Microsoft KB Archive/251294

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"Message Queue Service Not Available" Error Can Occur After Applying Windows NT 4.0 SP6

Article ID: 251294

Article Last Modified on 9/26/2005


  • Microsoft Message Queue Server 1.0

This article was previously published under Q251294


The MSMQ service may become unavailable for no apparent reason after applying Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6, Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6a to Windows NT 4.0, or the IExpress package (\support\msmq.95\mq9xsp6.exe) from the Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6 or 6a CD to a Windows 95/98 computer. This only occurs after service pack 6 is applied and only under certain conditions involving MSMQ internal queues. Application programs opening a queue, or sending or receiving messages may receive error code 0xC00E000B. Attempting to look at the contents of a queue in MSMQ Explorer results in one of the following error messages:

"Cannot Open queue: The Message Queue Service is not available" for public and private queues.

"Cannot Open queue: An invalid handle passed to a function" for the special Journal, Dead Letter, and Xact Dead Letter queues.

"Private queues cannot be displayed because the computer did not respond" will be displayed if "Show private queues is selected".

Stopping and restarting the MSMQ service temporarily reinstates MSMQ functionality, but the problem can reoccur. See the "Resolution" section for more information.


Changes in the queue manager implemented in service pack 6 contained a partial update for the queue manager that resulted in the release of an internal queue object used in the opening of queues and the functionality for sending and receiving of messages for queues that were open. The hotfix listed in the article corrects this problem by ensuring that special internal queue objects are never released. The following steps demonstrate the problem.

NOTE: All messages must be purged from the three MSMQ special queues: machine Journal, Dead Letter, and Xact Dead Letter. Having even one message in any of these three defeats the reproduction attempt.

  1. Install MSMQ on a computer running Windows NT version 4.0 and apply Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6.
  2. Change CleanUpInterval to 5 seconds (not necessary but it shortens the wait to see the reproduction).

    IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry

    WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

    This is in the registry key here: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\MSMQ\Parameters.
  3. Stop and then restart the MSMQ service.
  4. Start MQExplorer.
  5. Expand the MSMQ display tree and click one of the three queues for the computer that you are working on.
  6. Wait for a cleanup interval to occur.
  7. Click Refresh.
  8. You should see the errors listed in the "Symptoms" section. Note that using MQExplorer and doing these reproduction steps to a remote computer running either Windows NT or Windows 95/98 causes the MSMQ service on the remote computer to fail.


A supported fix is now available from Microsoft, but it is only intended to correct the problem that is described in this article. Apply it only to computers that are experiencing this specific problem.

To resolve this problem, contact Microsoft Product Support Services to obtain the fix. For a complete list of Microsoft Product Support Services phone numbers and information about support costs, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

NOTE: In special cases, charges that are ordinarily incurred for support calls may be canceled if a Microsoft Support Professional determines that a specific update will resolve your problem. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for the specific update in question.

The US English version of this fix should have the following file attributes or later:

   Date      Time    Version      Size    File name     Platform
   1/31/2000 11:03pm    465,680 mqqm.dll      Win9x 
   1/31/2000 12:55pm    503,056 mqqm.dll      Win NT V4.0

Due to the extent of this problem, the fix is downloadable as a self-extracting file for Windows NT Version 4.0, and an IExpress package for Windows 95/98, containing the required DLL.

Windows NT V4.0 (contains the DLL and a readme file)Intel:


Windows 95/98:


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

Keywords: kbbug kbfix kbqfe kbhotfixserver KB251294