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MOSS Workflow Failed to Start

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Processes deployed to a SharePoint site collection fail to start, and this is reported in the Workflow History under Description. Care must be taken not to misinterpret the error as this error can be the result of a number of issues not related to this particular problem.

[Figure 1. Workflow History With Process That Failed to Start]

The steps below will assist in determining if the error under discussion in this Knowledge Base article is the cause of the error in your system.
  1. Ensure that the K2 Features have been enabled for the current SharePoint Site Collection
  2. Ensure that the K2 Server has been configured as a Site Collection Administrator for the Site collection
  3. Ensure that the destination user has been given K2 Permissions to start and action the process

If all of the above items are correct then one final step must be performed. Open up the error trace and do a search for the following text Workflow Infrastructure, as can be seen on the extract below:
01/29/2008 17:03:48.44 w3wp.exe (0x0288) 0x15F4 Windows SharePoint Services
Workflow Infrastructure 72fs Unexpected RunWorkflow: System.ArgumentException: Value does not fall within the expected range.
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.SPWorkflowActivationProperties..ctor(SPWorkflow workflow, Int32 runAsUserId, String associationData, String initiationData)
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.SPWinOEWSSService.MakeActivation(SPWorkflow workflow, SPWorkflowEvent e)
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.SPWinOeEngine.RunWorkflow(Guid trackingId, SPWorkflowHostService host, SPWorkflow workflow, Collection`1 events, TimeSpan timeOut)
at Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.SPWorkflowManager.RunWorkflowElev(SPWorkflow originalWorkflow, SPWorkflow workflow, Collection`1 events, SPRunWorkflowOptions runOptions)
If the above text is found, it is most likely that the error experienced is the same as the workarounds that the next section will resolve.

Example Scenario

Note: The details below describe systems where the error has been known to occur.
The steps below describe one scenario under which this error may occur. The steps below are simplified and not all the steps will be shown or described.
  1. The K2 Developer creates a SharePoint process in K2 Designer for Visual Studio
  2. The process is deployed with the correct destination user rights
  3. The Process appears in the SharePoint Site collection history but with an error that the Process Failed to Start
The local machine has the following items installed:
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 SP1
  • K2 blackpearl SP1

Error Messages

The following error message relates to this issue in the KB Article:
  • SharePoint: Error Type: Error
  • Description: Failed to start, for example Report Review \ Approval Process failed to start

Error Resolution

The errors can be resolved by following the steps in one of the options listed below:

Option 1: Change the Application Pool

  • From the SharePoint Central Administration site’s Operations section
  • Browse to the Security Configurations section and select Service Accounts
  • In the Service Accounts page select Web Application Pool and in the Web Service dropdown select “Windows SharePoint Services Web Application”
  • In the Application Pool dropdown select the Web Application you wish to change
  • Enter the Service Account and click on OK to apply the changes
Note: Since the actual name of the "K2 Application Pool" will vary from organization to organization, the K2 Application Pool is the application pool used by K2 Workspace and is the same application pool specified during installation.

Option 2: Create a New Application Pool 

  • Create a new SharePoint Site collection
  • When the new site collection is created, ensure to specify the K2 Application pool