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I am not using impersonation. I have been able to create and run many list workflows. Now however, when I create a simple workflow on a List that has other workflows running fine, just one that says "Log testing workflow" in the log, it "Fails on Start".

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SharePoint Designer workflows run as System Account but with their permissions trimmed down to impersonate those of the user that initiated the workflow.

We faced a similar issue to yours in our SharePoint environment and identified that it was due to workflows being fired automatically by System Account. To get around this, we created an administrative account in our environment called 'DOMAIN\SP_Workflow' and opened/re-saved/published the failing workflows while logged in under this new account. After making this change, the previously failing workflows started as expected.

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  • I know this has been a long time but I get that kind of issue too : Running Standard 2010 Approval Workflow on a Library, getting randomly this group of messages "Workflow failed on start" and "Workflow canceled by System Account" -which one, I have no idea.. I tried to deactivate Wkfw feature on the parent site collection, then to recreate a wkfw with the farm account, and I still get randomly these messages ... Could you help me please ?
    – Gaelle
    Jan 24 '20 at 14:33
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From what I understand, workflows will not start automatically under a system account. Try running it with another account. Workflows do not start

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