MSMQ Transport Troubleshooting

Component: MSMQ Transport

This article details common problems encountered with the MSMQ Transport and how to resolve them.

Messages stuck or not arriving

MSMQ uses store-and-forward to communicate with remote machines. Messages are stored locally and then the MSMQ service repeatedly attempts to deliver them to the destination queue on the remote machine.

Approaches for diagnosing messages stuck in the outgoing queue.

  • Check the Outgoing Queues on each server involved, while the problem is occurring. Each item represents a connection to a remote server. Items stuck here represent an inability to transfer messages to the remote server. The State and Connection History columns may point to a connectivity issue between servers.
  • Check the Microsoft support article MSMQ service might not send or receive messages after a restart. This details how an error in how MSMQ binds to IP addresses and ports can cause one server to be unable to validate messages coming from another, causing them to be rejected.
  • If servers are cloned from the same virtual machine image, this will cause them to have the same QMId in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\MSMQ\Parameters\Machine Cache, which will interfere with message delivery. Use the workout described in MSMQ prefers to be unique to reset the QMId on an existing machine, but it is preferable to use Microsoft's Sysprep tool before capturing the virtual machine image.

Note on MSMQ Distributor

In order to scale out MSMQ processing, a Distributor node accepts messages in one queue and then distributes it to eligible workers as they come available. This is accomplished by having each worker send a ReadyMessage to the distributor's control queue when it is ready for more work, and then the distributor forwards a message to that worker.

The problems outlined above are the leading cause of distributor issues, due to worker's ReadyMessages getting stuck in the respective workers' outgoing queues unable to reach the distributor, or messages stuck in the distributor's outgoing queue unable to reach the workers.

MessageQueueException: Insufficient resources to perform operation

This exception may occur if trying to send messages to a machine that has been off-line for a while, or the system is suffering from a larger than expected load spike, or when message queuing quota has exceeded its limit:

System.Messaging.MessageQueueException (0x80004005): Insufficient resources to perform operation.
at System.Messaging.MessageQueue.SendInternal(Object obj, MessageQueueTransaction internalTransaction, MessageQueueTransactionType transactionType)

The cause of this exception is that the MSMQ has run out of space for holding on to messages. This could be due to messages sent that could not be delivered, or messages received that have not been processed.


  1. Make sure that the hard disk drive has sufficient space.
  2. Purge the transactional dead-letter queue (TDLQ) under System Queues.
  • This queue acts as a recycle bin for other transactional queues, so if other transactional queues have been purged, ensure the TDLQ as well purged as well.
  • Within the TDLQ, the Class column will show the reason the message arrived there. Common messages include "The queue was purged" or "The queue was deleted".
  1. If journaling is turned on, purge messages found in journaling queue under System Queues. Ensure that journaling is disabled on each queue level, and only turn it on if needed for debugging purposes.
  2. Increase the MSMQ storage quota (MSDN article)
On production servers uninstalling MSMQ will delete all queues and messages, which may contain business data. Do not attempt uninstalling MSMQ unless message loss is acceptable.

For more information on this error, see John Breakwell's article in MSDN.

Virtual Private Networks (VPN)

MSMQ isn't smart enough to dynamically detect network interfaces. If connect a VPN after the MSMQ service starts, a restart of the MSMQ service will be required for it to detect the VPN. Once it starts with the interface, the VPN is free to disconnect/reconnect whenever it wants.

It is recommended to have batch setup scripts that run on server startups to connect the VPN, which then restarts the MSMQ service automatically.

Network Load Balancing cannot be used

While non-transactional messaging in a Network Load Balancing (NLB) environment is possible, it is much harder to achieve load-balancing in transactional MSMQ. Microsoft provides a detailed answer.

Useful links

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