Workflows not continuing - Timer Service and Delays

Document created by emily.billing@nintex.com Champion on Jun 10, 2014Last modified by pamela.denchfield on Feb 7, 2016
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Are your workflows freezing, or taking longer then they should to continue? This may be due to the SharePoint timer service. Please see below for issues and troubleshooting.

What is a timer service?

Timer job perform infrastructure tasks for the timer service, such as clearing the timer job history and recycling the timer service; and tasks for Wep Applications, such as sending e-mail alerts.  A timer job contains a definition of the service to run and specifies how frequently the service is started. The SharePoint 2010 Timer service (SPTimerv4) runs timer jobs. Many features in SharePoint Server rely on timer jobs to run services according to a schedule.    

All delay actions utilize the SharePoint timer service.  If there is a greater issue with this service it can affect any action that utilizes delays. The effect on these actions might be they do not continue at the expected time, or they never continue.

The following actions may be affected:

  • Pause For
  • Pause until
  • Task reminder
  • Complete Workflow task
  • Delegate workflow task
  • Wait for item update
  • Loop (when Safe Looping is enabled)
  • State Machine (when Safe Looping is enabled)

 

Issues and Troubleshooting

Issue 1 - The "Pause for" action never continues

Please follow these steps if you experience issue 1.

1) Restart the SharePoint timer service.

2) Download the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 October 2011 CU.

Please note: If you are still facing issues after downloading the October CU, it may not be a timer service issue but a Microsoft SharePoint workflow engine bug. For more information about this bug, please seeSharePoint Workflow Engine bug. This known bug can affect some Nintex Workflow and cause them to freeze under certain conditions.

3) Contact Microsoft Support.

If neither step one or two resolve your issue, please test a basic SharePoint designer workflow with a delay.  If your issue is also occurring in the SharePoint designer workflow, this suggests there is a greater issue with this service and you will need to contact Microsoft Support.  Once the issue has been resolved this issue should no longer be present in Nintex workflows.

Please note: Keep in mind that Nintex Workflow uses the SharePoint Workflow engine. If these issues are occurring in Nintex Workflows, they will also occur in SharePoint Designer workflow. Normally, a simple SharePoint Designer workflow with a Delay or Pause activity will result in the same behavior and this test can be used to demonstrate the problem is Microsoft Support is required.

Issue 2 - The "Pause for" action takes longer than ~ 10 minutes more than the configured pause to continue OR

Issue 3 - The Pause for action takes about 5 - 10 minutes longer than configured

 

1) Restart the SharePoint timer service.

 

2) Download the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 October 2011 CU.

Please note: If you are still facing issues after downloading the October CU, it may not be a timer service issue but a Microsoft SharePoint workflow engine bug. For more information about this bug, please see SharePoint Workflow Engine Bug. This known bug can affect some Nintex Workflow and cause them to freeze under certain conditions.

3) Contact Microsoft Support.

If none of the above steps resolve your issue, please test a basic SharePoint designer workflow with a delay.  If your issue is also occurring in the SharePoint designer workflow, this suggests there is a greater issue with this service and you will need to contact Microsoft Support. Once the issue has been resolved this issue should no longer be present in Nintex workflows.

Please note: Keep in mind that Nintex Workflow uses the SharePoint Workflow engine. If these issues are occurring in Nintex Workflows, they will also occur in SharePoint Designer workflow. Normally, a simple SharePoint Designer workflow with a Delay or Pause activity will result in the same behavior and this test can be used to demonstrate the problem is Microsoft Support is required.

See also Optimizing timeout settings: SharePoint timer service.

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