Installing Dynamics Ax 4.0 SP1 and SP2 side by side

When a new service pack is released I like to install it next to all the other versions I have on my machine. This makes it easy to test new service packs and compare it to previous versions. In 3.0 this was quite easy to do because you could choose which directory you wanted to upgrade. The new installation procedure and requirements for version 4.0 makes this a lot harder. Fortunately it’s not entirely impossible.

The installer doesn’t give you much choice about what to upgrade, so you’ll have to copy files and modify registry keys manually. Below are the steps to make it work on my machine. Beware that this setup is not something you should do on a production environment because it’s not supported by MBS. Don’t try this if you don’t feel comfortable editing the Windows registry.

I’m starting with SP1 because I don’t have to support environments without a service pack. This procedure probably works for a regular 4.0 as well. Everything is installed on a single machine, starting from scratch.

  1. Install SP1 database, client, server, and application. I used Client, Application, and Server. Pick a good name for the AOS (I used DAX_401). Don’t start it yet.
  2. Copy the three directories. I used Client SP1, Application SP1, and Server SP1. You should have 6 directories now.
  3. Modify permissions on the SP1 directories to give the account the AOS uses all permissions except for Full Access and Special Permissions. The default account is Network Service.
  4. Delete the DAX_401 AOS files and install a second SP1 AOS in the Server directory. You need to do this to get the necessary registry entries. I named the instance DAX_402.
  5. Install a second SP1 database or copy the one created during the first installation.
  6. Install SP2. This will upgrade the everything created in step 1.
  7. With the config utilities, create server and client configurations. At this point the SP2 part should work.
  8. Open Regedit and search for the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesAOS$01. This is the service information SP1 AOS. Change the ImagePath key to point to the executable in Server SP1. In the Management Console for Windows services the path to the executable for AOS01 should point to the SP1 directory.
  9. In Regedit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesDynamics Server4.01. Below this are the server configurations. Several keys have a path that point to the SP2 directories for application and server. Change everything to the SP1 directory.
  10. The SP1 AOS should now work.
  11. Optionally, create shortcuts to the SP1 and SP2 clients. The SP2 client is backward compatible. It can connect to an SP1 AOS but it the SP2 AOS won’t accept SP1 clients.

I don’t know if it’s possible to have 2 versions of the Business connector. I upgraded mine to SP2. Like the client it will probably be able to connect to an SP1 application.

If you’re not interested in using the SP1 binaries you can probably copy an SP1 application to the SP2 Appl directory and configure the AOS to use the old application. I haven’t tested it yet so I don’t know if it actually works.