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we are running Sharepoint 2010 Enterprise Edition and have a very large custom list with several approval workflows created in Sharepoint Designer. The workflows run daily and very recently we noticed some of the workflows are failing to start.

When searching the logs, we found the error shown in the image below. We are not having much luck finding more information trying to search for more information regarding the error and are hoping to find some more information.

Any assistance is appreciated.

enter image description here

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    Would you share a detailed screenshot of your Workflow design? – Evariste Jan 16 '16 at 8:16
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First Probability : You have multiple workflows.you had use of workflow variable to manage the workflow cursor. So somewhere in the code, workflow variable is not getting the value , or i can say it is not set. when workflow going to start and check the workflow variable in your condition. workflow is not getting variable value or i can say workflow get null value of the workflow variable. so it is going to be stuck.

Second Probability :

Otherwise You are going to set the workflow variable value in workflow using set workflow variable action.

E.g Set Workflow Variable = "Some Value OR variable OR Field Name OR look up value"

But Workflow variable might be not set this value .

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Are you trying to send email from your workflow?

If this is what you are doing, then I faced similar issue. Here is how I resolved it-

  1. Note the user to whom workflow is sending email.
  2. Go to Central Administrator.
  3. Under User Profile Synchronization Service search for the user you noted in step 1.
  4. Look for its email attribute. If it is empty, then this is why you are getting the exception.
  5. To resolve this, you simply need to run User Profile Synchronization service to sync the user information from AD. (You may need to map the email field to corresponding email field in AD).
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If you have some custom SPD-workflow activity in that workflow and the programmer that created or recently modified that custom activity used this (http://blog.symprogress.com/2011/01/spd-2010-custom-workflow-activity/) tutorial to do that... then you should revise any usage of that custom activity in failing workflows - third argument could be not set

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When I see things like this, in our environment, it us usually a timeout issue. Too many workflows kicked off at once, or too many open workflow causing a step to take longer than expected so the value hasn't arrived before it is requested. If this could be the case, comment here and we can look at some options.

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