Upgrade your NAV to Business Central: A Step-by-Step Guide

Maximize your business potential by upgrading your Navision/NAV/Dynamics NAV to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central - an all-in-one cloud-based ERP solution for businesses of all sizes.

If you have outgrown your business needs with NAV (different versions of it, including the latest updates!), it's the right time to consider an upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Dynamics 365 Business Central is the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV that is fully cloud-based and offers improved functionality, security, and scalability.

By upgrading your NAV to Microsoft Business Central, you will not only be able to accelerate your business operations, but you will also be running your operations more efficiently with this cost-effective solution.

Migrating your precious data to Business Central Cloud ERP is cost-effective because it costs less and secures data with Microsoft's multiple layers of security in guidance of Azure.

With the latest version, you can enjoy anytime, anywhere access to your data, and benefit from the new cloud-based functionality - it is the future.

It's time to take your business to the next level with a more recent version of NAV - Microsoft Dynamics Business Central.

[Note: Dynamics NAV/Navision/NAV is the forefather of Business Central]

Streamlining your Business Transformation: A Three-Part Journey to Upgrading Your Dynamics NAV

At times, it feels like a daunting task to perform an upgrade to your running system since it involves many crucial steps and takes significant time and money. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Because our Dynamics 365 Experts have broken down the process into three essential stages:

Stage - 1 [Before Technical Upgrade]: Navigating the Path to Modernization: Upgrading Your NAV ERP System.

If you're using NAV 2015, 2016, 2017, or 2018, the direct upgrade process is simple: upgrade the application code and then upgrade the data.

But for those using older versions such as NAV 2013 or NAV 2013 R2, the path to modernization requires a multi-step journey, as mentioned below:

First, you'll need to upgrade to NAV 2018, followed by upgrading the application code and data.

And for those using even older versions of Dynamics NAV such as NAV 2009 SP1 and R2, the process may involve upgrading to NAV 2013 and 2015 before ultimately upgrading to NAV 2018 and completing the application code and data upgrades.

So, regardless of your starting point, upgrading to the latest version of NAV or Business Central will help your business stay ahead of the curve and continue to thrive in the evolving market scenarios and business demands.

Stage - 2 [During Technical Upgrade]: Transform Your Customizations into Efficient and Scalable Apps and Pre-Tenant Extensions.

If you're out to upgrade your NAV system to D365 Business Central, it's essential to convert all your customizations into apps and pre-tenant extensions. This will help you maximize the benefits of the upgrade by ensuring that your customizations are efficient, scalable, and compatible with the latest version of the ERP software.

Additionally, converting your customizations into apps and extensions will provide you with a more streamlined and cost-effective solution for future upgrades.

So, take the necessary steps and considerations into account to transform your customizations and unlock the full potential of your upgraded ERP system.

Stage - 3 [After Technical Upgrade]: Streamlining Your Upgrade Journey with the help of a trusted Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner like Dynamics Square for NAV to Business Central Upgrade.

Are you prepared to advance the digital transformation of your company? Consider connecting with a Gold Microsoft Partner to migrate your data to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Our Dynamics 365 experts simplify the upgrade process in ways it allows you to quickly and easily transfer your data and customizations to the cloud-based solution.

It is for you so that you can enjoy a seamless transition to a more efficient and future-proof system. We move with you step-by-step to ensure that your business stays ahead of the curve in today's evolving needs.

So, don't wait any longer, start your upgrade journey today with a trusted cloud solution partner (CSP).

Here are the crucial steps for your NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central technical upgrade:

To unlock the Power of Dynamics 365 Business Central, you need essential preparation steps. And upgrading to Dynamics 365 Business Central is an exciting opportunity to enhance your business's efficiency and capabilities. But before diving into the technical upgrade, there are two crucial steps that must be taken care of.

First, it's important to convert custom V1 extensions to V2 extensions. This involves transitioning from C/SIDE to the AL Language extension for Visual Studio Code, as well as converting the source code from C/AL to the AL syntax.

Next, you'll need to replace the “codeunit 1” Application management with “System codeunits.” This will ensure that your system is fully optimized for the latest version of the software.

Follow these Steps for Initial Preparation for the Technical Upgrade

Step 1: Secure Your Data with a Full Backup

Before embarking on the technical upgrade, it's essential to protect your valuable data. Taking a full backup of your database will ensure that you have a copy of your information in case anything goes wrong during the upgrade process. Note that the time it takes to complete this step will depend on the size of your database. If you're working against a tight deadline, consider taking a differential backup to save time.

Step 2: Uninstall Unneeded Extensions

If you're working in single-tenant mode, it's crucial to uninstall all the extensions before beginning the upgrade process. However, if you're using a multi-tenant mode, you'll need to focus specifically on uninstalling V extensions.

Step 3: Ensure Object Integrity with Compilation

To minimize the chances of errors during the upgrade process, it's crucial to compile all objects and ensure that they are unlocked. Additionally, make sure to check that all tables are synchronized.

Step 4: Upload the Business Central License

To access the latest features and capabilities of Dynamics 365 Business Central, you'll need to upload the Microsoft-provided license to your SQL server. This process requires the proper permissions within the SQL server, so be sure to have the necessary access before proceeding.

Step 5: Halt the Old Instance

To begin the upgrade process, it's necessary to stop the old Dynamics NAV instance on your server.

Step 6: Clear the Server Instance and Breakpoint Tables

In this step, you'll need to clear the “dbo.Server” Instance and “dbo.Debugger” Breakpoint tables in your old database. This can be done using the SQL Server Management Studio.

Step 7: Disconnect All Connections

To wrap up the preparation stage of the technical upgrade, make sure to close all connections to the database. This will ensure that the upgrade process runs smoothly and without interruption.

Step-by-Step Procedure for NAV to Business Central Upgrade

Follow the below-steps to run the technical upgrade for NAV.

Step-1: Installing Business Central

Use the Business Central Setup to install the new solution, including the demonstration, production, and development environment components.

After the installation, open the NAV development environment as an administrator.

Step 2: Connecting to the Application Database

Use the name format “SQLDatabaseServerName.database.windows.net” to connect to the Azure SQL database.

Step 3: Connecting the Development Environment to the Server Instance

In the Database Information window, go to the Server Instance field and select the drop-down arrow.

From the available options, choose the server instance you want to connect to the development environment.

Step 4: Importing the Codeunit 1 Replacement

Copy the code provided by Microsoft and save it in a text editor. You can then click to access the code.

Step 5: Compiling All Objects

Select Compile under Tools in Object Designer.

Note: You should choose to synchronize the schema later.

Step 6: Fixing Compilation Errors

After converting the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 database to the Business Central database, there may be multiple compilation errors in the standard NAV objects that need to be fixed.

Step 7: Repairing the Published V2 Extensions

Use the “Repair-NAV App cmdlet” to repair the published V2 extensions.

If you are using the multi-tenant mode, mount the tenant database after completing this step.

Step 8: Synchronizing

In this step, the tenant database and the application database will be synchronized.

Note: If you’re looking for a more authentic piece of information other than what I just mentioned in this post, you can follow the link (below is the screenshot): Upgrade your Dynamics NAV to Business Central: Step-by-Step from the Dynamics Square team.

What is after completing the technical Upgrade of NAV to Business Central?

If there are still some remaining tasks to be completed before the upgrade process is fully finished, follow the below-mentioned recipe.

Step-1: Upgrading Javascript-based Control Add-Ins

Check which Javascript-based control add-ins you will be using in the Business Central Server and upgrade to the new versions.

Step-2: Installing V2 Extensions

If you are using a single tenant-only mode, install the V2 extensions and use the Install-NAV App cmdlet to verify that they are functioning properly.

Step-3: Transitioning Custom Code

In this step, transition your custom code from the old "codeunit 1" to the new management "codeunits."

Step-4: Configuring Pages and Reports

After the technical upgrade, pages and reports may not be searchable in the Web client.

To make them searchable again, set the object properties and build an object search index.

Step-5: Uploading the Customer License

Uploading the customer licence completes the NAV to Business Central technical upgrading procedure.


Moving from Dynamics NAV to Business Central to advance your growth on a scale is a commendable step. I have explained the necessary steps needed to carefully and securely migrate your NAV data.

If still you have got doubts, contact Dynamics Square experts to schedule a friendly meeting to hear about your problems and provide you with a business-centric solution to help you help others.

Ayush Jain

Ayush Jain is a seasoned Digital Marketing specialist renowned for his expertise in harnessing the power of cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to propel business growth. With an impressive track record spanning more than four years, he has cultivated fruitful partnerships with numerous SaaS enterprises, driving substantial brand recognition and unlocking revenue potential.


Join our newsletter

Engaging stories and exclusive data, designed for our best customers. We only send one issue each month, so we try to make it useful.


Book a Free Consultation

See How Dynamics Square Can Help Transform Your Business With Microsoft Business Applications.