SharePoint 2013 - I have an out of the box "Publishing Approval" workflow set on a folder. If someone drags and drops a file into the browser window, or uses the "New Document" link to upload a file, the workflow starts properly and a task gets assigned to the proper person.

However, if users try to deploy files from Visual Studio, in this case, .RSDS and .RDL files for SQL Server Reporting Services, the workflow doesn't start. Instead, The workflow generates the following errors

"[WORKFLOW NAME] failed to start"
"[WORKFLOW NAME] was canceled by System Account."

The ULS logs show:

RunWorkflow: Microsoft.SharePoint.SPException: <Error><CompilerError Line="1" Column="1" Text="The root activity type is invalid." /></Error>   

I have read up on this, and there is a lot of talk about the System Account not having certain permissions with workflows. However, I don't want to mess with any permissions as the workflow is already okay working through the browser. Why would deploying files from Visual Studio be different than uploading in a browser?

  • Are you using the same system account from browser and workflow worked Automatically ? Aug 31, 2016 at 21:14
  • @M.Qassas The users are running IE from their local machines, so I believe AD credentials are used, and the workflow starts automatically.
    – SomeGuy
    Sep 1, 2016 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


It's Correct , Workflow will never start automatically with system account.

Why would deploying files from Visual Studio be different than uploading in a browser?

  • because of the default account that performs the deploy process from VS is System account , So Workflow will never start automatically with it, in this case, try to run it manually .
  • How would I go about starting the workflow manually? If I look in the folder, in the column for the workflow, it says "Failed On Start". Clicking that brings me to the Workflow Status screens which shows the 2 error messages, and does not provide a way to continue or restart the workflow. Are you saying there is no way to trigger the workflow when sending files from other applications?
    – SomeGuy
    Sep 1, 2016 at 15:01
  • This assumes that your workflow is set to be manually started as well as automatic. There should be "Terminate workflow" link on the Workflow Status page, near top, just under "Started", "Last run", etc. information. After you terminated the workflow, go to the library the files get deploy to, find file you want workflow to run on, click ellipsis next to its name (..,), then choose "Workflows". Alternatively select the item, then go to ribbon -> Items -> Workflows and then pick WF you want to run. Sep 7, 2016 at 15:31

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