CRM 2011 to CRM 2016 In a Day

All you need is a few spare virtual servers and a whole lot of patience!

This is a narrative of my upgrade from CRM 2011 to CRM 2016 in one day. It is important to point out, before someone try and hire me for a one day project, that this was a test upgrade, done with a copy of my production system mostly to flush out all the issues I would have. This installation of CRM is relatively small. There are many custom entities, but only a limited number of plugins that I will be turning off for the upgrade and then troubleshooting at a later time.

What you need to get the upgrade done:

  • 2 virtual servers (or physical, but who does that?)
  • Licenses (trial or actual) for CRM 2013, CRM 2015 and CRM 2016
  • A domain admin account that can setup the Active Directory accounts that CRM uses for privledges


As many readers will quickly discover from the Microsoft instructions for upgrades, any upgrade more than one step requires a staging environment for the middle versions. Below is an image of my migration strategy. This post is a test of the migration to CRM2013 and then and upgrade to CRM2015 and a final upgrade to CRM2016. I will then be spending several weeks on this test CRM2016 upgrade test to determine if it is solid enough to follow this same procedure again over a weekend and then migrate the users over.CRM2011 to 2016



You can complete this upgrade with trial licenses for the intermediate steps, however if your original installation is a production license, you will not be able to do in place upgrades to a trial license. See more about upgrade licensing in the Technet Article. My company has a software assurance contract, which gives us access to all version keys. we just have to register what version we actually intend to use in the CustomerSource website. I recommend contacting your Microsoft Partner for help with licensing as Microsoft licensing truly is rocket science.
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