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2.3.7. Creating an Option File

If you need to specify startup options when you run the server, you can indicate them on the command line or place them in an option file. For options that are used every time the server starts, you may find it most convenient to use an option file to specify your MySQL configuration. This is particularly true under the following circumstances:

  • The installation or data directory locations are different from the default locations (C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1 and C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\data).

  • You need to tune the server settings.

When the MySQL server starts on Windows, it looks for options in two files: the my.ini file in the Windows directory, and the C:\my.cnf file. The Windows directory typically is named something like C:\WINDOWS or C:\WINNT. You can determine its exact location from the value of the WINDIR environment variable using the following command:

C:\> echo %WINDIR%

MySQL looks for options first in the my.ini file, and then in the my.cnf file. However, to avoid confusion, it's best if you use only one file. If your PC uses a boot loader where C: is not the boot drive, your only option is to use the my.ini file. Whichever option file you use, it must be a plain text file.

You can also make use of the example option files included with your MySQL distribution. Look in your install directory for files such as my-small.cnf, my-medium.cnf, my-large.cnf, and my-huge.cnf, which you can rename and copy to the appropriate location for use as a base configuration file.

An option file can be created and modified with any text editor, such as Notepad. For example, if MySQL is installed in E:\mysql and the data directory is in E:\mydata\data, you can create an option file containing a [mysqld] section to specify values for the basedir and datadir parameters:

# set basedir to your installation path
# set datadir to the location of your data directory

Note that Windows pathnames are specified in option files using (forward) slashes rather than backslashes. If you do use backslashes, you must double them:

# set basedir to your installation path
# set datadir to the location of your data directory

On Windows, the MySQL installer places the data directory directly under the directory where you install MySQL. If you would like to use a data directory in a different location, you should copy the entire contents of the data directory to the new location. For example, if MySQL is installed in C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1, the data directory is by default in C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\data. If you want to use E:\mydata as the data directory instead, you must do two things:

  1. Move the entire data directory and all of its contents from C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\data to E:\mydata.

  2. Use a --datadir option to specify the new data directory location each time you start the server.

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