Workflow in SharePoint fails to work as expected


Workflow is not working as expected.


  • Inadequate permissions to the document library that the Workflows are operating.

  • Alerts are not firing (server issue).

  • Custom Workflow not designed correctly.

  • Resolution


    This issue can occur because the OffWFCommon feature is not activated. To activate the OffWFCommon feature, run the following stsadm command:

    stsadm -o activatefeature -name OffWFCommon -url <> -force


    The user must have at least Read-only permissions for the library in question.  These permissions can be given either through a domain security group, Sharepoint group or explicitly. 


    1. Workflows use the Alerts Service to send notifications to users.  If the alerts service is not running, these notification emails will not be sent to end users and the workflow will fail.

    Custom Workflows

    1. Many end users will choose to create workflows in programs outside of Sharepoint such as Sharepoint Designer or Visual Studio.  These workflows can be subject to issues caused by Permissions and Alerts errors.  Beyond these causes, custom workflows are not supported.  To determine if a workflow is custom, follow these steps:

    1. Navigate to the document library where the workflow is erroring.

    2. Click on Settings>Document Library Settings (Or for a list, List Settings).

    3. Find and click on Workflow Settings.

    4. If the workflow opens in the Sharepoint UI, it is an out-of-box (OOB) workflow.  If it does not open or shows an error that the workflow was created in a 3rd party editor, this is a custom workflow.  If alerts are working and permissions are correct, this workflow is not supported and the issue should be de-escalated to the customer help desk.

    Microsoft Internal Support Information

    Steps to reproduce.

    Product Bug Number: CI 10842, CI 21202
    Author ID (email alias):
    Writer ID(email alias): v-six
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    ID articolo: 2001370 - Ultima revisione: 30 gen 2017 - Revisione: 2