Category Archives: Dynamics CRM

Tips and techniques I've collected while working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0

This week’s free webinar: Contracting, Outsourcing, and Partnering on your Dynamics CRM Projects

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to remind you of next week’s free webinar.

In this webinar we will discuss the some general principles to keep in mind when working with contractors, outsourcers, and partners when you are implementing or customizing Dynamics CRM.

Wed, Jul 21, 2015 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT       Register Now


Thanks,  Mitch

July’s Free Dynamics CRM Webinars

Here are the webinars available this month:

Dynamics CRM JavaScript Debugging Basics

We will discuss the basics of debugging your Dynamics CRM JavaScript should you encounter issues with your code.

Wed, Jul 7, 2015 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT       Register Now


Contracting, Outsourcing, and Partnering on your Dynamics CRM Projects

In this webinar we will discuss the some general principles to keep in mind when working with contractors, outsourcers, and partners when you are implementing or customizing Dynamics CRM

Wed, Jul 21, 2015 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CDT       Register Now

Next Week's Webinar: Becoming a Dynamics CRM Architect

Hi Everyone,

On Wednesday, July 1st, I’ll be holding a free webinar to discuss the requirements for a person to make the move from being a Dynamics CRM user, administrator, or developer, into becoming an architect of Dynamics CRM business solutions.

 What to expect

In this webinar we will be discussing the basic technical areas of expertise and skillsets that must be developed on your path to becoming an architect. In part, if not in full.

We will also be reviewing several CRM-related design scenarios which will highlight the types of things you need to consider when developing solutions for Dynamics CRM.

At minimum, I would expect you to come out of the webinar with at least a basic understanding of the types of questions that must be asked when designing Dynamics CRM-related solutions.

What I can use your help with

Feedback during the webinar will, of course, be accepted. In addition, I will send out a survey afterwards to help gather additional data points.

Who should attend?

Anyone who would like to further their knowledge related to solving business problems using Microsoft Dynamics CRM.


You must have working knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, 2011, 2013, or 2015. This is neither an Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM or a development class, but you do need to know the capabilities of the product.


I am actually holding three sessions to accommodate attendees from around the world:

Session 1: UTC+1

Wed, Jul 1, 2015 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM CDT Register Now

Session 2: UTC-5

Wed, Jul 1, 2015 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CDT Register Now

Session 3: UTC+10

Wed, Jul 1, 2015 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM CDT Register Now

(this translates to 10:00am, Thursday, July 2nd, in Sydney, AU)

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks, Mitch

Dynamics CRM JavaScript Development Workshop is this week


Hi Everyone,

If you are interested in Dynamics CRM JavaScript development then please consider attending my workshop this coming Thursday and Friday.

This is an extremely hands-on workshop with tons of labs and as part of your experience, you’ll receive some goodies from my toolbox which is the same code that I use to help develop solutions for my customers.

To learn more or to register, please visit the information page.

Thanks, Mitch

Dynamics CRM 2015 Upgrade Error: Invalid column name 'EntityName'


I was upgrading a Dynamics CRM 2011 system last week and ran into an issue when attempting to import a solution that contained my Entity, Form, and JavaScript changes.

Invalid column name 'EntityName'

After looking around and finally asking for help from my fellow MVPs, Joel Lindstrom suggested the CRM community forum thread:

CRM 2015: Generic SQL error – Invalid column name 'EntityName'.

Which pointed to this thread as well:

CRM 2015 – Error after update 0.1

Root Cause

It turns out that the .01 update was “possibly” partially applied to the organization that I was attempting to upgrade. That first forum thread started off discussing the importation of a solution, which was my issue, but also mentioned that the available upgrade for the organization was available, but could not be applied.  The options seemed to be:

  1. Wait for the .02 release, which fixes the problem.
  2. Call Microsoft and ask for the hotfix.
  3. Run a very scary set of manual steps to correct the issue.


The solution to the issue is the modification of an XML file that ships with the Dynamics CRM software and the manual creation of some databases indexes.

I performed these very scary set of steps, successfully updated the organization database, and then was able to successfully import my solution.

Final Thoughts

I encountered the error performing a trial-run of the upgrade process on Friday.  When I performed the actual upgrade process itself, on Saturday, I did not encounter the issue at all.  Looking at the organization database within the Deployment Manager, I see that the second organization import upgraded the database to 7.0.1.xxxx as expected.

I have no idea what would cause it to fail one time and succeed the other.

Dynamics CRM Upgrade Blocker: Orphan Plugin Step Image records

Last week I was working with another Microsoft partner who was upgrading a customer’s Dynamics CRM from 2011 to 2015 when they ran into the following error moving to Dynamics CRM 2013 (which you must do, to get to 2015):


Note: SdkMessageProcessingStep is the internal name for a plugin step, as configured using the Plugin Registration Tool.

So we ran the following script to see if we could not locate the offending SDK Message Processing Step.

 SdkMessageProcessingStepId = 'd987ac98-8b85-dd11-b48e-001143ec27a2'

And we got nothing.

This is very strange so I started looking around for anything else that could cause such and error – and I actually found it.

Root Cause

The issue was actually on a separate tabled called: SdkMessageProcessingStepImage, which stores the Pre or Post Image configuration for a specific plugin step.

This CRM system was originally v4.0 and somewhere in the upgrade to CRM 2011 a plugin step was removed from the system and the Plugin Registration Tool did not remove the associated Plugin Step Image, so these records remained in the database, unused and unnoticed until the upgrade process tried to modify them.

The actual error message is displayed because the SdkMessageProcessingStepImage is referencing the SdkMessageProcessingStep, which doesn’t exist-just like the error says.

Correcting the Issue

To verify this is indeed the problem, we ran this script:


 SdkMessageProcessingStepId = 'd987ac98-8b85-dd11-b48e-001143ec27a2'

This will produce records if you actually have orphan Plugin Step Images.

Your next step is to remove those records from the database using a SQL command.  Kind of scary, but they are not being used anyway.


I have seen this type of error message a number of times so it does happen occasionally, but not all that frequently.  My theory is that a specific version of the Plugin Registration Tool, probably for CRM 4.0, was responsible for this issue and it was correctly in later versions of the tool.

I think that I need to add this as an upgrade check to my SnapShot! documentation tool.

Manually Repairing a Sitemap. Part 1

As I mentioned a couple of week ago, my upgrade from CRM 2013 to CRM 2015 did not go well. One of the issues is my SiteMap was totally broken and I had to replace it with the “default.”

The only problem was I wiped out the custom entries for my marketing package, Click Dimensions.

No problem, I thought, I’ll just add the solution back.  Except that did not work.  I ran into ghost SiteMap entries from a previously remove solution. This required a call to Microsoft Support to get them corrected.

Once corrected, I was successfully able to import the solution.  Except there were no custom SiteMap entries.

Only only solution in this case is to manually add them, which involves this process:

The Process

1. Create a new solution.

2. Add the SiteMap to the solution.

3. Export the solution as unmanaged.

4. Unzip the solution files.

5. Take the solution file from the package you are attempting to import and unzip it as well.

6. Open the customization.xml file from step 4 in an editor like Visual Studio or Notepad++.

7. Open the customization.xml file from step 5 in an editor like Visual Studio or Notepad++.

8. Copy the information from the step 7 SiteMap and paste it into the proper location within the step 6 SiteMap.

9. You will need to remove some XML attributes that are specific to the Solution Import process. Here is an example:

<Group Id="Extensions" ResourceId="Group_Extensions" ordinalvalue="5" solutionaction="Added" />

You need to remove the any reference to ordianvalue and solutionaction.

10. Save the step 6 customization.xml file.

11. Re-Zip the files from step 4.

12. Import the solution back into CRM.

13. Refresh your browser and see if the SiteMap changes worked.

Things to Know

I did not get into great detail about the SiteMap itself because you really have to understand how it is organized and all of the components that are involved. If you do not understand these things, you can damage the SiteMap and render your CRM system inaccessible.

Before you start anything like this, please know and understand what you are doing.  See the references below.

If all else fails, open a case with Microsoft.


Edit the site map

SiteMap XML reference