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Steps for a NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central technical upgrade

Upgrading NAV to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is essential to save costs, improve efficiency with anytime, anywhere access to data, and make your business future-ready with new functionality added in the cloud regularly.
The path to upgrade will depend on the version of the software you are using. For those who are on the latest version, there is a direct process to upgrade while others will have to first upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central v14. Or if you are using an older version of NAV, you will need to first upgrade to a more recent version as explained below.

The upgrade process in a nutshell

Broadly, there are three stages to the upgrade process.

Upgrade to a Recent NAV or Business Central Version

You need to upgrade to a more recent version of NAV or the Business Central solution. If you are on NAV 2015, 2016, 2017, or 2018 you can directly upgrade to the latest version of Business Central by taking two steps - upgrade the application code and then upgrade the data.

If you are using NAV 2013 or NAV 2013 R2, you will need to upgrade to NAV 2018, upgrade the application code, and then upgrade the data.

For NAV 2009 SP1 and R2, you have the choice of upgrading to NAV 2013 and 2015. After that, you have to upgrade to NAV 2018, upgrade application code, and then upgrade the data. For NAV 5.0 and 4.0, you have to upgrade to NAV 2013 and follow the steps mentioned above.

Convert Customizations to Apps

Convert all your customizations to apps and pre-tenant extensions.

Migrate to Business Central with Cloud Tool

Use the cloud migration tool to migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Steps for a NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central technical upgrade

There are two important steps you need to take before a technical upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central.
First, convert custom V1 extensions to V2 extensions (the V1 extensions are written in C/SIDE and the V2 extensions are written in the AL Language extension for Visual Studio Code. NAV was developed using the C/AL code, so you will need to convert the source code from C/AL to the AL syntax. Next, you will need to replace codeunit 1 Application management to System codeunits.
For the initial preparation for the technical upgrade, you can follow the following steps:

Take a full backup of the database

The time it will take to complete this step depends on the size of the database. If you have a very large database and are pressed for time to complete the upgrade project quickly, you can consider taking a differential backup.

Uninstall the extensions

If you are using only a single-tenant mode, then you need to uninstall all the extensions. But if you are using a multitenant mode, then you need to uninstall all the V extensions.

Compile objects

In order to ensure that you don’t get any errors during the upgrade process, make sure that all the objects are compiled and unlocked. Also check if all the tables are synchronized.

Upload Business Central partner license

Upload the Dynamics 365 Business Central license given by Microsoft to the SQL server. To save and upload the license, you need to have the requisite permissions in the SQL server.

Stop the old instance

Stop the old Dynamics NAV instance on the server.

Clear the server instance and breakpoint

In this step, you have to clear the dbo.Server Instance and the dbo.Debugger Breakpoint tables in the old database. You can use the SQL Server Management Studio to perform this action.

Close all connections

The final step in preparation of the technical upgrade is the close of all the connections to the database.

Steps to run the technical upgrade

Install Business Central

Use the Business Central Setup to install the new solution. With this, you should be able to install the different components of the new system like demonstration, production, and development environment.

After completing the above mentioned step, open the NAV development environment as an administrator.

Connect to application database

In order to connect to the Azure SQL database, you will have to use the name format SQLDatabaseServerName.database.windows.net.

Connect development environment to server instance

In the Database Information window, go to the Server Instance field and click on the drop down arrow. From the options presented, open the Available Server Instances and select the server instance you want to connect to the development environment.

Import codeunit 1 replacement

In order to import the codeunit 1 replacement, you need to copy the code provided by Microsoft and save it in a text editor. Click here to get the code.

Compile all objects

In order to compile all the objects, go to Object Designer, select Tools, and choose Compile. Please note that you should choose to synchronize schema later.

Fix compilation errors

After you convert the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 database to the Business Central database, there may be multiple compilation errors in the standard NAV objects.

Repair the published V2 extensions

To repair the published V2 extensions, you can use the Repair-NAVApp cmdlet. If you are using the multitenant mode, you can mount the tenant database after completing the above mentioned step.


In this step you will synchronize the tenant database with the application database.

What happens after completing technical upgrade of NAV to Business Central?

While you have ticked off most of the work needed for the upgrade at this stage, there are still a few steps left to complete the journey.

Install V2 extensions

If you are using a single tenant only mode, you can install the V2 extensions. To make sure that the extensions are working as they should, use the Install-NAVApp cmdlet.

Convert Customizations to Apps

Convert all your customizations to apps and pre-tenant extensions.

Transition custom code

In this step, you will need to transition the custom code from the old codeunit 1 to management codeunits.

Configure pages and reports

After the technical upgrade, pages and reports that you could search for in the Web client will not be searchable. In order to make them searchable again, you will need to set the object properties and then build an object search index.

Upload the customer license

The final step in the NAV to Business Central technical upgrade process is to upload the customer license.

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