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FAQ for Customer and Partner Portals

FAQ for Customer and Partner Portals

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Customer Portal and Partner Relationship Management Portal solutions are the graduated replacements of the portal Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. They provide businesses the ability to deliver portal capabilities to their customers and partners while tracking and managing these interactions in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Both portals run on Windows Azure or on on-premise web servers and work against Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 both Online and on-premises. For more information, refer to: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm/archive/2011/03/08/announcing-the-customer-and-partner-relationship-management-portals.aspx

This post addresses the most common issues that occur with the Customer and Partner Relationship Management Portals. If the problem you’re running into is not in the list below, please post a message to the CRM Labs Solutions Forum here: http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/crmlabs/threads?filter=alltypes.

1. Solution Import

1.1 Getting started with the portals

Portal installation instructions are as follows:

  1. Download the cab file from the marketplace and save it to disk
  2. Unpack the cab using instructions above
  3. Navigate to the “Documentation” folder
  4. Follow instructions for On Premise or Azure Deployment

1.2 Unpack the cab file downloaded from the marketplace

The cab file can be unpacked in two ways:

  1. If you have a third party unzipping program, you can right click on the cab file and use the unpacking tool.
  2. If you don’t have a third party tool, follow these steps:
    1. Open a command prompt. Start->run-> “cmd”
    2. Navigate to the location you stored the cab file
    3. “md CustomerPortal”
    4. “expand CustomerPortal.exe.cab –f:* CustomerPortal”

1.3 Solution Import: Error about cab files not being signed

“The cab file is not signed or digital signature cannot be verified”.

This error occurs for one of two reasons:

  • The incorrect cab file is being imported
    MicrosoftXrmCustomerPortal.cab
    and MicrosoftXrmPartnerPortal.cab are the solution cab files. Please make sure you’re importing one of these. They are in the root directory once you’ve unpacked CustomerPortal.exe.cab or PartnerPortal.exe.cab.
  • The root cab file was not unpacked correctly
    Please follow instructions above for unpacking the cab file

1.4 Solution Import: Schema validation error when importing the correct cab file

"The selected file is corrupted or it does not use the correct schema. Either select another file or modify the file to use the Microsoft Dynamics CRM migration template schema"

This error occurs when you are running on pre-RTM version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. The portals were developed against version 5.0.9688.583, so please make sure you’re running on a build greater than that.

Note: You can check the build you are running by going to your CRM client and navigating to File -> Help -> About Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

1.5 Installing both Customer and Partner portals in the same CRM instance

The steps are as follows:

  1. Install Partner Relationship Management Portal following the Partner Portal Deployment Guide. The PRM solution contains all the necessary components that are required for both portals to work.
  2. Install the Customer Portal website. Note – don’t install the CRM solution, just host the website on Azure. Skip to step #3 in the Deployment Steps section of the Customer Portal Deployment Guide.

You can install both solutions in step 1 as well if you’d like.

2. Live ID/Azure Setup

2.1 Getting the device id and password

Device ID and password are strings 12-22 characters long and are related to the live id so you can come up with any strings that meet the criteria. Please make sure note them down as you will need these values every time you connect to CRM Online with that particular Live ID.

2.2 Live-ID changes

Live ID no longer requires domain verification, so we don’t need to download the txt file and add it to the azure project. Additionally, the UI is different. Please refer to the updated Step 8 of the documentation here:

Customer Portal

Partner Relationship Management Portal

3. Partner Portal Access Issues

"You do not have sufficient permissions to view this page." in the Partner Portal

  1. Set the Parent Customer of the Contact (customer accessing the portal) to a Partner
  2. Set Account Relationship Type to "Partner"
  3. Invalidate the Cache
  4. Set access permissions for that contact following instructions in the documentation

4. Changing Membership Provider

If you’d like to use AD or IFD instead of Live ID for authentication, you can follow the steps in this blog:

http://www.shanmcarthur.net/crm/developers-corner/customer-portal-modifications-for-demo-vpc-without-internet-connectivity

While it is written for CRM 4, the process is identical for the CRM 2011 Portals as well.

The portals are designed to follow ASP.NET conventions. They should work with any legacy SSO solution that uses the IPrincipal mechanism of ASP.NET, or any membership provider that you plug into your site including the Active Directory or SQL membership providers distributed with ASP.NET.

5. WebsiteCopy.exe Utility fails when using Claims/IFD authentication
          OR
cannot connect to datacenters outside the US

WebsiteCopy.exe UI that was released with the portals on the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace does not support Claims or IFD authentication. The UI will not allow providing only a username and password in the scenario where you have CRM installations with Claims/IFD auth. It also doesn’t connect to non-US organizations.

You can use one of two solutions for this:

  • Use the command line interface
  • Download CRM SDK version 5.0.3 or greater. The issue has been fixed in WebsiteCopy.exe released in the SDK

6. Language problems

The portals are English-only. We have not tested them in other languages.

If you are successfully able to import the Portal solution into your system and cannot activate workflows, you can try installing the English Language pack to your system. Alternatively, you can write your own workflows since the logic is pretty trivial.

6.1 System.NullReferenceException when trying to create/view a case

This issue occurs only in CRM orgs that do not have English as the base language. The *WEB* keyword needs to be in the service description and the case default subject and priority needs to be translated to the target language.

Palak Kadakia



  • I have updated the customer portal with a few changes - specfically, using an Active Directory membership provider, removing Captcha, CDN, and other external links so it runs without an internet connection, and most importantly, updated it with the latest CRM 2011 SDK (5.0.3).  The updated customer portal can be downloaded from my blog site:  www.shanmcarthur.net/.../customer-portal-modifications.  Please note that this is a modification of the Microsoft customer portal - please do not expect official support.  I have made these modifications based on customer requests for updates and demo use.

  • After running the website copy onto my local CRM not the online. How do I activate the customer portal? I can see it under content managment but i cant acces it?

  • Were you able to successfully set up the portal website on Azure or IIS?

    Please use the Microsoft Dynamics Labs forums here for questions since they are monitored more frequently: social.microsoft.com/.../threads.

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