Where is the SharePoint workflow history list (Hidden List)?


I somehow thought that the Workflow History List in SharePoint was a link under “View All Site Content”, just like the Workflow Tasks list that the system creates by default (at least for a Publishing Site). It is useful to have access to the History List as you create workflows (either built-in workflows or workflows set up with MS Designer or Visual Studio). Here are a few things to know about the Workflow History list:

  1. Hidden List: It is not listed under “View All Site Content”, but you can manually navigate to it via http://[servername]/[sitename]/lists/Workflow%20History.
  2. Temporary Log: By default, the logs are only kept for 60 days,  because of the item limit of SharePoint lists. If you need an audit history for a longer time, the Workflow History probably won’t work for you.
  3. Disable Cleanup Job: If you want to keep the History List for an extended time, you can upate the settings in Central Administration>Operations>Global Configuration>Timer Job Definitions. See this Microsoft Technet article for details.
  4. Permanent Audit List: If you need a permanent audit list, you will probably have to create a custom list. Look at this endusersharepoint.com post for more.
  5. How to use History Log in a workflow: For a good example of how to integrate history logging into a workflow created with SharePoint designer, look at this blog post.

2 Comments. Leave new

I opened a case with Microsoft and it wound up getting escalated to third-level support because I thought I had a problem with the Workflow history cleanup timer job. I thought I had a problem because there were hundreds of thousands of entries that were over 60 days old. The Support spoke to the product line(guys who wrote the code) and the verdict is that the Workflow history cleanup does NOT delete items older than 60 days. items that go into workflow history will stall forever. They never get deleted. You should still not use this as a mechanism for audit trail.


Does the Cleanup Job (the one ran by the timer job) actually cleanup or delete the items in the Workflow History list or does it just remove the association between the item and history list itself?


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