SQL Server Compact timed out waiting for a lock

by Oliver 28. January 2013 14:26

Today, I faced the exception mentioned in the post title: SQL Server Compact timed out waiting for a lock. The default lock time is 2000ms for devices and 5000ms for desktops. The default lock timeout can be increased in the connection string using the ssce: default lock timeout property. (Plus some session details).


The exception was thrown in my local dev environment while working on our Orchard CMS based portal software discoverize, calling any page in the portal. Obviously, something was wrong not with a single page but rather with a piece of infrastructure. Interestingly enough, only a few moments before trying to open the web site I had done some database manipulation using SqlCeCmd deleting some unneeded columns from one of our tables. It seems that after that the site broke.

Solutions tried

I tried to get hold of the DB like this:

  • stop and start the web site in IIS (using appcmd stop site "discoverize" and appcmd stop site "discoverize") – no change
  • take DB offline by renaming the file – waited a few moments, renamed it back – no change! Here I started wondering where the lock is saved – is it inside the DB?
  • took the whole application pool offline and restarted it – bang! That helped.

I now have my site back up and running and can continue develepment.


If you encounter the SQL CE timeout error during development inside a web application, restarting the app's app pool will probably get you back to work.

Happy coding!

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About Oliver

shades-of-orange.com code blog logo I build web applications using ASP.NET and have a passion for javascript. Enjoy MVC 4 and Orchard CMS, and I do TDD whenever I can. I like clean code. Love to spend time with my wife and our children. My profile on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

About Anton

shades-of-orange.com code blog logo I'm a software developer at teamaton. I code in C# and work with MVC, Orchard, SpecFlow, Coypu and NHibernate. I enjoy beach volleyball, board games and Coke.