Troubleshooting: Reasons Features may be stuck as Overridden

Last updated on
18 April 2017

Users of Features have identified several scenarios in which a feature might not revert (i.e. the Manage Features page or drush features shows the feature in the state of "Overridden"), even when all steps were taken to revert the feature to the version on file.

Typical workflow:

  1. Made config changes locally (to a view).
  2. Updated the associated Feature locally.
  3. Migrated the updated feature code to production.
  4. Attempted to revert the production feature so the new feature settings are deployed.
  5. Feature simply won't revert and remains overridden.

This page lists various solutions to this problem, starting with general fixes and procedures and moving on to information about specific modules and ways in which they might not be working with Features, and how to diagnose this.

Table of Contents:

Disable and re-enable (the Silver Bullet Solution)

Read on to learn more specific scenarios and solutions, but often, disabling and reenabling the exported Feature module will do it for you. Quickest path to victory, therefore, is the drush one-liner:
drush dre your_module -y
The command, provided by the Devel module, devel-reinstall (dre) disables, uninstalls, and enables the module. See heading on Dependent Modules below for more info.

Missing include()

Many problems simply arise from a missing include in [myfeature].module. If it does not contain this line, re-add it:


Missing feature module files

Check your codebase

If you are pushing your custom feature modules by using source control, be certain that all required files have been checked in and exist in the problem environment. When updating and downloading features, additional files may be generated that must be added to source control.

Problems with: Views

Example #1

  • View created that has multiple pages which are added to the view as local tasks.
  • View added to the feature & exported correctly.
  • Enabled the Feature and reverted all components.
  • Site cache cleared.
  • View still shows as Overridden in admin/build/features but shows as Default in admin/build/views.
  • In admin/build/features/myfeature/diff the Default column shows a near-complete export of the view while the Overrides column starts with the following:
     Line 1
    '0' => $view = new view; 
  • Running drush fu on the feature results in no file changes to the feature.

Resolution (ex#1)

View not available to select to featurize

  • If view is not available to select, it may be that another feature already holds that view
  • However, if that is not the case, a workaround to this case would be to clone the view you are trying to featurize.

Problems with: Table Wizard & Migrate

Example #1

Description needed...

Problems with: Blocks (via fe_block)

Example #1: Check the theme

The original site (local dev perhaps) shows Default state when staged to remote shows Overridden. The feature contains features_fe fe_block item(s), and features-diff shows a block config with a theme name in it.

Resolution: Enable and disable core themes to match originating environment: fe_blocks captures block settings per-theme.

Problems with: Features namespace change

Feature name-spacing is used throughout a feature's files. If folder names are changed the feature will remain available and enabled but overridden and unable to revert.

Resolution: Change the folder name back to the original name-space found within the files as function names, filenames, etc.

Problems with: Modules' versions changed

The feature was created with earlier version of core/dependency module(s) and some parts of the feature will remain overridden. This is usually a case of transferring features between websites when it is easy to miss modules versions compatibility.

Resolution: Recreate all features that use new core/module(s) version and clear cache.

Problem with: Missing Dependencies

Missing dependencies can be caused by a number of reasons. Common causes are a) dependent modules were installed since the feature was enabled or b)a module requirement for an exportable is not detected.

a) The feature was created with some set of dependent modules, shared, and later an additional module dependency was added. In terms of Feature as a module, this dependency does go into the .info so any new installations/enables of the Feature will work as expected, but for preexisting Feature implementations (dev/staging environment for instance), these dependencies will not automatically become enabled from a feature revert. This is very likely when sharing Features between development environments and Git branching.

b) Features automatically detect ctools exportables and add the modules containing those exportables to the dependency list. However, if a contrib module builds on user entered data (for instance, content_taxonomy on a specific vocabulary), You can export the vocabulary or the term reference field but features don't detect content_taxonomy as a requirement. If you don't enable the content_taxonomy module the field will remain overridden and unrecoverable. This issue is likely to occur when creating features related to user generated content with extensions on its widgets such as menu links, vocabularies and terms or entities with UUID's.

Resolution: Either disables the Feature and reenable it, or manually enable any dependencies not enabled (see Feature Diff to expose them).

Problem with: Feature with Rules not reverting (in 6.x)

#1462546: Rules marked as "custom", won't revert using features

Resolution: Delete all the Rules that are marked as "Custom" status and are also "Overridden" by the Feature. It will change their Rules status to "default" and the Feature will also be "Default" state.

Note: Remove this when that issue is fixed in Rules.

Problem with: Exported translatable strings

With many exportables, translatable strings are generated for multilingual sites. These are exported in features.*.inc as t('english string') calls. However, if you're administrating your site with a different default language than en_US the feature might seem overridden. This is especially prevalent in views exports with translatable labels.

Resolution: Change the administrator account's default language to English or change the current user's session language to English when running a features-diff in the UI or via drush.

Problem with: PHP cache

Remember to clear your PHP cache (e.g. APC) after updating the code and before doing the feature revert.

Problem with: Apache cache

If you are using Apache web server then clearing the cache may fix the problem. I.e restart apache.

Problem with: Nested folders

Sometimes when moving or copying module folders, one may accidentally place a feature module folder inside the same or another folder. The result could result in a duplicated feature or the hidden existence of one thought to have been removed.

NOTE: This page is a summary of things raised in issue #744450: Why would a feature not revert?. It is incomplete — earn yourself some karma points by continuing to transfer relevant situations from that issue. Thanks!