How to: troubleshoot “the name is in use elsewhere” when importing a Nintex workflow

If you’re importing a Nintex workflow and you’re greeted by a message saying that you can’t use the name you’re trying to publish it as, you probably fall into one of the following cases:

1. A workflow already exists somewhere on the site with the specific name. You should either remove or rename the existing one, or publish the imported one with another name.

2. A workflow with the same name was used in a library that has been deleted. Deleted items move to the recycle bin. For as long as the items remain in the recycle bin, they are considered as valid items. That is why you will still not be able to use the name. In case you need to restore the item that is in the recycle bin. You will have to remove the library from the recycle bin. And check the rest of the points.

3. Everything removed from the end-user’s recycle bin move to the second stage recycle bin. The same laws that govern the first stage recycle bin apply to the second stage recycle bin. You will need to remove the library from this recycle bin as well, if you want to free up the name you’re attempting to use. And, check the next option.

4. If you’ve done all of the above and you still can’t use the specific name for your imported workflow, you’ve probably fallen into a rare case. You must have used a Nintex workflow with the same name (as the one you’re trying to use now) on a library that you have already deleted. If you’ve deleted a library that was using a Nintex workflow, you can’t access the workflow properties in order to rename it. However, Nintex Workflows have their own little library inside your site collection, where they store copies of their .xoml (and other types) files. Each workflow is being stores in a folder of the same name (as the workflow name) in a document library called NintexWorkflows. You can access it and delete the folders you need at http://serverName/siteCollectionName/NintexWorkflows.

Do keep in mind that if you go ahead and delete the folder, when you go back to publishing the Nintex Workflow you wanted to publish in the first place, you might come across errors. Specifically, Nintex might inform you that you’re attempting to access corrupt memory.

the type initializer for nintex.workflow.workflowconfig2010 thew an exception. attempted to read or write protected memory. this is often an indication that other memory is corrupt

I don’t know whether it would have helped if I had renamed the folders instead of deleting them. However, if you disable the Nintex Workflow features on your site collection and then enable them again (throw in an iisreset as well, just to be sure), you should be able to publish your imported Nintex Workflow without issues.

MGR: the Intelogist

About MGR: the Intelogist

SharePoint Server developer, turned Sitefinity developer, turned Angular developer, turned SharePoint Online consultant, turned Unily consultant, turned O365 consultant... Never a dull moment!

5 thoughts on “How to: troubleshoot “the name is in use elsewhere” when importing a Nintex workflow

  1. John Dorman

    I just had an old version of a workflow running at the same time after restoring a list from a template and was getting super weird behavior. Thought I was losing my mind.

    I didn’t realize there was a literal document library for Nintex WF’s. But in retrospect, of course there is. Deleted it and now everything is good to go.


    • MGR

      One of those things. Super great when it finally works!

  2. Ankit Gupta


    • MGR

      Glad you found it helpful.

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