Sharepoint 2007 task notification alert emails not working

"Where are my alert emails!" I hear you cry. I've been repeating these same words for a number of days now and I've finally managed to get them working so I thought I'd share my solution.

I've been working with a MOSS site which has three environments; development, staging and live. We have a number of custom workflows which were created using Workflow Foundation and InfoPath for the forms. Each of the workflow tasks should automatically send out a task notification email whenever the task is reassigned to a different person. This has always worked fine on staging and live environments, but I've never seen them working in the development environment. Interestingly all the standard scheduled alert emails were working fine (ie. if you were to subscribe to a list), it was just the task notifications from the workflows which were not.

First thing I did was go through the usual process of checking the log files and windows event viewer for errors which yielded no significant results. Next thing I checked were the email settings for the site in Central Admin which again all looked fine. The development site is using local SMTP, so I checked if the emails were getting generated in the 'DROP' folder in the mailroot. The scheduled alert emails were getting generated in here fine, but the task notifications were not. I also checked that the Timer service was running correctly and under the right account in the windows Services, which it was.

Next thing I checked were the database tables, after I read about the same problem in this newsgroup posting. The following four tables in the content database contain entries related to the alert emails:

ImmedSubscriptions (Stores the alerts for emails that are sent immediately when changes occur)
SchedSubscriptions (Stores daily or weekly scheduled alerts)
EventLog (This table contains events for which only non-immediate alerts exist)
EventCache (This table contains a list of site events for which users have requested alerts. WSS inserts events into this table as they occur)

I checked in these table to see if information about the alerts were being inserted and discovered that in the ImmedSubscriptions and EventLog tables there were actually entries which were related to the live server, as I believe the content database had been restored from a live copy a while ago, and the references obviously had not been updated automatically. So I cleared out each each one of these tables and re-tested the workflow. This made a bit of progress as I could now see that the alert information was getting inserted correctly into the EventCache and EventLog tables. However the ImmedSubscriptions table was still not receiving information about the alert.

After some frustrated iisresets and restarts of the timer job service, I was still having no luck whatsoever at getting these alert emails working so I reverted back to trusty Google for some more answers. I found this blog, which although not directly related, provided the winning answer. Updating the alert templates. After running the following stsadm command on the development machine, the task notification alert emails automagically started working again woohoo!

stsadm -o updatealerttemplates -url http://testserver -f "c:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\XML\alerttemplates.xml" -LCID 2057

So I can assume that the problem transpired from a restore of the content databased from a different server which somewhere along the line maintained some references to the original server. A clear out of the relevant databases and re-registering the alert templates seemed to solve the problem for me.

Hopefully this comes in handy for somebody else, as I spent many a frustrated hour over this one :)


  • I am having a strange issue that seems related or close to what you were experiencing. I am not receiving email notifications when tasks or action items are changed. I have a MOSS 2007, SQL 2005 environment where the following is happening:

    1. Alerts that users themselves setup are working fine
    2. The eventcache,eventlog, and immedsubscriptions tables are logging all the alerts and task notifications, even the ones that I do not receive an email for.
    3. When I use my user account to create a task and assign it to myself I receive the email notification that I have a task assigned to me.
    4. If I update the same task with my user account I do not receive an email notification that the task has been changed. The eventcache and eventlog tables do have an entry for the change though.
    5. If I update the same task with the service account that is a member of the farm administrators group then I do receive the email notification that the task has been changed.

    This seems to be a permissions issue but I have tried everything I can think of and still no change. I have an open case with Microsoft but they have yet to provide me an answer. Any ideas or help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • Hi Dylan,

    Yes it does sound like a permissions related issue, can't say I've come across anything like that myself. Presumably if you increase the priveleges on your standard user account, or add it to the admins group, you are getting the task update emails?

  • Hi Mel,
    I have the same issue.
    I did what u did and am getting the entries in EventCache table but not in ImmedSubscriptions Table and ofcourse emails are not coming as well.

    Something interesting in my case is that it was working perfectly alright 2 days ago but is not working since.

    Thanks alot.
    All help is highly appreciated.


  • Hi Tina,

    Have you restored any database backups to your environment from a different server recently? I think that is what initially caused the problem for me. Have you tried all the steps I mentioned in my post? If this is still not working drop me an email with some further details and I'll have a look.


  • Hi mel,
    Thanks for ur reply.
    No I have not restored any database from any other server.
    And yes I followed al the steps you mentioned and run stsadm command as well, but no good.
    The thing I observed, and mentioned in previous email as well is that the content database is getting the entries in EventCache table but not in ImmedSubscriptions Table for the alerts.
    Also my timer service is not start and doesnot give me an option of starting it.
    The possible cause for my problem could be, I wos working with Windows services on the box. and added the windows user login to the content database for my windows service to work.

  • Thanks for great help.... This works for me. But I don't know what that -LCID means and how to get it.

  • Hi Subodh,

    The LCID simply refers to the locale ID, in my case I am using the locale ID for the UK which is 2057. For a full list of id's please see the following link:

    Hope this helps.


  • My workflow/alerts email issues must have everything to do with permissions. All the right entries are being made to the databases. Members (Contributors) don't get the alerts of doclibs, but Owners (Full Control) do.

    In the EventCache, there are fields for "EventData" and "ACL" that show "Binary data" for the failed alert messages. Successful alerts show "NULL" in these fields.

  • I just had the same problem after migrating the app and SQl servers.

    The ImmedSubscriptions still held information relating to the old servers.

    Deleting all alerts has resolved this.

  • If I delete the entries in the tables listed above am I deleting the alerts or am I
    deleting the actual task the alert pertains to?

  • Thanks for this. It worked great for me and saved me lots of frustration after numerous hours of troubleshooting.

  • Lem; When you delete the entries in the tables you are just deleting the scheduled alerts *not* the actual tasks themselves


  • This worked for me. THANKS!!!!! I cleared out those tables then ran that command then it started working. USA LCID=1033 btw.

  • I also had this problem and followed your instructions, but it still didn't work untill I found out I was settting my alerts on a site that was created on the sharepoint administration site (don't ask my why :)
    Since templates are not designed to be created on the central administration page email alerts were not configured to run even if you carry out the correct procedure in enabling it

    I tested it on another site and it worked

  • Maybe someone can help me.

    I have a several task lists that will not send alerts when configured to send the alert when the item gets assigned to me. If I configure the alert to send all changes, I receive them just fine.

    The faulty alerts show up correctly in the immedsubscriptions table and in the eventcache and eventlog tables. The eventdata column is even getting NULLed as it is supposed to when the timer service runs. Am I missing something? What is the logical next step?

  • Helps me out, thanx a lot kid. We saved many hours

  • Hi,
    I have a different problem, and I hope someone can help me with it.
    I have a custom workflow attached to a custom list. The workflow is supposed to send an email to a manager, when a criteria is equal to true.
    The problem is that for some reason two identical emails are sent. And I do not know why.



  • We have a similar issue though it appears to be a SharePoint limitation on custom lists. We have a custom list created by importing a spreadsheet (MOSS 2007). It does not have the e-mail notification capability as available with the SharePoint Lists like "Issue Tracking".

    Requirement: Send an email to the "Assigned To" person on the list. This feature exists in the Issue Tracking (MOSS 2007).

    Is there a way to either:
    Enable e-mail notification for a custom list (created based on an import from an excel spreadsheet).
    Import data from Excel spreadsheet to a SharePoint empty List (basically the list is created from Issue Tracking template and columns added - it then has the e-mail notification features).
    Move data from a SharePoint custom list to a SharePoint empty List (basically the list is created from Issue Tracking template and columns added - it then has the e-mail notification features).
    How to create a simple workflow to just accomplish sending the email whenever the "Assigned To" field is changed?

    Further when creating a custom list, be very sure that the title field is assigned to the correct column. When importing data, SharePoint assigns one of the initial columns in the spreadsheet to be the "Title" column. This is the column which will be appended to the email title for any alerts defined on the List. In our case, it assigned the incorrect column as the Title column and there does not appear to be an easy way to change it (except for exporting the data to excel and re-creating the list again but one will lose the versioning and timestamp information with the updates/comments to the issues).

    I am more of a beginner SharePoint user and would prefer if this can be accomplished with no coding or very little/simple coding. Any helpful comments will be highly appreciated.


  • Your solution worked a charm! Thanks very much!



  • This article definitely pointed me in the right direction. My workflow tasks stopped sending emails after I enabled SSL and updated the alternate access mapping to use https. I found that the value in the SiteUrl column in ImmedSubscriptions still had http rather than https. I added the missing "s", an IISRESET, and restarted the timer service. Email is working again! Thanks!

  • I have a similar issue except it's just the opposite in that multiple emails are being generated. Could this be a matter of just needing to some of my database tables mentioned ie ImmedSubscriptions

  • Hi,

    I have 2 custom list work flows. Emails are sent to recipient from one of them but does not work from the latest custom list that was created. Please advice.

  • Hi,

    If you have backup-restored your sharepoint site to a new server farm, check-out this KB at

    Some timer jobs definitions aren't restored, then task mail alerts becomes broken (ImmediateAlerts).

  • I have the same issue as Hymen S above. I ran the STSADM command, and still no alerts. However, the ACL and EventData values are NULL, as with successful alerts for users with Full Control.

    If I empty the two tables, EventCache and ImmedSubscriptions, I would have recreate all the user alerts, correct?

  • Mel, I stumbled onto this page after hours of searching. All I have to say is if you are ever in NC I owe you a beer.

  • John P, I had the same issue and I came to the same conclusion. I changed the host header on my SharePoint server and the task e-mails stopped coming. I updated the SiteUrl column in the ImmedSubscriptions table (A big no-no by Microsoft standards I know, but didn't have another way around it)

    After that update alone, not even an IIS restart needed and the task e-mails started working again.

    Does anyone hav a way to trigger the e-mails that I missed while the host header in the SiteUrl was wrong?

  • I had the same problem. It got resolved when the SharePoint administrator installed a Hotfix just released by Microsoft. You can find more information in the Microsoft Knowledge Base - Article 946517 KB.

  • When a user assigns a workflow task to another user, the email only works if the user asssigning the task is part of administrator group, if the user is not then the email isn't sent.

    Hence emails are working but only if from admin group anyone else and it disappears, no errors .

    I thought emails are sent using the same account irrespective of who the assignee is directly from sharepoint and not using users credentials to email from within sharepoint.

    Environment MOSS, Windows Server 2008

    Any help greatly appreciated

  • I have users who are signing up for alerts on a site and it is saying they are successful. However, they are not receiving alerts and then when I go to view there alerts they are not even listed as registered?

  • The ACL and EventData values are NOT NULL in my Event cache table. What should I do now?

  • Dear mlota,

    thanks a lot for this site. You saved our SP Server from being smashed into pieces by the frustrated admin... Yes, that's me. ;) The hints about the tables (where to find what) did the trick for me. I found out that the configuration in the Central Administrations was wrong.
    So, now it works fine for me. Yay!!!


  • Thanks

    its Works... for Spanish ( LCID= 3082 )

    Saludos !!

  • hey,

    I am facing the same problem.

    I get a notification on successfully creating an alert.

    But as any user makes some entry or edits some replies on my discussion board, NO further email
    notifications are received.


    Help me out

    its important

  • hi,

    I am also facing the same problem.

    I receive email notifications for successfully
    creating an alert.

    But there are no email notifications for further changes or replies in my discussion forum.

    Please help



  • Can you believe my SPTImer was stopped?! What stumped me was that the Alerts were working but the task notifications were not being emailed.

  • EXCELLENT... the command line worked like a dream..

    THANK YOU :-)

  • Hi,

    I have an issue with Alerts which are supposed to be received from a Task list.

    The "Assigned to" column from the Task list has been changed to multiple selections. Here we try to include 2 persons responsible for the respective Task.

    I do receive the Task when:
    I only include one person in the "Assigned to" column, or when the Alert setting is set to send an alert on "All changes". (In this case I do have 2 persons assigned to the Task)

    I Do not receive the Task when I assign two persons to the Task and have the alert setting set to "Send alert when a task is assigned to me".

    I did run the stsadm -o updatealerttemplates.

    I did not clear any tables from the content DB , in repsectto the immedsubscription tables etc. I do no want to fiddle around with the Content DB.

    Does anybody have a logical explanation why I do receive the alerts when its setting are set to "all changes" and NOT when the alert is set to send me an email when a new Task is assigned to any person(s) in the assigned to field?

  • I'm using SharePoint Designer workflow with email action to send an email to myself. This wasn't working with my original workflow then I created a test workflow with just email action in but still no luck.

    The EventCache,EventLog have the entries but not the other tables. I've checked the permissions also restarted the timer service just in case. But still no luck.

    P.S: The SharePoint 'Alert me' works fine and I do receive an email.

  • I have a requirement to stop the mail trigger while editing a task list item in SharePoint 2007. When I am creating a task the mail is sending to the “Assigned to” Properly. But when I am editing the same task item again a mail is sent to the Assigned to user which I want to stop.

    Is there any out of box feature / settings to stop this mail trigger while editing.

    Early response is much appreciated.

  • I am getting alerts but am not able to see the ID column in the alert. I have Used Alert Me feature.

  • I can't get the alerts setting - what versions of sharepoint does this work with?

  • Ugh.. I've tried every possible solution but haven't found the solution in my problem yet. I also migrated the content DB from a different server to a new one. The alerts worked before but now it stopped. I tried creating a new alert but upon click "OK", the creation hangs and nothing happened. It's like it hanged during the alert creation.

  • @Leiyah

    Hmm, haven't come across that before. Have you tried checking the Windows and SharePoint event logs? They may yield some clues as to where the problem is originating.

  • My alerts are only working for users with Full Control permissions. Any lower permission setting and the users do not receive alerts anymore.

    I hope someone can help me with this problem. I'm clueless.

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