Using Group Policy to control preferences on the CRM Outlook Client

I’ve been struggling with how to standardize synchronization settings for the CRM Outlook clients at one of my customer sites. After playing around with scripts I decided to take a look at Group Policy. I am not expert on Group Policy but I was able to find some great guidance in Group Policy, Profiles, and Intellimirror for Windows 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 by Jeremy Moskowitz (Sybex Press). After reading up a bit on creating custom Group Policy templates I decided to give it a try.


The result is a basic template that allows an administrator to standardize the registry settings that affect how the CRM client for Outlook behaves on a client computer. If you are interested in using this template, it is attached at to this post. You can also download it at http://www.mscrmfaq.com/files/mscrmclient30.zip. As always this file is released as is.


It turns out the the CRM client for Outlook is not really Group Policy compliant because the registry settings it uses do not exist in the proper area of the registry. The template I created is actually applying “old style” NT preferences as opposed to policy. The major difference is that when a true group policy is removed, the registry settings on the affected machines are also removed. When an “old style” policy like this one is removed the registry settings on the target machines are not changed. So a word of caution here, any changes you make using this template will permanently overwrite registry settings on the target computer. Take a moment to understand what the current settings are on your systems before implementing this template.


To use this template unzip the file and then copy the MSCRMClient30.adm file to the C:\Windows\inf folder on the machine you are using to manage group policy. Open GPMC and create a new policy linked to an OU. Edit the new policy and then add the new template as follows:


  • right click the Administrative Templates folder under the User Configuration and select Add/Remove Templates.
  • Click the Add button and then locate the MSCRMClient30.adm policy file and click OK to save.
  • Click Close on the Add/Remove template to finish adding the template to the policy.
  • Make sure the Administrative Template folder is still selected and then select the View -> Filtering option from the MMC menu bar.
  • Uncheck the “Only show policy settings that can be fully managed” check box and click OK. (You will need to do this each time you want to edit the policy.)

You will now see a folder under Administrative Templates named Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Client for Microsoft Outlook with various policies in sub folders.


 

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