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With the next update, as part of Microsoft’s 365 roadmap, Outlook users will soon be able to ‘react’ to Outlook emails without sending or receiving incremental emails. 

Like Emojis 

The Microsoft ‘Reactions’ feature will enable Outlook users to choose a thumbs up, laugh, heart, celebrate, or shed a tear reaction to emails. As well as applying their own ‘sentiment’, users will soon be able to see the reaction of others to emails in Outlook. With the preview date scheduled for July and release for August, it appears that Mac users will be the first to be able to try the feature. 

Competing With Social Media Platforms 

Being able to react to emails in this way is similar to how social media users have long been able to react to posts. Social media platforms such as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Snapchat have both recently announced the addition of reactions features with more emojis, and Microsoft’s reactions feature appears to be a way to compete with them. For example, on 5 May, Facebook announced the beginning of the rollout of its own ‘reactions feature’ – i.e. six different emojis. Also, back in January, Snapchat announced a major update (for iOS) which included Bitmoji Reactions (to allow for more expression), and Poll Stickers to enable emoji-powered polls in Snaps and Stories to survey friends. 

Teams Emojis Expanded 

Back in January, Microsoft announced that it was increasing the number of emojis available to use as Reactions in Microsoft Teams to 800 emojis to allow users to express themselves when applying reaction to chat messages. The rollout was put back to March 2022. 

Why Are Emojis So Popular? 

Some of the reasons why emojis have become so popular with web users, particularly with social media users and others involved in chats, is because they are a universal language, they save time (not always having to think of a verbal reply but still responding appropriately), there are now many of them (they offer flexibility), they can be fun, and they can quickly and clearly indicate popular opinion in responses. 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

The introduction of ‘reactions’ to Outlook emails is both a competitive move by Microsoft (e.g. with WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, and others who have introduced a similar feature recently) and simply to meet user needs and expectations. For example, many users involved in quickly evolving chats on collaborative working platforms and social media now value a fast, easy way to respond without having to waste time on an unnecessary, new written response. Using expanded reactions Outlook feels as though it may be a natural progression for emails and could save businesses valuable time.

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A survey by IT asset management platform Lansweeper has revealed that 55 per cent of devices are not capable of upgrading to Windows 11. 


The survey, based on an estimated 30 million Windows devices from 60,000 organisations, has revealed that on average, only 44.4 per cent of workstations are eligible to receive the automatic upgrade. 

Was A Concern Last Year 

In June 2021, Microsoft’s Windows 11 announcement showed that its minimum hardware requirements meant that it would only support eighth generation and newer Intel Core processors (as well as Apollo Lake and newer types of Pentium and Celeron processors). This prompted fears that the new OS may simply not be able to run on many older computers. 

Also, the required “hard floor” (minimum configuration) for Windows 11 was that a device needs a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip (a type of security chip used for things like storing passwords and encryption keys) to run it.  Without this type of chip, Windows 11 couldn’t be run on a device, and even devices that would meet the “soft floor” looked likely to receive a notification that an upgrade to Windows 11 wouldn’t be advisable. 

In August 2021, Microsoft also appeared to be saying that although Windows 11 wouldn’t run on some older PC’s, it didn’t plan to stop users from trying. 


Lansweeper has highlighted the fact that although Microsoft has since made changes to allow anyone to manually install Windows 11 regardless of the CPU, an automatic upgrade is only possible if the three critical components of the computer – the CPU, the RAM and the TPM- meet the requirements necessary. 

In Lansweeper’s survey, it was discovered that 44.4 per cent of central processing units / CPUs for workstations met the system upgrade requirements, 91 per cent met the RAM requirements, and only half of the workstations tested met the TPM requirements (Trusted Platform Module – an international standard for a secure crypto processor). 

Challenge For Virtual Machine Workstations 

The survey also found that most Virtual Machine (VM) workstations will need to be modified to get a vTPM before they can upgrade to Windows 11. This is mainly because only 0.23 per cent of all virtual workstations have TPM 2.0 enabled, i.e. there are almost no TPM-enabled virtual servers. In fact, Lansweeper found that TPMs on physical servers only passed the test 1.49 per cent of the time! The implication is that 98 per cent will fail to upgrade if Microsoft creates a server operating system with similar requirements in the future. 


Worries about system requirements may be one of the reasons why, as highlighted in Lansweeper’s survey, the adoption rate of Windows 11 may be as low as only 1.44 per cent. It should be noted, however, that other surveys, such as the AdDuplex survey, puts the Windows 11 adoption rate much higher at 19.4 per cent. The reality may be 10 per cent or less. 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

Right from the early announcements about the system requirements to upgrade to Windows 11, it has been clear that many older devices may not have the capacity receive the (automatic) upgrade. The Lansweeper survey confirms that the CPU and TPM requirements still represent a challenge. For businesses with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of Windows machines, having to audit them all plus the possibility of many failing to upgrade could mean significant wasted time and additional costs. In addition to worries over system requirements of devices (and worries about having to buy machines that meet those requirements), other reasons for an apparently low adoption rate figure of Windows 11 to date could be the fact that Windows 10 will be supported until 2025 and isn’t perceived to be much different to Windows 11 anyway.  It’s still relatively early days however, but it appears that Windows 11 hasn’t got off to a good start and many businesses may need advice and re-assurance before deciding to commit. 

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The UK’s national fraud reporting centre, Action Fraud, says that it has received 196 reports of scam emails claiming to be raising funds for victims of the war in Ukraine.  

Facebook Post  

In a Meta / Facebook post on 18 March, Action Fraud reported:  

“We’ve received 196 reports about FAKE emails purporting to raise money for those affected by the crisis in Ukraine. Some of the emails even claim to be from Wladimir Klitschko.”  

Fake Websites Too  

ESET researchers have also reported seeing a number of fake websites showing images of soldiers and explosions and the flag of Ukraine, asking for aid donations but with no specific details of how the money will be used. ESET commented in tweet: “Cybercriminals have no shame. With no humanitarian organization and only generic purpose mentioned, scammers try to lure out money from people trying to help #Ukraine during the #war.”   


The advice from Action Fraud is that if any suspicious emails are received, they should be forwarded to:  Also, the Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator have published information online here to help the public to ‘give safely’ to registered charities and causes helping to support and protect people affected by the invasion of Ukraine.

Simple Checks  

The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator suggest that those looking to donate to causes working in Ukraine and neighbouring countries should make some simple checks before donating, such as:  

– Check the charity’s name and registration number at   

– Check to see if the charity is genuine before parting with any financial information, e.g. check online for details of the charity and/or contact them to ask about what work they’re doing and how funds are spent.  

– Exercise caution when responding to emails or clicking on links within the emails.  

– Look for the Fundraising Badge (the Fundraising Regulator’s logo) on charity fundraising materials. This is a sign that they fundraise in line with the Code of Fundraising Practice.  

Helen Stephenson CBE, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said about donating causes helping the people of Ukraine: “We encourage everyone to follow our simple steps to check that their money gets to its intended cause. Donating to a registered charity is a good way to feel confident of that.”  

What Does This Mean For Your Business?  

Just as we saw with the pandemic, scammers will exploit any situation to extract money and sensitive, personal information from people. Situations where there is a strong emotional response and an urge to help and move quickly are ideal for scammers who rely people acting on emotional impulse and not checking or using critical thought or discussing their intentions with others who may alert them to the danger. Taking time to make simple checks, such as some basic online research can help ensure that money goes to those who need it rather than to fraudsters funding more crime. The advice is to be on the alert for fake emails and social-media posts from scammers looking to cash-in on the crisis in Ukraine, report and to delete and suspicious emails and make some basic checks before donating to any charity or organisation. 

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You’ll often find that in most offices, certain people will get bombarded with emails on a daily basis whilst others get very few. Why is this? The main reasons for receiving spam is how visible your email address is (or has been) on the internet. Every time you enter your email address onto a web form, there is a chance that it’ll used in some way to send you junk. Most companies have a very good data protection record and will only send you mails you have agreed to but others are less scrupulous. Always make sure when filling out web forms, that you un-tick agreements for companies to send you mail from time to time. Especially un-tick anything that says that partner companies may mail you. This is basically allowing them to sell your email address to the highest bidder! (email address lists are regularly traded on the internet).

If you are filling in a web form and are in any way unsure of the company, then ideally try not to give them your email address. If you absolutely need to enter an email address but definitely don’t need to receive anything from them, consider just typing in some junk! I.E. – this will usually then allow you to then proceed with the form.

Also consider if you have any alias email addresses on your mail account. Whilst your main mail address may be, you may also have something like pointed at your inbox. General addresses such as info@, sales@, accounts@ can be considered spam magnets and will usually get a lot of random spam sent to them. If you need to get mail to these addresses but don’t want the associated spam issues, then consider creating a shared mailbox. This at least keeps the spam out of your inbox! Shared mailboxes are free on Office 365.

With hosted email usage being so high these days, spam doesn’t tend to be so much of a problem so it’s definitely worth considering hosting your email system if you haven’t already. We can (of course!) help with this.

If you need any help with any of the above topics, please do give us a call.

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When we set-up a server or start working with a new customer, one of the first things we’ll do is try to ensure that backup system and it’s corresponding alerts are working correctly. We usually set-up a system that will email alerts both to you and to us here at Academy. This is an essential step in making sure your backup is working as it should. This means we’ll usually spot pretty quickly when a backup fails due from these alerts and it also allows you to keep tabs on your backup.

So, if you haven’t checked your backup alerts for a while, it’s definitely worth making sure you’re receiving them and that your backup is good. We’ve seen an awful lot of preventable data loss over the years due to unmonitored backups not working correctly. Please don’t be a statistic!

We also have some great options for cloud based backup if you’d like the extra piece of mind that this offers. Prices start at £15 per month for a 50GB backup and go up from there.

If you have any questions or would like us to double check your backup is definitely functioning correctly, please do give us a shout!

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As you may have heard, Windows 10 will be release on July 29 and is a free upgrade (for the first year) to anyone with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. The prerequisites for this upgrade are that you have either Windows 7 with service pack 1 installed, or that you have Windows 8.1 (as opposed to Windows 8).

If you’ve recently updated your computer, you may have noticed a Windows 10 button appear in the system tray (near the clock). This button allows you to register your interest for Windows 10 and we believe that filling in the form may then automatically upgrade your PC to Windows 10 on release – we’re not currently sure if it actually asks you at that point! Our thought on this is to hold off registering to see if its generally painless or is likely to cause issues on an existing computer. If you do absolutely have to try it, then our advice would be to install it on the least used PC in your office to see if it causes problems before rolling it across your entire domain.

As ever, if you’d like more advice please call us nearer the time to discuss in full. Andy has a Windows 10 course booked and I’ll be installing it pretty much on day one to gain familiarity with the product.

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Microsoft have recently announced that their premium telephony & collaboration software, Lync, is now Skype for Business. The new name brings many changes to the way the product was previous laid out as well as various new features. The only issue seems to be that although the release date is noted as April 14 2015, it doesn’t actually seem to be available anywhere! Office 365 still lists Lync 2013, as does the Apple store. We think it should start replacing Lync in the coming weeks though. No word on whether this is a forced upgrade but we’re presuming that Lync will continue to exist alongside Skype for Business for a while to come. More information below:

Skype for Business


Microsoft have now pulled it together and this update has fully rolled out. You should see that Lync is now Skype for Business. Cue obvious question: “So I now have two versions of Skype on my computer?” Yes, unfortunately you do!

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You may have recently received a mail from Outlook / Office 365 regarding the new clutter feature. This is a system which learns which mails you are likely to ignore (through your actions) and moves them to a new folder named ‘Clutter’. These are mails that you may genuinely want to receive but may not always want to read. This would be things like virus alerts from your Antivirus vendor, special offers from companies you regularly buy from and news items. The idea being to de-clutter your inbox and stop you missing genuine mails between all the daily junk you may receive.

If you find you never read mail from a particular sender, you may want to them to your junk filter or create a rule to delete them on receipt (or simply un-subscribe from the mailing list if its a trusted sender – never un-subscribe from unsolicited spam emails of course!) but the de-clutter feature can definitely be a help when trying to clean up your inbox.

One point to note about this – it would not surprise us at all if spammers were to jump on this bandwagon and try and disguise virus or ‘phishing’ type mails such as this. To ensure the de-clutter mail is genuine, please hover your mouse over the links on the mail before you click them and check they point to You can test this by hovering your mouse over the following link or clicking it if you’d like to enable this feature (noting of course that this can only be enabled if you have an Office 365 account!)

Click here to turn on Clutter

Please give us a shout via the normal channels if you’d like more information on this feature.