Prepare for Dynamics 365 Updates: Online and On-Premises Versions

Microsoft releases new updates for Dynamics 365 products quite often. During my 12 years working with Microsoft Dynamics, the update approach was changed several times, but the main principles stay the same.

Sometimes updates are small, sometimes big and challenging in terms of adoption, that’s why some customers are left behind with very old versions, not being able to catch up. Here I’m talking about on-premises customers of course, because Online customers are forced to migrate to the next version after some time, even if they are not ready.

Let’s review how to prepare for these updates and how to handle them.



Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online Release Schedule

Microsoft releases 2 major updates per year that need to be scheduled and applied. Microsoft also releases small fixes and updates several times a month. Those updates are automatically applied for organizations and do not contain disruptive changes.

However, there were several times in my practice when some functionality stopped working or started a strange behavior. In case this happened to you – check if your version was updated recently and contact Microsoft if needed.

You can check the release schedule and if you have the latest version on Dynamics 365 Online releases page.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 On-Premises Release Schedule

Let’s quickly note the On-Premises release schedule. Normally On-Premises updates come after online updates with a nearly 6-month delay. You need to apply those updates manually to your environment.

Please check the On-Premises updates page for more details.


In this section, we review the best strategy to apply updates. We review strategies for small to middle-complexity customizations. For very complex environments, it is reasonable to get personal advice.

So, if you’re using very basic Dynamics 365 functionality and do not have an organization or person supporting your tenant – you can just schedule updates in Admin and solve problems on production if they occur.

This is, however, not the safest choice. For more complicated cases, I recommend creating a Sandbox environment and opt-in for early updates. You need to create a copy of your production environment to Sandbox, apply updates, and check if everything works smoothly.

Note: Please be careful with integrations. In case you have some, there is a risk that if you change something on the Sandbox – it will be integrated into other production environments. For this reason, Microsoft automatically disables logic on Sandbox initially.

After checking the main functions your organization uses on Sandbox – you are safe to apply them for production.


For On-Premises installations, all updates should be applied manually. You’ll need to set up a separate environment to test it. I recommend checking even minor updates for On-Premises. There are some cases when you need to act proactively. I mean feature deprecation.

Deprecation by itself does not mean that the feature is removed right away. It means that the feature will be removed in the next major release after deprecation is announced, giving customers little more than 6 months to adopt it.

For more complicated cases, Microsoft announces feature removal several releases before its actual removal, so customers have enough time to prepare.

Here is a link in the description with a list of deprecated features. Let’s go there and check if your organization will not be affected.

As for now, there is one big change coming on 1st October 2020 – the Old Web Client Interface will be removed, and users will only be able to use a new Unified Interface.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for now. Updates are necessary to stay up-to-date with the required features and functionalities. They also require some knowledge so the process goes smoothly and with minimal destructive impact. This information will help you to understand more about Microsoft release processes and the impact it makes.

In case you need personalized support for migrating to a new version or update, both Online and On-Premises, need to migrate from On-Premises to Online, or migrate from a Legacy Web Client to a new Unified Interface – just fill out the contact us form to find out more information.