Using Symbolic Links for Databases on Windows

On Windows, symbolic links can be used for database directories. This enables you to put a database directory at a different location (for example, on a different disk) by setting up a symbolic link to it. Use of database symlinks on Windows is similar to their use on Unix, although the procedure for setting up the link differs.

Suppose that you want to place the database directory for a database named mydb at D:\data\mydb. To do this, create a symbolic link in the MySQL data directory that points to D:\data\mydb. However, before creating the symbolic link, make sure that the D:\data\mydb directory exists by creating it if necessary. If you already have a database directory named mydb in the data directory, move it to D:\data. Otherwise, the symbolic link will be ineffective. To avoid problems, make sure that the server is not running when you move the database directory.

On Windows, create a symbolic link to a MySQL database by creating a .sym file in the data directory that contains the path to the destination directory. The file should be named db_name.sym, where db_name is the database name.

Support for database symbolic links on Windows using .sym files is enabled by default. If you do not need .sym file symbolic links, you can disable support for them by starting mysqld with the --skip-symbolic-links option. To determine whether your system supports .sym file symbolic links, check the value of the have_symlink system variable using this statement:

SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'have_symlink';

To create a .sym file symlink, use this procedure:

  1. Change location into the data directory:

    C:\> cd \path\to\datadir
  2. In the data directory, create a text file named mydb.sym that contains this path name: D:\data\mydb\


    The path name to the new database and tables should be absolute. If you specify a relative path, the location will be relative to the mydb.sym file.

After this, all tables created in the database mydb are created in D:\data\mydb.

The following limitations apply to the use of .sym files for database symbolic linking on Windows: