I have a site collection of type team site inside my SharePoint server 2013, where inside this site collection I did the following:-

  • I publish a workflow globally, using SharePoint designer 2013.
  • I associated a site content type with this global workflow, as follow :-

enter image description here

when i edit the workflow i will get this, and everything is working as expected .:-

enter image description here

But now as part of our backup testing, I took a backup of this site collection, and I restore it on a new server.. but I faced these issues on the restored site collection:-

  • When I access the workflow settings for the content type, I found that that there are two versions of the workflow (un-like the above picture):-

enter image description here

  • And when I click on the latest version to edit it, I faced a problem is that the global workflow is not there inside the workflow template list, and if I try to edit the workflow I will get a message “please select a workflow temple”:-

enter image description here

So I publish the global workflow on the restored site collection, after that the workflow appear on the workflow template list, but when I try to edit the workflow , I get the following error :-

Sorry, something went wrong There is already a workflow association with this name 'Supplier Contract Send Email and Update Contract Status'.

Technical Details

Can anyone advice on this ?

Now if on the restored site collection I remove the workflow from the content type, publish the global work flow, and associate the content type with the workflow , everything will work well,, but I am not sure why this did not work from the beginning. Now let say we have 20 global workflows, and we restore a site collection , then do we need to re-configure the global workflows & associate them with the content type ?

  • How did you backup/restore you site collection ?
    – JayHell
    Feb 11, 2016 at 19:54
  • Is the patch level between servers the same?
    – SkinnyE
    Feb 17, 2016 at 14:29

2 Answers 2


I also have that "Something went wrong..." every time I tried to run a workflow from a restored site collection. My solution was to republish all of my 50+ workflows with SharePoint Designer, and re-associate all of the reusable workflows with each list in the list settings.

That was a tedious job, so I resulted in creating two PowerShell scripts to do the republishing and resubscribing of workflows. I hope that helps.

#--------Republish Workflows.ps1

Write-Host -ForegroundColor Green $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Name
Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

function RepublishWorkflows($siteName) {
    $web = Get-SPWeb -Identity "http://$(hostname)/sites/$siteName" -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
    if($web) {
        $wfm = New-object Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowServices.WorkflowServicesManager($web) 
        $depService = $wfm.GetWorkflowDeploymentService()
        $wfsubService = $wfm.GetWorkflowSubscriptionService()
        $wfDefs = $depService.EnumerateDefinitions($false)

        foreach($wfDef in $wfDefs) {
            $DefinitionId = $depService.SaveDefinition($wfDef)
            if($wfDef.Properties.ContainsKey("SubscriptionId")) {
                $sub = $wfsubService.GetSubscription($wfDef.Properties["SubscriptionId"].Trim("{}"))
                $SubscriptionId = $wfSubService.PublishSubscription($sub)
            }else {
                $SubscriptionId = @{Guid="None"} #No SubscriptionId in definition (Reusable Workflow)
            Write-Host ("{0,-75}{1,-20}{2,-45}{3,-0}" -f $wfDef.DisplayName, $siteName, $DefinitionId.Guid, $SubscriptionId.Guid)
    }else {
        Write-Host -ForegroundColor Yellow "Site $siteName does not exist"

Write-Host ""
Write-Host ("{0,-75}{1,-20}{2,-45}{3,-0}" -f "WorkflowName", "SiteName", "DefinitionId", "SubscriptionId")
Write-Host ("{0,-75}{1,-20}{2,-45}{3,-0}" -f "------------", "--------", "------------", "--------------")

RepublishWorkflows "MySite"

#--------Resubscribe Reusable Workflows.ps1

Write-Host -ForegroundColor Green $MyInvocation.MyCommand.Name
Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

function AddSubscription($listName, $workflow) {
    $list = $Global:web.Lists["$listName"]
    $wfTaskList = $Global:web.Lists[$workflow.TaskList]
    $wfHistoryList = $Global:web.Lists[$workflow.HistoryList]

    $wfDef = $Global:depService.EnumerateDefinitions($false) | where {$_.DisplayName -match $workflow.DefinitionName}

    #Create Workflow Subscription 
    $sub = New-object Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowServices.WorkflowSubscription
    $sub.DefinitionId = $wfDef.Id #{this is the id of the WorkflowDefinition}
    $sub.Enabled = $true
    $sub.Name = $workflow.SubscriptionName

    #Build start options
    $startOptions = New-Object System.Collections.ObjectModel.Collection[System.String]
    #$startOptions.Add("ItemAdded") #When item added
    #$startOptions.Add("ItemUpdated") #When item updated
    $startOptions.Add("WorkflowStart") #Allow manual start
    $sub.EventTypes = $startOptions

    $sub.SetProperty("HistoryListId", $wfHistoryList.Id)
    $sub.SetProperty("TaskListId", $wfTaskList.Id)

    Try {
        $devnull = $Global:wfSubService.PublishSubscriptionForList($sub, $list.Id)
    }Catch {
        if($_.Exception.InnerException -match "Microsoft.Workflow.Client.ActivityNotFoundException") {
            Write-Host -ForegroundColor Yellow 'Please run "Republish Workflows.ps1" before executing this script.'
             Exit 0
        }else {

function DelSubscription($listName, $workflow) {
    $list = $Global:web.Lists["$listName"]
    $tmp = $Global:wfsubService.EnumerateSubscriptions() | where {$_.Name -match $workflow.SubscriptionName -and $_.EventSourceId -eq $list.ID}
    if($tmp) {
        if($tmp.Count -eq 1) {
        }else {
            Write-Host "............ More than one Subscription"

$Workflow1 = @{DefinitionName="MyReusable1";SubscriptionName="Test Workflow 1";TaskList="Workflow Tasks";HistoryList="Workflow History"}
$Workflow2 = @{DefinitionName="MyReusable2";SubscriptionName="Test Workflow 2";TaskList="Workflow Tasks";HistoryList="Workflow History"}

$listNameArray = "MyList1","MyList2"

function ReassociateReusableWorkflows($siteName) {
    $Global:web = Get-SPWeb "http://$(hostname)/sites/$siteName" -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

    if($Global:web) {

        $wfm = New-object Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowServices.WorkflowServicesManager($web) 
        $Global:depService = $wfm.GetWorkflowDeploymentService()
        $Global:wfsubService = $wfm.GetWorkflowSubscriptionService()

        foreach($listName in $listNameArray) {
            DelSubscription $listName $Workflow1
            DelSubscription $listName $Workflow2

            AddSubscription $listName $Workflow1
            AddSubscription $listName $Workflow2

            Write-Host ("{0,-70}{1,-20}{2,0}" -f $listName, $siteName ,"...done")
    }else {
        Write-Host -ForegroundColor Yellow "Site $siteName does not exist"

Write-Host ""
Write-Host ("{0,-70}{1,-20}" -f "SubscriptionName","SiteName")
Write-Host ("{0,-70}{1,-20}" -f "----------------","--------")

ReassociateReusableWorkflows "MySite"


A SharePoint 2013 Workflow is not stored in the content database therefore when you do a backup of a Site Collection and restore it on another server, you have to save all the 2013 workflows as a template, upload and activate them under


and activate them as a feature on your site.

  • are you talking about global workflows or any workflow? because i have many list workflows and they are transferred using backup & restore...but i face this problem with global workflow,, also the global workflow will be restored,, but will not be published ....!! so not sure if your reply is valid ..
    – John John
    Feb 11, 2016 at 16:31

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