CRM 2013: On Premise Upgrade From CRM 2011 to CRM 2013

Time to test what happens when doing an “in-place” upgrade from CRM 2011 to CRM 2013…

CRM On Premise Upgrade

The aim of this post is show some of the steps involved in an “In-Place” upgrade of an on premise CRM 2011 to CRM 2013. At the end of the post I shall show some of the differences between an upgraded environment and a new CRM 2013 environment.

For details to what you might have to consider in an upgrade see the Administration document in the CRM 2013 Implementation Guide, download it here.

 Key points to note regarding upgrade:

  1. Supported customisation in Dynamics CRM 2011 via both UI and CRM 2011 API will continue to be supported in the new version of Dynamics CRM 2013.
  2. An upgrade path from Dynamics CRM 2011 to CRM 2013 is available, but there is no direct upgrade path from CRM 4.0 (or earlier) to CRM 2013.
  3. Dynamics CRM 4.0 API such as the 2007 web service endpoint, CRM 4.0 plugins, CRM 4.0 custom workflow activities, and CRM 4.0 client API are not supported in Dynamics CRM 2013.

For more information of what changed between CRM 2011 and CRM 2013, go read about it in this msdn site.

CRM 2011 Plugins in CRM 2013 upgrade:

Another change you might have to consider whether any existing Plugins fire on Update/Create of an entity, or JavaScripts that fires “OnSave” of an entity form. This is because both will now be affected by CRM 2013 auto-save functionality. I have already mentioned some of the side effects when it comes to JavaScripts in an earlier post here.

Upgrade Analysis Tools:

Microsoft released two tools that can be used safely in any (test/production) Dynamics CRM environment to identify potential problems prior to carrying out an upgrade.


The Custom Code Validation Tool checks for unsupported client side code (e.g. JavaScript) that will not work after the upgrade, while the Legacy Feature Check Tool checks for server side code that would break after the upgrade. Obviously for online customers you can only run the Custom Code Validation Tool, unless you export the solutions from Online and import it to a CRM On premise environment. For more information on how to use the tools see the CRM team blog.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Legacy Feature Check Tool is run during the “System Check” stage of an CRM upgrade process. If the tool returns errors (e.g. detects CRM 4.0 API or 2007 endpoint), you must fix these issues before an upgrade can continue. So it pays to have run both of these tools on the CRM 2011 environment to be upgraded before actually trying the upgrade.

CRM Server Upgrade Consideration

Before carrying out the upgrade, you’ll need to consider the following, all of which are covered extensively in the Planning Guide and Installation Guide as part of the CRM 2013 Implementation Guide:

  • Software requirements
  • Hardware requirements
  • Infrastructure setup the current CRM 2011 is installed on
  • CRM 2011 rollup version currently installed? (Microsoft recommends that the server should be on rollup 14 (or higher) for an upgrade to CRM 2013, but rollup 6 is supported – see Installation Guide for more detail)
  • Upgrade Path to implement?
  • Estimated downtime?
  • Any extra components that might require upgrade? E.g. CRM 2011 For Outlook on client machines? Email Router?

At a high level, there are 3 upgrade options (dive into the Installation Guide for more detail):

  • Migrate by using a new instance of SQL Server and CRM server: it requires the least amount the downtime as a new SQL instance and a new server for CRM will be used
  • Migrating by using the same instance of SQL Server: requires a different computer for CRM 2013 but will do an upgrade in-place using the same SQL instance as CRM 2011. However this option is more risky than the first as in case of upgrade failure, you’ll need to rollback to CRM 2011 manually to avoid downtime.
  • In-place upgrade: this option doesn’t require a different computer for CRM Server or a difference SQL instance, but represents the most risky of all 3 options. In case of upgrade failure, recovery will require a full rollback and reinstall of CRM 2011.

Test On Premise Upgrade Procedure

I wanted to test the upgrade procedure for the following on premise machine as I was interested in possible errors that might prevent me from proceeding with an upgrade.

To test the up-grade procedure, I am going to perform an upgrade on the following vm with:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (with latest Windows patches)
  • SQL 2008 R2 (with latest patches)
  • CRM 2011 (rollup 14) installed
  • CRM 2011 Reporting Extension (rollup 14) installed

I am aiming for an “in-place” upgrade (i.e. high risk option) with vm snapshot prior to hitting the button. Here are the key things to check again:

Prior to Upgrade:

  • If your environments are on a vm, take snapshots if you can!
  • Run the Custom Validation Tool to check for non-supported JavaScript
  • Run the Legacy Feature Check (as you are on premise you can run this .exe) to check for non-supported ISV solution and CRM 4 plugins with 2007 endpoints.
  • If CRM 2011 Reporting Extension is installed on the same sever as CRM to be upgraded, uninstall this first.

During the “In-Place” Upgrade:

  • Run ServerSetup.exe from the CRM 2013 installation file
  • Go through the update checks and enter your license key
  • Install any missing components that the installation wizard finds. This might require restart. If yes, restart the server and then go back to through the ServerSetup.exe again
  • For an upgrade, the installation wizard should detect an existing CRM install and provide an “upgrade” screen instead. Choose an organization that you want to upgrade. Note that you can leave this blank and no organization will be upgraded. After the upgrade, those organization will be “disabled” and you can choose to upgrade them one by one afterwards via the Deployment Manager. If you have CRM organizations with large databases, you might want to postpone the upgrade as every base and extension tables will be merged during the upgrade process. This database merge might take several hours to complete. See the Installation Guide for more detail on how to run this database merge as a separate operation.I am going to upgrade my single organization “CRMUpgrade”
  • Next page asks you to specify service accounts for the upgrade. Note that there are 2 new service accounts you need to set up for CRM 2013: “Monitoring Service” and “VSSWriter Service”. The rest of the services are from CRM 2011 but you will need to re-enter their existing credentials
  • Next page asks you to specify the Email Router Location (just like CRM 2011). If you’re not using an Email Router, you can leave this blank. If you still plan to use an email router, you’ll need to also consider upgrading CRM 2011 Email Router to CRM 2013 Email Router as CRM 2013 server does not support CRM 2011 Email Router!
  • During the Final System Checks, you might get the following warnings/errors. If you can errors, you must resolve them before you can proceed. If you just get warnings, you can choose to ignore them and carry on but this is not best practice. Also note that the “Legacy Feature Tool” will be run as part of the system checks at this stage. If it detects any CRM 4 SDK usage or 2007 endpoints, you MUST resolve these errors before you can proceed with the upgrade. See this post for more detail.
    OnPremUpgrade-05Also note that the System Checks warns you that after the in-place upgrade, “data encryption will be active”. So you must copy that encryption key out and store it in a safe place. See an earlier post here for a discussion of CRM 2013 and SQL Encryption.
  • After that you get a service disruption warning and a summary of what will be installed. Click on “Upgrade” button and off we go!
  • Hopefully your upgrade succeeds and you see the following asking if you want to launch the Reporting Extensions for SSRS installer:

That’s it!


7 thoughts on “CRM 2013: On Premise Upgrade From CRM 2011 to CRM 2013

    1. Hello,

      Yes. The on-premise upgrade to Service Pack 1 for CRM 2013 is pretty straight forward. Just like you would for installing a rollup.

      Once installed, you’ll need to go to Settings > Administrations and click on “Install Updates” if you want the new functionalities of Service Pack 1 to be available to your users.

      Hope that helps.


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