WSS 3.0 / SharePoint Intermitant Workflow Firing RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I am experiencing some issues with workflows not starting on a Windows SharePoint Sevices 3.0 site at intermittent intervals. The issue I have got is as follows…

    I have several a SharePoint Designer Workflows attached to a forms library and I also have a few lists in SharePoint which also have several SharePoint Designer Workflows attached to them. All the workflows I am experiencing problems with are all set the be able to be started manually and when an item is created in its respective list/library. The problem I have got it that sometimes workflows are just not starting, however this is intermittent and has not logical reasoning to when they will or will not start… for example:

    When Form 1 I saved into its respective forms library (as it is an InfoPath form) there are four workflows that should run, one workflow always runs without any problems but the other three do not always run… sometimes one or two of them run and the other one or two do not, sometimes all three run and other times none of the three run.

    I have this issue around different areas of my site and the workflows I am using are not of any complexity and use standard SharePoint Designer Workflow actions. There are no time restraints around when these do/do not run and nothing on the server itself to indicate any errors with the SharePoint installation.

    I have already ruled out the post SP2 issue with workflow starting under the ‘System Account’ as the forms are being saved by a combination of general users and the anonymous user (IUSR account) and (as I mentioned earlier) sometimes the workflows do start and sometimes they do not with no pattern, rhyme or reason. As the issue with starting workflows under the ‘System Account’ is by design this would not cause any intermittent issues as I am experiencing.

    The version of WSS 3.0 that I am running is SP2 ( and I am going to get this upgraded to the latest hotfix shortly as I am hoping this may help.

    I have worked with WSS 3.0 for over 3.5 years now and never seen this issue… any information that is available will be very very very much appreciated as I am not 100% sure where else to go other than to Microsoft themselves…

    Thank you to all in advance,


    Thursday, October 20, 2011 9:02 AM

All replies

  • Hi Luke,

    Thanks for your post!

    I am trying to involve someone familiar with this topic to do some further research.


    Monday, October 24, 2011 9:04 AM
  • Hi,

    Have you checked that timer services are running properly in all your WFEs.

    When this issue happens have you got any info in ULS logs and event viewer logs?

    I hope this will help you out.

    Thanks, Rahul Rashu
    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 2:45 PM
  • Thank you Simon, it is very much appreciated!!


    Rahul - Thank you for this.  No we are not seeing any info in the event log that indicates there are any errors or warnings around SharePoint (WSS 3.0) or the timer service.  The timer service is running smoothly from what i can see and we only have a single server deployment so there are no additional WFE's to consider other than the one on the server itself.

    Any further information you could help out with would be vastly appreciated?



    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 3:38 PM
  • Just a thought - If there are four workflows starting on item creation, why not combine them into a single workflow?

    Are the workflows trying to gain access to same item? If one of the workflow is performing action on the item and has locked it then other workflows trying to access the same item will cause error.

    Shubham Goyal
    Friday, October 28, 2011 8:38 AM
  • Hi Shubham,

    These workflows all fire off at the same time because they need to wait until different times, times which will all occur independently and not in any set order... 

    I am looking at restructuring them as much as possible and where possible I am rolling workflows into one (I always try to adopt this practice) but there are still some workflows I need to keep separate...

    If there is any further information that you feel may help me resolve this though I would be extremely grateful...



    Friday, October 28, 2011 10:28 AM
  • Hello Luke,

    Intermittent workflow issues like these are almost always performance issues with the server unless you can explain the intermittent issues with the workflow logic or if it can be isolated to just one WFE.  You can try looking at this article http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd441390.aspx to see if you can make any changes there. Also do you see any error message getting logged  in the ULS logs , may be you want to bump the ULS logs to Verbose and try reproducing the error.

    Manas Biswas
    Microsoft Online Community Support

    Please remember to click 'Mark as Answer' on the post that helps you or click 'Unmark as Answer' if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Saturday, October 29, 2011 7:00 PM
  • Hi Manas,

    Thank you very much for that article... I have read snippets of it and it looks like I have picked one or two things up from it already.

    Would you be so kind as to point me in the direction of where I can find instructions on how to recycle the OWSTimer service so I can look at getting this done at a regular interval.

    I think another issue may be the power behind the web front end and I am going to look at allocating a second WFE to the farm in the very near future. 

    One thing you also mentioned was the ULS logs, where abouts can these be set to 'verbose' and what kind of errors should I be looking for in there that may indicate the issues are related to performance issues on my WFE server?

    Many thanks in advance for your great help and support,


    Monday, October 31, 2011 2:09 PM
  • Hello Luke,

    Thank you for the update and good to know that the article was beneficial. There are two places for your workflow process to record information about its processing: the Windows Event Log and the SharePoint ULS Log. The ULS logs for tracing type information and all errors; the Event Log only for system errors or critical errors that affect SharePoint Server as a whole or prevent your entire workflow from running.

    The below article has steps to Configure diagnostic logging settings (Windows SharePoint Services) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc288649(office.12).aspx#section3.

    You can recycle the timer service from Windows Services manager or run the below from a command prompt

    Restarting SharePoint Timer Service.. NET STOP SPTIMERV3 & then to start NET START SPTIMERV3

    Manas Biswas
    Microsoft Online Community Support

    Please remember to click 'Mark as Answer' on the post that helps you or click 'Unmark as Answer' if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Monday, October 31, 2011 4:25 PM
  • Hi Manas,

    Thank you for the update and information... we are still preparing for a new WFE server which will hopefully et the go-ahead very soon.  We have also put a script on the server to restert the SPTIMER every few hours and this seems to be improving the workflows firing off a bit...

    I am getting alot of errors that are very non-descriptive in my workflows as well now though... the workflows are firing off and then at random intervals giving the Error 'An error has occured in {Workflow Name}' - is this something that the logging in your post above will be able to trap to allow me to understand why this is, or could this be based around the resources and will this be helped by an additional WFE?

    Thank you for your help and support,


    Thursday, November 10, 2011 1:12 PM
  • Hello Luke,

    The ULS logs will definately give you more information on whats going on.


    Manas Biswas
    Microsoft Online Community Support

    Please remember to click 'Mark as Answer' on the post that helps you or click 'Unmark as Answer' if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.
    Thursday, November 10, 2011 6:40 PM
  • Thanks Manas,

    Thats great, I'll be checking them to see if there is anything that is looking out of sorts and hope this will shed some light on what is happening with the workflows...

    If I have any more problems I will give you a shout (seen as you are very helpful :-) ...)



    Monday, December 5, 2011 1:04 PM