SharePoint Workflow error: workflow is automatically cancelled

Recently I ran into a strange issue with out-of-the-box SharePoint workflow. Once the workflow is started, the SharePoint automatically cancels the workflow and the workflow outcomes becomes as "access denied", the description you see is "The workflow could not update the item, possibly because one or more columns for the item require a different type of information".

While the root cause of this issue is not yet known, a simple work around would be to re-publish the workflow using SharePoint designer...

  • Open SharePoint designer
  • Go to the "Workflows" section
  • Select the workflow in question and then click publish

The impact of this solution that new version of the workflow will be published to your site and all new workflow instances should work normally. However, this will not fix the status of existing workflow instances that ran into error status.

To fix these instances (Possibly on a production environment) follow these steps...

  • Launch the affected SharePoint site.
  • Click Site Actions, and then click Site Settings.
  • If the affected site is a sub-site rather than a top-level site, in the Site Collection Administration section, click Go to Top Level Site Settings.
  • Click Site Collection Features.
  • Deactivate the Workflows feature.
  • In SharePoint Designer, open the root of the site collection.
  • Go to Workflows.
  • Remove the Workflows in question (for example, Approval - SharePoint 2010).
  • In SharePoint, in Site Collection Features, reactivate the Workflow feature.
  • Confirm that the workflows are functioning as expected.

Complete KB Article:



Comments (6)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Another option. When you click on the Workflow History. You will see link to terminate workflow. This will delete the canceled workflow. You will have to manually start the workflow again.

  2. Thanks for bringing this workaround to our attention. Cheers.

  3. abol says:

    but it deactivate feature on production then it's affects other workflows also.

  4. swati says:

    if some workflows are in progress and deactivate workflow feature what will happen on production. it's affects only for approval workflow of specific document library or all document library. is all workflows deactivate which are already in progress or already assigned to library,Please give explaination on this.

  5. Bob B says:

    deactivated workflows and all history and task were removed from the site. not good.

  6. EK Ibrahim Choorappatta says:

    Dear Ahmed…

    Salamath Upon You

    I am getting this error.. plz help..

    RequestorId: 4c90aa83-a6f9-ea51-a2c7-09e7d7cfc6cb. Details: System.ApplicationException: HTTP 401 {“Transfer-Encoding”:[“chunked”],”X-SharePointHealthScore”:[“0″],”SPClientServiceRequestDuration”:[“103″],”SPRequestGuid”:[“1a3e5c3c-3c0b-4dd1-a580-1a9665e4b555″],”request-id”:[“1a3e5c3c-3c0b-4dd1-a580-1a9665e4b555″],”X-FRAME-OPTIONS”:[“SAMEORIGIN”],”MicrosoftSharePointTeamServices”:[“″],”X-Content-Type-Options”:[“nosniff”],”X-MS-InvokeApp”:[“1;
    RequireReadOnly”],”Cache-Control”:[“max-age=0, private”],”Date”:[“Tue, 01 Dec 2015 05:13:07 GMT”],”Server”:[“Microsoft-IIS/8.5″],”WWW-Authenticate”:[“NTLM”],”X-AspNet-Version”:[“4.0.30319″],”X-Powered-By”:[“ASP.NET”]} at Microsoft.Activities.Hosting.Runtime.Subroutine.SubroutineChild.Execute(CodeActivityContext
    context) at System.Activities.CodeActivity.InternalExecute(ActivityInstance instance, ActivityExecutor executor, BookmarkManager bookmarkManager) at System.Activities.Runtime.ActivityExecutor.ExecuteActivityWorkItem.ExecuteBody(ActivityExecutor executor, BookmarkManager
    bookmarkManager, Location resultLocation)

    user profile services i checked.. its fine already
    User is there in user profile list

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