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What happens to records that are currently locked in an approval process if I want to deactivate the existing approval process?

Knowledge Article Number 000220137
Available in: ProfessionalEnterprisePerformanceUnlimited, and Developer Editions
User Permissions Needed
To create, edit, delete, or clone approval processes:“Customize Application”
To view approval processes:“View Setup and Configuration”

What happens to the records that are currently pending in an approval process if the approval process is deactivated or replaced with a new approval process?

Resolution If you wish to deactivate an existing approval process, the records that have been submitted by end users will remain in process for approval. These records can still be accessed and the approvers for the submissions will still be able to approve/reject the records. After you deactivate the existing approval process and activate the new approval process, all new record submissions will go through the new activated approval process. 

If you wanted the existing records that were in the old approval process to use criteria for the new approval process, you'll have to resubmit the records again. 

See also:
Creating Approval Processes
Examples of Approval Processes
Approval Process Terminology
Approval Process Considerations

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