I have email workflow in a SharePoint site. I created it using sharepoint designer. It sends an email whenever an item in list is created or modified.

It was working fine few days before.Now,I have started facing strange problem - Whenever the workflow starts, the other site pages load too slow(some give time-out). After getting email, everything switch back to normal.

I am not sure how to debug it.



3 Answers 3


Unfortunatley you cannot debug SharePoint Designer created workflows easily (unless you actually debug the SharePoint codebase).

I suggest you add some logging features to the Workflow, examine the ULS logs, check that your workflow history is cleaned up properly etc.

(If you updated your post with the Visio diagram of your Workflow it could possibly help us help you)

  • The Workflow history list looks huge.Can it be a problem?Because the operation to enter data into large list is performance intensive?
    – SP.NET
    Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 12:21
  • Make sure the Worklow history cleanup job is enabled and perhaps reduce logging? Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 19:56

To save you from searching around, I'll elaborate on how to do logging effectively. I use this method, found under Action->Core Actions->Log to History List in Workflow Designer.

I put these logs after every branch and step, and from there I write all the relevant fields to the log using the lookups. Then you just navigate to the workflow history at


and from there it should be easier to spot your issues.

Also useful is the "email" action, which essentially does the same thing but will go into your inbox and is easier to read than looking at the squashed columns of the Workflow History.


If by debugging, you mean to set breakpoints and attach to process, have a look at : Ways to Debug the DLL . The assembly that contains the SharePoint workflow activities is Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowActions. Also, You can use .NET Reflector Pro to make your task somewhat easy. See this : http://www.cplotts.com/2011/01/14/net-reflector-pro-debugging-the-net-framework-source-code/

If you want to find out where may be the problem in workflow this article may help you : Workflow Scalability and Performance

  • Which is the process workflow runs in?
    – SP.NET
    Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 12:21
  • When a workflow starts manually by a user or programmatically , it runs synchronously in current w3wp process until the first "commit point" is reached. After that, it is processed in timer job. Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 12:31
  • I think this is far to deep and far to advanced to work this issue out. Have you ever tried to debug a declarative workflow this way - probably takes way to much time than any other options. Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 19:58
  • I agree this is an advanced way(but the only way if question owner wants to set breakpoints) and the problem can be sort out by trying other options (that should be first preference). Workflow itself is an advanced topic if you dive deep and hence the solution.Are advanced solutions not acceptable? Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 1:51
  • If not,I already provided simpler options in the link, like checking history logs,throttle,timeout etc Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 1:52

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