Business Contact Manager - FAQ

Last reviewed on November 15, 2014   —  49 comments

The newest version of BCM, released in November 2014, is now available for download. It is currently available to all Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 users. Note: you cannot share a database with Outlook 2010 and 2013. A database works with one version of Outlook only.

posted 17 Jul 03
Business Contact Manager is a single-user COM add-in that integrates into Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 to provide additional features for tracking contact activity and sales opportunities.

How do I install BCM?
posted 31 Oct 03
BCM comes on its own separate CD. Run the Setup.exe program found on that CD.

Why does BCM install its own instance of MSDE?
posted 27 Oct 03
BCM uses a MSDE (Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Edition) database to store its data.

How do I back up my BCM data?
posted 31 Oct 03
Choose File | Business Database | Backup. You will be asked to set the backup file location and an optional password.

How can I link an existing Outlook item to a BCM contact or account?
posted 20 Nov 2003
For email messages, use the Business Tools | Link E-mail | Link Existing E-mail command to scan your folders and create history items for existing messages sent to or from BCM contacts. For other types of items, you will need to create links manually; use the Link to History controls in the BCM toolbar.

How can I see my BCM contacts in the Outlook address book?
posted 19 Nov 03
The procedure is the same as with any contacts folder: Right-click the Accounts or Business Contacts folder used by BCM work, choose Properties, and then switch to the Outlook Address Book tab. Check the Show this folder as an e-mail address book box, and then click OK.

How can I share my BCM database?
posted 27 Oct 03
BCM is a single-user application, with no sharing capability. It is possible that third-party tools may become available to share the data, perhaps using database replication.

How can I get Business Contact Manager?
posted 5 Mar 2004
BCM is available on a separate CD in the retail Office 2003 Professional package and in both retail and volume license versions of Small Business Edition. It is not available as a standalone product. Volume license customers who purchase Office 2003 Professional will need to request BCM separately, because it does not come with the volume license media for Office Pro. We are trying to get details on the order procedure. If you attended a U.S. Office 2003 launch event and got the Office 2003 Pro trial CD without BCM, you can order BCM from Microsoft. Click the More link below for details.

Why do my history notes not contain the formatting that I added when I created the notes?
posted 27 Oct 03
The BCM database stores only the text, not the formatting.

How can I relocate or hide the BCM toolbar?
posted 27 Oct 03
You can move the toolbar during the current Outlook session, but BCM will not remember the location when you restart Outlook. You cannot hide the BCM toolbar completely.

Why does BCM install the .NET Framework?
posted 27 Oct 03
Microsoft built BCM using the .NET platform.

Can I synchronize my BCM data with a PDA?
posted 19 Nov 2003
That depends on your synchronization tool. The ActiveSync program from Microsoft definitely cannot synchronize multiple contacts or journal folders, which is what BCM uses. Third-party tools may be able to do so. Chapura has updated its PocketMirror Professional utility to work with the Business Contacts folder from BCM.

We have also heard of people using Pocket Contact Synchronizer, a free tool from Microsoft, to copy contacts automatically from the BCM Business Contacts folder to your main Contacts folder. The main Contacts folder can be synchronized with any PDA sync tool. A forthcoming version of Intellisync will support BCM, but the version 5.3 or earlier does not.

Is there a limit on the amount of data I can put in the notes for a BCM account or contact?
posted 28 Oct 03
Yes, the limit is apparently 4000 characters.

How can I import data from ACT! or QuickBooks?
posted 28 Oct 03
You may need local administrator privileges to import from these two programs; see Once you have the right privileges, use File | Import and Export | Business Contact Manager.

How can I customize the BCM forms and the drop-down lists on the forms?
posted 28 Oct 03
BCM provides no built-in way to customize these lists. They are linked with the database.

How can I export from the Opportunities or Business History folder?
posted 28 Oct 03
There is no built-in way to export that information.

How can I fix a setup error that refers to sqlunirl.dll or dbnetlib.dll?
posted 28 Oct 03
The MSKB article at explains that this problem may be related to your Windows configuration.

Can I install BCM in a Terminal Services environment?
posted 28 Oct 03
Yes, but you may need to change the location of the Temp folder, as described in the MSKB article at Business Contact Manager Setup Does Not Complete Successfully in a Windows 2000 Terminal Services Environment.

Can I use BCM with an Exchange mailbox?
posted 7 Feb 2004
Microsoft officially does not support using BCM with an Outlook profile that includes an Exchange account, unless that account is on a Small Business Server 2003 machine and you have installed the corresponding patch for BCM. If you add a BCM database to a profile that includes Exchange from any other environment, the next time you start Outlook, BCM will remove the database from the profile. However, as described at Using BCM with Exchange Server, it is possible to install the patch and then hack the registry to make BCM work with a profile that contains Exchange even if it isnXcharAPOSXt SBS 2003.

How much space on my hard drive does BCM require?
posted 28 Oct 03
According to Microsoft, you might need up to 190MB to be able to install BCM.

Can I create a distribution list in BCM?
posted 10 Nov 03
No. Outlook will let you create a distribution list in the BCM Accounts or Business Contacts folder. However, because the BCM database is not designed to store information about distribution lists, the next time you start Outlook, it will look like a regular contact and contain no members. You can, however, create DLs in your regular Contacts folder that include BCM contacts and accounts.

How do I get rid of duplicate copies of the BCM Accounts and Business Contacts lists that I see in the Outlook Address Book?
posted 10 Nov 03
The easiest way to fix the Outlook Address Book is to use Tools | Email Accounts to remove it, restart Outlook, then add it back in. After that, you probably will also want to click Tools | Address Books then Tools | Options and set which contacts list to use first to resolve names for email messages.

ERROR MESSAGE: There was a problem connecting to the database engine.
posted 19 Nov 03
To use BCM, a user needs to be a member of the Administrators or BCMUsers group on the computer. The article You Receive an Error Message When You Install Outlook with Business Contact Manager 2003 explains how to add a user to the BCMUsers group.

ERROR MESSAGE: Insufficient disk space
posted 19 Nov 03
As the article Error Message Insufficient Disk Space explains, BCM may require up to 190MB of free disk space on your machine, so you may need to free up space.

I no longer see the Business Tools menu or toolbar after I start Outlook. How can I get the menu back?
posted 23 Nov 03
If you do not see the menu or toolbar, it usually means the BCM add-in failed to load. To try to get it back, make a backup of the Windows registry, then run the registry editor (Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe). In the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Addins\ Microsoft.BusinessSolutions. eCRM.OutlookAddIn.Connect.1 key, double-click LoadBehavior and change its value to 3. Then restart Outlook.

What are the system requirements for Business Contact Manager?
posted 7 Feb 2004
According to the BCM FAQ at Microsoft, the requirements are at least an Intel Pentium III 450 MHz or higher processor (or equivalent), at least 256 MB of RAM, and 190 MB available hard disk space.

After installing BCM, Windows XP Home now forces me to log on, rather than going directly to the desktop. How can I get the old behavior back?
posted 26 Dec 03
The requirement for a logon is related to the fact that BCM uses the Microsoft .NET Framework. As a workaround, you can follow the steps detailed in the MSKB article How to Enable Automatic Logon in Windows to configure Windows to log in automatically.

ERROR MESSAGE: “The custom form could not be opened….”
posted 15 Jan 04
BCM sometimes has what is known as a “forms cache” problem. Clearing the cache usually fixes it. Choose Tools | Options | Other | Advanced Options | Custom Forms, then click Manage Forms, then Clear Cache</>.

Why is the Expected Revenue value not the total value of goods and services in an opportunity? Instead it is adjusted by the probability that the opportunity will close.
posted 15 Jan 04
Expected Revenue is a forecasting number, not a number that the accountants will use to report actual sales figures. It is the sum of products x prices that you enter, adjusted for the probability that sale will close. This is used in calculated the overall sales forecast, which will be the sum of the expected revenue from all opportunities.

You can see the actual unadjusted revenue by adding the Total Value field to the folder view.

During the BCM installation, I get an error message: “Setup failed to configure server; refer to the server error logs and setup error logs for more info.” How can I fix this?
posted 15 Mar 2004
Look for the folder \Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL$MicrosoftBCM. If you find it, delete it, and then rerun setup. The article PRB: “Setup Failed to Configure the Server” Error Message When You Install MSDE explains this issue in more detail.

How can I add existing journal items to the BCM Business History folder?
posted 3 Mar 2004
BCM provides no way to do this. The Business History folder is an Outlook journal folder, but the key fields that link a history item with its business contact or account are not visible to the user. Furthermore, while you can use the Link to History command on the BCM toolbar to link an existing appointment or task, that command is disabled for journal items. The only way to add a new Business History entry is to use the Add button on the open business contact or account.

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

49 responses to “Business Contact Manager - FAQ”

  1. Diana McAlpine

    Can I change the name and use of fields in the account records? If so how?

  2. Gary Jackson

    I am trying to convert a remote sql BCM database back to a local copy. Please impart your vast knowledge on me.


  3. aesya33

    Is it possible to print the BCM form layout exactly like what we see in that application? I have a user at my workplace who wants individual record to be printed with fields in the form layout (just like what being displayed).
    I have explored the BCM and there is no option to do so. The only way to print records it to produce a report using report tools. Unfortunately, it displays all records in a table form. That is not what the user want.
    I tried to use Mail Merge, but it seems hard especially when there are a lot of custom fields in the form. Since the users mostly aren't Tech Savvy, I'd like to avoid any complex operation.
    Please advise/suggest for any solution/useful links.
    Thank you.

  4. marc de wit

    We have BCM2007 and clients are hve probelms with the big SQL server it is to bog and theire system is getting very slow. 2196 MB is the datebase of BCM after defragmentation. do youu have a solution

    marc de wit, holland

  5. Dawn

    Hi Diane,
    I was wondering if you could answer hopefully an easy question. Can I archive or delete emails once they have been linked to a contact in BCM 2010? Will the info be saved somewhere in the database? If I archive the emails do we have re link them?


  6. Alvaro Rodrigues

    When I create a new email message i can't link to a Project. I need first send the message an then link from the sent folser. Is that correct ? or can i link on the fly? Thanks

  7. Larry

    I am trying to use BCM on Office 2010. It works okay for one or two executions and then appears to corrupt the Outlook profile. Can you suggest something?

  8. Larry

    Upon executing I get "unknown external error". When I make a completely new Outlook profile I can get it to work one or two times and then it freezes. Upon execution again, it doesn't load the BCM addon at all. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling several times and I installed the compatibility upgrade. I also use office 365. Would that be causing a conflict?

  9. Larry

    The addins are: Acrobat PDFMaker office COM addin, Business connectivity Services Addin, Business contact manager for outlook, Business contact manager loader for outlook, COM addin for outlook Hotmail connector, Gotomeeting outlook COM addin, Lync Meeting for addin for Microsoft Office 2103, McAfee Addin, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Micorsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Exchange Addin, Microsoft Outlook social connector, Microsoft sharepoint Server colleague import addin, Microsoft sharepoint workspace proxy for outlook addin, Microsoft VBA for outlook addin, OneNote Notes about outlook Items, Redemption Helper Outlook Extension

    Inactive addins include: google calendar sync, Microsoft access Outlook Addin for data collection

    I'm on 32bit office.

    When I run it I get: "Business Contact Manager for outlook encountered a critical error during startup and will be removed from the this profile. If you would like to run Business Contact manager for outlook, restart Outlook and try again.

    Then I get the same error text but presented in a different box.

    Then I get Cannot complete the selected action because an unknown external error occurred.

    Sorry about the long message but I thought it would help diagnose the issue.

  10. Larry

    I was getting this same error sequence before I added CRM. I've been trialing CRM because I can't get BCM going but would really rather use BCM. Thanks for any help you can give me

  11. Ralph

    I recently bought into the Dynamics CRM and 365 as we were not able to serve the BCM for our remote employees (small not-for-profit) Personally, I loved the simplicity of BCM w Outlook - now we are struggling w the conversion of BCM accounts to the CRM - and i too was told that i couldn't use BCM if i have dynamics CRM installed. Are you able to still access your BCM accounts w CRM installed - i thought it had to be disabled.
    And I was also told that BCM would no longer be supported but i can see from this EXCELLENT forum that's not true.
    Do you know of a simple way of getting the BCM accounts into Dynamics CRM -

  12. Ralph Singh

    Thanks Diane - we are almost to a useable state on CRM - i agree that trying to use both doesn't work - the export and import is a real pain lining up fields - right now i'm trying the "track in crm" feature to get contacts individual or a bunch into CRM - biggest problem is trying to figure out where the categories which are so clear in outlook to show up in CRM - AND finding a simple way to create accounts - it seems like endless entry work on multiple forms - i hope it will be worth it by the time we're done -
    for a small not-for-profit with no IT person it's really a heavy lift - and almost creating a custom program using all their existing templates

  13. Ralph Singh

    Thanks so much - really kind of you - even though they say you can export an entire "group" or several of them - from outlook contacts, and check "track by category" there is no easy way to see the category they are actually in - it's a mess

  14. Efthimios

    Hi Diane!
    After installing BCM 2010, the main tab of my custom contact form is missing (the one that contains save&close, e-mail, and activities buttons)... Once I remove BCM from the add-ins list the tab appears.
    Do you by any chance have a remedy for that??

  15. vish


    I would like to integrate BCM to sharepoint 2010. do we have details integration steps and also if any impact on existing sharepoint farm due to database creation ???

  16. Bob Kennard

    HI Diane, I'm new to BCM. A couple of challenges, when I am creating a contact, the fields (phone, email address) seem to not correspond. If I click on Home phone, and try to add a number, it takes the number, but the field corresponds with Business Phone.
    Secondly, when I use appointment and hit save copy to calendar, it enters the calendar twice. Any suggestions, thank you.

  17. Scott Hudson

    Hi All.

    I'm having the same issue with field names a Bob Kennard above.
    BCM and Outlook 2010 are running on the old laptop. Outlook 2013 (from Office 365) on the new laptop with BCM installed from the full install download. BCM content was migrated using a backup on the old system and a restore to the new one. A window poped up indicating that the data was being upgraded.
    Email addresses are all Email2 and trying to change them results in some other attribute being assigned.

    I also tried exporting data from the old BCM and importing to the new with the same result. The import process provides an opportunity to remap fields which I haven't tried yet.

    Any ideas or guidance will be much appreciated.
    Regards, Scott

  18. barkpm

    Hi Diane,

    Thank you for the quick response. In reference to the link you attached, should I do a complete re-install? I do not have 2007 to upgrade from. My version is 2013.

  19. barkpm

    Sorry, SQL is way over my head. I see it used all the time, but have no idea what that is.

  20. barkpm

    Hi Diane,
    Another Challenge, I have Microsoft 365 which is a 32 bit program. The downloader only shows 64bit and I believe it is 86 bit. I've tried both without success. My computer is 64 bit. I'm really not sure where the 32 bit 365 Office came from. It was loaded by Microsoft.
    help... :-(

  21. barkpm

    I also uninstalled the BCM program I originally had on the machine.

  22. barkpm

    Yes it states that I have to install the BCM program that is the same as my outlook, which is 32 bit. I tried both the 64 bit install and the 86. I get the error message for both.

  23. barkpm

    Subscription Product, Microsoft 365.

  24. barkpm

    Did it!! Thank you for your patience. Seems to be working fine. One question, by default, do you know where the bcm database file is stored? I used the automatic settings for the install. Thanks again, you are so kind.... :-)

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