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Error updating a list item in SPD 2007 workflow

    Question

  • I am having trouble with a workflow I created. The workflow has two steps:
    1.  Collect a response from a user (Approve/Reject)
    2. Based on the response, update two fields in the list item and send an email

    My two challenges are:

    1. When the task is edited by the approver, they need to hit "Complete Task" twice to get the task marked completed.
    2. Once the task is completed, the workflow errors out with the following errors:

    Date Occurred
    Event Type
    Presence enabled for this column User ID
    Description
    Outcome
    10/28/2008 12:26 PM Error
    No presence information System Account
    Error updating a list item Unknown error
    10/28/2008 12:26 PM Error
    No presence information System Account
    An error has occured in Request MBB Approval.

    Can someone help me diagnose and fix this, using SharePoint Designer?
    thanks!

    • Edited by Mike Walsh FIN Thursday, November 20, 2008 6:21 PM "workflow" added to subject
    Wednesday, October 29, 2008 5:46 PM

Answers

  • Hi, 

    A most common cause of your issue is the lookups in the Update List Item action has been set properly.

     

    And these are some other common causes of your issue:

    l  A field in the current item or in another list is being mapped to a field in the item being updated, and the information type or format of these fields conflict. For example, a field in an item in List A does not match the possible values of a field in List B because of a conflict in the character limits allowed by each field. Or perhaps a field being mapped is a Person and Group field that allows a group value, but the corresponding field in the item being updated does not accept group values.

    l  The workflow lookups in the Update List Item action reference values that may have been changed or deleted.

    l  Your permissions may be preventing the workflow from accessing the list item. A workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 always runs with the permissions of the person who starts the workflow. If this person does not have the necessary permissions to access the list or item, the workflow does not have these permissions either.

    l  The item that the workflow is trying to update may have changed or doesn't exist.

    l  The item may be checked out by another user.

     

    Here are some suggested solutions:

    l  Make sure that the information type of the fields in the source and destination list match. For example, if a field of the Date information type in the current item is mapped to a field in the updated item, the corresponding field in the destination list should also be of the Date information type.

    l  Open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the Update List Item action point to correct values.

    l  If you think you do not have the permissions necessary to run this workflow, contact the site owner.

    l  Verify that the item exists that the workflow is trying to update.

    l  Make sure that the item is checked in.

     

    For more information, see Troubleshoot workflow errors (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/HA102379121033.aspx)

     

    -lambert


    Posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Friday, October 31, 2008 2:12 AM

All replies

  • Hi, 

    A most common cause of your issue is the lookups in the Update List Item action has been set properly.

     

    And these are some other common causes of your issue:

    l  A field in the current item or in another list is being mapped to a field in the item being updated, and the information type or format of these fields conflict. For example, a field in an item in List A does not match the possible values of a field in List B because of a conflict in the character limits allowed by each field. Or perhaps a field being mapped is a Person and Group field that allows a group value, but the corresponding field in the item being updated does not accept group values.

    l  The workflow lookups in the Update List Item action reference values that may have been changed or deleted.

    l  Your permissions may be preventing the workflow from accessing the list item. A workflow designed in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 always runs with the permissions of the person who starts the workflow. If this person does not have the necessary permissions to access the list or item, the workflow does not have these permissions either.

    l  The item that the workflow is trying to update may have changed or doesn't exist.

    l  The item may be checked out by another user.

     

    Here are some suggested solutions:

    l  Make sure that the information type of the fields in the source and destination list match. For example, if a field of the Date information type in the current item is mapped to a field in the updated item, the corresponding field in the destination list should also be of the Date information type.

    l  Open the workflow in Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and verify that the lookups in the Update List Item action point to correct values.

    l  If you think you do not have the permissions necessary to run this workflow, contact the site owner.

    l  Verify that the item exists that the workflow is trying to update.

    l  Make sure that the item is checked in.

     

    For more information, see Troubleshoot workflow errors (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/HA102379121033.aspx)

     

    -lambert


    Posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
    Friday, October 31, 2008 2:12 AM
  • Yesterday I installed Cumulative Update Package 10/2008 (KB 957691, 957693, 957694, 958567, and 958569).
    Today I fight with the same errors ("Error updating a list item" and "An error has occured in [Workflow name]") in a workflow, which creates an item in a different list. The workflow worked since 2007. After CU 10/2008 it doesn't work anymore.
    Thursday, November 20, 2008 5:06 PM
  • Paul, it looks like another potential cause/work around is to disable the versioning feature on the target list (list being updated). Doing so allowed my workflow to run through successfully.

    If anyone knows of a fix for this, please post.

    Thanks

    ps Learned of the work around here.
    Friday, November 21, 2008 7:54 PM
  • After the Oct 28 update, I'm facing similar problems too, with the same errors.
    I've reduced it down to a very simple scenario of the error I'm getting:
    • Create a custom list with a person column in it, default options, called 'anyPerson', no versioning
    • Create a workflow for the list, to be started manually
    • Add an update current list item operation
      • set 'anyPerson' to any domain user name that appears on the selection list (perhaps your own)

    When I run the workflow, I get the same errors Paul described above.

    It is fundamental to all the production workflows I have created except I use a lookup to another list to populate the names.

    In trying to arrive at a quick work-around, I've found that you can do the update list item using a user's email address from a text field.  This causes other problems tho - when using the [ME] filter for a 'my items' view of the list, your items created using the email address method don't show up.

    Has anyone found the problem/solution to this?  I have to believe that it is somehow permissions related.  Surely this functionality, essentially copying a person from one list to another, has to function...

    Sunday, December 14, 2008 5:13 PM
  • Hi,

    I've the same problem: error updating item

    The item I try to update is in a custom list that does not have versioning feature ativated.

    I have already posted my problem here but it's still unanswered:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sharepointworkflow/thread/44f71086-df70-4bdc-bf49-1144f786cf33

    Anybody knows how to fix this?

    Wednesday, January 07, 2009 9:16 AM
  • Actually I noticed that if the library has "Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited?" then the workflow fails, remove it and it works.  From what I see on the web, seems several people are having the same issue.  Major bug if you ask me...
    Wednesday, January 07, 2009 12:29 PM
  • Hi pverdieu,

    Thanks for your answer, but I can't change this setting because I'm using a custom list, not a document library, and the setting is not available in the configuration. Any other ideas?
    Thursday, January 08, 2009 9:21 AM
  • Guys,

    If you follow this doco, you should be able to work around the issue, it looks like the Oct CU introduced an error when updating user fields that breaks all workflows that update user fields.

    http://connect.nintex.com/forums/thread/1826.aspx

    Cheers,
    Adrian
    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 8:23 AM
  • Hi Adrian,

    Thanks for the answer.

    That's not my case, I'm not updating a person/group field, haven't installed October CU, and that's what I'm getting in Sharepoint Logs:

    System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object. at Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.SPWinOEWSSService.UpdateListItem(Guid id, Guid listId, Int32 itemId, Hashtable itemProperties) at Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions.ActivityHelper.DoCorrectUpdateMethod(WorkflowContext theContext, Int32 item, Guid listId, Hashtable properties, IListItemService hostInterface) at Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions.UpdateItemActivity.Execute(ActivityExecutionContext provider) at System.Workflow.ComponentModel.ActivityExecutor`1.Execute(T activity, ActivityExecutionContext executionContext) at System.Workflow.ComponentModel.ActivityExecutor`1.Execute(Activity activity, ActivityExecutionContext executionContext) at System.Workflow.ComponentModel.Acti...

    People having trouble with versioning, there is a hotfix that solves the problem, check the link given in the last comment, here:
    http://www.sharepointassist.com/2008/10/13/sharepoint-error-updating-list-item/
    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 8:39 AM

  • SOLUTION!
    We experienced exactly the same issue and solved the problem by following the solution found by the Nintex team at http://connect.nintex.com/forums/thread/1826.aspx. This is an issue both with SharePoint workflows and Nintex workflows.  Their solution works in both cases.

    To paraphrase what the Nintex article says:
    - the error occurs when the following actions are used to set a Person or Group field with a domain\username value:
    ·         Create an item
    ·         Set field value
    ·         Update an item
    - the workflow fails with the message ‘Error updating list item’, and an outcome of “Unknown Error”.
    - The issue was introduced with the October cumulative SharePoint update http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;958847&sd=rss&spid=11373 
    - At this time, Microsoft are aware of the issue but haven't yet addressed it as far as I know
    The Nintex team published a workaround which I have confirmed also works for non Nintex workflows:
    Setting the Person or Group field to this value format works:
    -1;#domain\username
    So, if you are setting the field value to “company\MyUser1”, instead set the value to: 
    “-1;#company\MyUser1”. The -1 is constant.
    If you are doing a list look up to another Person or Group field, you will need to store the resulting domain\username into a variable, and use the Build Dynamic String action to add the -1;# to the start.

    Shaun
    • Proposed as answer by jwkratz Thursday, May 14, 2009 6:57 PM
    Tuesday, January 13, 2009 11:51 PM
  • Shaun08, THAT WORKED PERFECTLY!

    I spent about 4 hours today with this EXACT problem:
    • Used SharePoint Designer to create workflow
    • Workflow set to automatically create a task list item when a custom list item is created
    • Workflow assigns task to a user or group, based on the custom list item created
    • Workflow succeeds in starting automatically when task is assigned to a single user, but fails in starting automatically when task is assigned to a group
    • Workflow always succeeds when started manually
    • When workflow fails, error message is "SystemAccount" with "Error updating a list item" and "Unknown error."
    • Attempted installing SharePoint Services SP1 and Infrastructure Update; no change
    • Attempted changing the web application to run under a different account; no change

    If anyone has this issue, use Shaun08's fix above. In SharePoint Designer, use a Dynamic String on your Person or Group field to insert "-1;#" to the beginnning of the field. I'm guessing this is due to some sort of error that occurs when SP parses a Person/Group list. Just glad it works!

    THANK YOU Shaun08!
    Thursday, May 14, 2009 6:57 PM