Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote a blog describing the process one would go through if they wished to configure hotfix auto updates for Outlook clients on their CRM server. The process was painful: we had to extract the contents of the hotfix file and do some hunting to extract the LinkID and PatchID for our configuration file, we had to set up a site where the hotfix could be downloaded from, we had to change some setting in IIS, etc. CRM administrators used to fear and dread the day a hotfix was released for they knew a ton of work was ahead of them to get it installed and make it available for users to download and install on their Outlook CRM clients. Thankfully, Microsoft has responded to administrator comments and have revamped the way hotfixes are distributed.

Previously, Microsoft did not make their LinkID’s known, even though the Outlook CRM client was programmed to obtain the hotfix from a Microsoft website and NOT through a local crmpatches folder. Without a registry key change, client machines would try to access http://go.microsoft.com/linkid=KBxxxx.exe, which would result in a failure, as that was not a valid LinkID. In order to solve this issue, admins were forced to create a crmpatches site and apply registry key changes to every client machine to point to this new crmpatches site, rather than Microsoft. Now, Microsoft includes the LinkID directly in each hotfix’s Knowledge Base article. Hooray!

There also was the issue of the PatchID. Each hotfix is assigned a GUID and we must insert this GUID into our XML configuration file. In the past we would have to do a /x command (extract) on the hotfix.exe file and do some searching to find this GUID. This was not necessarily difficult, but it was cumbersome to do so. Again, Microsoft has responded to these complaints and have also included the PatchID in the hotfix Knowledge Base Article! Double hooray!

So what does that mean for you, the intrepid CRM admin? Essentially, you can take the sample XML file that is printed below, insert the new LinkID and PatchID into the file (from the Knowledge Base Article) and upload it onto your server. Easy as that!

Two Notes on this Process:

1. Don’t forget to add a <Delete> node into the XML file in order to make previous hotfix/update rollups unavailable for download. Since Update Rollups are cumulative, you don’t want to have your users downloading Update Rollup 7, followed by 6, 5, 4, etc. This is a frequently missed step.

2. The LinkID will contain an ampersand (&) in it, and ampersands are handled a little different in XML. Instead of just using &, we need to use &. For example, if the KB article says the LinkID is: 157191&clcid=0×409, you will put 157191&clcid=0×409 as the LinkID in the XML file. If you do not do this, users will receive a An error occurred parsing EntityName error. Again, this is a criminally overlooked step.

My sample XML configuration file is below. As a reminder, we need to run this via clientpatchconfigurator.exe on the server. Please see my previous blog if you need clarification on how to run the clientpatchconfigurator.exe.

Happy CRMing!

<ClientPatches>

<Create>

<ClientPatchInfo>

<PatchId>{THE PATCHID FROM THE HOTFIX KB ARTICLE}</PatchId>

<Title>This is what the User Will See as the Title</Title>

<Description>Not required, but I put in a short description of what the fix is for</Description>

<IsMandatory>false</IsMandatory>

<IsEnabled>true</IsEnabled>

<ClientType>OutlookDesktop,OutlookLaptop</ClientType>

<LinkId>157191&clcid=0×409</LinkId>

</ClientPatchInfo>

</Create>

</ClientPatches>

<Delete>

<PatchID>{PREVIOUS UPDATE ROLLUP GUID HERE}</PatchId>

</Delete>


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