Startup Failure

I’m getting startup failure on my action, repeatedly.

I’ve used my existing action and I’ve created an action from scratch, no changes from the suggested code. this is how it looks.


the most basic i’ve tried is this

on: workflow_dispatch
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
          ref: "main"

i cant find a single reference to this error message anywhere online. any suggestions would be appreciated!!!

Hi @bytejunkie, welcome to the GitHub Support Community! Is this on a forked repository, or a repository you share with other people? It could be that the GitHub Actions app hasn’t been installed on this repository (something that happens automatically when a workflow is created) and that’s causing this error.

Do you see any other errors listed on the workflow page? And would you be able to post a link to this repository so we can take a closer look?

hi @thomasshaped,

I dont get any other erros at all.

its my own repo. the action hasnt been run since may and i think the original checkout step has been deprecated since then. it is a bit weird that a brand new workflow wont run when i create it. unless i comment out the checkout action.

i think you’ll see the repo here.

its nothing special, just a container i use to test my docker skills. or not!

I am interested in the solution, because I have exactly the same error in my repo. I just startet using github actions, first I tried one workflow on my own. Then I tried the “greetings” example workflow. Both say “Startup failure” without any further information.

I fixed this problem by creating a new repo and added only a readme.
Then I used one of the example-actions (in this case it was “Greetings”), copied the master branch from my old repo and edited the action afterwards.
Works fine now.
But I still do not understand why it does not work in my previous repo.

did you maybe move your repo from one computer to another? i did (windows to mac) and its about this time that it stopped working.

We’ve been having the same problem for about 3 days now. There have not been any changes to the workflows. We can’t get any information out other than the message ‘Startup failed’.

Does anyone know the kind of thing that can cause this? It feels like it could be anything… :frowning:

…are there problems in the workflow files?

…have we hit some kind of quota?

…is there a bug somewhere in the workflow processing?

Any thoughts?


I also encounter this issue when I added the default github action, which only “echo Hello, world!”

I am facing the exact same error too. Its been hours I have been trying to see what the issue may be.

It looks like it’s related to actions.

Of course that sounds obvious, given that actions are what GHA is all about. :slight_smile:

But my colleague has run a very basic workflow with just an echo and no actions/checkout and that actually works.

And as far as we can tell, it’s the only thing that does.

…so somewhere in the downloading/installing/whatever of those actions, it seems that all is not well… :frowning:

Ok…so at least for us, the mystery may be solved. :frowning:

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Sorry for the delay everyone, there was some investigation that took some time to track down what’s going on here. In the mean time it looks like @markbirbeck has stumbled onto the actual issue here before I could report back! :laughing:

From the looks of things the pattern here is that you’ve got Allow local actions only set for these repositories. This means that any external actions—even actions/checkout—can’t be included in your workflow.

It looks like a regression has been introduced that has blocked the actual reason being shown in the workflow annotation when a workflow fails startup, instead failing with a vague error. A startup failure could happen for a number of reasons but the most likely one is the Actions permission level being set too low for the steps used in your workflows. I’d recommend double-checking this setting and trying running your workflow again.

I believe the lack of error message should now be fixed though so you should see more details if you’re still having this problem after checking your permissions. :tada:

i can confirm that changing the setting highlighted above has worked on my repo too.

Thanks @thomasshaped.

One other piece of information for you, and anyone else who comes to this thread…

Apparently GH made a change to the default value for the Actions Permissions setting, for enterprise customers. So the setting in our repo changed at the end of last week, but no-one seemed to know about it, and we had no reason to think to check it.

Our Org admins have now changed the setting back for us, so our workflows are running again.

Anyway, if anyone reading this is using GH within an enterprise then it might be worth checking that the Actions permission hasn’t been changed from underneath you.

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I am facing the same issue and tried the option but luck…

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Having the issue for the last hour or so as well. It’s not the option because I switched it to “local actions” and get a different error message. The error I get is just “An unexpected error occurred when executing this workflow.”

@jcs090218 @chalonverse Looks like GitHub Actions is having a problem.

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I realized that! Thank you!

For those coming to this thread;

I found more information about the startup failure in the workflow file. See Workflows > View workflow file. In my case, it was a syntax error.



I also encountered a “Startup Failure” as the result of a syntax error. In my case I had spaces in the job name:

job name:
  runs-on: ubuntu-latest
  if: ...

    - uses: ....

The above fails with Startup Failure, whereas the below does not fail:

  runs-on: ubuntu-latest
  if: ...

    - uses: ....

It would be nice if github provided more information on a startup failure!