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I had created list workflows with SharePoint 2013 templates almost 2 years before from today in client's SharePoint Online tenant using SharePoint designer.

Recently, when I have tried to edit this workflow using SharePoint 2013 designer, it gives below errors:

  • For the first time, when you try to click on workflow it shows:

    server side activities have been updated you need to restart sharepoint designer

  • After traversing back to workflows folder, and click on workflow it shows:

    windows workflow foundation part of .net framework 3.0 must be installed to use this feature

  • Then it shows error:

    SharePoint Designer cannot display the item. enter image description here

I am using SharePoint designer 2013 with 64 bit. I already have installed/updated designer with below installations:

  • SP Designer SP1
  • spd2013-kb2863836-fullfile-x64-glb.exe
  • spd2013-kb3114337-fullfile-x64-glb.exe
  • spd2013-kb3114721-fullfile-x64-glb.exe

Also tried solutions provided in below URLs, but none of them work:

Strangely, when I tried to create a new workflow on same list, it works properly but for older workflows, it's not working.

I have checked same in development and production sites and in both sites, we are getting this issue. Even I have tried SharePoint designers on different machines but the error is same.

Please let me know if there is any solution to resolve this.

Note: I am very much aware with the policy of duplicating the questions in the forum, but the answers posted in forum were not worked for me that's why I have posted this new question. So please take a note before marking this question as duplicate.

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In SharePoint online, there is the Workflow auto cleanup timer job, it will delete tasks and instances in the workflow instance table for workflows that were marked completed more than n days in the past.

The n is specified in the workflow association.

So, the previous workflow cannot be opened in SharePoint designer.

More reference:

Default timer jobs in SharePoint 2013. It also can work for sharepoint online.

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Though I was clearing cache by removing files/folders from the paths suggested in many of the answers, I was not able to open workflow in designer. Even I have tried to remove cache using PowerShell but no luck.

Then I got one link, and I followed the steps to disable SharePoint designer cache completely and it works for me.

Here are the steps I followed so far:

  • Open SharePoint designer, Navigate to the “File” menu.
  • Then go to Options >> General >> Application Options.
  • On the "General" tab, under the "General" heading, deselect "Cache site data across SharePoint Designer sessions"

    • In my case, I have also deselect "Preload site data during the site open process"

    enter image description here

  • restart the designer.

It worked for me.

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