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True IT blooper #57: Good-bye, Mr. Chips

In this true story, the graveyard shift takes its toll on a donut fanatic.

On one dark day in one networking certification class, an instructor made a mistake. Just one slip of the tongue. How much harm could that do? The author of this "true IT blooper" found the answer to that question, in duplicate.

The author of this tale choose to remain anonymous. So, we'll call her Jill Flashback, for reasons which will become obvious.

In a previous job, Flashback was part of the corporate network infrastructure support team. One team member had completed a Cisco training course. The course's instructor had taught the class to run the "debug ip all" command on the core router. This command would give them access to a whole lot of cool information, the instructor had said.

So, on a fateful day, the recently-trained Cisco technician ran the "debug ip all" command. Suddenly, "access to any network connected to this router (the entire company, basically) was completely disabled," said Flashback. "The router completely overloaded the CPU and network cards."

Fortunately, Flashback and her team repaired the damage quickly. Making a quick trip up to the computer room with a laptop and console cable, Flashback stopped the command and rebooted the router. The repair, however, didn't come before they'd received a rush of calls to the help desk, as well as many pages from remote servers and routers indicating loss of contact to the network.

Flashback then informed the misinformed technician that the Cisco instructor was full of beans, or something like that. Then, the episode was over.

Or so Flashback thought. Flash forward two years. Flashback is at work when the company's network goes down. Someone had run the "debug ip all" command on the core router. After the dust had settled, Flashback discovered an amazing fact: the network technician who had run the bogus command had taken the same Cisco training class with the same instructor.

It was deja vu all over again! "I ran into the exact same blooper with two separate network technicians!" exclaimed Flashback.

Since then, Flashback occasionally acts as an instructor herself. The lesson she teaches, she said, is "never EVER run this command on a production router!"

Share your bloopers with us. E-mail them to Read more of our past IT Blooper Series, which originially appeared at, part of the TechTarget network.

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