Starting MySQL Server as a Microsoft Windows Service

On Windows, the recommended way to run MySQL is to install it as a Windows service, so that MySQL starts and stops automatically when Windows starts and stops, and can be managed using the service manager framework. A MySQL server installed as a service can also be controlled from the command line using NET commands, or with the graphical Services utility. Generally, to install MySQL as a Windows service you should be logged in using an account that has administrator rights.


The MySQL Notifier GUI can also be used to monitor the status of the MySQL service.

The Services utility (the Windows Service Control Manager) can be found in the Windows Control Panel (under Administrative Tools on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Server 2003). To avoid conflicts, it is advisable to close the Services utility while performing server installation or removal operations from the command line.

Installing the service

Before installing MySQL as a Windows service, you should first stop the current server if it is running by using the following command:

C:\> "C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\bin\mysqladmin"
          -u root shutdown

If the MySQL root user account has a password, you need to invoke mysqladmin with the -p option and supply the password when prompted.

This command invokes the MySQL administrative utility mysqladmin to connect to the server and tell it to shut down. The command connects as the MySQL root user, which is the default administrative account in the MySQL grant system.


Users in the MySQL grant system are wholly independent from any login users under Windows.

Install the server as a service using this command:

C:\> "C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\bin\mysqld" --install

The service-installation command does not start the server. Instructions for that are given later in this section.

To make it easier to invoke MySQL programs, you can add the path name of the MySQL bin directory to your Windows system PATH environment variable:


You must exercise great care when editing your system PATH by hand; accidental deletion or modification of any portion of the existing PATH value can leave you with a malfunctioning or even unusable system.

The following additional arguments can be used when installing the service:

For a MySQL server that is installed as a Windows service, the following rules determine the service name and option files that the server uses:

As a more complex example, consider the following command:

C:\> "C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\bin\mysqld"
          --install MySQL --defaults-file=C:\my-opts.cnf

Here, the default service name (MySQL) is given after the --install option. If no --defaults-file option had been given, this command would have the effect of causing the server to read the [mysqld] group from the standard option files. However, because the --defaults-file option is present, the server reads options from the [mysqld] option group, and only from the named file.


On Windows, if the server is started with the --defaults-file and --install options, --install must be first. Otherwise, mysqld.exe will attempt to start the MySQL server.

You can also specify options as Start parameters in the Windows Services utility before you start the MySQL service.

Starting the service

Once a MySQL server has been installed as a service, Windows starts the service automatically whenever Windows starts. The service also can be started immediately from the Services utility, or by using a NET START MySQL command. The NET command is not case sensitive.

When run as a service, mysqld has no access to a console window, so no messages can be seen there. If mysqld does not start, check the error log to see whether the server wrote any messages there to indicate the cause of the problem. The error log is located in the MySQL data directory (for example, C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\data). It is the file with a suffix of .err.

When a MySQL server has been installed as a service, and the service is running, Windows stops the service automatically when Windows shuts down. The server also can be stopped manually by using the Services utility, the NET STOP MySQL command, or the mysqladmin shutdown command.

You also have the choice of installing the server as a manual service if you do not wish for the service to be started automatically during the boot process. To do this, use the --install-manual option rather than the --install option:

C:\> "C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\bin\mysqld" --install-manual
Removing the service

To remove a server that is installed as a service, first stop it if it is running by executing NET STOP MySQL. Then use the --remove option to remove it:

C:\> "C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.1\bin\mysqld" --remove

If mysqld is not running as a service, you can start it from the command line. For instructions, see Section, “Starting MySQL Server from the Windows Command Line”.

If you encounter difficulties during installation, see Section 2.3.7, “Troubleshooting a Microsoft Windows MySQL Server Installation”.

For more information about stopping or removing a MySQL Windows service, see Section, “Starting Multiple MySQL Instances as Windows Services”.