Sharepoint 2010 Workflow can no longer be published on Sharepoint 2013 for our Online site

Occasional Contributor

Dear all, 


 we run a SharePoint Online site, where we have a number of workflows (2010) running mainly to generate documents etc in our automated workflows. All has been working fine, till today, when we had some modifications we wanted to execute on some of the 2010 workflows. We are using Sharepoint designer 2013. When saving the workflow, there are no issues, but when we try to publish we get an error (see attached) [Unexpected error on server associating the workflow]


Skärmklipp 2019-03-11 10.37.18.png

Right now, we´re at a standstill, and I can not find any real relevant information online on this. Some "older" stuff on temporary files etc have been reviewed, but without success. 


Pretty desperate now to get some help - Everything is much appreciated. 

45 Replies

Our Service Health Dashboard has an entry for this:


SP175429 - Unable to edit existing workflows or create new workflows

Status: Service degradation
User impact: Users are unable to edit workflows or create new workflows in SharePoint 2010 using Designer and other protocols.
Title: Unable to edit existing workflows or create new workflows
User Impact: Users are unable to edit workflows or create new workflows in SharePoint 2010 using Designer and other protocols. 
More info: Users may receive the error: "Unexpected error on server associating the workflow," and "Errors were found when compiling the workflow. The Workflow files were saved but cannot run." 
Current status: We're making progress on our development of a viable mitigation; though, we continue to expect that it may take an extended period of time to complete. We do anticipate that we'll have a timeline for delivery within the next few days. 
Scope of impact: Impact is specific to SharePoint 2010 workflows. Any user attempting to edit existing workflows or create new workflows may be affected by this event. 
Next update by: Monday, March 11, 2019, at 8:00 PM UTC

Hi Kelly

Do we have any updates to this issue? few workflows in our production system are impacted.

+1 can we please have an update on resolving this.  I've spent half a day isolating the issue to "not me" and was fortunate enough to find this post through Google.


These types of major issues deserve broader visibility to the affected people.  It first occurred on Friday last week.

We have the same problem on our tenant.
I can't edit any 2010 workflow or publish new ones.  I really hope that MS solve soon this problem.




It's actually worse for us - I have broken a business critical workflow by attempting to publish an updated version of it last week - due to the outage it is now no longer associated to the list, and cannot be run (it just gives a blank page with a "\" at the top of it).

This has/is been extremely poorly managed by Microsoft. We´ve got business critical workflows as well that are now no longer operational. And, there is very Little Comfort in the data shared by Microsoft on when this issue is fixed. Makes us reconsider using Sharepoint onward, as our financial loss for this outtage is quite considerable. 

Hi Kelly, 


  i find it remarkable that this type of issue can occur. I Believe not only our business but many other is also getting damaged by this kind of outtage. We´ve got business critical processes that are at standstill, causing significant financial/business damage. 

To his credit, I don't think that @Kelly Jones works for Microsoft, but he does have access to Microsoft's service health dashboard (which I don't have and they don't publish online that I know of).


It is very poor service and service integration that there can be a global outage of this, which has lasted so long (coming up to a week now) with neither a public disclosure nor a private disclosure that permeates down to me as a business user / site collection admin (which is a service management integration issue between my support organisation and Microsoft, which exists in most if not all of their large corporate customers).


I also still don't understand why there is still a core functionality gap between SharePoint 2010 workflows and their replacements (2013 workflows and Flow) which also means we can't avoid relying on them to function - and have no possible workaround during this outage.

And not chasing @Kelly Jones - meerly venting frustation :) 

Does anybody following this thread have access to the Microsoft dashboard with the resolution status?


No change in status that I can see.  Still basically "we are working on it" and that's it.

Hey everyone - @DenisCheong is right.  I'm just a Microsoft customer like the rest of you. :)


What I shared was the message that I saw in our Office 365 tenant's service health dashboard.


Currently, the message I see has this as the current status (Updated: 2019-03-11 19:08 (UTC)):


Current status: Our work to develop a mitigation solution is progressing as expected and is being treated at the highest priority. We'll provide a timeline for mitigation as soon as it becomes available.

"as expected"

Yep, pretty much. A five day+ outage of core functionality is what we have come to expect.

Nothing changes. Any other news about the timing about the resolution of this issue?
Any workaround?
I'm just migrate an intranet from on premise to cloud and tomorrow I'll start the training to the staff. It's not a good starting point what is happening. I hope MS guys understand soon as possible that for us who work with Sp it's difficult to explain to the rest of the world what is happening. Im sure that the trouble will be solved. But it's not a good thing that no one of us knows why that was happen and when MS will solve the problem. We have to explain it to other people. All the best. D.

We have the same problem on our tenant.
After trying to publish the workflow, the workflows are now not working as expected.
I'm getting the below error:
Retrying last request. Next attempt scheduled after 3/13/2019 8:54 AM. Details of last request: HTTP BadRequest to https://tenant/sites/SiteCollection/_api/SP.WorkflowServices.InteropService.Current/StartWorkflow Correlation Id: a351b5ff-0af8-84e8-a2ad-446ba66c7012 Instance Id: 9dd661b4-a031-474e-ade4-c4b9ba58b6c2

Also disappointed with the management of this issue. I do have access to the Health Service for our tenant and there is nothing posted about this incident. Being unaware of the current situation, we tried to publish updates to several SP2010 workflows, which are now broken.


Feels very much like Microsoft is trying to hide this issue, which is having a huge impact on many businesses. And we do still need SP2010 workflows since both Flow and SP2013 are lacking some of the same functionality. 

Well it's now officially a full week without this working, and we have ... nothing.  No update, no ETR, just crickets, and nothing from my own organisation's "support" function.


I'm keen to understand how everyone else is dealing with the outage, what workarounds have you implemented - and how successful have they been?


Why are you still relying on SharePoint 2010 workflows?


For us - these are all new workflows developed in the last 12 months that require functionality that is only available in SharePoint 2010 workflows - creation of Document Sets (actually of content types derived from document sets, not document sets per se) and InfoPath forms-based input (for which there is still no sensible replacement available to me).

My team/organization is in the same boat as you...we just discovered this issue yesterday. This morning, we had a crucial business demonstration for a solution that leverages SPD2010 workflows due to the limitations of creating Document Sets within SPD2013. Luckily for us...we did not edit the previously published workflow to create Document Sets...no there was no issue with republishing. However, many other workflows for the same solution had to be re-written using SPD2013...took my team member literally all of yesterday and into the hours of early today to get the solution to a place where we could demonstrate functionality. 


I've alerted my organizations regarding the issue at hand...hoping people are not foolish enough to go and edit their existing/published workflows in SPD2010.

Another problem with the publishing workflow to Content Type is that after the error during publishing the Workflow Settings page of the Content Type also returns an error.

E.g. attached


@SlavaGorbunovIt's pretty abysmal to see that:

1. It's taking Microsoft TWO WEEKS to resolve this issue, even though they already have the fix after one (which in of itself is too long).

2. Microsoft are still only treating this as a "business day" priority - no updates to the record over the weekend, not important enough for 24x7 support?


I'm presuming that it didn't take them two weeks to break it in the first place, and it was their own change which caused it (which clearly means they have inadequate testing in place), and also ... if their own changed caused it, then why did they have no backout plan to roll back their change?


So much for agile.


Agree, this has been extremely poorly managed, and, especially as some workflow functionality just does not operate on the 2013 platform. This has definately been an event that has had tremendous impact on our business, and we´re looking at alternative ways forward, as a 2 week outtage with Little/no information is just not acceptable. 

OK, the problem is still here.


This is unbelievable!

@Dahai FangThe link that I posted above is the only place I have found where the issue and resolution details are publicly available (and it is live updated each day).  Current status (unchanged since Saturday):


######################################## Mar 18, 2019 05:27 PM UTC ########################################
Title: Unable to edit existing workflows or create new workflows

User Impact: Users are unable to edit workflows or create new workflows in SharePoint 2010 using Designer and other protocols.

More info: Users may receive the error: "Unexpected error on server associating the workflow," and "Errors were found when compiling the workflow. The Workflow files were saved but cannot run."

As a result of this problem, you may be unable to execute the following tasks:
- Activating features that contain out-of-the-box or custom 2010 workflows
- Provisioning out-of-the-box or custom site templates that contain 2010 workflows

Additionally, attempting to edit existing workflows may cause those workflows to become dissociated with their SharePoint list. We've developed a fix for this issue and are preparing to apply it across the affected environment. Affected customers are encouraged to refrain from attempting to edit existing workflows until our fix is deployed.

Current status: We successfully deployed the fix to a test environment and have validated that our solution is effective. We're proceeding with deployment to the affected environment and are on track to complete this process by Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Scope of impact: Impact is specific to SharePoint 2010 workflows. Any user attempting to edit existing workflows or create new workflows may be affected by this event.

Estimated time to resolve: Based on current deployment progress, we expect this problem to be resolved by Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Next update by: Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 8:00 PM UTC


Latest update from Microsoft overnight:

"Current status: The deployment of the fix is approximately 17 percent complete. We'll continue to monitor the environment as the deployment progresses to ensure that it completes as expected."

I don't know whether this means that it's been deployed to 17% of the sites that they host, but that sounds plausible - meaning that the fix is gradually going live.

It's still not working on our site, but I would recommend that you build a test and see if you are lucky enough to have it working in yours. Create a new SharePoint 2010 workflow against a list, leave it blank and try to publish it to see if it works. If it does work, please post back here as this is the only live thread about the issue that I'm aware of.



it´s still not functional on my end. Same errors as before.  :\

Neither me .. but I guess we're almost there - only a couple of days before we've been promised a complete fix will be deployed.

They are now only doing status updates every two days (wtf?), so I don't think we'll get an update tomorrow morning - it won't be until Saturday my time (UTC+11) that they post the next update.



i'll post an update here the minute our workflows can be deployed.. 



Was thrilled to see this blog.  We are having the same issue and as of 1:00 PM 3/21/19 - it has not been corrected.  I'll keep you posted




Incredible...my eyes may be deceiving me but I believe the fix has been deployed to my tenant/environment. I was able to edit and publish a SPD2010 workflow!

@Chih-Ang LinThat's great to hear ... it still doesn't work for us :(

@Dahai Fang 


we´ve managed to publish our workflow, and are now conducting functionality tests Before Rolling them out again. Man, this was one for the books.. 

@DenisCheong I was able to create and publish a SP 2010 workflow.

WOO HOO!  We are finally up and running with 2010 workflows

Me too! It was very hard to believe after such a LONG outage - two and a half weeks - which Microsoft is now calling an "event", but my SharePoint 2010 workflows are now publishing and look to be working!
Hi, I have the same problem as mentioned early "Unexpected Error on server associating the workflow". I couldn't publish workflow when checked the condition (create/changed automatically). Could you help me with this issue or share some guidelines.
This original thread is about a specific issue that was caused by a failed Microsoft change that affected all Office 365 SharePoint instances, which is now resolved (and is still resolved for us).

If you have this error still, then it is caused by some other issue that isn't related to this thread.

@Nanovac_ABThis same issue has occurred again and I can no longer publish any SharePoint 2010 workflows (2 tried).  Is anybody else seeing this again ?? Didn't Microsoft learn from the first time??


Edit: If you are going to check then do it on a non-critical worfklow!  Don't break a critical workflow like I did.  The symptoms are the same - existing published workflows are fine, but trying to publish a new one will fail and break the existing one.

Hi @DenisCheong  - We have a message in our Service Health Dashboard:

Workflows 2010 issue
SP194864, SharePoint Online,
Last updated: November 6, 2019 2:44 PM
Start time: November 5, 2019 10:10 AM
Status: Service degradation
User impact: Users may be unable to create new or edit existing workflows under Workflows 2010.

Hi @DenisCheong , we have the same issue.


the time it takes to solve this problem seems fatal to me

The last update:


Title: Workflows 2010 issue User Impact:


Users may be unable to create new or edit existing workflows under Workflows 2010.


More info: Users may receive the error(s): "Unexpected error on server associating the workflow," and "Errors were found when compiling the workflow. The Workflow files were saved but cannot run."


Users will experience relief as the activity progresses within the environment.


Current status: We've validated that the deployment is now progressing as expected and we’re monitoring its status to ensure it completes successfully.


Scope of impact: This issue may potentially affect any of your users attempting to create new or edit existing workflows within SharePoint Designer 2013, under Workflows 2010.


Start time: Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 9:23 AM (2:23 PM UTC)


Root cause: Our analysis identified that the infrastructure responsible for Workflows 2010 functionality contained a misconfiguration.


Next update by: Monday, November 11, 2019, 3:30 PM (8:30 PM UTC)



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