Error occurred in deployment step ‘Activate Features’: Invalid file name

This is one of those “d’oh” SharePoint moments. Created a new SharePoint feature and used Visual Studio to deploy it. Worked like a dream. Great, I think, ready for UAT. Package up the solution, install to the UAT environment and then attempt to activate the feature. Boom.

Weird. The feature was very simple so the error, as is the wont of SharePoint, was a bit unhelpful. Quick bit of Googling which didn’t help, before, thankfully, my brain engaged. I checked to see if what my feature was trying to do – create a site column and attach it to a couple of content types – had actually worked. It had.

So the issue here was – well, not really an issue at all. It’s because the feature was set to auto activate (in Visual Studio). Hence, I deployed the solution, and it activated. I tried to reactivate it but of course the feature file does already exist – hence the error. The unhelpful thing is that in Manage Site Features, the feature looks like it’s not activated.

Change the setting, and you’re good to go.


  1. Kriss. There must be something in the log file that tells you what’s failing. If not, inject some logging code in to the various steps of your workflow so that you can track down exactly where it’s breaking.

  2. Hi Matt,

    This is kriss, my issue here is I am getting error as “error occurred” in sequential workflow column of SP server in the List , Here I am creating a Sequential workflow with visual studio 2010 that with Initiation form on Task List, and also with assigned users.
    Here My Workflow gets activated and then creates a new task in the Task List but “Error occurred” gets displayed in the Workflow column in default view of my list instead of “In Progress” and also I have full permissions.
    I have checked LOG file and also debugged the code but of no use still getting same error .
    Please Help me out of this Issue.

    Thanks and Regards

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