I have been tackling a WSS 3 install side by side with WSS 2 on SBS 2003. The WSS 3 install went off with out a hitch but up against an issue with sending emails from a workflow designed with SP Designer.

I need to have workflows trigger emails upon conditions. In this case, just to test I have one simple email set to a a domain user when an item is added. The email is never sent. I am able to receive notifications/alerts from the system so this leads me to believe that the outgoing email is set up right. So why not from workflow? What am I missing? I do see a well noted limitation that a side by side install of WSS 2 and 3 will prohibit the use of incoming mail settings but nothing about outbound email.

Ths could be clearly network related but wanted to see if this is indeed a known issue with the WSS config on SBS 2003 with WSS 2. What else can I look at as potential issues.

  • Can you rule out antivirus on the server thinking the mailer connection is trying to send spam?
    – James Love
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:38
  • Will look at this Jul 21, 2011 at 20:50
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    – Alex Angas
    Jul 22, 2011 at 0:54
  • I had my network guys look at this and they see no conflict and don't suspect antivirus issues. Jul 25, 2011 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


You need to consider the source of the email task - anything that is triggered to start immediately will be running as the W3WP on the web front end machine that it was initially triggered off. Your email server should be configured to permit email from that server, and from the account that is running the W3WP. Anything that is configured to run off a delay (As well as all out of the box alerts) will be sent via the OWSTIMER service - this generally runs under a different service account, and possibly even a different server. You can test this easily by putting in a quick "Wait for 1 minute" task in your SPD workflow (Keep in mind this will wait somewhere between 1 and 6 minutes before executing, thanks to the nature of the timer service) - this will kick the execution off the W3WP and onto the OWSTimer service.

Long story short: Check your outgoing mail server to see whether mail is coming from different servers or service accounts, and make sure that all machines and accounts in your farm are permitted access to it.

  • I am not using a task in the workflow. I use one simple action, send email, and email isn't firing. As I indicated in my post, notfications are working it is just this email test that I am trying to use to assure the workflows I build going forward will be able to use email. Jul 25, 2011 at 12:50
  • So I just observed something odd. All the emails that I expected to get last Thursday, when I did testing, have just now been delivered. What am I missing here? Something must be delayed from a Timer perspective? Jul 25, 2011 at 20:10
  • It could be something in the SMTP routing. Sometimes servers are added to the fold and messages will queue up before the server folks realize there's an issue. It's happened in our environment as servers get decommissioned and replaced. Jul 27, 2011 at 17:11

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