Disable preservation of workflow history (SharePoint Server 2010)


Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010, SharePoint Foundation 2010

A workflow is made up of a sequence of events such as workflow initiation, task creation, and task completion. When you add a workflow, you specify a task list and a history list that workflow instances of that workflow association will use to track the events for the workflow. The task list contains items that users interact with and enter data into while interacting with a workflow. The workflow history contains key information about each event including date, status, participant, and description.

For more information about workflow status reports, see Monitor workflows (SharePoint Server 2010).

Disable automatic workflow cleanup

By default, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 runs a daily Workflow Auto Cleanup job to permanently delete workflow instances and related task entries that still exist 60 days after a workflow is completed or canceled. Workflow history items themselves are not deleted, but the entry point to view them on the status page for a particular instance of a workflow will no longer be available. You can disable the Workflow Auto Cleanup job if you want to keep workflow data available longer. However, as with any SharePoint list, as the workflow history and task lists grow in size, site performance may be compromised. If you are concerned about the size of these lists, keep the Workflow Auto Cleanup job enabled. Whether or not you keep the Workflow Auto Cleanup job enabled, you can create a separate history and task list for each workflow association to distribute items across lists.

For more information, see Add a workflow association (SharePoint Server 2010).


Workflow history is not intended to be used to audit workflow events and is not necessarily secure because a user who has edit permissions on the site can update items in the history list, by default.

To disable automatic workflow cleanup

  1. Verify that you have the following administrative credentials:

    • To disable automatic workflow cleanup, you must be a member of the Farm Administrators SharePoint group.
  2. From the Central Administration Web site, on the Quick Launch, click Monitoring.

  3. On the Monitoring page, in the Timer Jobs section, click Review job definitions.

  4. On the Job Definitions page, in the Title column, click the Workflow Auto Cleanup link that is associated with the Web application for which you want to disable automatic workflow cleanup.


    The Web Application column on the Job Definitions page contains the name of the Web application to which each timer job is associated.

  5. On the Edit Timer Job page, click Disable to disable the Workflow Auto Cleanup feature.


If you later decide that you want to enable automatic workflow cleanup, access this page again and then click Enable to enable automatic workflow cleanup.