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Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Upgrade from CRM 2011 to CRM 2013

There will be a number of you wanting to know about the upgrade from CRM 2011 to CRM 2013. This blog post will hopefully provide you some tips & tricks and things you should know, test or be aware of for your upgrade to CRM 2013.


Deployment Models


Firstly, there are a number of deployment upgrade models. Most will be defined as follows:

CRM 2011 CRM 2013
On Premises On Premises
Online (Subscription) Online (Subscription)
Partner Hosted  (Subscription) Partner Hosted (Subscription)

On Premises

If you are using an On Premises version of CRM 2011 and wish to upgrade to CRM 2013, then you will need to carry out the upgrade yourself or work with your Microsoft Partner.  If you do not have a Microsoft Partner, then feel free to call us here at Magnetism on +64 9 550 5223

Options here also allow you to move from a CRM 2011 On Premises (IFD) to CRM 2013 On Premises (IFD).


Companies that use CRM Online have the advantage of having the latest technology available for their business applications. However, the quick push out of CRM 2013 to existing CRM 2011 instances can be a bit quick for some as they need a bit of flexibility to prepare their systems and train their users on the latest update – CRM 2013.

Therefore, Microsoft is introducing the flexibility to schedule when you receive the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13 updates. CRM Online administrators will receive in-product and email notifications of their update schedule and include instructions to reschedule the update, if necessary.

Email reminders will also be sent 90, 30, 15, and 7 days before the update begins by Microsoft.

Note: There is also an option from Upgrading from CRM 2011 Online to CRM 2013 On Premises. Not a usual upgrade option but is available.

Partner Hosted

If your CRM system is hosted by a partner or data centre, then your partner will normally be responsible for managing and maintaining the updates or upgrades. If the data center is sharing customers (organisations) on one tenant, then upgrading to CRM 2013 could be delayed as other customers on the single tenant installation may need to stay on CRM 2011 for various reasons. However, if you have your own tenancy of CRM, then you should work closely with your hosting partner to schedule the upgrade.


On Premises – Upgrade Models


There are basically two upgrade models available, these are:

  • Side-by-Side Upgrade (Full)
  • Side-by-Side Upgrade (databases only)
  • In-place Upgrade (Full)

So what would these three models look like?


  • Side-by-Side – Option 1: (Recommended) It provides the least amount of potential downtime for CRM users. You install all new servers (can be virtualized) for CRM 2013 along-side your existing system.
  • Side-by-Side – Option 2: Upgrade in-place the configuration and default organization databases. You setup a new CRM 2013 app server, but use your existing CRM 2011 SQL Server (where supported by CRM 2013).
  • In-place Upgrade – Option 3: In-place upgrade poses the greatest risk if upgrade issues occur. You simply run the CRM 2013 installation, upgrading “in-place” your existing CRM system. A re-install of CRM will be required if there are any issues. Remember to backup those organisation databases with SQL Server before started this option. Could be your only option to roll back if it turns to custard!

Data Migration – What happens to my data?


With every CRM upgrade you need to consider what do you do with your existing data. Most of the time you will want to keep it, it’s critical information for your business.

Options for data migration are as follows:

  • On Premise -> On Premises : Upgrading your On Premises system
    Option 1: Import the CRM 2011 organisation. This will migrate all your data without a re-import. This is by far the most recommended option.
    Option 2: Re-import your data from your CRM 2011 environment into a new CRM 2013 environment. There could be a lot of effort involved with this option, so consider option 1 first.
  • On Premises –> Online: You will need to migrate the data to your new instance in the cloud.
    Multiple Options:
    a) Use the out-of-the-box CRM Import Tool.
    b) Import the data via CSV files.
    c) Write a custom application that uses the SDK and import data via CRM Web Services.
    d) Import the data using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) via CRM Web Services.
    e) Import the data using a 3rd Party tool i.e. Scribe
  • Online –> On Premises: You have decided to move from the Cloud (CRM Online) to On Premises. You will need to migrate the data from CRM Online to your new instance in the On Premises. You could create a Microsoft Support request ticket and ask for a full backup of your CRM Online organisation. Once you have a copy of this and your CRM 2013 installation is complete, use the On Premises – Smoke Test Upgrade Approach which imports your CRM 2011 database backup into the new CRM 2013 On Premises installation.

On Premises – Smoke Test Upgrade Approach


When performing the upgrade process for an On Premises installation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, I have an approach you can use. This is what I call the Smoke Test Upgrade Approach.

See the following diagram which explains this approach.

Smoke Test Upgrade

You might be asking, what about an approach for CRM Online? Well it’s a bit different for CRM Online as Microsoft will be performing the upgrade for you on your behalf. One of the great benefits of using CRM Online.  See the next section titled Unsupported CRM 4.0 & Legacy Features for tools that can support your upgrade.


Unsupported CRM 4.0 & Legacy Features


The following Microsoft Dynamics CRM features, which you could be using with your CRM 2011 system, will no longer be supported within Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.

  • 2007 Web Service Endpoint
  • ISV folder – you might have used this for custom web applications. Create all custom web applications as new Web Sites in IIS for CRM 2013.
  • CRM 4.0 Plug-ins
  • CRM 4.0 Client-Side Scripting. crmForm syntax is no longer supported. Xrm.Page objects are required in CRM 2013.
  • CRM 4.0 Custom Workflow Activities
  • Solution Down Level Tool
  • DOM Manipulations

The Legacy Feature Check Tool (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=309565) can be used to dive deep into your CRM 2011 system and detect any of the legacy features listed above.

Another couple of tools to assist with your upgrades are:

Dynamics CRM 2013 Supportability


Before we mention what is supported, the following list has been discontinued for Dynamics CRM 2013

  • Internet Explorer 7 (all updates and below)
  • Windows XP (all editions and below). Windows XP support ends on April 8th 2014.  More about Windows XP end of support can be found here.
  • Windows Server 2003 (all editions and below)

The following list outlines the Microsoft software supported with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.

    • Internet Explorer – 8, 9 & 10. Note: No support for Internet Explorer 11 at the time of writing this article.
    • Dynamics CRM – CRM 2011 Update Rollup 6 or CRM Update Rollup 14+ (for the upgrade)
    • Outlook – 2007,2010 & 2013
    • SQL Server – 2008, 2008 R2 & 2012. Note: No support for SQL Server 2014 at the time of writing this article.
    • Windows Server – 2008 SP2, 2008 R2 & 2012
    • Exchange Server – 2007, 2010 & 2013
    • Windows Client – Vista, Windows 7 & Windows 8. Note: No Support for Windows 8.1 at the time of writing this article.
    • ADFS – 2.0, 2.1 & 2.2

What’s New?


There are a lot of new features with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Therefore we will highlight a few, which you should be aware of for your upgrade to CRM 2013.

  • User Interface
  • Base & Extension Table Changes
  • CRM Services
  • CRM Solutions
  • Update Rollups
  • Phone Format
  • Access Teams
  • Server-side Syncronisation
  • Release Preview Guide

User Interface

One of the biggest changes you will notice when you view your CRM 2013 instance for the very first time will be the User Interface. If you are trying find your way around the navigation, then have a look at this blog post (https://yellowduckguy.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/microsoft-dynamics-crm-2013-left-navigation-pane-is-gone-where-is-everything/) for guidance.

The new User Interface is design removes the need for pop-up windows. You will use your new CRM 2013 system within one new, fast and fluid screen.

The screenshot below indicates the layout definitions.

UI Definition

What about my CRM 2011 forms?

When upgrading to CRM 2013, all existing forms from CRM 2011 will continue to work as normal. These forms will look quite basic in CRM 2013. Post-upgrade, you will be able to manually select to upgrade or switch to the new CRM 2013 forms.

If some forms (through the upgrade process) have an issue, these will be added to a Conflicts Tab at the bottom of the CRM 2013 form.

What about my CRM 2011 Ribbon Buttons?

The CRM 2011 Ribbon Buttons will upgrade fine to CRM 2013 and placed on the Command Bar (new in CRM 2013). However, these will be hidden using a new RibbonXml display rule named Mscrm.HideOnCommandBar

I have an earlier version of CRM 2011 without Auto Save. How does this work in CRM 2013 and can I turn it off?

Within CRM 2013 the auto save feature is enabled by default. With auto save enabled there
is no Save button displayed in the command bar on the form. Records that have changed data are automatically saved every 30 seconds or when the user navigates to a new record.

Can I disable auto save?

The auto save behavior within CRM 2013 can be disabled at the organisation level within the System Settings or at the form level via JavaScript code.

Make sure you check out the SDK for CRM 2013 to work with the auto save functionality with CRM 2013.

Access Teams

With the new feature of record-based Access Teams, you can add a user to the record and give them access. The Access Team doesn’t OWN the records, but has Access to the records.

When should I use Access Teams in my new upgrade system?

Use Access Teams when the number of users and teams are dynamic. Use Teams (different from Access Team) when the number of teams is fixed.  Access Teams can simply have access to the records.

You can also have multiple Access Teams per entity.

Phone Format

Within CRM 2013, there is a new Phone type which can be added to a field. This field will allow you to think about removing that custom bit of JavaScript you may have written with CRM 2011 and replace them with this out of the box option.  You will also need to set the country code and prefix within the System Settings to work with this new type.


Update Rollups

I have explained what is an Update Rollup with this post (https://yellowduckguy.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/microsoft-dynamics-crm-what-the-heck-is-an-update-rollup/)

Update rollups will consist of fixes only. Update Rollups will not add, remove or update the CRM 2013 system features or API.

There will also be some changes to the versioning numbers for CRM. You will need to wait for more information from Microsoft on this topic and what the new version numbers actually represent.

CRM Solutions

One of the common questions will be .. “Can I import my CRM 2011 Solution files into CRM 2013?”. The quick answer is YES.

To summarise what can be done:

  • Your CRM 2011 Solution files can be imported into CRM 2013
  • When the CRM 2011 Solution file is being imported, CRM 2013 will upgrade any Solution content to the new CRM 2013 Forms and Ribbon Buttons to the Command Bar as mentioned earlier.
  • CRM 2011 Managed and Unmanaged Solutions will be supported as well.

Microsoft has made some great improvements on enhancing the import performance of your Solution files. Improvements also made with the versioning of the Solution imports.

CRM Services

There are a couple of new services added to CRM 2013. These are:

  • Email Integration Service – Back End Server Service
  • VSS Writer Service – Deployment Administration Server Service

You will notice these services during the installation of CRM 2013. These won’t affect your upgrade from CRM 2011 so you can install these without any issues.


Base and Extension Tables

If you have been working with CRM in the past you are probably aware of the table splitting for each entity within CRM. For example, an entity called Vessel would be structured in the database with one table called VesselBase and another table called VesselExtensionBase.

With CRM 2013, the extension tables will be merged during the upgrade.  This change will benefit the performance of CRM 2013 because there will be higher efficiencies with the SQL queries run by SQL Server. There have been some major headaches with SQL Deadlocks caused by these split tables with CRM Online. So this is a great new improvement!

There is also an option to delay (using an On Demand approach) the merging of these two tables for large databases. There will be a CRM 2013 Merge Tool which will provide this assistance. Watch this space for more information from Microsoft.

Server-side Synchronisation

This new feature within CRM 2013 will allow administrators to easily manage the sync of email, appointments, tasks and contacts between versions of CRM and Exchange.

Some of the features coming to CRM 2013 are:

  • Sync Email, Tasks, Appointments and Contacts between CRM Online & Exchange Online
  • Sync Email between CRM Online or CRM 2013 On Premises with POP3 or SMTP supported providers

Release Preview Guide

To get a quick overview guide of the new release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 & Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online (Fall 2013), then make sure you grab a copy of the Release Preview Guide here (http://download.microsoft.com/download/7/F/1/7F10F758-0846-4210-B9F4-6AF79A96CA76/Release_Preview_Guide_September_2013.pdf).

That is quite a bit of information for you. I hope that helps you with your CRM upgrade to CRM 2013.

Greg Olsen

  1. Holly Myers
    October 10, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Great article! I am excited about the release of CRM 2013! Thanks for posting!

  2. October 10, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    with one word, super super super .Thanks.

  3. Abhijeet
    November 14, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Great.. Thanks for update…

  4. Kevin Hartland
    November 15, 2013 at 11:01 am

    This is great. Do you know if CRM 2013 can take a csv file to update existing records? Say from an outside email provider as an example? Thanks

    • November 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Yes – but please explain more on how and what you are trying to achieve as it sounds like I could provide a better solution.

  5. Dan Dodd
    November 22, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I need to test the code I use to update an entity via the API. We have an instance of the 2013. If my CRM API Host is crmnaorgff2d5.api.crm.dynamics.com what would i use for the test instance? CRM Discovery Host and CRM Address are both crmnaorgff2d5.crm.dynamics.com

    thanks for the detailed post.

    • November 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      In CRM 2013, navigate to: Settings > Customizations > Developer Resources
      to view your Service Endpoint for API integration. These URL’s should help you.


  6. Daniel Du
    June 27, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    can we upgrade dynamic crm from 2011 to Online?

    • July 3, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      Yes. Reply with your email address if you need some guidance or help.

  7. Sudhakar
    November 7, 2014 at 5:09 am

    Great Information. Thanks…

  1. March 7, 2014 at 11:45 pm

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