SharePoint 2013 SP1 Workflow Improvements

I installed SP1 on my virtual machine. Yay.  For the workflow stuff though, there’s a bit more that you need to do.  Install KB2799752 (for Service Bus 1.0) and KB2799754 (for Workflow Manager 1.0). Andrew Connell talks all about these steps in his post here.  Also, don’t forget to run the SharePoint PowerShell command register-spworkflowservice after all that is done.  My full command (in my test VM) that I ran was:

register-spworkflowservice -spsite -workflowhosturi -allowoauthhttp –force

When I was looking through SharePoint Designer for some of the supposed updates, some of them didn’t show up until I had run that PowerShell command.  Here are the workflow improvements that were made that are visible in the UI, and I got them out of Microsoft’s spreadsheet list.  I’m not highlighting bug fixes here, just changes you that visibly see.

2817429 SharePoint Workflows won’t wait for changes to content approval status fields

When you used the “Wait for field change in current item” action, the “Approval Status” and some other system type fields weren’t available (Approver Comments, Checked Out To, etc)

Now they are there…


2817429 E-mails generated by workflow cannot be disabled for approvals in SharePoint workflows

In the 2 different task actions, there was no interface to select whether or not you want an email to get sent at all when a task gets assigned to someone. Also, if you looked at the Properties of the task process action, this is what you saw:


Before updates:

Now, there are a few more options that you have:

This means that if you change WaiveAssignmentEmail to Yes, no one will receive an email when the task is assigned to them. You can also use WaiveCancelationEmail by changing it to Yes if you don’t want an email to go out to the assignee when the task is canceled.

2817429 Incomplete tasks are deleted when workflow task activities complete

This means just what it says. When the workflow completes, by default any tasks that haven’t been completed get automatically deleted.Now, look at the screenshot above. There’s a setting you can change. It will still have the same default behavior, but now you can change PreserveIncompleteTasks to Yes if you want to. This one only applies to the “Start a task process” action. (inherently, the Assign a task action only assigns a single task, so this problem would never happen)


  • Hi, Did you get the chance to look the single task activity for disabling the email. I have created a custom workflow using visual studio and want to disable the email from workflow. After installation of SP1 , I can not see the option to disable email which you have mentioned in artical.

  • Sourabh,
    I don’t know anything about Visual Studio, but I did see that same option in the single task action in SPD as well.

  • Thanks for the reference & a great summary Laura!

  • I am able to publish simple workflow without task/task process but as soon as I add task/task process in sharepoint 2013 designer workflow it gives me below error when try to publish

    Workflow XAML failed validation due to the following errors:

    Cannot set unknown member ‘SingleTask.PreserveIncompleteTasks’. HTTP headers received from the server – ActivityId: 6b1b6db9-0c39-4a61-80c1-e15af10cde

    May be this is because of wrong “Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowServices.Activities” dll. We do not have Sp1 installed on QA but may be this dll came through. This error started last week when we deployed visual studio client SDK and may be it has sp1 dll.

  • Michelle Maxwell

    I’m running 2010 Workflow platform on SP2013 using Designer 2013. I am unable to publish a workflow because I get the following errors: “Errors were found when compiling the workflow. The workflow files were saved but cannot run.” Unexpected error on server associating the workflow”. I found several blogs that talk about deleting some cache files and tried it but still getting the error. Have you heard of this? any recommendations?

  • Hi Amit and Michelle,
    I’ve seen a lot of random and obscure errors in 2013 workflows, but do not have the pleasant experience of ever troubleshooting them on the server. Todd has some experience with that type of thing, I believe.

  • Great Article.

    You’ve saved my day with siabling task assignment notification :).


  • Thanks Laura,

    I was able to fix SingleTask.PreserveIncompleteTasks but its very tricky error and its related to activities.

  • Thanks guys! Since I wrote this post, Windows Updates haven’t been very nice and have broken my workflows several times. No fun!

  • Hi Laura, i am experiencing the PreserveIncompleteTasks error, how did you fix yours, i have been troubleshooting this for a month now

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