One of our client is not able to open the workflow after we did the following

  1. Created the SharePoint 2007 workflow in our environment
  2. Exported the site with the workflow
  3. The client imported the site to a new web
  4. Open the site in SharePoint Designer 2007
  5. The client get's an error when double clicking ".xoml" file. The error message "failed to load workflow".

We did the following but the workflow still refuses to load

  1. Deleting 12.x.x.x folder our of the SharePoint designer's folder within the user's application data
  2. Gave "Full Trust" to local intranet under .NET 2.0 configuration

I don't think I am using any custom actions in the workflow.

Any ideas?

  • How did you export the site? stsadm -o export or did you do a backup and restore?
    – Lori
    Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 13:33
  • I used stsadm -export command
    – i.jk
    Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 14:44

3 Answers 3


This was a very common occurrence in 2007. Migrating from environment to environment was always very tricky. One of the issues you face is that when you do an export and import to a new environment, the GUIDs will change. Backup and Restore maintains those GUIDs move of the time. I feel this is probably what is happening here. The 2007 workflows from SPD are bound to lists using the GUIDs, since it cannot find the GUID that is hard-coded in, it will not open properly for you. One thing you might try is exporting the .xoml file and opening it in notepad and checking the GUID against the GUID of the list in the new environment. You might be able to update it with the new GUID and import it back in and see if that will work. If all else fails, open the workflow in SPD in the old environment and copy and paste the files into a new workflow in the new environment attached to the new list.

Good luck!


What I did and works for me is copy a colleague's "SharePoint Designer" folder from his "C:\Documents and Settings\xxxx\Application Data\Microsoft" and paste it into my "C:\Documents and Settings\xxxx\Application Data\Microsoft".


I've just had this problem and solved it by connecting to the server, installing SPD and opening the workflow from there rather than my own PC.

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