When in the MySQL Workbench tool, configuring the "Options File," I see a drop-down in the lower right corner with the options:

  • client
  • mysql
  • mysqld

By default, 'mysqld' is selected and I see my configuration file's (which is loaded and in use) absolute path, opposite (left) of the aforementioned drop-down. When I alternate between the different drop-down options, the fields change in the various tabs of options that are modifiable. I expect this behavior. However, what I don't understand is what the 3 drop-down options are for, overall. I see the 'Apply' and 'Discard' button, so I'm under the assumption they're there for a reason. I don't know what the differentiation is intended for or how it would impact my server if I were to select versus the other and click Apply.

Can someone explain to me what these are for and the impact they have? I've tried researching this issue, already, but have had no luck with any explanation to this.

Thank you!

  • Windows 7 Pro (Server)
  • MySQL 5.6.20 (64-bit)
  • MySQL Workbench 6.2.3

1 Answer 1


The options file in MySQL is a human-readable text file, typically called my.cnf on Unix and my.ini on Windows. This single file contains configuration entries for all things MySQL, including the server, and the client library, and the various other official client utilities.

The screen you're referring to is a glorified configuration file editor for that file.

Within the file there are "groups" with headers in brackets, that determine which portions of the file are read by the different components of MySQL -- the command line client hast its [mysql] section, the various client utilities (like mysqlcheck) will also read what's in [client], and the server itself is configured under [mysqld]. Some of the other utilities may also have their own optional sections, for utility-specific features and options that would not be valid for all client utilities, like [mysqldump].

What they're doing here is letting you edit different sections of a single file, without actually telling you what they're letting you do.

Take a look at your local options file, and this part of Workbench will perhaps be a little more intuitive.

  • 1
    In addition: MySQL Workbench does not use any of the sections, but allows to configure them, e.g. for other clients that read [client]. Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 6:43

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