Overview of updates and hotfixes

Applies To: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

This topic describes the types of updates that are available for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and the deployment process for updates. The topic also describes the naming convention that is used for updates and the structure of update packages.

Types of updates

This section describes the types of updates that are available for Microsoft Dynamics AX.


A hotfix is code that resolves selected bugs that affect key features or a significant number of Microsoft Dynamics AX installations. A hotfix can address either a single issue or a cumulative set of issues.

Microsoft publishes a corresponding Knowledge Base (KB) article for every hotfix that is released for every Microsoft product. These products include Microsoft Dynamics AX. These KB articles describe the changes that the hotfix makes to objects, database tables, or files, or other code. Each hotfix is released to address a specific issue or scenario to restore the normal operation of the software. You must review the corresponding KB article to evaluate whether you have to apply the hotfix in your Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation.

Microsoft Dynamics AX has the following standard types of hotfix:

  • Binary hotfixes – Objects and components that are installed by using standard Windows installer (MSI) files are patched with Windows Installer Patch (MSP) files and are applied by using AXUpdate.exe. These updates are cumulative: each binary hotfix contains changes from all previously released hotfixes.

  • Application hotfixes – Application hotfixes are those that are provided by using application model (.axmodel) files to any of the Microsoft application patch layers (SYP, GLP, FPP, SLP). Unlike binary hotfixes, application hotfixes target a specific fix and are not cumulative in nature.


    All application hotfix model files must be installed by using AXUpdate.exe; importing these application models manually is explicitly unsupported and may result in errors.

  • Pre-processing hotfixes – Pre-processing hotfixes are applied to data upgrade scripts (e,g., DatabaseUpgrade) that are run on Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 systems before upgrading to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

Cumulative updates

A cumulative update (CU) is an update that contains all previous hotfixes to date. Additionally, a CU contains fixes for issues that meet the criteria for hotfix acceptance. These criteria may include the availability of a workaround, the effect on the customer, the reproducibility of the problem, and the complexity of the code that must be changed.

Service packs

A service pack is a tested, cumulative set of all hotfixes and updates. Service packs may also contain additional fixes for problems that have been found internally since the release of the product, and a limited number of design changes or features that were requested by customers.

Deployment process for updates

For any update that affects code or the database schema, we recommend that you first back up your database, then deploy updates, make all required changes to customizations, and compile your code in a test environment. After your system has been compiled in the test environment, we recommend that you use the Windows PowerShell Import-AXModelStore cmdlets to deploy changes to the production environment. This approach requires the least downtime for your production system. For more information, see Deploying Customizations Across Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Environments (White paper).

Naming convention for update packages

The following naming convention is used for packages that service Microsoft Dynamics AX: <ProductName>-KB*<KBNumber>-v<PackageVersionNumber>-<ServicePackLevel>*.exe.

For example, a package might be named DynamicsAX2012-KB123456-v2-SP2.exe. The following table explains the name segments that are used in package names.

Name segment



This segment indicates the name of the product that is being serviced. For packages that service Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, this segment is DynamicsAX2012.


This segment indicates the KB article that corresponds to the package, such as KB123456.


This segment is not used for the first release of a package. If the package is recalled or otherwise re-released, this segment indicates the revision of the package, such as v2, v3, or v4.


This segment indicates the service pack level that the package services. This segment is used only for packages that must be applied to a product for which Service Pack 1 or a later version is installed. This segment is not used for packages that service the original release version of a product, for which no service packs are installed.

Update package structure

This section describes the structure of update packages.

When you run the self-extracting executable package, you unpack a folder. The following table describes the files and folders that this folder contains.


Type of update that the file or folder is used for



Application updates

The version of the Update wizard that you can run to analyze the effect of the update on customizations in your environment.

Although AXImpactAnalysis.exe may be included in binary update packages, running it provides no additional information if you run it.


Binary and application updates

The Update wizard that you can run to install MSP and model files that are required for the update.


Updates to pre-processing files that are shipped in cumulative updates

A folder that contains updated pre-processing files that are used to upgrade from Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 or Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.


Binary and application updates

A folder that contains the license terms that you must agree to before you can install an update. This folder is used by AXUpdate.exe.


Application updates

A folder that contains the models that are being updated. This folder is used by AXUpdate.exe.


Binary updates

A folder that contains subfolders for the components of Microsoft Dynamics AX that are being updated. Each subfolder contains one or more MSP files. This folder is used by AXUpdate.exe.


Binary and application updates

A folder that contains support files and subfolders that are called by AXUpdate.exe. The files and subfolders include language-specific files for AXUpdate.exe. This folder is used by AXUpdate.exe.