Warning: Non-existent step referenced While Creating SQL Agent Job

Today there was a question submitted in dba.stackexchange.com with heading “Suppressing non-ANSI warnings in SQLCMD script”. Details here. In summary, this happens when you use a script to create a SQL Agent job and one of the job step has conditions (under advanced properties) to go to certain steps in case of success or failure. Exact text of the warning:

Warning: Non-existent step referenced by @on_success_step_id.
Warning: Non-existent step referenced by @on_fail_step_id.

I searched for the keywords “Warning: Non-existent step referenced” and looked at the top 10 results. Most of them talked about properly setting advance property of each job steps. Meaning what to do when the step succeeds or fail. One post mentioned “You can’t fix it. They are just warnings and are incorrect anyway. I’ve got a similar job that gives the same warnings. It should be classified as a bug.”

I thought of reproducing the warning message by myself. I Was able to reproduce using the code below.

USE [msdb]
GO

BEGIN TRANSACTION
DECLARE @ReturnCode INT
SELECT @ReturnCode = 0
IF NOT EXISTS (SELECT name FROM msdb.dbo.syscategories WHERE name=N'Test' AND category_class=1)
BEGIN
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_category @class=N'JOB', @type=N'LOCAL', @name=N'Test'
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback

END

DECLARE @jobId BINARY(16)
EXEC @ReturnCode =  msdb.dbo.sp_add_job @job_name=N'Testing Non-existent step referenced', 
		@enabled=1, 
		@notify_level_eventlog=0, 
		@notify_level_email=0, 
		@notify_level_netsend=0, 
		@notify_level_page=0, 
		@delete_level=0, 
		@description=N'No description available.', 
		@category_name=N'Test', 
		@owner_login_name=N'sa', @job_id = @jobId OUTPUT
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobstep @job_id=@jobId, @step_name=N'GetDate', 
		@step_id=1, 
		@cmdexec_success_code=0, 
		@on_success_action=4, 
		@on_success_step_id=2, 
		@on_fail_action=4, 
		@on_fail_step_id=3, 
		@retry_attempts=0, 
		@retry_interval=0, 
		@os_run_priority=0, @subsystem=N'TSQL', 
		@command=N'select getdate()', 
		@database_name=N'master', 
		@flags=0
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobstep @job_id=@jobId, @step_name=N'StepForSuccess', 
		@step_id=2, 
		@cmdexec_success_code=0, 
		@on_success_action=1, 
		@on_success_step_id=0, 
		@on_fail_action=2, 
		@on_fail_step_id=0, 
		@retry_attempts=0, 
		@retry_interval=0, 
		@os_run_priority=0, @subsystem=N'TSQL', 
		@command=N'Print ''Step 1 was successful''', 
		@database_name=N'master', 
		@flags=0
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobstep @job_id=@jobId, @step_name=N'StepsForFailure', 
		@step_id=3, 
		@cmdexec_success_code=0, 
		@on_success_action=2, 
		@on_success_step_id=0, 
		@on_fail_action=2, 
		@on_fail_step_id=0, 
		@retry_attempts=0, 
		@retry_interval=0, 
		@os_run_priority=0, @subsystem=N'TSQL', 
		@command=N'Print ''Step 1 failed''', 
		@database_name=N'master', 
		@flags=0
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_update_job @job_id = @jobId, @start_step_id = 1
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobserver @job_id = @jobId, @server_name = N'(local)'
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
COMMIT TRANSACTION
GOTO EndSave
QuitWithRollback:
    IF (@@TRANCOUNT > 0) ROLLBACK TRANSACTION
EndSave:

GO

The error was being raised by these 4 lines of code while creating step 1.

 @on_success_action=4,
 @on_success_step_id=2,
 @on_fail_action=4,
 @on_fail_step_id=3,

I removed these 4 lines and added the same functionality using ‘sp_update_jobstep’ stored procedure after creating all 3 steps. Below code will create the job with same functionality but without the warnings.

USE [msdb]
GO

BEGIN TRANSACTION
DECLARE @ReturnCode INT
SELECT @ReturnCode = 0
IF NOT EXISTS (SELECT name FROM msdb.dbo.syscategories WHERE name=N'Test' AND category_class=1)
BEGIN
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_category @class=N'JOB', @type=N'LOCAL', @name=N'Test'
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback

END

DECLARE @jobId BINARY(16)
EXEC @ReturnCode =  msdb.dbo.sp_add_job @job_name=N'Testing Non-existent step referenced', 
		@enabled=1, 
		@notify_level_eventlog=0, 
		@notify_level_email=0, 
		@notify_level_netsend=0, 
		@notify_level_page=0, 
		@delete_level=0, 
		@description=N'No description available.', 
		@category_name=N'Test', 
		@owner_login_name=N'sa', @job_id = @jobId OUTPUT
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobstep @job_id=@jobId, @step_name=N'GetDate', 
		@step_id=1, 
		@cmdexec_success_code=0, 
		@retry_attempts=0, 
		@retry_interval=0, 
		@os_run_priority=0, @subsystem=N'TSQL', 
		@command=N'select getdate()', 
		@database_name=N'master', 
		@flags=0
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobstep @job_id=@jobId, @step_name=N'StepForSuccess', 
		@step_id=2, 
		@cmdexec_success_code=0, 
		@on_success_action=1, 
		@on_success_step_id=0, 
		@on_fail_action=2, 
		@on_fail_step_id=0, 
		@retry_attempts=0, 
		@retry_interval=0, 
		@os_run_priority=0, @subsystem=N'TSQL', 
		@command=N'Print ''Step 1 was successful''', 
		@database_name=N'master', 
		@flags=0
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobstep @job_id=@jobId, @step_name=N'StepsForFailure', 
		@step_id=3, 
		@cmdexec_success_code=0, 
		@on_success_action=2, 
		@on_success_step_id=0, 
		@on_fail_action=2, 
		@on_fail_step_id=0, 
		@retry_attempts=0, 
		@retry_interval=0, 
		@os_run_priority=0, @subsystem=N'TSQL', 
		@command=N'Print ''Step 1 failed''', 
		@database_name=N'master', 
		@flags=0
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_update_job @job_id = @jobId, @start_step_id = 1
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_update_jobstep @job_id=@jobid, @step_id=1 , 
        @on_success_action=4, 
        @on_success_step_id=2, 
        @on_fail_action=4, 
        @on_fail_step_id=3
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
EXEC @ReturnCode = msdb.dbo.sp_add_jobserver @job_id = @jobId, @server_name = N'(local)'
IF (@@ERROR <> 0 OR @ReturnCode <> 0) GOTO QuitWithRollback
COMMIT TRANSACTION
GOTO EndSave
QuitWithRollback:
    IF (@@TRANCOUNT > 0) ROLLBACK TRANSACTION
EndSave:

GO



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