Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 integrates with SharePoint 2010 workflow notifications by providing an option to "Open this Task" on the ribbon. So, if a workflow gets assigned to you, you get an email notification. From Outlook, you can click the button on the ribbon to "Open this Task" and take action to approve, reject, etc...

Using an OOB approval workflow, we get an error when someone receives such a notification in Outlook and clicks "Open this Task" and takes an action. The error says "This task could not be updated at this time". In most cases, the action still happens despite the error.

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After some investigation, I found this:


I think the response by Turismon in the post above is exactly what is happening in our situation. Workflow.asmx has been garbage collected or cleared from memory or whatever. The Outlook POST request to workflow.asmx times out as workflow.asmx is being re-cached and the error message pops up. I was able to see the POST request to workflow.asmx in the URL. There were no other errors.

Subsequent Outlook "Open this task" clicks work fine if the user waits a minute or so.

I was trying to think about how I could solve this and I think I need to either a) increase the Outlook timeout or b) force workflow.asmx to stay in memory. I have no idea how to do either.

Does anyone know how to solve this problem? Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Did you ever figure out the solution to this? I'm having the same issue.
    – Ben_Coding
    Apr 16, 2013 at 20:26

3 Answers 3


I ran into the same issue ,it seems to happen for the situation below

Assume that you have a subsite whose name contains a space. You connect the subsite task list to Outlook from the task list ribbon by starting the OOB workflow. In this situation, Outlook cannot open the task list from the ribbon. Additionally, you receive the following error message:

This task could not be updated at this time.

Found a reference for it happening on SharePoint Foundation 2010 in this article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2687557

Removing the spaces from the Site name fixed the issue for me.


This can also happened if permission on Task list is not set properly. For approval workflow, The user will need at least contribute permisson.


After upgrading to Outlook 2013 please ensure that you have reconnected SharePoint with Outlook. For example, if you have a Calendar workflow setup , be sure to click on the 'Connect to Outlook' button on the SharePoint ribbon within that Calendar or Doc Library you have email tasks setup for.

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