Wednesday 4 May 2011

Fixed: SharePoint Designer Error - Unexpected error on server associating the workflow


When publishing a SPD workflow which contains more than 6 Approval process steps, it gives the following error :


How ever if you try 5-6 times, you might end up publishing it. But sometimes it won’t work.

Even though Microsoft had mentioned that their 'February 2011 CU for the SharePoint 2010 Product Family' would fix most of the errors, this was not included among them.

But there’s a work around to fix the above issue.

Open the ‘web.config’ which associate with the site collection that you are publishing the workflow. (E.g: ‘C:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\<Port>’)

Find the following entry :

<httpRuntime maxRequestLength="51200" />

And change it to :

<httpRuntime maxRequestLength="51200" executionTimeout="300" />

Save the ‘web.config’ file and restart the web site from IIS.

Now you can publish the workflow without any issue.


  1. Thanks so much! this worked like a charm :) much appreciated!

  2. Hi Manjuke,

    I tried this. It didn't work for me. Any other solution please?

  3. Hi Naush,

    How many apporval processes do you have in your workflow ?

  4. Hi Manjuke,

    I have 7 approval process. Till 5 levels, it was working fine. I tried to use the 'start custom task process' action instead of 'start approval process' action. But the result is same. I get the same error. please advise.


  5. Hi Naush,
    Please try to increase the "UserDefinedWorkflowMaximumComplexity" setting using your power shell as mentioned in this link

    Please let me know of the outcome.

  6. Thanks so much! this worked like a charm :) really appreciated!

  7. I have same issue with moss 2007!! please help me out!!

    1. Please check on this link:

  8. WOW .. this sucks ... I have been using SPD for a while and I have not seen this issue in SharePoint 2010 during my time ... I'm in a unique situation where I'm forced to use SharePoint 2010 in Office 365 (SharePoint Online) ... this fix sounds logical but as you know we don't have access to WebConfig ... is there an alternative workaround for Office 365 SharePoint 2013 Online if you get this SharePoint 2010 Workflow Error? Thanks much.

    1. Unfortunately no. I haven't found an alternate method to overcome this problem. Better to try in Microsoft forums. If you can provide me your email address, I can forward it to some friends who are experts in this area.

  9. Great that works like a charm ... Thank you so much!!!

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