Installing MySQL on Windows 7

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The MySQL database server is one of the most popular open source databases in the world. Although administrators typically install MySQL on a server operating system, it's certainly possible to install it on a desktop operating system like Windows 7. Once you do so, you'll have the tremendous power of the flexible MySQL relational database available to you for free. 

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Installing MySQL on Windows 7

MySQL is an extremely useful database for both developers and system administrators. Installing MySQL on Windows 7 is an especially valuable tool for those seeking to learn database administration but lack access to a server of their own. Here's a step-by-step walkthrough of the process.

First, you will need to download the appropriate MySQL installer for your operating system. If you're running a 32-bit version of Windows, you'll want to use the 32-bit Windows MSI installer file. Users of 64-bit versions of Windows will want to use the 64-bit Windows MSI installer file. Whichever installer you use, save the file to your desktop or another location where you will be able to find it again. If you're using a Mac, you should instead read Installing MySQL on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

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Log On With an Administrator Account

Log on to Windows using an account with local administrator privileges. The installer will not function properly if you do not have these privileges. You won’t need them, later on, to access databases on your MySQL server, but the MSI makes some edits to system configuration settings that require elevated privileges.

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Launch the Installer File

Double-click on the installer file to launch it. You may see a message titled "Preparing to Open…" for a short period of time while Windows prepares the installer. Once it finishes, you will see the MySQL Setup Wizard screen shown above.

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Accept the EULA

Click the Next button to advance past the Welcome screen. You will then see the End User License Agreement shown above. Click the checkbox acknowledging that you accept the terms of the license agreement and then click Next to advance past the EULA screen.

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Choose an Installation Type

The MySQL Setup Wizard will then ask you to choose an installation type. Most users can simply click the Typical button which installs the most common MySQL database features. If you need to customize either the features that will be installed or the location where the installer will place files, click the Custom button. Alternatively, you can perform a full installation of all MySQL features by clicking the Full button. For this tutorial, I will assume that you have chosen the Typical install.

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Begin the Installation

Click the Install button to begin the installation process. The installer will show you the installation progress screen shown above that will keep you updated on the status of the installation.

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Complete the Installation

The installer will then show you an advertisement for MySQL Enterprise Edition and force you to click through a couple of advertisement screens. You do not need the commercial (paid) enterprise edition subscription to use MySQL, so feel free to click through these screens until you see the message above indicating that the installation is complete. Keep the default checkbox marked for "Launch the MySQL Instance Configuration Wizard” and click the Finish button.

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Run Instance Configuration Wizard

After a brief pause, the MySQL Instance Configuration Wizard will start, as shown in the illustration above. This wizard walks you through the process of configuring your new MySQL database server instance. Click the Next button to begin the process.

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Choose a Configuration Type

The wizard will then ask you whether you wish to perform the Detailed Configuration process or use the Standard Configuration. Unless you're running multiple instances of MySQL on the same machine or have a specific reason for doing otherwise, you should choose the Standard Configuration and click the Next button.

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Set Windows Options

The next screen allows you to set two different Windows options for MySQL. First, you can configure MySQL to run as a Windows service. This is a good idea, as it runs the program in the background. You can also choose to have the service automatically start whenever the operating system loads. Second, you have the option to include the binary files directory in the Windows path. This option is unchecked by default, but I do recommend choosing it, as it allows you to start the MySQL command line tools without specifying their exact location on the disk. Once you've made your selections, click the Next button to continue.

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Choose a Root Password

The security screen that appears next will prompt you to enter a root password for your database server. I strongly recommend that you choose a strong password consisting of a mix of alphanumeric characters and symbols. Unless you have a specific reason for not doing so, you should also leave the options to allow remote root access and create an anonymous account unchecked. Either of those options can create security vulnerabilities on your database server. Click the Next button to continue.

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Complete the Instance Configuration

The final wizard screen presents a summary of the actions that will take place. After reviewing those actions, click the Execute button to configure your MySQL instance. Once the actions are complete, you’re finished!

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