Step by Step: Let’s refresh your Dynamics 365 Sandbox


Welcome back and Happy New Years Everyone.

One of the items I love about using Dynamics 365 Online is the ability to use the Sandbox feature. In the past, with on-premises version of Dynamics, you had to take a database backup copy of Production system, file copy the database to Sandbox server, restore the database and re-import the database via the Dynamics 365 Deployment Manager on the server. This process could waste up to a day of work and 4-8 hours to run!

So when Microsoft asked the MVP’s what feature we would like to have in the cloud, the ability, to sandbox/restore was right at the top of our minds.  I had to recently document this for a great customer, so I decided to share with you as well! So let’s show you step by step:

Step 1

Login into your Microsoft Office 365 Account.

https://login.microsoftonline.com

Step 2

From the Office Switch (Blue Box/white squares) in Top left select Admin. You will not see admin if you have not been made an Office 365 Administrator. Please see your IT department or the team that setup your office account to request access. This will take you the office 365 home page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

Click the Admin Centers, and find Dynamics 365 Admin Center from the slide out.

 

Step 4
This will bring you the Dynamics 365 Instance Administration Screen. Click on the production instance name:

 

Step 5
and then press on the Copy button

 

Step 6
Finally, select the instance you want to copy from and the target (older sandbox instance) to override. Select full or minimal(no data), and Press Copy at the Bottom.

 

Once you start to copy the instance this can take anywhere between 10 minutes and 3 hours depending on the size of your production database and the level of customization.

All of this up till now is pretty standard, but here’s the gotcha. The production setup will have production settings for email and other items like plugins that will try to update the production system. to Protect us, the Org will be restored as Admin mode only – where users only with admin roles can access it until you get a chance to turn off some of this. I highly recommended immediately turning off email so don’t email clients when testing 🙂

 
Final Step

Here’s a link to all the gotcha/items to consider before enabling the Sandbox for user access.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/admin/copy-instance

From the instance manager is Step 4 select the sandbox instance and change the mode back to normal access. Enjoy!