When software developers intentionally place a hidden message, inside joke, or special functionality inside a program, it is known as an Easter Egg. Obviously, this makes reference to the old childhood tradition of hunting for hidden treasures left behind by that mischievous bunny. While Microsoft developers were probably not displaying an impish sense of humor in the placement of these useful CRM utilities, you have to wonder why they made finding them such a chore. The utilities below both reside in the .NET website that makes up the CRM web application, and you must manually enter the URLs to access the pages.

Diagnostics Utility

If you are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online or Dynamics CRM 2011 on-premise and have at least Update Rollup 4 installed, you can run a diagnostics utility that will provide helpful information about your network connection to CRM and on your machine’s browser performance. You will need to have the System Administrator role to utilize this tool. To access the utility, login to CRM as you normally do, and then look at the URL in your browser. You probably see something like:

https://<SERVERNAME>/<ORGNAME>/main.aspx  or https://<ORGNAME>.<DOMAINNAME>/main.aspx

Simply replace the /main.aspx with /tools/diagnostics/diag.aspx

You should then see something like this, after clicking the Run button:

This report, which can be also be emailed, provides some useful information:

Latency Test: This measures how long it takes for packets to travel to from the CRM server to your browser. This number should be as low as possible and will be affected by things like the distance between your PC and the server. Generally, if you are running CRM Online or on a remote server, your latency will be higher than having a local CRM server. Latency can also be affected by things like proxy servers and anti-virus software so if possible you should run the diagnostics with and without these things to measure the true impact on CRM performance.

Bandwidth Test: This measurement approximates the speed of your connection. If you are running your CRM server on a local network, you will probably see much higher numbers here than if you are accessing the server on the Internet. If your Internet Service Provider is promising you 10MB speeds and you are regularly seeing much smaller numbers here, you may need to talk to your provider.

JavaScript Benchmarks: This set of numbers tests the performance of your browser and PC hardware against a set of JavaScript functions. If your CRM forms are loaded with customizations that include JavaScript, this number can be very important. If your organization has a number of older machines running older versions of Internet Explorer, you might want to use these numbers as justification for either upgrading, or to eliminate unnecessary form level JavaScript. Many common JavaScript form customizations were created to get around shortcomings in earlier versions of CRM, and can be replaced by new native CRM 2011 functionality.

Debug Utility

Another hidden tool is the Debug utility. It is accessed in much the same way as the Diagnostics. Once again, login to CRM and look at the URL in your browser:

https://<SERVERNAME>/<ORGNAME>/main.aspx or https://<ORGNAME>.<DOMAINNAME>/main.aspx

In this case, simply replace /main.aspx with /home/home_debug.aspx

You should then see the Debug Information page. The first section, shown below, provides general configuration information on your server environment including details like server name, configuration and organization database name, and build level of the CRM software.

The build number can quickly tell you what Update Rollup is running in your environment. For your reference, the following list provides the current build numbers for the Update Rollups for CRM 2011:

Rollup Build Version
Update Rollup 1 5.0.9688.1045
Update Rollup 2 5.0.9688.1155
Update Rollup 3 5.0.9688.1244
Update Rollup 4 5.0.9688.1450
Update Rollup 5 5.0.9688.1533
Update Rollup 6 5.0.9690.1992
Update Rollup 7 5.0.9690.2165
Update Rollup 8 5.0.9690.2243

The next two sections of the Debug Information report provide general browser information, and information on the network domain, and the GUIDs for key entities like the Organization, Business Unit and User. This information may be helpful to developers, but will not provide a lot of useful information to a user or administrator.

 

Clearly, both the Diagnostics and Debug utilities can provide nuggets of information that are not readily available elsewhere. After finding these two, I’m ready to start looking under rocks to see what other little eggs I can find. I’ll keep you updated…

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