Diagnosing Error Messages on CRM OnPremise

Nothing is more frustrating then seeing a vague generic error message like “An error has occurred, please contact your System Administrator”  As if the System Administrator can tell from that very message exactly what the problem is!

For Dynamics CRM, there are a couple of methods to determine exactly what the issue may be.

There are a series of registry settings, that when set, will enable trace logs to be generated to capture Dynamics CRM errors.  These are outlined here; https://support.microsoft.com/en-ca/kb/907490, but modifying the registry is something that one needs to be very careful about.

The other issue is reading through the sometimes cryptic and lengthy log to isolate the actual error message.

Thankfully on Codeplex there are a couple of tools to save the day.  The first is the Diagnostics Tool for Dynamics CRM 2011/2013/2015 (and should work for CRM 2016 as well).  This tool will allow you to turn on CRM platform level tracing in user friendly manner.

I have noticed that while these tools are well known in the Dynamics CRM community, I still see postings on the Community Forum showing these user side error messages and folks looking for help.  Hopefully these steps will help them get along further in diagnosing the issue.


Download and install the tool on a CRM server and launch the tool.  There are different settings that can be adjusted, but for the most part, you can leave the default settings.


To reduce the size of the file, try (if at all possible) to get users out of the system.  The trace viewer will log all of their activity as well.

Assuming that the error is repeatable, launch CRM and go right to the point where the error will occur, but don’t cause the error to occur just yet.

Flip back to the Diagnostics Tool and choose “Enable Trace”, which will turn on the tracing.


Return to CRM cause the error to occur.  Then go back to the Diagnostics Tool and turn off the tracing.

Couple of things to note:

If you have multiple CRM servers (for load balancing, etc) then ideally you need to turn on tracing for each one if you are unsure where the error is happening.

The trace file is located typically in \Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics CRM\Trace

Once the error has been “captured”, then you can use another handy Codeplex Tool, the CRM Trace Reader.


Download and install the application, and then open up the latest trace file (you might have many)

Ideally, choose the “Level” filter and select Error.  Details about the error message will be shown and from there further details can be displayed.


While the details may still appear “cryptic” Reading through the details there might be some statements or messages that you could put in your favourite search engine and see what information you can find.

In my experience, the logs generally help isolate a lot of issues, development, security or actual (yes, they exist) Microsoft bugs!



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