MOSS workflow wont start because ‘The requested workflow task content type was not found on the SPWeb’

The last 2 days my MOSS environment was driving me crazy because an already existing workflow didn't want to start in a new document library in a new subsite. I made this workflow in Visual Studio 2005 and deployed it as a feature to my SharePoint Site. I connected the workflow to a content type and told it to run on new items of this type or whenever an item changes. This workflow worked fine for 2 months in this particular document library.

After 2 months my client asked for a new subsite with a new document library where this workflow should also run. I installed this workflow here and expected everything would go as planned. When I tried to test the workflow I didn't see anything happen so I tried creating new items, changing them, even manually starting the workflow. Nothing happened. The metadata field which contains the workflow status was staying empty. When checking the log files I didn't see anything either.

I tried to reinstall the workflow. Deleted and recreated the site nothing seemed to help. During all this the workflow still worked fine in the other subsite and document library. When I recreated the workflow and checked the logfile again I finally found an error. (it seems Sharepoint only logs this error the first time you start the workflow and after that it doesn't do anything)

The error message in the logfile was the following:

Workflow Infrastructure        72fv Unexpected AutoStart Workflow: System.ArgumentException: De aangevraagde werkstroomtaakinhoudstype is niet gevonden op SPWeb.     at Microsoft.SharePoint.SPList.PrepForWorkflowTemplate(SPWorkflowTemplate wt)     at Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.SPWorkflowManager.StartWorkflowElev(SPListItem item, SPFile file, SPWorkflowAssociation association, SPWorkflowEvent startEvent, Boolean bAutoStart, Boolean bCreateOnly)     at Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.SPWorkflowAutostartEventReceiver.AutoStartWorkflow(SPItemEventProperties properties, Boolean bCreate, Boolean bChange, AssocType atyp)

this Dutch error (I really hate Dutch errors. you can't look them up on Google/MSDN:( )translated in English is 'The requested workflow task content type was not found on the SPWeb'. I found the exact translation because I was lucky and when I had the English error this gave me new hope to find a weblog with the answer (since weblogs seem the primary documentation for SharePoint 2007 ;) )

I searched for the error and everything I could find was reinstalling the OffWFCommon feature. I tried this with the following commands but nothing changed. I also tried to uninstall and reinstall but this didn't help either

stsadm -o installfeature -filename OffWFCommon\feature.xml
stsadm -o activatefeature -filename OffWFCommon\feature.xml -url http://localhost/

This weblog told me the exact thing that was going on. the TaskListContentType wasn't installed on my tasks documentlibrary when I checked it by enabling content types chaning in the advanced settings of the tasks list. The ID of this content type is 0x01080100C9C9515DE4E24001905074F980F93160 which is the same as the OffWFCommon feature so it definitely had something to do with it. When I checked the content types of my task doclib that was working I noticed it had 2 content types attached. 1 called "Task" and 1 called "Workflow task content type" my Tasks library that wasn't working had a content type called "Tasks". I couldn't find any way how to add these content types because these are system content types and thus hidden.


Since I already wasted 1 and a half day on this problem my next try was to save the Tasks documentlibrary of the workflow that was working as a template. After that I deleted the workflow in the new document library and also deleted the Tasks list there. I added a new Tasks list by using the template I made and installed the workflow again for this documentlibrary. I tested it and guess what.. everything seemed to work fine. The solution isn't that pretty but I was glad it finally worked!

Hopefully someone with the same problem reads this before they waste to much time on this really awful problem. Also if you know  a better solution please let me know because I would really like to know how to really solve this problem.

Geert van der Cruijsen

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SharePoint Workflow running in a different context as the host sharepoint site

On my current project I ran into a problem with a custom SharePoint workflow because the workflow sometimes failed to run and sometimes it worked like a charm. When I cancelled a workflow which gave an error and restarted it by hand it finished without any problems.

When I looked in the SharePoint logfiles what was causing my workflows to crash it showed that the workflow couldn’t find values for some settings in the web.config. I couldn’t think off any reason why the workflow couldn’t read these settings about 50% of the times a workflow was started.

The workflow I created is automatically started after the change of an item in a specific document library. After some testing I found out that all workflows that I started by changing the item with the sharepoint webinterface worked fine but the items that were changed by an external source (a custom webservice I created but also the biztalk SharePoint Adapter webservice) crashed with the error that they couldn’t read the web.config.

The webservices that are causing the workflow to crash are in a different sharepoint webapplication and thus use a different web.config. When I added my settings in the web.config of this webapplication the workflows stopped crashing.

So it seems that the WF workflows are running in the process which changed the item in the sharepoint list which caused the workflow to start instead of the standard w3p process of SharePoint which I thought always was the case.

Happy coding!

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