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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Exchange: Semaphore Timeout Period Has Expired


Messages are queued and in retry state to another Exchange server. When highlighting the queue in ESM, the queue information area reports Semaphore timeout period has expired.

Case 1:

Although there are multiple reasons that can cause this issue. My experience with this was that Mailguard was enabled on the PIX firewall between these Exchange servers. Enabling Mailguard on PIX will cause the remote Exchange server to not produce a valid SMTP banner. When telneting to the remote Exchange server, it produces something similar to the output below:


To correct this issue, consult the KB Article:

Cannot send or receive e-mail messages behind a Cisco PIX firewall

Case 2:

I've also seen experienced this when on a system running Norton AV 9.X. Messages sent to another Exchange server running AV 9.X gets queued. When you perform a telnet session to the destination Exchange server running Norton AV 9.X, the message does not arrive at the destination Exchange server. To fix this issue, disable the Internet E-mail Auto-Protect scanner feature.

Outgoing e-mail to other internal Exchange servers is queued, and you receive an error message in Exchange Server 2003

Case 3:

This may also be caused by black hole routers. On a TCP/IP-based wide area network (WAN), communication over some routes may fail if an intermediate network segment has a maximum packet size that is smaller than the maximum packet size of the communicating hosts--and if the router does not send an appropriate Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) response to this condition or if a firewall on the path drops such a response. Such a router is sometimes known as a "black hole" router.

How to Troubleshoot Black Hole Router Issues

James Chong
MCSE M+, S+, MCTS, Security+

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