CRM 2011 – Free universal search solution from Sonoma Partners

The Sonoma partners have done many great things for the CRM community, they have an excellent blog, they have authored some of the best books on CRM out there and now and again they write an excellent add on for CRM and give it away for free.

This is some functionality which I have been asked for by customers previously. It gives you the functionality to search multiple entities at once.

The video below show the functionality in action

if you want to download the free solution then go to Pinpoint by clicking the link below and in exchange for you name and email address you get a free universal search tool in CRM

http://pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-us/applications/universal-search-for-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2011-free-12884946856

it can also be configured to specify which entities you want to be able to search.

Using Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 and CRM 2011

I have been installing some software on Windows Server 2012 and setting up the CRM Outlook Addin on Windows 8.

Using the new version of windows is tricky to begin with because you can’t find anything, navigating around feels like waundering around in a maze.

You come to a crossroads and then head off in one direction hoping it’s the right one.

Some of this is just because it’s different and I’m not used to it and some of it’s weird because it’s made for touch screen devices.  The best way I can describe this is it all feels a bit odd and unintuitive.

Still I don’t want to be a Windows 8 basher, soon enough we will all be used to it and it’s quirks (hopefully with company tablets to ease the pain).

Although I cannot imagine how scores of Office workers will cope, I saw people struggling for months when Microsoft brought in the Ribbon menu.

My installation of CRM 2011 on Windows 2012 was problametic and some of the reason for this is because it isn’t supported.  I stupidly assumed that given the amount of time Microsoft has had they would have sorted this but I ran into a couple of problems and thinking about this it may take them some time to fix these issue

The first problem was the Indexing Services.  One of the prerequisites for installing CRM is turning on File Services, Windows Server 2003 File Services and the all important Indexing Service.

In Windows 2012 the indexing service has gone and CRM isn’t very happy about this at all, in fact you won’t be able to get very far into an install at all.  Daniel Cai has a work around for this on his blog which involves putting the windows indexing service command line tool and dll’s in the System32 folder.

The second problem I had was CRM 2011 was not compatible with IIS 8, I also had problems during the install with messages about.NET 4 etc.

This puts new customers of CRM in a quandry, do they not buy Windows Server 2012 because they won’t be able to install CRM 2011 on it??

I also wonder how long it will take Microsoft to fix this?

Windows 8 had a few problems when using CRM 2011, you have to manually enable Windows Identity Foundation

http://metaphorix.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/windows-8-and-crm-outlook-problem-cannot-connect-to-microsoft-dynamics-crm-server/

Also there is a problem using internet explorer 10 but Microsoft have a kb article for that below

Support with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Internet Explorer 10

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2743941 

The problems and rantings above are probably fairly standard stuff for a new  release of a windows operating system, in fact they seem quite minor.

Windows 8 will certainly make the future installations interesting and it’s refreshing in some ways to be involved with new software.

CRM 2011 – adding the CRM Outlook add on in windows 8 needs Windows Identity Foundation manually enabling

If you have a new laptop and try and install the CRM 2011 outlook client then you will probably get an error when Outlook tries to use the CRM 2011 discovery service and display the different organisations you can add to outlook.

This is what happened

Windows 8 installed and Microsoft Office installed

I downloaded the Outlook Client add on

Installed the outlook client addon and then applied rollup 10

When you open Outlook it will pop up the CRM configure Organisation screen which asks you to put in the url of your CRM server.

It’s at this point you get an error saying it cannot connect to the discovery service.

So far I have had 3 Windows 8 installation and this problem has occurred on all 3 and for some reason by default the Windows 8 installation does not have the Windows Identity Framework.

To resolve this problem you need to enable Windows Identity Framework 3.5 and this took me a while to find but that was only because at the moment Windows 8 is different

1.  You need to get to the control panel (here are some ways here)

2.  Go to Programs –> Turn Windows features on or off

3.  Enable/tick Windows Identity Foundation 3.5 and press the OK button


You should now be able to continue with your CRM 2011 Addon installation and go back to the CRM configuration tool, put in the url of CRM 2011 server and pick the organisation

CRM 2011 Tool – Iconator will speed up the icon adding process

I sometimes still use the CRM 4 demo application to create icons for CRM 2011 organisation, other times you might find some free icons and then have to go through the process of adding them as web resources in CRM 2011 and then linking them to the entity.

but now that’s to the CRM Tool guy, icons can be easily added to CRM 2011

For those of you who want the tool now, go to CodePlex

below are the features taken from Tanguy’s blog post, once again excellent work from Tanguy

Features

  • Connect to any type of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 deployment (OnPremise, IFD, Online, Online with Office 365)
  • Apply icons to multiple entities in a single action
  • Load new image web resources
  • Reset entities to default icons

Screenshots

1

2

Dynamic Connector upgrade Gotcha

A quick blog post about a little gotcha I found with a recent Dynamic Connector upgrade.

I upgraded an existing Dynamic Connector configuration and everything seemed to go ok but when I looked at the maps I could see that when I clicked on some of the custom maps I had made it wasn’t showing them saying

“Object Does not exist” or something like that

and then the map is blank and you cannot see any of the fields.

The reason for this was because it had only loaded the default maps, I had to run the configuration utility and tick all the custom (non default) maps and then it turned out the maps were ok.

 

I frustrating thing I find with the Dynamic Connector is that every time I search for an error the only source of information I come to is this blog.  I wish more people would blog about the Connector and wish the Connector team would blog more about the connector and the problems that crop up.

Installing CRM 2011 and Windows Server 2012 – not supported but working…just

The first thing I am going to add is this is totally UNSUPPORTED by Microsoft so think twice about doing this on a production server for a client.  Hopefully Microsoft will swiftly pull their finger Also my method involves installing CRM 2011 as Network Service which isn’t the most secure so take that into account before reading on.

For some reason CRM 2011 and Windows Server 2012 are not compatible, this strikes me as crazy.  I would also like to add that the flipping charms menu would refuse to pop up for ages and without a windows key (remote desktop) this was amazingly frustrating

Surely this should be the top priority of Microsoft to get their products working with the latest software and server versions and I would imagine they could have resolved a lot of these problems by installing CRM 2011 on a Windows Server 2012 beta or demo version.

So I am in the position that the customer has installed the latest software which is something you would think Microsoft would want but Microsoft software products don’t support this yet.

enough ranting

Firstly a massive thank you to Daniel Cai who worked out how to get passed the fact Windows Server 2012 does not have an Indexing Service and CRM 2011 demands an indexing service and its usually one of the things you have to enable on a server before you install CRM 2011.

The trick was quite clever basically copying the indexing command line and dll files into the SYSTEM32 folder.

So the first step in installing CRM 2011 on Windows Server 2012 is going to Daniel’s blog and run through the instructions

http://danielcai.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/install-crm-2011-on-windows-server-8.html?showComment=1350058613112#c2768843534942199759

If you tried that and it didn’t work then you will need to uninstall CRM (sorry I should have told you earlier but it might have worked and installing practise is always good).

I will also add I tried all sorts of combinations trying to install CRM 2011 on Windows Server 2012 but I kept getting the error

IIS 8 not supported, final screen, setup failed

When installing CRM you need to specify the user as Network Service.  After this CRM 2011 should install as normal.

Be warned it will pop up a few errors

don’t worry it will still rumble through the installation.

Also when I finished installing CRM 2011 it did not automatically pop the SRSConnector install, so you will have to manually go into CRM install files and run that.

CRM 2011 – Rollup 10.2 – a rollup of a rollup

When I saw there was another CRM rollup and it was called rollup 10 I had a sense of deja vu about the rollup, in fact I was pretty sure I had installed Rollup 10.

after a bit of digging around I have found Microsoft have released a updated version of the rollup (why not call it rollup 11!) because users have been experiencing problems.

Firstly if you want to know detailed information rather than the summary or juicy bits then go to the link below

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/13437.update-rollup-10-for-microsoft-dynamics-crm-2011.aspx

Release schedule

Update Rollup 10 for on-premises CRM servers and CRM Outlook clients was released on August 16th, 2012. The estimate for Update Rollup 10 release date for CRM Online customers is on the week starting on October 8th, 2012  .

Update Rollup 10 contains all the hotfixes that were originally scheduled to be released with Update Rollup 9, which has since been cancelled due to the changes in the release schedule for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Q2 2012 Update functionality  .

Due to several issues experienced by users who deployed the initial Update Rollup 10 (build number 5.0.9690.2730), Microsoft re-released Update Rollup 10 on October 4th, 2012. The new version (build number 5.0.9690.2740) replaced the original UR10 files on Microsoft Download Center. Read the post regarding the re-release  on the Dynamics CRM in the Field blog.

Highlights

  • Many performance and stability-related fixes, including in total 30 hotfixes related to the CRM Client for Microsoft Outlook
  • Quick Find performance optimizations and EnableRetrieveMultipleOptimization (ERMO) SQL query performance optimizations
  • Compatibility with new and upcoming products from Microsoft
    • Windows 8: KB2744954 
      • Note: Windows Identity Foundation 3.5 (WIF) feature must be enabled manually in Windows 8:KB2727137 
    • Internet Explorer 10: KB2743941 
      • Note: Only the Compatibility View in IE10 supports CRM 2011 and must be enabled manually for the CRM server URL
    • Office 2013 Preview: KB2744957 

So I think this would be a good release to install if you have any users on Windows 8 and definitely if you installed the original Rollup 10.

CRM 2011 installation error – SQL Server: The instance name must be the same as computer name

I got this error on a recent CRM Install.

The reason for this error was because the name of the SQL Server machine had been changed after SQL Server 2012 had been installed.

So what I think basically happens when you install CRM it creates the default instance with the same name as the computer – server name.

So I believe the CRM 2011 installation was looking for the service name which is the same name as the server and couldn’t find one.

luckily there is a couple of good blogs written on this

http://community.dynamics.com/product/crm/crmtechnical/b/zhongchenzhoustipstricksandportaldevelopment/archive/2012/04/28/dynamics-crm-2011-installation-error-the-instance-name-must-be-the-same-as-computer-name.aspx

http://mscrmuk.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/sql-server-instance-name-must-be-same.html

The answer to this problem is to rename the instance name with some SQL commands I never come across before.

Open up an SQL Query window and type

sp_helpserver 

This will give you the name of the current server instance and a bunch of other values (but don’t worry about those)

We now need to drop this name by running the SQL command below, You put the value of the incorrect server name in the quotes  (where I have INCORRECT SERVER NAME”

SP_DROPSERVER “INCORRECT SERVER NAME”

now run the command below and the name in the quotes is the name of the server, don’t forget to add the comma local at the end otherwise the sql statement will error.

SP_ADDSERVER “DATABASE-1”, local

After you have done the change you can run

sp_helpserver 

It should return the changed value.

You now need to run restart SQL Server and try the CRM install verification again

CRM 2011 – How to add a knowledge base article

The Knowledge base in CRM is used to store articles which can be easily searched and accessed by the CRM users and attached to emails.   This is a great alternative to storing articles on folders because CRM can be easily accessed by everyone, the articles are backed up and stored in the CRM database and CRM has powerful searching capabilities making it easy to find the information you need.

Knowledge base articles also allow you to easily and quickly email the articles to people.

The current articles templates used in CRM are

Procedure

Question & Answer

Solution to a Problem

Standard KB Article

More templates can be easily added in the Settings –> Business Templates

You can access the knowledge base articles by going to

 Workplace Articles

Or

Service Articles

You will a list of the published articles

You can click on any of the articles to read them.

Searching

One of the key benefits of the knowledge base articles is it’s a central location for the articles and the ability to search the knowledge base articles.

If you click the search button when in the articles area, the ribbon will change to display the search functionality.

Creating a new article

Articles can be information to resolve common NAV problems we repeatedly send to customers or Window 8 problems or internal procedures, basically anything useful.

  1. Navigate to the articles area by going to Workplace à Articles Or Service àArticles
  2. Press the New button

3.   Choose one of the templates and press the OK button

4.  Fill in the details for your knowledge base article, the headings in the article could be different depending on which template you selected.  When finished press the SAVE button

5.  Press the submit button

6.  Press the Approve button

7.  Congratulations you have created a Knowledge base article.

If you cannot approve the article then your company has not granted your security role the approve privilege and there might be an approval process.

If you want more information on knowledge base articles then this blog has a great collection of articles on the subject

Where is the Knowledge Base in Dynamics CRM 2011?
The Lifecycle of an Article in Dynamics CRM 2011
Creating an Article in Dynamics CRM 2011
Creating and Editing an Article Template in Dynamics CRM 2011
What to Check for when Approving an Article in Dynamics CRM 2011
Commenting on an Article in Dynamics CRM 2011
How to Insert an Image into your Dynamics CRM Article
Searching for Articles in Dynamics CRM 2011
Customizing an Article Form in Dynamics CRM 2011
Inserting a Dynamics CRM 2011 Article into an Outlook Email

The account specified to run the Microsoft Dynamics CRM application does not have Performance Counter permissions.

If you have installed CRM 2011 you will have almost definitely seen this message.

I am doing it with a Windows 2012 server install and I know how to fix the error but finding Local Users and Groups setting is a puzzle in itself.

The cause of the problem is the CRM service users you specified in your install are not in the Performance Log Users windows group (WHY can’t the installer add them in !!)

To find the Local Users and Groups I went the right, got the right bar with Search, Start and Settings on.

I hit the search

changed the search to settings

type in edit local user

 

(there is probably a much quicker way of getting to Local Users and Groups but I am currently slowly stumbling my way around Windows server 2012 and Windows 8)

  1. Add the service accounts to the Performance Log Users group.
  2. Press the Back and Forward button on the CRM install

You should no longer receive that error which will leave you to work on any other errors which might pop up