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I'm using MySQL 5.5 on a local machine to analyze a large amount of government data. I've created a local database that resides on my default drive (Win7 C: drive). I'd like to store the data on my E: drive, a large eSATA external drive.

What steps should I take?

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migrated from Mar 3 '12 at 1:52

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cant you export the dB as a sql file, then save the file do e: then in the future if you want to restore the dB you can import this file – t q Mar 1 '12 at 19:03
@tq - That won't work. He wants to change the MySQL server data directory. If he exports it and imports it, it'll still be on the same drive! – Flukey Mar 1 '12 at 19:06
A word of caution when you move the database files to the external drive, you will have to keep it plugged into your computer otherwise your database will crash since it will not be able to find the data files – Stephen Senkomago Musoke Mar 1 '12 at 19:36
  1. Shutdown mysql.
  2. Move all the files in your current data directory to the new location (check out the location in step 3 - datadir parameter).
  3. Locate my.ini file (it is in the mysql installation directory). Change datadir parameter value to point to the new location.
  4. Start mysql.
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This gave me errors when trying to start mysql (permissions issues). I settled on the solution I post here‌​, which I hope helps save someone some time. – snapfractalpop Aug 20 '15 at 22:38

Solution 1:

1, First of all, backup your data using mysqldump.
2, If you install Mysql Server from official package, you can do it by running program MySQLINstanceConfig.exe from bin directory of your server.
3, Import data


Second solution (not recommended, but works on same machine)

1, Stop Mysql server.
2, Copy data from your data directory to your new directory
3, Open my.cnf file (In my case "C:\ProgramData\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.5\my.ini")
4, find row like datadir="C:\ProgramData\MySQL\MySQL Server 5.5\data\" and change path to your new location
5, Start your server

As of version 5.6 MySQLInstanceConfig.exe is no longer distributed. This functionality is being replaced by the installer.

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Although you are asking for windows, here are some good directions for those ending up here looking for linux/ubuntu directions:


  • You have mysql data on an external/usb/alternate drive /mountpoint/var/lib/mysql, perhaps from a computer that died or old installation
  • You wish to move it to your new Ubuntu installation locally /var/lib/mysql
  • Stop MySQL with:
    sudo /etc/init.d/mysql stop.
  • Make a backup of the current (clean) MySQL data directory with:
    sudo cp -Rp /var/lib/mysql /var/lib/mysql.backup.
  • Then copy the old data directory from the old drive with:
    sudo cp -Rp /mountpoint/var/lib/mysql /var/lib/mysql
    where mountpoint is the path to the mount.
  • Now restart MySQL with:
    sudo /etc/init.d/mysql start

With any luck, MySQL should restart, and you should have your old databases back.


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