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Troubleshooting CRM for Outlook Issues

 

Is your Dynamics CRM for Outlook not working? If you are a like me and use Dynamics CRM for Outlook it’s likely that you’ve come across some odd issues with performance or Outlook not working as you expect it to. While Microsoft does a great job of keeping on top of these sorts of issues, everyone’s computer configuration is slightly different which introduces some variable risks and potential issues for end users.

Whether your Outlook keeps crashing upon loading or you are experiencing some more mysterious errors, the aim of this blog post is to demonstrate some of the great troubleshooting tools available to you for diagnosing Dynamics CRM for Outlook issues. I’ll also provide some solutions to a couple of common problems.

Tip 1. Re-Enable the Add-In

Try this if:

  • Outlook keeps crashing when you are trying to load the CRM Add-in
  • The CRM ribbon in Outlook is greyed out
  • The ‘Track’ and ‘Set Regarding’ buttons have disappeared from the Outlook ribbon

One thing I’m guilty of is trying to access my mailbox before it has actually finished loading – an act that will almost always result in Outlook not working as intended. CRM typically gets the blame for this behavior, however unfortunately that lies with impatient end users like me.

After all the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Outlook extension is an add-in to Outlook and therefore has to compete for resources and load in conjunction with your mail box.

loading-crm-for-outlook-not-working

If your CRM add-in does happen to get disabled when Outlook is loading, you may have experienced any of the following warning signs:

A. Where your records should be showing,  you see the message “CRM failed to load”

B.  As in the image below, the CRM ribbon is disabled.

outlook-not-working

Here is how you can quickly get up and running again

  1. In Outlook, Click on File
  2. Choose Options
  3. On the left-hand side, choose Add-Ins
  4. You will be presented with a list of Active and Inactive Application Add-Ins
  5. If you see Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the list twice, then you have found the cause of the disabled add-in!

 

active-add-ins-outlook-not-working

 

Now all you need to do is re-enable the Add-in: 

  1. Click on the Manage COM add-ins Go button
  2. In the pop-up list, choose both Microsoft Dynamics CRM add-ins and click OK

 

enable-crm-for-outlook-not-working

 

Now, go ahead and restart your Outlook. You will see that CRM is active again!

 

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Tip 2: Use CRM for Outlook Diagnostics

TRY This if:

  • Users are receiving generic error messages such as “An error has occurred. Please contact your system administrator,” or “We can’t connect to your CRM server” or “Communication was blocked”
  • Users are getting CRM object error messages
  • Users are receiving permissions error messages like “Logon failed because credentials are invalid” or “Authentication failed”
  • Outlook keeps crashing when you are trying to load the CRM Add-in
  • Users cannot successfully track records

This takes this whole troubleshooting process a step further. If you are a system administrator trying to get to the root of client Outlook issues like this that involve CRM, then you need to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook Diagnostics. This is especially useful when you get generic Microsoft error messages stating something to the effect of “An error has occurred. Please contact your system administrator.”

For all later versions of Dynamics CRM (including versions 2013 & 2015), you will find a Diagnostics program installed with your Outlook.

This isn’t necessarily something for your average end user as it has advanced troubleshooting capabilities. However, it’s certainly something that CRM administrators can step in and use to identify problematic issues.

To Use the Diagnostics: 

  1. From your Start Menu search for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 20XX and look for “Diagnostics”
  2. When the Diagnostics Wizard opens, navigate to the Advanced Troubleshooting tab. You will see that you have detailed Tracing options available to you. Let’s review each of these:

Tracing

Using Outlook tracing helps you to capture detailed log information about a given issue occurring in the CRM Outlook client. To use it, the user simply just has to recreate the problem with tracing running.

The levels of traceability vary from very detailed – including all system events (Verbose) – to light tracing focusing on just errors and warnings. All levels of tracing are a great way to troubleshoot those problematic Outlook issues where you get a generic error message, CRM object message, or even a permissions error message.

To start tracing, simply click the check box and choose the level of tracing you wish to record – I recommend Error-level tracing as you don’t need to worry about events that were successful when connecting with Microsoft CRM from Outlook, Errors will give you what you need.

 

troubleshooting-outlook-not-working

 

Another thing you may like to do is Delete the temporary client files from a previous error checking session before you begin. That way you can isolate the error messages for just a short space of time and not have to troll through large log files. Simply click the “Delete” button per the screen above.

Once the tracing is running, have your user recreate the issue and then return to the Diagnostics screen and disable the Tracing.

This step is important as constant tracing running will have a performance impact on your system and consume disk space. A best practice is to only use Tracing in short bursts to gather the error log information.

The Trace files will be on the user’s computer. Unfortunately, this will be in one of the least obvious places possible. What you need to do is navigate through their user folder to AppData (which is usually a hidden folder) and then down to the MSCRM Trace directory. You will see a series of log files where what you will be interested in is the Text Document files that are most recent.

 

app-data-outlook-not-working

 

When looking at a Trace file I find the easiest thing to do for Outlook CRM issues is to do a search for “CRM Exception.” This typically takes me to the most obvious errors and then contains an MSCRM Error Report which explains in plain English what is going on. Trying to digest the rest of the trace log can be a lengthy process!

 

trace-log-crm-for-outlook-not-working

 

In the example above, you can see I was able to isolate an issue at 9:42pm on my laptop where the Add-in became disabled because my Outlook crashed. For more advanced errors — especially those related to missing permissions — you may actually get a cue to what is missing. This is extremely helpful when a user needs to perform a task and it isn’t obvious which permission is missing.

Bonus! You will also see above that you can actually re-enable the CRM Outlook add-in from the Diagnostics wizard if you wish. End users aren’t necessarily going to have permissions to access the Diagnostics wizard so the first approach I mentioned is still valid for all scenarios.

Outlook not working? Additional Recommendations

If you or your users have become frustrated because Outlook is not working the way you want it, don’t worry. There are many troubleshooting tools and techniques for working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Outlook client – such as those I’ve mentioned above. On that note, I’d definitely recommend taking a look at Microsoft’s newly released ebook:  CRM for Outlook Basics.

As each of these solutions evolves, I would also suggest that it’s important to stay current on the latest releases to learn the best technique for quickly resolving these types of issues.

Not sure what it takes to stay current? Check out our CRM 2015 Upgrade Planning Checklist.

Get more CRM for Outlook Tips & Tricks

If you’re interested in reading more CRM for Outlook tips, check out our post 5 Outlook Tips for Dynamics CRM Users. We also have some helpful hints for Identifying and Removing CRM Duplicates in Outlook, Managing CRM Outlook Personal Options for Multiple Users and Going Offline with CRM for Outlook.

As always, we love to hear you feedback and answer any questions you may have. Feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch with us!

Comments

  1. Jessica

    Perfect! I couldn’t open accounts in the plug-in but I tried your first (disable and re-enable plug-in) and it worked. I also have another issue and plan to use the diagnostics. I forgot they were there. Thanks. 😉

  2. Kimberley Serisier

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  3. Don Summerville

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  4. Maddison Sommer

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  5. Evelyn Fremont

    I don’t commonly comment but I gotta state regards for the post on this special one :D.

  6. Cheiret Weddle

    Awesome article.

  7. Andy

    Enabling tracing greatly helped me solve my issue, thank you so much!
    Very clear and proper steps!

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