Creating a single Virtual PC image for Microsoft CRM 3.0

Size Of A Cow...

One of the most common questions partners ask me is how can I install all the CRM components on a single Virtual PC image for development, test & demo purposes. At a minimum CRM Professional requires 3 Virtual PCs:

  • Server 1: Windows Server 2003 + Active Directory + Exchange
  • Server 2: Windows Server 2003 + CRM + SQL + Reporting Services
  • Client 1: Windows XP + Office + CRM Client

Now unless you have one of those brand-new, dual-core, 4GB RAM notebook PC with fast, high-capacity external hard drives, running all three images on a single host PC is not going to be particularly usable. The main problems with a single image, which I have encountered are:

  • Outlook & Exchange have problems running on the same machine.
  • CRM Desktop Client for Outlook installation fails towards the end of the install with an ABP (Address Book Profile) error and leaves the Client only partially working
  • CRM Client for Outlook (both Desktop & Laptop clients) and CRM Server both try and install files in the same folder by default C:\Program Files\Microsoft CRM.

Well the good news is that we now have a series of steps which solve these problems, and so, using my MSDN Universal Subscription licence keys I have built my own image:

  1. Install Windows Server 2003, Active Directory, SQL Server 2005, SQL Reporting Services 2005, Exchange Server 2003, Office 2003, SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Business Scorecard Manager 2005.
  2. Start Outlook and create an Exchange Mail Profile for the currently logged on user.
  3. Install CRM 3.0 server and change the default installation directory to C:\Program Files\Microsoft CRM Server.
  4. Find MAPISVC.INF in C:\WINDOWS\system32 and Rename it to MAPISVC-BACKUP.INF
  5. Copy MAPISVC.INF from C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033 to C:\WINDOWS\system32
  6. Install CRM Desktop Client for Outlook – Ignore Environment Diagnostics Wizard warning:
    "The Microsoft CRM client for Outlook cannot be installed on a computer where Microsoft Exchange is installed"
  7. The installation will fail with an “ABP” error (ABP = CRM Address Book Provider). The next steps will fix the problem
  8. Find the CRMABP32.dll from the CRM Client Installation Disk (CD 2) in the \PFiles\MSCRM\Client\bin folder, and copy this to both C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033 and C:\WINDOWS\system32 folders
  9. Copy the following text at the bottom of both C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033\MAPISVC.INF and C:\WINDOWS\system32\MAPISVC.INF

    [MSCRM AB]
    Providers=MSCRM ABP
    PR_DISPLAY_NAME=Microsoft CRM Address Book

    PR_PROVIDER_DISPLAY=Microsoft CRM Address Book

  10. In the same MAPISVC.INF files, under [Services] section, add the line

    MSCRM AB=Microsoft CRM Address Book

  11. Go to Control Panel -> Mail -> E-mail Accounts and select "Add a new directory or address book" then select "Additional Address Books" and click on "Microsoft CRM Address Book".
  12. Start Outlook and go to Tools -> Options -> Other -> Advanced Options -> COM Addins and enable the "Microsoft CRM Outlook Addin"
  13. In Outlook go to Tools -> Address Book, then go to Tools -> Options -> Add, and select all 6 CRM address books - CRM Accounts, CRM Contacts, CRM Facilities/Equipment, CRM Leads, CRM Queues and CRM Users

And that's it. Enjoy

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

Comments (12)

  1. FLA says:

    Is it possible to use the CRM Laptop Client for Outlook instead of CRM Desktop Client for Outlook in order to show the offline scenario?

  2. Pavel Goncharov says:

    I think, that you have been mistaken on point 8…File name is CRMABP32.dll…

  3. Simon Hutson says:

    I think this approach also works for the CRM Laptop Client for Outlook, although I’m not sure of the performance degredation caused by the additional memory footprint of running the local MSDE database and the CRM Client Application Hoster service on the same virtual server as CRM, SQL, AD, Exchange etc.

  4. Simon Hutson says:

    Well spotted, point 8 should read CRMABP32.DLL – I’ll change this straight away. Thanks

  5. AnilR says:

    Good Stuff.

    Now, lets say I want to run 3 of these VMs (3 seperate MS CRM instances) at the same time using Virtual Server. This would provide three sepearte Remote Desktop accesses to developers.

    Is there a way to do this without installing CRM 3 times? Running the same VM more than once will give a "Computer Name already exists" error if I open the server up to the internal network for RDP access…


  6. This has long been a challenge for many and I have yet to see a complete solution to the problem of getting…

  7. manawee says:

    I followed your instructions ( except that I got the CRM server already installed in my VPC) so I installed the CRM desktop client  using the command line (followed implementation guide instruction) to the dir

    C:CRM Client Installdefault_client_config.xml

    – <CRMSetup>

    – <Client>


     <InstallDir>c:Program Filesmscrm_client</InstallDir>



    However, During the installation of the CRM desktop client, I am getting the following error:

    Exception from HRESULT: 0x8004020F

    I repeated point 4 & 5 from your instructions and followed the instructions in this link with no success:

    Any more ideas?

  8. SJM says:

    My demo machine was working very nicely indeed until I had various problems which meant I had to reinstall SQL, CRM Server and the CRM Desktop client.

    Now when I reinstall the Desktop Client I receive the error ‘action microsoft.crm.setup.client.installpstaction failed’.  After running through the ‘creating a single virtual PC’ instructions the CRM Address book is missing.  In a desperate attempt to fix the problem I have disabled MUIs that are not English, I have made sure an ‘Interactive’ Group exists on the demo box, I have also ensured that I have full access rights to the system32 folder (all these solutions have been suggested on various blogs and forums).  All to no avail,  the next step will be to format my demo box and start again.  I am loathe to do this for a number of reasons.  Any ideas?

  9. SJM says:

    It may be interesting to note that I rebuilt my demo environment with Server 2003 and instead of installing Exchange I just linked outlook to an SMTP account.  Which means that my machine runs faster, I can still demonstrate all the nice bits of integration to Outlook and I didn’t have to faff about with copying files and ammending ini files during install.

  10. Huggis says:

    Anyone addressed intalling the Outlook client along side Exchange 2003?

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