the official id due to it's miserly capacity.
    Ah, and dont forget the HR emails in all their HTML glory on how some virtuous man/lady managed to stay 5 years in hell (yea, you know which hell).



  • I always love upgrading someone's computer who later complains that all of thier buisness-critical documents they stored in thier recycle bin were lost during the upgrade... 



  • Do the fun thing. Reply to the email from help telling them that you don't have enough access to "clean" the filesystem and requesting access. Then you just need to find a pointy haired boss stupid enough to approve the access after reading the email thread, which if the place you work is anything like the place I work, isn't all that difficult.  Wheeeeee!



  • @byte_lancer said:

    Sounds just like my office.
    Except that it's 5MB email inboxes (yea, in 2006 buddy).
    The
    WTF is that the email notifications are sometimes responsible for most
    of the clutter, since most of us hardly use the official id due to it's
    miserly capacity.
    Ah, and dont forget the HR emails in all their
    HTML glory on how some virtuous man/lady managed to stay 5 years in
    hell (yea, you know which hell).
    heh, I've setup a rule in
    outlook to automatically delete the "mail box is over it's size limit"
    e-mails I keep getting.  I have 78 of them in my bin at the moment.



    It wouldn't be so bad if the company didn't run on e-mails with word
    documents attached.  That easily east up a few hundred meg.



  • @Albatross said:

    I always love upgrading someone's computer who later complains that all of thier buisness-critical documents they stored in thier recycle bin were lost during the upgrade... 


    LOL too true. Anyone saving important files in publicly accessible(writable, deletable) folders named TMP or TEMP deserves everything he gets.



  • This shows a very common mistake people make.

    When reporting a problem, just report the problem.  Don't give possible causes, or possible solutions.  Just report the damn problem.

    "Dear IT,

    I get a message on my machine every few mintues saying SYS is out of disk space.  I don't store anything there.  Please fix this.

    -User"

    Giving possible solutions or causes in the initial contact will only complicate things. 

    This goes for most request-for-help things.  Cable companies, electric companies, doctors, IT, your bank, etc.   Sure you might go through some mindless questions, but you are more likely to get your problem fixed.






  • @mhughes said:

    This shows a very common mistake people make.

    When
    reporting a problem, just report the problem.  Don't give possible
    causes, or possible solutions.  Just report the damn problem.

    "Dear IT,

    I
    get a message on my machine every few mintues saying SYS is out of disk
    space.  I don't store anything there.  Please fix this.

    -User"

    Giving possible solutions or causes in the initial contact will only complicate things. 

    This
    goes for most request-for-help things.  Cable companies, electric
    companies, doctors, IT, your bank, etc.   Sure you might go
    through some mindless questions, but you are more likely to get your
    problem fixed.


    Your suggestion works when the person recieving your support call is more knowledgable as you about the problem at hand.



    If you end up contacting a script monkey, no matter what, you're still
    going to go through the "please ensure your computer is turned on..." 5
    hour journey no matter if you just tell him the problem, or give him a
    step-by-step guide to fix your problem.



    Speak to someone roughly on your level, and you've given them a good
    place to start looking. You just have to be sure to tell them your
    problem, and your suspected cause as seperate things, so if you are
    wrong they can tell soon enough and find the real cause.



    Speak to someone significantly above your skill level, and they'll
    ignore your suspected cause, if given,  immediately knowing what
    the problem is anyway, and if they don't, your suggestion may prompt
    them.



    Just make sure that you really know what you're talking about. Don't be
    the idiot that tells the support guy that the network is down because
    the ball fell out of your mouse.



  • @mhughes said:

    This shows a very common mistake people make.

    When reporting a problem, just report the problem.  Don't give possible causes, or possible solutions.  Just report the damn problem.

    That's good advice, but I'd tried that already. The problem from my perspective was not the disk space --that itself was not affecting my work (and I knew from previous experience that IT would know space was running out anyway). The problem for me was being interrupted literally every minute with a pop-up message box. I had complained before about this "feature," but nothing was done, maybe because it's not a problem from IT's perspective.

    My email was a subtle attempt to suggest that allowing such messages to be broadcasted could be a big problem for IT if one user over-reacts to it (you know the type --the ones that empty their Windows folder because it's just full of all this junk they didn't put there). Too subtle, I guess.

    Update: Popup messages ceased within an hour. There's now 360 MB of free space on /SYS. There's still 300 MB of documents in /SYS/Temp subdirectories left by Kevin and his ilk.

    --RA



  • RayS,

    In your intitial contact, you don't know the technical level of the other person.  It's fine if you give suggestions after follow up questions.  Just not that initial report

    If you happen to know the person is a dunce from past experience, making sure they fully understand the problem will help you later explain the solution.  If you confuse them early, there's no hope.

    If you happen to know the person is on the same level as you, you may end up insulting them.  "Who does this guy think he is?"   Even worse imagine this case.  What if it were the case that the user shouldn't be in the access-group getting these messages?  The solution is to remove him from that group, not making more space.  By saying the disk is full, the IT guy might focus on that instead of fixing the real problem.

    If you know the person is on a higher level than you, why would you bother offering a possible sub-optimal solution?  It might be the easy way out for that person, so they'll do it.



  • @mhughes said:

    This shows a very common mistake people make.

    When
    reporting a problem, just report the problem.  Don't give possible
    causes, or possible solutions.  Just report the damn problem.

    "Dear IT,

    I
    get a message on my machine every few mintues saying SYS is out of disk
    space.  I don't store anything there.  Please fix this.

    -User"

    Giving possible solutions or causes in the initial contact will only complicate things. 

    This
    goes for most request-for-help things.  Cable companies, electric
    companies, doctors, IT, your bank, etc.   Sure you might go
    through some mindless questions, but you are more likely to get your
    problem fixed.








    Well that's a nice thought. I will give that heuristc a go, and see if it works.




  • @byte_lancer said:

    Except that it's 5MB email inboxes (yea, in 2006 buddy).

    5MB inboxes?  WTF?  My current inbox is about 600 MB.  Granted, I'm a bit of a packrat with email, but that can be quite handy. 

    Seriously though, someone needs to go to your IT and beat them silly with a cluestick...


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