Fix 'The semaphore timeout period has expired'

People get this error upon two occasions: [1] Error 0x80070079: The semaphore timeout period has expired; [2] Location is not accessible. The semaphore timeout period has expired. To resolve the 'semaphore' related problems in Windows 10/8.1/8/7, this ultimate guide is going to help you without an effort. Try to protect data from the semaphore error with EaseUS data backup and data recovery software.

Table of Contents

This article provides three solutions to this problem that  'The semaphore timeout period has expired'. The table below gives an outline. Read the content for details.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Disable firewalls and anti-virus In Windows 10/8.1/8/7, press "Windows + R" keys to bring up the "Run" box, input control to open...Full steps
Fix 2. Perform a clean boot Press "Windows + R" hotkeys to bring up the "Run" box, input msconfig to open System Configuration...Full steps
Fix 3. Convert FAT32 to NTFS You can convert FAT32 to NTFS to break the file size limit. The file system conversion is very simple...Full steps

What's the 'semaphore timeout period has expired' error

'The semaphore timeout period has expired' error occurs in many situations in different forms in Windows 10, 8 or 7, and the most commonly seen ones are in the following.

[1] When you're trying to transfer or copy large files over a network, you got the full error message as "Error 0x80070079: The semaphore timeout period has expired"

the semaphore timeout period has expired 0x80070079

[2] You're attempting to open a portable drive, for example, an external USB hard drive that is correctly connected to a computer, the access failed due to the error "Location is not accessible, the semaphore timeout period has expired."

location is not accessible. the semaphore timeout period has expired

People might get the kind of system error when they try to transfer files, particularly large files, between their Windows system and any other external device, or when they try to access a certain driver connected to their computer. This error will prevent people from accessing the current drive or completing the transfer process. In conclusion, the 'semaphore' related problem is arousing within the local network, between the computer and an external driver or simply the file transfer limit on your portable drive.

Fix 'The semaphore timeout period has expired'

Since it's about the network driver, external driver or file transfer limit associated problem, the corresponding fixes should be the four. By listing from simple to complex, they are:

  • Disable Firewalls and anti-virus software (Temporarily)
  • Perform a clean boot
  • Convert FAT32 to NTFS
  • Update drivers of network adapters

Fix 1. Disable Firewalls and anti-virus software

Reason: Windows Firewall or anti-virus software sometimes blocks a certain file transfer without a prompt, by disabling the security protection would resume your actions.

Step 1: In Windows 10/8.1/8/7, press "Windows + R" hotkeys to bring up the "Run" box, input control to open Control Panel.

open control panel in the run box

Step 2: In the Control Panel, type firewall in the search, and click the "Windows Firewall" in the results.

disable firewall step1

Step 3: On the left pane, click "Turn Windows Firewall on or off".

disable firewall step2

Step 4: Click "Turn off Windows firewall (not recommended)" under both private and public network settings. Click "OK".

disable firewall step3

This is the overall guide for all Windows users to disable Windows firewall that blocks the file transfer process and sends the semaphore error. After turning off the firewall, retry copying files. If the error's gone, you can go back to turn on the firewall again.

For anti-virus software, people are using different products, but the process is merely the same by going to Settings, and there is the option to turn off the protection mechanism.

Fix 2. Perform a clean boot

Reason: Exclude the file or program confliction that causes 'the semaphore timeout period has expired'.

Step 1: In Windows 10/8.1/8/7, press "Windows + R" hotkeys to bring up the "Run" box, input msconfig to open System Configuration.

open system configuration in the run box

Step 2: Switch from the default General tab to "Services", tick the box "Hide all Microsoft Services". Click "OK".

hide all microsoft services

You'll need to restart your computer in a clean boot then. Now try to transfer files again. Hope this time you can make it without trouble.

Fix 3: Convert FAT32 to NTFS

Reason: FAT 32 has a file transfer limit, you cannot transfer a single file over 4GB, while the NTFS file system is with no problem in transferring huge files.

You need to convert FAT32 to NTFS to break the file size limit. To file system conversion is very simple in Windows via disk formatting, but this will result in total data loss.

We recommend the other safe way to convert FAT32 to NTFS without losing data, by using third-party free partition manager software.

convert fat32 to ntfs without losing data

Fix 4: Update drivers of network adapters

Reason: outdated network adapters driver is responsible for most network file transfer problems, and 'the semaphore timeout period has expired' is the commonplace one.

Step 1: In Windows 10/8.1/8/7, press "Windows + R" hotkeys to bring up the "Run" box, input devmgmt.msc and hit Enter.

open device manager

Step 2: In Device Manager, expand Network adapters, and right-click on the network driver and choose "Update driver software".

update network adapters step 1

Step 3: When prompted, choose "Search automatically for updated driver software" and click "OK".

update network adapters step 2

Restart your system once the latest driver installed. 

How to protect data from 'The semaphore timeout period has expired' error

Data is always concerned in various hard drive/network drive issues, and do not look down upon the semaphore error even there are fixes available.

Back up hard drive

Backup plays a significant role in the operating system and data protection, but it should be put on the top task. Otherwise, it's just an empty talk when the system crashed, hard drive formatted, or a whole partition disappeared. Windows offers Backup and Recovery in Windows 7, and File History in Windows 10 to back up hard drive data for free. You should make full use of it.

Third-party free backup software, like EaseUS Todo Backup, is also a good choice, the worldwide users choose it over the Windows built-in programs due to its versatility in all backup purposes, including system backup, hard drive/partition backup, file backup, etc. And, you can schedule a backup task daily, weekly or monthly.

backup hard drive with semaphore timeout period has expired error

Recover hard drive data

What if the semaphore error has caused data loss, or data inaccessible? Still, you can make efforts to rescue data there. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is able to recover data from an inaccessible hard drive that reports all kinds of error, including the 'semaphore timeout period has expired', 'invalid raw file system', 'hard drive needs formatting' and so on before you can use it.

Step 1. Choose and scan hard drive partition.

On EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, select the hard drive partition where you lost data and click "Scan".

select your hard drive and click scan

Step 2. Preview found hard drive data from the scan result.

When the scan completes, find lost hard drive data in "Deleted Files", "Lost Files". Filter and Search features can also help you access lost files via file types, file names or extensions. Double-click to preview these lost files. 

scan the lost data on the hard drive

Step 3. Recover lost hard drive data.

Select all the lost hard drive files and click the Recover button to save them to another secure location. (You can always choose to preview files before purchasing a license code for a full hard drive data recovery. )

select files and click recover

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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