• vadim@workflowexcellence.com
  • Utah, United States

Nintex Workflow – Nintex Workflow History List Management

If you’ve been using Nintex Workflow for quite some time, you’ll find that your NintexWorkflowHistory list can grow quite rapidly.  There are some limitations in SharePoint in regards to performance of lists that grow to be quite large.  The NintexWorkflowHistory list will inherit these limitations.

With Nintex Workflow 2010 and now Nintex Workflow 2013, you can create other history lists and configure workflows to use those.  This means easier maintenance of workflow history.  Periodically, you will need to do some maintenance, whether it’s on the Nintex Workflow database or on the Nintex Workflow history.

This process, like having multiple Nintex Workflow content database, spreads the load to multiple locations and results in a longer period of time between maintenance schedules.

Firstly, let’s start with which product do your want to see? Click the appropriate link below

 | Nintex Workflow 2013   Out of the box, you get a single hidden list on your site that gets created when you activate the Nintex Workflow site feature.  The list is called “NintexWorkflowHistory”.  In order to create a new list, you need to go to Site Settings.  There you will find a Nintex Workflow group of links and you need to click on the “Manage workflow history lists” link.

Site Settings

Once you click on that, you’ll see a list of the existings History lists and you’ll be able to create a list, enable, disable and purge.  You’ll find these options on the SharePoint ribbon.  

Manage History Lists

  We can see in the above screenshot that we have the out of the box list and it already has a number of items in it. Now we click on the “New” button in the ribbon so that we can create a new History list for Nintex Workflow.  

Create History List

  For this example, we will be creating a list specifically for our Finance Approval group of workflows.  Make sure you give it a legible name and I like to click the Hidden check box.  This will make the list hidden and less likely for a user to try to access it and modify the contents manually.  

Create Finance History List

  When you click the Create button, a few moments later, you will be presented with the Manage History List page again and you will see our new list.  

New List

  That’s it for creating a new History list.  We can now create a new workflow, or modify an existing one and configure it to use this history list for any future workflow instances.  

Workflow Settings

  This workflow will have one action, just for this test and it will be a Log in the History List action.  After we publish and run the workflow, we can go back to the Manage Workflow History Lists in Site Settings and we’ll see that the number of items in our new list has increased.  

History Item Count

Purging History List Data

You will enevitably need to purge some data from the History List.  You can this at the Management page as you see the Purge Items button in the ribbon above.

Or, you could use the NWAdmin command line tool, which has a -o PurgeHistoryListData operation, with a bunch of other parameters it supports. One of the great parameters is the -silent. This means you will get no confirmation requests when running it.  So if you want to add it to a maintenance script, you can do it.

Here’s a link to the NWAdmin White Paper : http://connect.nintex.com/files/folders/technical_and_white_papers_nw2010/entry12004.aspx


It’s not that hard to manage your Nintex Workflow history lists and it’s a great idea to look into this so that you minimize the risk of comping across issues in the future.

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