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We recently migrated from MOSS 2007 to SP 2010 platform. We have this heavily used SharePoint Designer workflow(500 and more instances per day). (uses infopath to submit data) It is basically an serial Approval workflow involving many approval levels. Post migration almost 90% of our workflow end in "Error Occurred" state with the following description of the error: The workflow could not update the item, possibly because one or more columns for the item require a different type of information.

I have searched a lot of websites and msdn, tried possibly all solutions given, but none seems to work.There is no set pattern for the workflows that result in error and restarting the workflow always resolve the issue.

  1. We have matched all columns/content type and there is no difference in MOSS 2007 and new forms library

  2. Permission levels of Users are not changed

A lot of sites mention introducing a pause in the workflow before update event, but I am skeptical in doing it.What could be the possible cause/solution to it? we cannot identify anything that is common or direct us to the root cause among these 90% failing workflows. Some of the workflow instance also result in error, the workflow could not update the item as it was checked out to another user.

Any help would be highly appreciated.

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3 Answers 3

I have experienced this error as well. The only solution we have come to was adding a one minute pause. I believe that it is something to do with the WF starting one task before the previous is finished. This sounds like Voodoo but it has worked every time in our environment. Sorry I cannot give you a better answer or theory. "The workflow could not update the item..." intermittent error involving Lookup Column in Designer WF

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thanks Robert, I guess I dont have any other option than to add a pause. Will try that. If I get any other solution, will update is as well.. –  Sharad Mar 26 '12 at 10:23

Make sure you don't have the "Enable Content Approval" option checked at the bottom of the workflow settings when your library/list doesn't even have Content Approval turned on. Having this option checked without the Content Approval feature in use will result in this error message.

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RESOLVED: When I change my User Field assignment (Technical Manager) assignment from other User Field (Tech Manager) I changed the "Return Field as" to User Id Number, then it worked well. This makes sense to me, as it was happening to only one user name "Jon Williams". With this name in my organization there were two people (with same display name), so i was having issues, when I changed it to User ID number it was using SharePoint User Id. SharePoint User Ids for the two people were different (one is 169 other is 87), so it worked...

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I don't see how this is related to the question. Perhaps you need to add more detail. What does this have to do with the workflow error? –  Phil Greer May 29 at 1:26
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As the workflow runs in the context of current user, does one user have sufficient permission to run the workflow and the other not? Did this change with the migration? Please explain the relation to the workflow error... Thank you –  Benny Skogberg MCSA May 29 at 2:49

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