The new version of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client has some great features which bring a lot of value and more ease to the deployment experience. I’ll try to highlight a few of the key points in this blog post.
Install Once, Configure as Needed
In V3 each user was required to install the full client to use it with their profile; we’ve greatly simplified this process in our new release. The CRM Client need only be installed once per machine; in fact it can only be installed once. Running setup again will go into maintenance mode. Once the client is installed each user can configure the client independently. Using our new Configuration Wizard each user can configure their CRM profile without requiring administrative privileges.
This only applies to the Online Client, since our Offline Client can still only support one user. For our Online Client an administrator can install it once and every user on the machine can configure it themselves.
Online or Offline Client: Just one installer
Do you want to give your users a choice between installing the Offline or Online only client? Now you can do so from a single install point. Instead of separate installers as there were in V3, the 4.0 Client has a single installer that includes both the Online Client and Offline Client. This can simplify various install scenarios such as deploying through Group Policy Objects: a single administrative install point can be used for both the Online and Offline Clients.
Out of the Box Support for Terminal Server and Citrix
If you have had to deploy the CRM 3.0 Client in a Terminal Server environment you know it requires some scripting sleight of hand to get it working for all users. This is no longer the case. Terminal Server and Citrix deployments for the Online Client are now supported out of the box. This is a direct result of separating the Configuration Wizard from the install process.
If you want to go the extra step and add some start up scripts to configure users silently, the whole experience of installation and configuration can be invisible and seamless to the end user.
Download of required components
Like the previous versions of CRM, our rich client has some prerequisites for installation. If you have the installation media for the client then these prerequisites will be included on the disc. If you’re installing from the download package off of Microsoft.com the installer will detect which components need to be installed and will automatically download the latest versions. The components that will be downloaded and installed include .NET 3.0, Visual C++ Redistributable, MSXML6, SQL Server 2005 SP2 Express Edition, and the Report Viewer Redistributable (not all of these are needed if you’re installing the Online client).
If you wish to avoid having users download components you can download the components separately and place them on a network share alongside the client installer. Client setup should find them and use them locally rather than downloading them.
The trick is you have to match the folder layout used in our install media. For example if you extracted the downloaded install package to a directory called CrmClient, you can create another directory called Redist at the same level of the CrmClient directory. Under Redist create an i386 directory and then create a subdirectory for each component with the appropriate name: .Net 3.0 (“dotNETFX”), MSXML6 (“MSXML”), ReportViewer (“ReportViewer”), Sql Server Express Edition (“SQLExpr”), and the Visual C++ Redistributable (“VCRedist”).
Figure 1: What the Redist folder should look like
The changes and additions that have been made to our client setup processes will make various deployment scenarios faster and simpler for you. We continue to look forward to your feedback and questions.