We have SharePoint 2010 Designer workflow with 3 levels of approval on a list with about 4600 items.

The workflow works fine but randomly one of the levels of approvals is getting canceled. Users reported that when they approve the second level, third level tasks gets created and the outcome becomes Canceled automatically. We are not able to reproduce the issue on our end.

Out of 4600 items, last level of approval got canceled for about 14 items until now.

The outcome for the first 2 levels is 'approved' and the last level shows as 'canceled'. There is nothing logged to the workflow history, ULS logs do not show any errors. Overall Workflow status still shows as 'In Progress'.

We did not start the Workflow with System Account for the canceled workflows.

  • 1
    Do you have multiple workflows that run on change? Only one workflow can work at a time on an item at a time, so if one workflow is still busy with the item that thread will be locked. The waiting workflow will be queued as a timer job that gets fired (by default) every 5 minutes. If there is also a problem with the timer job, that workflow could be stuck.
    – Brian Rood
    Jan 19, 2017 at 16:19
  • Thanks for the response. We have only one workflow with 3 levels of approvals on the list.
    – MSiri28
    Jan 20, 2017 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


On detailed analysis on ULS logs, I found this log :-

Error in persisting workflow: System.Transactions.TransactionAbortedException: The transaction has aborted. ---> System.TimeoutException: Transaction Timeout

We increased the timeout and this fixed the issue. We made this change a month ago and none of the workflows got canceled since then.

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