Designer 2010 workflows stuck at 'Starting' after migration from 2016 to 2019;The workflow failed to start due to an internal error

Winston Froid Pinto 1 Reputation point


We have migrated many site collections from 2016 to 2019 which includes designer workflows. All the workflows have been successfully migrated, but they are stuck at Starting stage whenever a new item is added; it says the workflow failed to start due to an internal error

I have tried creating a simple workflow which logs to workflow history list but even there we are facing the same issue. We have even checked ULS logs/event viewer but nothing which descibes more about the cause of this error
Any help is appreciated.


SharePoint Development
SharePoint Development
SharePoint: A group of Microsoft Products and technologies used for sharing and managing content, knowledge, and applications.Development: The process of researching, productizing, and refining new or existing technologies.
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SharePoint Workflow
SharePoint Workflow
SharePoint: A group of Microsoft Products and technologies used for sharing and managing content, knowledge, and applications.Workflow: An orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity, enabling data transformation, service provision, and information retrieval.
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Windows Server Infrastructure
Windows Server Infrastructure
Windows Server: A family of Microsoft server operating systems that support enterprise-level management, data storage, applications, and communications.Infrastructure: A Microsoft solution area focused on providing organizations with a cloud solution that supports their real-world needs and meets evolving regulatory requirements.
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  1. Limitless Technology 39,416 Reputation points

    Hello Winston P,

    Thank you for your question.

    This issue has already occurred similarly in SharePoint Designer 2013, here is an example below of how you would resolve this within SharePoint Designer 2013:

    1. Delete the cache by deleting all files in the folders below.
      C: \ Users \ UserName \ AppData \ Roaming \ Microsoft \ Web Server Extensions \ Cache
      C: \ Users \ your username \ AppData \ Local \ Microsoft \ WebsiteCache
    2. Go to All files -> Workflows -> Click workflow name -> Click workflow name.xmol -> Edit File in Advanced Mode -> Save -> Publish.

    3.Install the latest updates for SharePoint Designer 2013.

    1. Uninstall SharePoint Designer 2013 and reinstall.
    2. Restart the server.

    If your problem is not related to SharePoint Designer 2013 I believe you can apply for earlier or later versions.

    If the answer was helpful, please don't forget to vote up or accept as an answer, thanks.

    Yours sincerely,

    Samuel L

  2. Limitless Technology 39,416 Reputation points

    Hello @Winston Froid Pinto

    The only debugging option that is available in every type of SharePoint deployment is writing log messages to the workflow history list. By using this method, you can use either the Log to History List action in SharePoint Designer 2013 or the WriteToHistory activity in Visual Studio 2012 to write a string message as a new item to the list, specified in the workflow association, which is the container for all history logging messages. These can be simple strings or constructed by concatenating the contents of variables within the workflow.

    Try Upgrade service applications to SharePoint Server 2019

    When you upgrade from SharePoint Server 2016 to SharePoint Server 2019, you must use a database attach upgrade, which means that you upgrade only the content for your environment and not the configuration settings. After you have configured the SharePoint Server 2019 environment and copied the content and service application databases, you can upgrade the service applications to SharePoint Server 2019. This article contains the steps that you take to upgrade the service applications.

    If the Problem Persists try Debugging
    There are four workflow debugging techniques that can be leveraged by workflow authors:

    Logging to the workflow history list
    Setting breakpoints
    Sending debug messages to the console
    Monitoring traffic between SharePoint and Workflow Manager with Fiddler

    Use the below link for further reference

    Each option has advantages and disadvantages. It helps to have an understanding of what is possible when using the two workflow authoring tools (SharePoint Designer 2013 or Visual Studio 2012), as well as the type of workflow deployment (on-premises or Office 365). The following table contains a matrix of authoring tools, deployment targets, and the options available in each scenario.

    Hope this answers all your queries, if not please do repost back.
    If an Answer is helpful, please click "Accept Answer" and upvote it : )


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