Why do not the SharePoint Designer workflows, when edited, appear to update on the SharePoint site?

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I create a Workflow in SharePoint Designer, and when I save it, it's good to go, and works as expected. However, when opening it later for edits in SPD, I can make changes to the workflow, very large ones, and save it, and on the SharePoint site, it shows as a new version of this workflow, but never reflects the new changes I made to it.

For instance, I created a simple one to test, simply an email gets sent to me when a new item is created in a list. Works fine. However, when I add an item lookup in the body of the email, save the workflow again, and create a new item in my list, I still get a blank email, not the new item lookup in the body of the email as expected.

Is there some kind of timer with SharePoint updating workflows? Am I missing something here?


For SharePoint Designer, the solution is similar to Dave's solution.
It seems SharePoint Designer saves local copies of DLLs from your servers, and although everything seems OK, this prevents it from updating the workflow (this is when custom activities are involved, which the question didn't mention).

To solve this issue:

  1. Close SharePoint Designer
  2. Go to

    %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\WebsiteCache

    Or, on older versions of windows:

    C:\Documents and Settings\%USER%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\WebSiteCache

  3. Delete either (choose one, based on how annoyed you are by now):

    1. All folders.
    2. The folder that "looks most like your site" (can be more than one: site, site(1), etc, and should be the bottom level site, not the root site)
    3. The relevant DLL in that folder.
  4. Start SharePoint Designer, save the workflow again, it should be ok.

Source: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/forums/en-US/sharepointworkflow/thread/a4c77c18-e845-4121-9538-e76a44a82b88/: