Changing the data directory in MySQL


As a database administrator or developer, you might need to change the data directory in MySQL for various reasons, such as optimizing performance, increasing disk space, or ensuring proper data segregation. This article will walk you through the process of changing the MySQL data directory with step-by-step instructions and examples.

Understanding MySQL Data Directory

MySQL data directory is the location where MySQL stores its databases, tables, and related files. By default, the data directory is located within the MySQL installation folder (e.g., “/var/lib/mysql” on Linux or “C:\ProgramData\MySQL\MySQL Server 8.0\Data” on Windows). Changing the data directory can be helpful in various scenarios, such as when you want to move your data to a larger or faster disk.

Preparing a New Data Directory

Before changing the MySQL data directory, you need to choose a new location for your data. Ensure that the new directory has enough space to accommodate your current and future data requirements. Follow these steps to prepare a new data directory:

a. Create a new folder in the desired location.

b. Set the appropriate permissions for the folder to ensure that the MySQL server can read and write data.


# Create a new folder on Linux
sudo mkdir /new_data_directory

# Set the owner and group for the folder
sudo chown -R mysql:mysql /new_data_directory

Stopping MySQL Server

To safely change the data directory, you must first stop the MySQL server to avoid any data corruption or loss. Use the following command to stop the MySQL server on your system:

On Linux:

sudo systemctl stop mysqld

On Windows:

net stop MySQL80

Copying Data to the New Directory

After stopping the MySQL server, copy the data from the current data directory to the new one. Be sure to maintain the folder structure and file permissions. Use the following command to copy data:

On Linux:

sudo cp -R /var/lib/mysql/* /new_data_directory

On Windows (using PowerShell):

Copy-Item -Path "C:\ProgramData\MySQL\MySQL Server 8.0\Data\*" -Destination "D:\new_data_directory" -Recurse

Configuring MySQL to Use the New Data Directory

To change the data directory in MySQL, you need to modify the “my.cnf” or “my.ini” configuration file, depending on your operating system. Update the “datadir” directive in the file with the path to the new data directory.

On Linux (my.cnf):


On Windows (my.ini):


Starting MySQL Server

Now that you have configured MySQL to use the new data directory, start the MySQL server with the following command:

On Linux:

sudo systemctl start mysqld

On Windows:

net start MySQL80

Verifying the New Data Directory

To ensure that the MySQL server is using the new data directory, run the following command:


If the output displays the new data directory path, you have successfully changed the MySQL data directory.


Changing the MySQL data directory can be a simple yet effective way to optimize performance, increase disk space, or implement proper data segregation. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can safely change the data directory in MySQL and ensure your databases run smoothly. Always remember to backup your data and test the new data directory setup thoroughly before implementing the changes in a production environment. With proper planning and execution, you can optimize your MySQL server for your specific needs and enjoy the benefits of a well-configured data directory.

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