Microsoft Again Warns Partners: Beware Of WinXP SP2/MS-CRM Combo

Microsoft this week again reminded solution providers to go slow when applying the Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) update in Microsoft CRM accounts.

In an e-mail sent Tuesday, Microsoft told partners that SP2 "breaks" Microsoft CRM 1.2 and won't work at all with Microsoft CRM 1.0. The Redmond, Wash.-based software vendor already had posted the message to its download site last week, but apparently felt the need to follow up days later.

"To me, this indicates panic," said one East Coast solution provider, who requested anonymity. "When it comes to MS-CRM and SP2, I'd say, 'Don't go there.' "

Basically, Microsoft is reminding partners to first update MS-CRM 1.0 customers to the 1.2 release and then update both the Outlook client and the CRM Sales server. According to the company's e-mail, "Installing Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) will prevent Microsoft CRM versions 1.0 and 1.2 from running correctly. Microsoft CRM version 1.0 is not supported on Windows XP SP2. Microsoft CRM version 1.2 requires updates to both the Microsoft CRM server and Microsoft CRM Sales for Outlook (Outlook client) computers and several manual configuration workarounds to operate correctly."

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For months, Microsoft has warned solution providers and customers that SP2, with its foundational security fixes, would require changes to some applications--especially customized software--to run properly.

Older applications tailored with Visual Basic Applications (VBA) edition, as well as those built with older VBAs, are particularly at risk. In addition, any application that calls an "anonymous" or unknown COM object will break. Some issues will manifest themselves in pop-up windows, asking users if they really want to do this, given the potential security risk, according to Microsoft.

Solution providers say the MS-CRM issue is particularly embarrassing for Microsoft because SP2 breaks a relatively new out-of-the-box application: MS-CRM 1.2, which shipped in January. Microsoft said it has 2,500 MS-CRM customers, representing 100,000 individual users.

"This is really stupid," said another East Coast Microsoft partner, who asked not to be identified. Solution providers will be put in an awkward position if they have to go back to customers to perform fixes, especially since they already persuaded those accounts to take a chance on MS-CRM, he said.

"Let's just say I'm glad I don't have a ton of MS-CRM customers," said one West Coast Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) partner.

Yet Microsoft isn't the only company crying wolf about the SP2 update. Artisoft notified its partners last week to delay installing SP2 until full testing was completed, and IBM reportedly told internal users to wait on SP2 implementation.