Migrating Nintex Workflow: A High-Level Overview for SharePoint On-Premises

  • 19 January 2023
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Identify Migration Method 


Database Attach Method (as defined by Microsoft) 

While this method requires the most effort, it is the most thorough. When using the Database-Attached Method, migrating SharePoint and Nintex Workflow must be done sequentially through the SharePoint versions as per Microsoft. For example:

SharePoint 2010 → SharePoint 2013 → SharePoint 2016 → SharePoint 2019 → SharePoint Subscription Edition (SE)


However, there are some exceptions to this pattern:

  • Migrating between two environments that are the same SharePoint version.
    • SharePoint 2016 → SharePoint 2016
  • Migrating to SharePoint Subscription Edition can be done directly from SharePoint 2016 or SharePoint 2019.
    • SharePoint 2013 → SharePoint 2016 → SharePoint SE
    • SharePoint 2016 → SharePoint SE
    • SharePoint 2019 → SharePoint SE

More information from Microsoft can be found here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/SharePoint/upgrade-and-update/upgrade-and-update 

Third-Party Migration Tools 


Database Attach Method Overview with Nintex Workflow 


These steps are applicable to all on-premises migration paths. For example, in a migration from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint 2019, the steps below will be conducted for SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint 2016, then repeated again for SharePoint 2016 to SharePoint 2019. If the migration path was from SharePoint 2016 to SharePoint 2019, the steps below would only need to be conducted once.

  1. Preparing the Source Environment
    1. Upgrade Nintex Workflow and Forms to their latest releases.
      • Ensure that Nintex Databases are upgraded during this process. 
    2. Stop the SharePoint Timer Service and IIS on all servers. 
      • This prevents any workflows from writing new data to the Nintex Databases 
    3. Backup Nintex Databases using SQL Server Management Studio 
  2. Arriving in the Destination Environment
    1. Ensure that the SharePoint installation and configuration are complete. 
      • Web Applications that will host your migrated content have been created. 
      • Migrated SharePoint Content Databases have not yet attached. 
    2. Disable the Workflow Timer Job
    3. Install Nintex Workflow and Forms for SharePoint
    4. Disable the Nintex Workflow Scheduler 
    5. Stop the SharePoint Timer Service on all Servers 
    6. Attach SharePoint Content Databases 
    7. Restore Nintex Databases in SQL Server Management Studio 
    8. Execute “_PrepareForNewEnvironment” stored procedure on Nintex Configuration Database. 
      • This stored procedure deletes database mappings and references that were used in the previous environment. 
    9. Add existing Nintex Configuration Database in Central Administration. 
    10. Add existing Nintex Content Databases in Central Administration or by using NWAdmin AttachDatabase command 

Note: If any Web Applications are migrated from Classic to Claims-Based Authentication as per Microsoft’s guidance, please see additional steps for Nintex Workflow.



 Complete any remaining configuration. This may include:

  1. Nintex Forms and Nintex Workflow Web Application features
  2. Nintex Forms and Nintex Workflow Site Collection features
    • Note: Activating the Nintex Workflow site collection feature is the point in time that the Nintex Content Database mapping is recognized and updated to match what is configured in the Database Mappings in Central Administration.
  3. Nintex Workflow Site Features
  4. Any optional features and functionality that will be used such as LazyApproval, Document Generation, and External Forms.
  5. Restart the following Timer Jobs and Services 
  6. Workflow Timer job 
  7. Nintex Workflow Scheduler job 
  8. SharePoint Timer Service 

Test Functionality 

  1. Nintex Workflow Inventory 
    • Ensure that this page opens properly 
    • Ensure that workflows are not missing 
  2. Schedule a Nintex Workflow 
    • Ensure that the workflow starts on time 
  3. Publish and Execute a Workflow with a Pause and Flexi Task 
    • Workflow should publish without any error 
    • Workflow should successfully enter and enter the Pause 
    • Workflow should enter and exit task successfully upon Task Outcome (Approve/Reject)  

Additional Resources:

Migrate Nintex Workflow to Claims-based authentication

Updating Workflow and Forms for SharePoint On-Premises

Nintex Workflow 2010 to Nintex Workflow 2013

Upgrade to Nintex for SharePoint 2016 

Upgrade to Nintex for SharePoint 2019  

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