CRM 2013 – Exporting your changes in a solution from your CRM 2013 trial

I have had my CRM 2013 trial for a month and those of you who jumped on board on Hosk’s CRM Dev youtube channel will also have also created a CRM 2013 trial which will be expiring soon.  It would be nice if Microsoft could just give me a CRM 2013 organisation to use, particuarly as I mainly use it answer Forum questions and to test CRM and write blogs on CRM 2013 functionality.  Still I’m sure there are a lot of people who would like that but I like everyone else have to create a new CRM 2013 trial every time my current ones runs out days

Here is the video, where I run through the steps of exporting your solution

Usually Microsoft send you some emails saying your trial is ending soon, you better act quick because all your data and changes will soon be deleted, unless you give Microsoft some money and sign up for a minimum 5 user monthly license and a years contract (I think these details are correct)

The good news is you can just create another trial and in the past my CRM 2013 Trial was still accessible up to 60 days later but it might become accessible any time after 30 days, so we need to act now to save our customization’s from being sucked away.

 Visual Studio

You code components are usually safe from the trail ending.  The reason they are safe is because they will probably be offline in your CRM 2013 Developer toolkit, so you have an offline backup of these file and the ability to import them into a new solution.

The plugins in a solution are an interesting limbo point because in solutions plugins are compiled DLL’s, which is great for moving between CRM organisation, if you want to change those plugins you will need the class files and the code logic (although I do appreciate you can decompile dll’s, its not something you want to be doing often).  So you do need to keep track of your Visual studio CRM 2013 Developer solutions and projects.

Exporting your solution

Open your solution in CRM and make sure you have all the components you have changed or want to take to your new CRM 2013 Trial

Click on components and this will show you all the components that are currently in your solution

solution export 1

anything you don’t want select and click the remove button.

There may be things you have edited in the default solution, if you want those then you need to click the add existing component and select that component.


When  you are happy click the Export Solution button.

It will ask you to publish customizations, if you have changes saved but not published you should publish those changes because you cannot export any save but not published changes.

click next

now you will see a list of dependent components, these are components that must exist in the target system to work and the reason for this is because they are referenced in the components in your solution.  An example is Contact is a required component in my solution because there is a contact lookup on the account called Primary Contact.

solution export 2


In my example I know all these required components will exist in my next CRM system because they are all default components but if you may need to add some custom ones if you had added them and they don’t exist in your current solution.

Press Next

It asks you if you want to bring the system settings with you?  This depends if you have changed any

Press Next

You now have to choose managed and unmanaged.  If you are not sure export both solutions (it means you will have to run the export wizard again).

I view managed and unmanaged as

managed = Read Only

Unmanaged = Editable

if you export a managed solution it means you won’t be able to modify that code on the target CRM organisation.  This is usually for a customer release.

In my example I want an unmanaged solution because I want to be able to edit and change the components in the next CRM instance I import them into.



If you have changed the data in your CRM system and want to bring it with you to the next CRM organisation then  you need to do an advanced find, select the records you want and then export those records into Excel.

Don’t tick the allow for remimport button we want to import this data into a new CRM organisation so there is no point getting the guids because they won’t exist in my new CRM trial.


Backing up

It’s a good idea to back up your Solutions as Managed and unmanaged.  I would advise you to keep a backup of all the solutions you create, particularly changes in version format.  Solutions provide a great way to backup custmoziation and allow you to quickly import component changes without having to import new/old data


So now you have an export of your changes in a solution ready to import into your next CRM 2013 trial, where you can continue to learn about CRM Development and try the new CRM 2013 features.