SharePoint and Nintex workflows failing on start after .NET security update

Updated


I’ve wrote part two on this issue with my full resolution steps here:

SharePoint and Nintex workflows failing on start – part two


The problem


I had this issue myself in the last week where EVERY SINGLE workflow across the farm on premise stopped working. SharePoint Designer and Nintex workflows all reported “Failed to start” when triggered to run.

The workflows stopped working due to a series of .NET security updates Microsoft released in September 2018. Microsoft released a public KB article on this – with resolution steps which can be found below:

But also this msdn blog post contains all the solution scripts and steps that includes Nintex workflows also (transcript below):

I noticed shortly after the fix was implemented that some of my SharePoint designer workflows were exhibiting odd behaviour. For example the screenshot below shows a SharePoint desinger workflow that previously worked without issue or errors in the history after the fix was applied:

Someone on reddit had already spotted this which drew my attention to the common issue, this only presents itself for workflows with pause steps!

I will update this post with my findings once this latest fix is applied.

Symptom

After applying .NET Security Only patch to resolve CVE-2018-8421 (Remote Code Execution Vulnerability) , all SharePoint out of the box Workflows fail to execute and the log will show an error like this:

09/13/2018 01:59:07.57 w3wp.exe (0x1868) 0x22FC SharePoint Foundation Workflow Infrastructure 72fs Unexpected RunWorkflow: Microsoft.SharePoint.SPException: <Error><CompilerError Line=”-1″ Column=”-1″ Text=”Type System.CodeDom.CodeBinaryOperatorExpression is not marked as authorized in the application configuration file.” /><CompilerError Line=”-1″ Column=”-1″ Text=”Type System.CodeDom.CodeBinaryOperatorExpression is not marked as authorized in the application configuration file.” /><CompilerError Line=”-1″ Column=”-1″ Text=”Type System.CodeDom.CodeBinaryOperatorExpression is not marked as authorized in the application configuration file.” /><CompilerError Line=”-1″ Column=”-1″ Text=”Type System.CodeDom.CodeBinaryOperatorExpression is not marked as authorized in the application configuration file.” /><CompilerError Line=”-1″ Column=”-1″ Text=”Type System.CodeDom.CodeBinaryOperatorExpression is not marked as authorized in the application configuration file.” /><CompilerError Line=”-1″ Column=”-1″ Text=”Type System.CodeDom.CodeBinaryOperatorExpression is not marked as authorized in the application configuration file.” /><CompilerError Line=”-1″ Column=”-1″ Text=”Type System.CodeDom.CodeBinaryOperatorExpression is not marked as authorized in the application configuration file.” /><CompilerError Line=”-1″ Column=”-1″…

The error suggest that System.CodeDom.CodeBinaryOperatorExpression is not in the authorized types.

Cause

Workflow Foundation (WF) will only run workflows when all the dependent types and assemblies are authorized in the .NET config file (or added explicitly via code) under this tree:

<configuration>

<System.Workflow.ComponentModel.WorkflowCompiler>

<authorizedTypes>

<targetFx>

However, after the update, the following lines are necessary for SharePoint 2013 and beyond:

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeBinaryOperatorExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodePrimitiveExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeMethodInvokeExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeMethodReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeFieldReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeThisReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodePropertyReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

And for SharePoint 2007 and 2010, use these lines:

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeBinaryOperatorExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodePrimitiveExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeMethodInvokeExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeMethodReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeFieldReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeThisReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodePropertyReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

Solution

The solution is to add explicitly the types to all web applications’ web.config:

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeBinaryOperatorExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodePrimitiveExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeMethodInvokeExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeMethodReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeFieldReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeThisReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodePropertyReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

Or (for SharePoint 2007 and 2010):

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeBinaryOperatorExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodePrimitiveExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeMethodInvokeExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeMethodReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeFieldReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeThisReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodePropertyReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

Please notice that sometimes SharePoint Timer Service (SPTimerV4) runs workflows. If you notice that the application showing the error is ULS logs in OWSTIMER.EXE, you should also include the authorized types in [SharePoint Hive Folder]\bin\OWSTIMER.EXE.config. The Hive Folder will change by version of SharePoint. For SharePoint 2016, it is normally at c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\16. For 2013, at c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\15.

Additional Information

My colleague Joe Rodgers, who is Sr. PFE, put together this PowerShell script: https://gist.github.com/joerodgers/2302b394796c865818839d843bae2dad

There are two scripts. Normally, the only necessary script is:

Add-CodeDomAuthorizedType.ps1

Uncomment this line to make the changes:

Add-CodeDomAuthorizedType

If you have Nintex workflows you should run like this:

Add-CodeDomAuthorizedType -IncludeNintexWorkflow

To undo the changes, run:

Remove-CodeDomAuthorizedType

The script needs to run only once on any WFE. All web.config files related to SharePoint on all servers will be modified. New web applications created after that will also include the changes. Even if a new WFE is added to the farm, the entries will also be included in web.config. The change is a permanent requirement from now on since the WF patch. You do not need to undo the change before applying the SharePoint patch addressing it.

There is a second script to update OWSTIMER.exe.config. This one should only run if you see the symptoms in ULS logs with process OWSTIMER.EXE. Otherwise, you do not need to update. if you have the problem though, you need to rerun the script if a new machine is added to the farm. No line needs to be uncommented for this one. The script name is:

Add-CodeDomAuthorizedTypeToOWSTimerConfig.ps1

Note

Microsoft is aware of this issue and patches for SharePoint 2010, 2013 and 2016 are being worked as of 9/17/2018. I will update when we have an ETA. I had confirmation from the product team on 9/18/2018 that this information and solution on this post is in the line with the future patch and it is the recommended action plan until the patch is out. If anything change, I will update the post.

Note 2

Some people using third-party workflows (like Nintex) need to also include this:

<authorizedType Assembly=”System, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089″ NameSpace=”System.CodeDom” TypeName=”CodeTypeReferenceExpression” Authorized=”True” />

Using the script, you need to add to the line defining types (line 24):

CodeTypeReferenceExpression

Example:
$typeNames = @( CodeBinaryOperatorExpression, CodePrimitiveExpression, CodeMethodInvokeExpression, CodeMethodReferenceExpression, CodeFieldReferenceExpression,CodeThisReferenceExpression, CodePropertyReferenceExpression“, “CodeTypeReferenceExpression”)

Note 3

Joe updated his script to add a switch for Nintex workflows.

Call this way to include the extra type required by Nintex:

Add-CodeDomAuthorizedType -IncludeNintexWorkflow

(all credit to Rodney Viana for this information)

Save as site template missing or greyed out

(This post was written using a SharePoint 2010 environment)

I recently found myself needing to create a site template for a customer who required multiple sites created following a base format. So I decided to create a site template to achieve this to speed up the site creation process for said customer.

At first I went into the site settings of the site that the template would be based off to create it. I looked under look and feel in site settings, but alas the option to save as site template wasn’t there!

site-actions-no-site-template

Next, I accessed the site via SharePoint Designer, looked under the site ribbon menu and would you believe the save as template button was greyed out there also!

SPD-site-template-button-greyed

After researching online, it appears there can be problems creating templates from publishing sites in SharePoint 2010, however I found that following the steps below enabled me to create a new site template and activate it not problem!

  • Navigate to the site collection/ sub-site you wish to create the template from
  • Add the following to the URL at the end of the site name

/_layouts/savetmpl.aspx

  • Go back to the site collection or sub-site you wish to create new sites under
  • Site Actions – Site Settings – Look and Feel – Page Layouts and site templates
site-settings-site-templates
  • Find your newly created site template within the subsite templates list
  • Press Add
  • Press OK
adding-subsite-templates

Please note: if your sub-site is inheriting from the parent site, you will need to navigate to the parent and add the subsite template there for it to be available.

UPDATE 27/08/2019

Saving as site template is not a supported feature of SharePoint Online for modern sites. You will find for modern sites that this option is not available, but you have the ability to re-instate it via activating a feature. The official stance from Microsoft is:

Just to be clear. Using save-site-as-a-template with modern team sites or publishing sites is NOT supported. You can always find aways with tenant admin permissions to achieve things, but the fact that it’s doable does not mean it’s supported.

Any sites created with the template which has been produced with this method can have unexpected issues in the future, so provided steps should never be used.

Best regards,

Vesa Juvonen, Senior Program Manager, SharePoint Engineering, Microsoft.

UPDATE 27/08/2019

Saving as site template is not a supported feature of SharePoint Online for modern sites. You will find for modern sites that this option is not available, but you have the ability to re-instate it via activating a feature. The official stance from Microsoft is:

” Just to be clear. Using save-site-as-a-template with modern team sites or publishing sites is NOT supported. You can always find aways with tenant admin permissions to achieve things, but the fact that it’s doable does not mean it’s supported.

Any sites created with the template which has been produced with this method can have unexpected issues in the future, so provided steps should never be used. “


– Vesa Juvonen, Senior Program Manager, SharePoint Engineering, Microsoft.