SharePoint DirectoryNotFoundException (0x80070003)

I’ve been dealing with an interesting SharePoint error for the better part of a day-and-a-half now and I thought it was worth sharing.

The error surfaced was a DirectoryNotFoundException (0x80070003) when attempting to call BreakRoleInheritance in an asynchronous event receiver.

The purpose of the receiver was to read a set of rules which specified how to configure permissions for objects based on metadata and content type. However, this would fail with the aforementioned error, but only for folders.

Of course, this was a weird error because I could certainly see the folder in the list.

It turns out that the root cause is how we were setting the titles/names on our folders.  One issue with folders is that depending on how you add the list item, you may have to go back and rename it.  Otherwise, it gets a title based on its ID.

Our original logic looked like this (note the use of the Name property) and it was raised after the item was created in the list:

(Assume that entity is simply a container that describes the list item to create.)

The exception occurs in the case where the rename executes before the asynchronous event receiver finishes executing, thus the directory — as originally named — no longer exists since it’s been renamed by the code above.  This caused random errors on our systems based on the order of execution and of course, when the debugger is attached, it works perfectly fine (I think because it changes the threading model).

We’ve changed our code now to something like this instead:

Which has solved the issue as the name of folder and items created from folder based content types no longer need to be updated to set the display name.

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