9.2.3 Mapping of Identifiers to File Names

There is a correspondence between database and table identifiers and names in the file system. For the basic structure, MySQL represents each database as a directory in the data directory, and each table by one or more files in the appropriate database directory. For the table format files (.FRM), the data is always stored in this structure and location.

For the data and index files, the exact representation on disk is storage engine specific. These files may be stored in the same location as the FRM files, or the information may be stored in a separate file. InnoDB data is stored in the InnoDB data files. If you are using tablespaces with InnoDB, then the specific tablespace files you create are used instead.

Before MySQL 5.1.6, there are some limitations on the characters that can be used in identifiers for database objects that correspond to file system objects. For example, path name separator characters are not permitted, and . is not permitted because it begins the extension for table files.

As of MySQL 5.1.6, any character is legal in database or table identifiers except ASCII NUL (0x00). MySQL encodes any characters that are problematic in the corresponding file system objects when it creates database directories or table files:

On Windows, some names such as nul, prn, and aux cannot be used as file names because they are reserved as device names. As of MySQL 5.1.10, these are permissible names in MySQL. They are encoded by appending @@@ to the name when the server creates the corresponding file or directory. This occurs on all platforms for portability of the corresponding database object between platforms.

If you have databases or tables from a version of MySQL older than 5.1.6 that contain special characters and for which the underlying directory names or file names have not been updated to use the new encoding, the server displays their names with a prefix of #mysql50# in the output from INFORMATION_SCHEMA tables or SHOW statements. For example, if you have a table named a@b and its name encoding has not been updated, SHOW TABLES displays it like this:

| Tables_in_test |
| #mysql50#a@b   |

To refer to such a name for which the encoding has not been updated, you must supply the #mysql50# prefix:

mysql> SHOW COLUMNS FROM `a@b`;
ERROR 1146 (42S02): Table 'test.a@b' doesn't exist

mysql> SHOW COLUMNS FROM `#mysql50#a@b`;
| Field | Type    | Null | Key | Default | Extra |
| i     | int(11) | YES  |     | NULL    |       |

To update old names to eliminate the need to use the special prefix to refer to them, re-encode them with mysqlcheck. The following command updates all names to the new encoding:

shell> mysqlcheck --check-upgrade --fix-db-names --fix-table-names --all-databases

To check only specific databases or tables, omit --all-databases and provide the appropriate database or table arguments. For information about mysqlcheck invocation syntax, see Section 4.5.3, “mysqlcheck — A Table Maintenance Program”.


The #mysql50# prefix is intended only to be used internally by the server. You should not create databases or tables with names that use this prefix.

Also, mysqlcheck cannot fix names that contain literal instances of the @ character that is used for encoding special characters. If you have databases or tables that contain this character, use mysqldump to dump them before upgrading to MySQL 5.1.6 or later, and then reload the dump file after upgrading.