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Troubleshooting the Dynamics CRM for Outlook Addin

Today's guest blogger is Aaron Robinson, an Engagement Manager at Sonoma Partners.

If you have used Dynamics CRM for any amount of time, you are probably familiar with the Outlook Addin which allows you to utilize Outlook as your interface to all of the goodness that Dynamics CRM has to offer. And more than likely you have been frustrated at some point over issues you have had with the addin – from Outlook slowness to crashes to the infamous addin disabled message.

Diagnostics outlook

Well, our friends at Microsoft have finally released a tool this year to help ease the troubleshooting pain and hopefully quickly resolve common issues. It’s called the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 (SaRA). You can download from the tool’s own landing page at https://diagnostics.outlook.com/#/. I believe this is a rollup of another diagnostics tool Microsoft released last year, but have yet to have that confirmed officially. The tool supports a wide range of troubleshooting for Outlook issues- including general email issues, mobile app issues, Outlook Web App issues, and Dynamics CRM Online. The download is extremely small (195kb currently), and will download other required components once the installation wizard is ran, which will clock in around 35Mb.

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Installation

The installation is a very quick process, and easy enough for most end users to download and install without direction, assuming their account has sufficient privileges to do so. Since the download is relatively small, remote assistance for downloading and installing will work pretty well. Once the initial download launches, the user will be presented with a security prompt to install the application.

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Clicking install will initiate the rest of the download with a progress meter.

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After the download has completed, a prompt will appear to acknowledge the Service Agreement for use of the tool.

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Once you agree, you will be presented with the tool’s primary interface for troubleshooting steps.

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Running the CRM for Outlook Wizard

So now that we have landed at the main menu for the tool, we can select the Dynamics CRM Online option and click Next. The next prompt will ask for the type of problem you are experiencing.  Notice that there is only one option listed, as this option of the SaRA tool is still in beta.  Expect more granular options for types of issues to be added over time to support different issues and their resolution.  For now, it is an all encompassing diagnostic tool for all addin issues.

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Once you click next, you will be asked for your signin credentials.  These are the Office 365 credentials you would use to sign-in to portal.office.com or crm.dynamics.com.

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Once you click next, the wizard will begin to run through several steps checking everything from authentication, to Office 365 configuration, email settings, connectivity to Dynamics CRM Online, and the local CRM for Outlook Addin installation.

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A summary of the diagnostic test will be presented for additional options if a resolution is found.  As you see here, I ran the tool on a PC which did not have the CRM for Outlook addin installed, which it correctly identified. In a recent update of the tool at the beginning of June, support for testing the following scenarios was also added:

  • Check for the current CRM to Outlook version, and a download link to the current version if needed
  • Ability to clear cache files used by CRM for Outlook
  • Action to create a new Outlook profile for the signed-in user
  • Log collection even if addin is not installed

The log collection feature will be extremely helpful got admin who may need to submit support tickets to Microsoft on behalf of a user having an issue.  In my experience the support agents always request logs at the beginning of a case involved the Outlook addin, so I like to collect the logs initially and submit with the initial ticket request in addition to the detail of my troubleshooting steps.  This will help to cut down on the number of communications back and forth with the agent and hopefully quicker resolution to the issue.

The Future

It’s great to see Microsoft making an investment in this area.  While the CRM for Outlook addin has gotten significantly better over the years, having a tool to help troubleshoot is still extremely helpful, as every customer’s environment is different.  There are a few improvements I would like to see added in future releases:

  • Breakout of diagnostics for installation vs error or performance.
  • A dedicated performance diagnostic which checks the PC hardware and system resources in use, and can identify log running scripts during startup of the addin
  • More quick fix options similar to the clear cache files for rebuild the outlook profile

Give it a try and let us know what you think.  And if you are looking for help with the CRM for Outlook app or your deployment of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, let us know!

Topics: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online