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A simple workflow with only one step, update column, is set to "start on new item" on a E-Mail enabled list.

When we send an email to the list, the email gets processed and a new item is created but the workflow never starts automatically, the "created by" user on the item is an user with enough rights (Full Control), so hypothetically the workflow should start on creation.

any idea what the problem/solution could be?

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This is most likely due to the fact that these emails are inserted into the Document Library using the System Account, which doesn't trigger Workflows by default for security reasons.

Try

stsadm -o setproperty -pn declarativeworkflowautostartonemailenabled -pv true

For more details see

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