Business owners sometimes assume that their Microsoft 365 data is safe, either that it gets dealt with as part of other backup processes, or that Microsoft looks after it.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case!

Microsoft 365 data often isn’t covered by general backups, and, whilst Microsoft ensures your data stays safe when it is in the data centre, it is unable to protect you from any data loss due to errors in your company, such as an employee accidentally deleting a file, a malicious action, hacking, ransomware or other such issues.

This is why third-party backup and restore solutions are required, to help protect your business from loss of data and downtime, and provide accurate and reliable data restore options.

At First Class Technologies, we’re able to offer a solution to help you:

• Retain and archive critical data for compliance purposes
• Protect against data loss
• Provide automated and on-demand back-up to give you ultimate control
• Easily manage Microsoft Exchange, One-Drive and SharePoint backups.
• Preserve email data of former employees
• Back up multiple times a day
• Keep data for between 1 and 7 years, depending on your system.

To find out more, just call 01543 414152 or email

A warranty for your server is worth every penny when it comes to protecting the productivity and integrity of your business. It goes without saying that, if your business server is not covered under warranty, then the manufacturer is not obliged to repair or replace any part of the server in the event of failure.

Whilst warranty cover is undoubtedly an extra cost to your business, you need to consider it as an investment in your business continuity. And when you think of it in these terms, server warranty is priceless.

In today’s modern business environment, a server is a critical component, as it’s the backbone of your computer network.

A server failure could mean that a company may no longer have access to some or all of its IT functions and business data. This downtime could result in hours of lost productivity, where staff may be unable to help with client enquiries, potentially affecting customer satisfaction levels and putting a company’s credibility and reputation at risk.

Plus, without warranty, it may be necessary to try to source the required parts, causing a delay to the server repair and extending the downtime, or even requiring the purchase of a new server if the parts prove to be unavailable.

It’s important to understand the big picture around server warranty, to enable the right decision to be made for each business.

The good news is that First Class is able to offer affordable, extended cover to take over once the manufacturer’s support has elapsed.

To find out more, just get in touch for a no-obligation chat by emailing or calling 01543 414152.


If you’re running an old version of Outlook, you may wish to investigate what version you’re using, as Microsoft has recently confirmed new minimum Outlook requirements for Microsoft 365.

After 1st November 2021, only Outlook 2013 Service Pack 1 (with latest fixes) and later will be able to connect to Microsoft 365 services.

So, if you’re still running Outlook 2007, 2010 or an earlier version of Office 2013 then you need to start making a plan!

If you’re still running older versions, or if you aren’t sure what version you’re running, feel free to give First Class Technologies a call on 01543 414152 or email and we’ll help you understand your options.


First Class Technologies was proud to be the main sponsor for a Classic Car Tour organised by Wolverhampton & South Staffordshire Car Club, which raised over £1000 for The Community Foundation for Staffordshire.

Over 70 vehicles joined the inaugural Cannock Chase Classic Car Tour, travelling over 80 miles across Staffordshire, through Cannock Chase and the Black Country from Lichfield before finishing via Stafford in Rugeley on Sunday 13th June. Organisers have handed over a cheque for £1,000 to the Community Foundation to help support voluntary groups across the county.

Guests at the start of the tour, including (from left) Richard Hinton (First Class Technologies), Charles Hanson (TV celebrity & auctioneer), Simon Price (Trustee We Love Lichfield), Mike Broad (former World Rally Championship co-driver) and Faye Williams (Community Foundation).

TV celebrity and auctioneer Charles Hanson flagged off every single vehicle from the Bowling Green Pub in Lichfield and then welcomed drivers back to his new Staffordshire auction house in Rugeley for afternoon tea.

The Community Foundation for Staffordshire is a team of professional local community fund and grant managers. Non-profit making, they create and administer benevolent funds and grant giving schemes for philanthropists, business, central Government, and local authorities. They give away over £1m every year to voluntary organisations and charities. Based in Stafford they are ideally placed to manage funds and grants across county.

Before the pandemic scores of organisations held events across the county to raise money for the Community Foundation to distribute to voluntary groups. This important source of income was lost due to Covid and as restrictions are eased, individuals and companies are encouraged to raise money through safe events, within coronavirus guidelines.

Richard Hinton of First Class Technologies and main sponsor said: “Last year, in the depths of the pandemic I had the idea of a car rally across Staffordshire. The event was literally stop start for many months due to Covid, but what a way to celebrate the easing of restrictions. I’m delighted to hand over the money on behalf of drivers, passengers, time-keepers and spectators with special thanks to Wolverhampton & South Staffordshire Car Club who helped in the organisation of the inaugural Cannock Chase Classic Car Tour…yes, the first of many.”

Richard Hinton, MD of First Class Technologies handing over the cheque to Faye Williams of The Community Foundation for Staffordshire.

Faye Williams of the Community Foundation for Staffordshire said: “It was an amazing spectacle to see so many beautiful cars leave Lichfield in bright sunshine, then passing the finish line in the amazing surroundings of Bishton Hall. A memorable day, great fun and a huge thank you to all involved who have raised vital funds that will help voluntary groups across the county. Particular thanks to Richard Hinton of First Class Technologies for coming up with the idea, sponsoring and organising the event. Also, to Charles Hanson for his kind hospitality at Bishton Hall.”


Nearly six years on from the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has unveiled the Windows 11 operating system.

Windows 11 features a fresh, more modern design and some new features, including new ways to connect to your favourite news, games and content. Users of Windows 11 will need to get used to having the START menu centrally situated, after it has lived in the bottom left-hand corner for so many years.

Microsoft reported that Windows 11 will be available as a free download for existing Windows users. At the launch on Thursday 24th June 2021, Microsoft stated that the upgrade will begin to roll out to eligible Windows 10 PCs later this year and will continue into 2022. No specific dates have yet been announced.

First Class Technologies is in the process of evaluating the system and will be helping clients transition to Windows 11. The hardware specification is not demanding, but careful consideration needs to be taken before deploying it, to ensure a smooth roll out.

First Class Technologies will be able to run a check on your PCs, to make sure they have the correct requirements to run Windows 11, as machines must have a trusted platform module (TPM) installed for the new operating system to work.

If you are interested in this next generation of Windows, or if you haven’t yet updated to Windows 10 and would like to make the switch to prepare your machines for the Windows 11 upgrade, please get in touch with First Class Technologies.

If you’d like a sneak peek, visit Microsoft Windows 11 introductory video.

Windows 11

Whether you are working from home or a busy office, it is easy to feel under pressure when taking telephone calls.

There is something about a telephone conversation that can put you on the spot. Perhaps it is the lack of visual input because you can’t see each other’s faces or body language.

In a face to face conversation, you can frown or look up to show that you are thinking about your response. On the telephone, there is just silence, so there can be a tendency to keep talking to bridge the gap.

It is important to keep a clear head in a telephone conversation. Give yourself time to think, especially if you are being asked to give out any personal data, even to confirm or deny information that relates to clients, customers or colleagues.

A useful tip to get a minute or two to think is to say that you need to check the situation with a colleague or manager. Another good tip, if you are in doubt as to whether or not you should pass on information, is not to do it. Ask the caller to put their request in writing, on headed notepaper if it is an organisation rather than an individual.

Trust your instincts. You will know the routine data disclosures that are made as part of your job. So, if a request is out of the ordinary, that is enough to warn you that you should take extra care in your responses.

Article courtesy of Mandy P Webster, Data Protection Consulting Limited


Interactive electronic whiteboards offer many benefits to teachers and pupils in today’s smart classroom environment, but in the current climate, with COVID-19, self-isolation and online learning affecting day-to-day classroom activities, digital whiteboard technology can really come into its own. 

Interactive whiteboards with touchscreen displays can make a huge difference to education, allowing teachers and lecturers to connect with students whether they’re in class or at home, helping to increase student performance and comprehension.

One of the greatest benefits of this smart classroom technology is that it offers the ability to save, re-play and share entire lessons on screen. Not only does this allow teachers to pre-plan lesson content, including any corresponding videos, images and tasks, but also allows any self-isolating students access to the recording. This offers a relatively simple solution for what is becoming an ever-increasing occurrence. Smart whiteboard technology allows those children who can’t come into the classroom the chance to still learn and engage with the same materials as their attending classmates.

A digital whiteboard also offers the ability for students to engage with their learning much more deeply than they would ever be able to if they just had access to notes. These days, interactive whiteboards are an essential tool for delivering online e-lessons, offering a seamless presenting solution to deliver smooth, organised lessons to keep students engaged.

In the digital classroom, with internet connectivity allowing access to endless online resources and technology, there are now countless ways to collaborate with students in schools, colleges and universities. Smart, interactive whiteboards can help bring lessons to life no matter what the circumstances, or where the students are viewing from.

To learn more about the types and ranges of smart, digital whiteboards available, just get in touch with First Class Technologies on 01543 414152.


It’s happened to all of us at some point. Your Wi-Fi signal is strong but there’s no internet connectivity.

Frustrating as it is, it’s also explainable – because Wi-Fi and the internet are two different things, and understanding the difference can help you troubleshoot future network problems.

Internet WiFi

How is Wi-Fi different from the internet?
Wi-Fi is a registered trade name for a group of technologies that allow a device, such as a computer, smartphone or game console, to wirelessly connect to a local area network (LAN) using a radio link. Wi-Fi replaces the need for a physical cable between a networked device and a router – a device that manages connections between all of the devices on the LAN.

The internet is a general name for hundreds of millions of smaller networks, such as LANs, linked together and within these smaller networks are billions of connected devices. These computers can be linked together using physical wires, optical cabling and radio links.

So, when your device has a Wi-Fi connection, you are connected to a LAN. But…the LAN you’re connected to may not necessarily be connected to the internet. That’s where the problem lies. Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding the connection problem
Your device is linked to a router via Wi-Fi, forming a local network, and, when all goes well, your local network is successfully connected to the internet.

Sometimes, the link between your local network (managed by a router, hub or modem) and the internet goes down. There could be a temporary problem with your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) equipment, physical damage to cables that link you to the ISP’s network or some other issue. In that case, you are still connected to the local network but your local network is not connected to the internet, in which case your device may show a strong Wi-Fi connection or signal but you have no internet connectivity.

What to do when your internet connection is down
When you have internet connection problems, first try restarting your device. If that doesn’t work, you can reboot your router. Some devices have a power switch, but the unplug-and-plug-back-in method applies to all routers. Whilst you’re waiting for it to power back up again, take the opportunity to verify all the cables are securely connected. Also, check for overheating as, like any other device, routers can fall prey. If the vents are blocked or you have it in a hot location, overheating can cause instability.

If all else fails, call your ISP and report the problem. Or, if you’re struggling with the above, give us a call at First Class Technologies! We’ll be happy to try to help.


Using your voice to control Windows can be a helpful option if you physically can’t or don’t want to use your mouse and keyboard. You can dictate texts to create emails, documents and more.

Windows has long provided its own Speech Recognition tool to set up and use dictation. Windows 10 adds to the mix with its own speech settings. The trick is to get Windows to understand you clearly enough so the process is worth the effort. Learn the best way to set up and use voice recognition in Windows.

Setup in Control Panel
In any supported version in Windows, including Windows 10, you can set up voice dictation in Windows through Control Panel. To do this, open Control Panel in icon view and click the icon for Speech Recognition. At the Speech Recognition screen, click the link to Start Speech Recognition.

Choose the type of microphone you’re using, and then dictate the displayed words to teach Windows your voice. After you’re finished, the Speech Recognition bar pops up at the top of the screen. You can immediately begin dictating text.

Open a document, email or other file in which you want to dictate. Click the microphone icon on the Speech Recognition bar to start listening mode. Dictate your text. You can dictate punctuation, symbols, and other parts of speech as well as specific actions such as ‘new line’ and ‘new paragraph’. To find out what you can say, right-click the Speech Recognition bar and select Open Speech Reference Card. When you’re finished, click the microphone icon again to turn off listening mode.

If Windows is having trouble understanding your words, right-click the Speech Recognition bar, move to Configuration, and select Improve Voice Recognition. Windows takes you through a lengthy series of screens where you dictate certain sentences to help it better pick up your speech.


Whilst the desktop is a convenient place to store files and program shortcuts, it can get messy very quickly.

Here’s how to tidy up your desktop so you can quickly find everything you’re looking for.

Please remember to take into consideration data back-ups when you’re deciding where to store files. Whilst storing documents on your desktop might make them easy to find, always check that files stored on your desktop are covered by your regular back-up process.

Hide all your desktop icons
If you don’t use your desktop much but programs keep dropping shortcuts on it, a rapid solution is to hide everything to get a perfectly clean desktop.

To toggle desktop icons on and off, right-click on your desktop and select View>Show Desktop Icons and your desktop will appear empty.

To see your desktop icons again, click the Show Desktop Icons option again. Or you can open a Windows Explorer window and click the ‘Desktop’ folder to view the contents of your desktop in a standard file browser window.

That’s the draconian option, of course, but if you like storing files and program shortcuts on your desktop, you won’t want to hide them all.

Quickly sort your desktop icons

For a quick re-organisation, you can right-click your desktop and select an option in the ‘Sort By’ menu. For example, select ‘Name’ to sort them alphabetically or ‘Date Modified’ to sort them chronologically which makes it easier to find what you’re looking for if your desktop is very busy.

You can also use the options under the ‘View’ menu to choose the size of your desktop icons and decide whether they’re aligned to a grid. If you uncheck ‘Auto Arrange Icons’, you can drag and drop icons anywhere you want. If this option is enabled, icons will always be grouped.

Organise your files and shortcuts into folders

Consider using folders to keep your desktop organised. To create a folder, right-click the desktop, select New > Folder, and give the folder a name. Drag and drop items from your desktop into the folder. You can double-click a folder on your desktop to open it, so it takes a few more clicks to open your files—but they’re still easy to find.

For example, you could have separate folders for your photos and documents, or keep files related to a single project in their own folder. And yes, you can drag and drop program shortcuts into folders too.

If you’d like to clean up your desktop quickly, you can select everything on your desktop and then drag and drop them into a folder. You can then move items back onto your desktop as you need them.

Use the desktop as a temporary working area

The desktop works well as a workspace, giving you a convenient place to store files on which you’re currently working. For example, you might store spreadsheets you’re working on, documents you’ve scanned, photos you’ve just taken or things you’ve just downloaded on your desktop.

To keep the desktop useful for this task and prevent it from getting too cluttered, try only storing files on your desktop for as long as you need them. When you’re finished with a project, move the associated files to another folder like your main Documents or Pictures folder.

In other words, treat the desktop like you would treat a physical desktop or counter – place things on it while you’re using them and clear them away afterwards.

The caveat, of course, in relation to the above is that, on your work PC, files should not be kept on the desktop, as this places them on the local machine which is not automatically backed up. You should keep all your folders, documents, pictures, etc. on the server, since this is backed up (provided your company has a robust backup solution in place) and can be recovered in the event of a mishap.