CRM 2011 – Outlook CRM Disconnected – Check the time on the server!

Today I had a very unusual problem, suddenly no one could connect to CRM 2011 using outlook.

The web url to CRM 2011 worked fine

but Outlook couldn’t connect.

Oddly my outlook was the only one in the company who could connect (I don’t see what the problem is guys :-))

I turned on tracing on one of the outlooks and the error file didn’t really help me much.  Googling the problem pulled back lots of entries but nothing that worked for me.

I tried to remove the organisation and add it again and then I got a slightly different error  message

CRM 2011 outlook There is a problem communicating with the microsoft Dynamics CRM server

Communication problem, no kidding, they were giving each other the silent treatment.

googling this error message finally brought me to this kb article

This issue may occur for any of the following causes:

  1. The operating system date on the client computer is not set to the correct date.
  2. The operating system time on the client computer is not set to the correct time.
  3. The operating system time zone on the client computer is not set to the correct time zone.
  4. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM server might be unavailable.

What??!?!?  I then got called into a meeting but when I came out one of the salesmen found out the time on the CRM server was 5 minutes slowly than his computer time and when he changed his computer time it worked.

The solution to the problem was to change the time on the CRM server to the correct time, for some reason it had lost 5 minutes.

it took me ages to find the cause of this problem, I can’t really understand why CRM has a such a strict policy about this.


Here is the solution from the KB article

For Causes 1, 2, and 3

  1. Exit the CRM Configuration Wizard.
  2. Change the operating system date and time. To do this, use one of the following methods.

    Method 1: Manually change the operating system time

    1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Clock, Language, and Region, and then click Date and Time.
    2. In the Date and Time dialog box, click Change date and time to change the date and time settings. For example, click a date such as February 1, 2011 from the calendar, and change the time.
    3. Click OK.
    4. Click Change time zone, and then select your time zone.
    5. Click OK.

    Note These steps are for Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 operating systems. To change date and time in Windows XP, please refer to the Windows XP help manual.

    Method 2: Configure the operating system time to synchronize with an Internet time server

    1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Clock, Language, and Region, and then click Date and Time.
    2. In the Date and Time dialog box, click the Internet Time tab, and then click Change Settings.
    3. Click to select the Synchronize with an Internet Time Server check box, select a time server, click Update Now, and then click OK.

    Method 3: Use a command to sync time with the domain if the computer is a member of a domain

    1. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then clickRun as Administrator.
    2. At the command prompt, type the following text, and then press Enter:
      net time [{\\ComputerName | /domain[:DomainName] | /rtsdomain[:DomainName]}] [/set]

      If you do not know the ComputerName or the Domain Name, try the following simple command:

      net time /set

      Then, type Y to finish the change.

      Expand this image

    For more information about the net time command, visit the following Microsoft website:

    Method 4: Force a synchronization of the NTP client if the computer uses an NTP client to sync with an NTP server

For Cause 4

To resolve the issue for Cause 4, you must contact your system administrator to verify the availability of the Dynamics CRM Server. Or, try to run the configuration again.


3 thoughts on “CRM 2011 – Outlook CRM Disconnected – Check the time on the server!

  1. Adam Vero February 7, 2012 / 9:47 pm

    Sounds like a totally standard Kerberos problem to me – if your time drifts by more than 5 minutes between client and resource computers (or DC) then you will get denied access. Its not “CRM being strict”. You can change the limit using Group Policy but it’s there for good reason.

    All machines in a domain should be synchronised to the domain time, ie to a DC on the same AD Site. All DCs should be synched to a single internal source such as the machine which has the PDC Emulator role. That gets your internal time synched and consistent and things should not fall over.

    Ideally that primary time source should synch to an atomic clock so you also have consistent time with the outside world, either using your own or an internet based clock such as provided by various technical universities and military establishments. (using NTP, the round-trip time taken to get updates from the external clock is taken into account when adjusting to correct the time)

    Don’t just manually set the time – whatever caused it to drift may happen again and next time the problem happens you might be on holiday and no-one will know what to do.
    Don’t manually set random servers to synch to an external time source – if you don’t change all of them, the others may drift (eg one of your DCs) and you have the same problem.

    Use the windows time service properly:
    Set all non-DC’s to synch to the domain using group policy or use commands such as:
    w32tm /config /update /syncfromflags:DOMHIER
    w32tm /resync

    w32tm /query /source will tell you the current source computer used to synch time (NB: all w32tm commands need elevated (admin) privileges)


  2. Hosk February 7, 2012 / 10:29 pm

    thanks for your comments Adam.

    my initial thoughts were on the cause of the problem and the solution but reading your comments it certainly does make sense with regards to Kerberos authentication.

    I will admit in my previous role as a developer I didn’t get to do any of the servers and installing/setting up CRM so trying to debug server type problems can be quite a puzzle, so I really appreciate your comments and advice on the subject.

    It’s certainly a benefit to having knowledgeable CRM users reading the blog to me and the other people who follow the blog


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