A new feature in CRM 4.0 is for administrative ability to prompt clients to install patches on their CRM client. This feature is called AutoUpdate and it applies to any client where the user has administrative rights on his/her machine. I’ll document some common scenarios here and I’ll encourage you to read the Implementation Guide – Operating document for more detailed information.
When you install the CRM 4.0 client, one of the new components is a tool called Update. This is the client component of the AutoUpdate process. You can launch the Update tool directly, run it as a scheduled task quietly, launch it from Outlook under the CRM toolbar – Check for Updates or it will run each time you launch Outlook. Also, by default, the AutoUpdate check is performed on all CRM 4.0 clients* every 4 hours*.
* These options can be turned off or adjusted via registry keys.
In order to make updates available to clients, you need to post the updates to the server. The CRM Server installation comes with a new tool called the Client Patch Configurator. The tool is installed by default at [Program Files]\MSCRM\Tools\Microsoft.Crm.Tools.ClientPatchConfigurator.exe. You need to run a DOS command to call the XML file you can use to define the patches that will be provided to the client. The patch configurator process will add the patches to the MSCRM_Config database. You can use the tool to create, update or delete patch information, so if you add a patch you didn’t intend to add, you can remove it from being pushed to clients.
With that background information, here are the steps I give to customers asking how to set up AutoUpdate in their environment:
1. The first time you run autoupdate, go to your [ServerInstallDir]\Server\CRMWeb and create a new folder named crmpatches. Create this same folder on each subsequent web server in your deployment.
2. On each client, go to the registry and add a value in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\MSCRMClient key called AutoUpdateDownloadUrl (String). Give it a value of http://[servername]/crmpatches/ (remember the closing /). If you don’t set this value, the clients will look to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId= then the value in the LinkId XML parameter.
3. Download the hotfix to your server (or each web server) and extract the contents to the [ServerInstallDir]\Server\CRMWeb\crmpatches folder.
4. Extract the contents of the client patch on your server to determine the PatchId value which is required for the XML file configuration.
a. Open a command prompt, and type [DownloadLocation]\CRMv4.0-KB[KB#here]-i386-Client-INTL.exe /x
b. You will be prompted for a location to which the files will be extracted
c. Once extracted, find the config.xml file at the root of the directory
d. Within the XML file, copy the value of the <patchid> element and paste it into your configuration file in step 5
5. Create your configuration XML file
Here’s a sample configuration XML for the KB949086 fix:
<Title>Duplicates in Outlook with Shared Calendars, Tasks or Contacts</Title>
<Description>Sharing calendar, contacts or tasks can allow editors to clear all custom crm information resulting in duplicates when synching</Description>
Note: You can add multiple <ClientPatchInfo> and container elements to post multiple hotfixes at one time. The title and description are up to the administrator to complete. The IsMandatory option dictates whether a user has to install this hotfix in order to continue using CRM functionality within CRM. The ClientType can be either OutlookDesktop or OutlookLaptop or OutlookDesktop,OutlookLaptop depending on which clients should receive the updates. There are several more options available, so please see the Implementation Guide for further detail.
6. In a command prompt, go to the directory where the ClientPatchConfigurator.exe is located ([ServerInstallDir]\Tools and type microsoft.crm.tools.clientpatchconfigurator.exe [configfile].xml
7. Once the patch has been uploaded, launch the Outlook client
When Outlook launches, the following screen will pop up:
When complete, you’ll see this screen:
8. You can then proceed to use CRM with the hotfixes applied. The hotfix installs will show in the Installed Updates area within Programs and Features in the Windows Vista Control Panel or in Add/Remove Programs on Windows XP.
This feature provides administrators with the assurance that their clients will be on the most updated hotfix. Therefore, CRM client troubleshooting doesn’t have to begin with the question “Did you apply these patches?”