How do I – Remove all traces of a Workflow from my SharePoint list?

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in How Do I...

Sometimes when we are working with SharePoint Designer (SPD) workflows on SharePoint lists, things can get a little ugly.  SharePoint preserves every version of the workflow unless you manually go and remove it from the list settings.  If you have a workflow that happens to keep in a running loop, it could appear as if the newly published workflow didn’t actually publish correctly.  In such situations, it’s often better to “reboot” and publish fresh.  What we would do is to remove every instance of our workflow from the list settings and then re-publish the workflow again from SPD.  Here’s how:

  1. Start by navigating to the list on which the workflow was published.
  2. In the ribbon, switch to the “Library” tab.
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  4. Once on the “Library” tab, you can click the “Workflow Settings” button, but because the ribbon dynamically changes depending on browser size and screen resolution, that button may not always be displayed.  A sure way to get there is to click the “Library Settings” button which is always displayed.
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  6. From the Library Settings page, under “Permissions and Management”, click the “Workflow Settings” link.
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  8. You’ll now be presented with a long list of historic versions of the workflow.
  9. Click the “Remove a workflow” link below the historic list.
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  11. On the right, select the “Remove” radio button for every instance of the workflow.
  12. Once all the buttons are selected, click the “OK” button to completely remove our workflow from the list.
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  14. Now simply switch back to SPD and re-publish the workflow for a fresh start.



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Cornelius J. van Dyk

Born and raised in South Africa during the 70's I got my start in computers when a game on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum crashed, revealing it's BASIC source code. The ZX had a whopping 48K of memory which was considered to be a lot in the Commodore Vic20 era, but more importantly, it had BASIC built into the soft touch keyboard. Teaching myself to program, I coded my first commercial program at age 15.

After graduating high school at 17, I joined the South African Air Force, graduating the Academy and becoming a Pilot with the rank of First Lieutenant by age 20. After serving my country for six years, I made my way back into computer software.

Continuing my education, I graduated Suma Cum Laude from the Computer Training Institute before joining First National Bank where my work won the Smithsonian Award for Technological Innovation in the field of Banking and Insurance. Soon I met Will Coleman from Amdahl SA, who introduced me to a little known programming language named Huron/ObjectStar. As fate would have it, this unknown language and Y2K brought me to the USA in 1998.

I got involved with SharePoint after playing around with the Beta for SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Leaving my career at Rexnord to become a consultant in 2004, I was first awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for SharePoint in 2005, becoming only the 9th MVP for WSS at the time. I fulfilled a life long dream by pledging allegiance to the Flag as a US citizen in 2006. I met the love of my life and became a private consultant in 2008. I was honored to receive my ninth MVP award for SharePoint Server in 2013.

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