5 Dec 2012 11:13 AM There are many ways that a user or administrator can optimize the Outlook client and it’s performance and stability. I wanted to create a general post around these common optimizations and some best practices and troubleshooting steps. I would like to point out that there is a publicly posted white paper in reference to client side performance as well, located at the link below. This is the first thing I would recommend walking through when implementing the Outlook client. Optimizing and Maintaining Client Performance for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and CRM Online This is also available on Technet Next, make sure that your environment meets the hardware and software requirements that are listed in this documentation. It is important to note that the requirements listed here are for a machine that is only running Outlook and the CRM client add-in. For example, it states the minimum required amount of memory is 2GB. It would be best to use the recommended amount of 4GB. Either way, this is the requirement for only the CRM add-in and does not take into account any other applications or add-ins that may be installed and running on this environment. It is important to take this into account with what else is being run on this machine while CRM is installed and running to ensure you are able to meet the needs of all applications. The minimum requirements are in the end, just that, minimums. They will be enough to run the client but will not provide an optimal experience for users. Some of the most important steps I have used to increase performance with the Outlook client when someone is seeing performance degradation would include: 1. The first thing, is always to try the web client using Internet Explorer to see if you encounter the same performance. If not, you have narrowed it down to the Outlook CRM add-in. 2. The next thing to address would be other Outlook add-ins. They can be disabled by going into Outlook, clicking File | Options | Add-ins, and click Go on COM Add-ins. Here, you can disable all add-ins except Microsoft Dynamics CRM to see if the issue still occurs. 3. Testing with firewall and antivirus programs is another quick test to see if they are causing the performance problems with the client. Either disable or uninstall these products for testing purposes to see if the current performance continues or if the performance increases. 4. Next, always make sure you are on the latest version of the CRM add-in, as it can reduce the time spent on both sides if it turns out to be an issue that was already resolved in a newer update. 5. Is this occurring on a Citrix environment or through RDP? If so, try this directly on the machine to see if this is caused by the connection with the remote connection. 6. Also, are you using Exchange Cached mode in Outlook? The Exchange Cached mode was created so that the data could be stored locally, allowing users to have better performance while not having to depend on the connection and network with Exchange. One thing you can test is disabling this or enabling it, depending on your current settings, to see if the issue continues. 7. Another thing I pointed out in the Email Tagging blog, is that the automatic tagging process can be quite expensive, as it will continue looking for and updating Outlook items if there are changes on these on the CRM Server. If you go to Start | All Programs | Microsoft Dynamics CRM | Diagnostics, you can uncheck Automatic Tagging to see if the performance improves. 8. Other things to consider are the latest version of Outlook. The performance has increased with newer versions of Outlook and there have been a few fixes released that correct some issues with the CRM add-in performance. 9. If possible, try this on a machine that uses a different version of IE than what you are currently using to see if the issue continues. Along with the IE troubleshooting, if you open Internet Options on the Advanced tab, you can Reset Internet Explorer Settings to default. This is also a good step to try. 10. If for some reason, you are using the CRM 4.0 add-in with CRM 2011, be sure to try installing the CRM 2011 version to verify performance increases. 11. One thing I have seen many times is the amount of records the user is keeping open. One a normal screen, you will only be able to look at 2 or maybe 3 records at one time if the windows are shrunk down to a decent size. However, many times, I have seen people working with 30+ windows open at one time. This is chewing up memory and causing the machine to work very slowly. A best practice here is to only keep open as many CRM windows/records that you can view at one time. It would be expected to see slower performance with this many windows open and therefore hanging on to this utilized memory. 12. If performance is slow, another good step to try is running this machine outside of the local network, such as from home, to see if this continues. This helps narrow down networking related issues. In addition, the whitepapers contain links to the latency and bandwidth test that you can run to get your current network stats. 13. Another performance troubleshooting step I have successfully done and is very simple is to make sure that the machine that has the CRM add-in installed on it is a member of the CRM domain and not a workgroup machine. It is a requirement for authentication when working with On-Premise CRM deployments. Normally, if this is an issue, you would be able to launch Outlook and the CRM add-in would disable itself before you are able to access it. 14. I have seen many times where there are graphics/video driver/card issues that will cause crashing or performance issues as well. It is always good to ensure you have up to date software and hardware; however, if you are seeing issues with the CRM add-in, I would also navigate to the video card manufacturer’s website to get the most up to date drivers. 15. This is more rare, but when is the last time you have cleared the temporary files on the machine? Go to Start | Run | type %temp% | and delete the temp files. The use of these files are included in another blog post from Jarrod. Temporary Files and CRM There are a few common troubleshooting steps that have led to many resolutions on client performance. However, I would still recommend reviewing the white papers above for additional optimizations. Please be sure to keep an eye on our continuously growing blog, as a few other engineers will be posting here in the next few weeks on some new topics.