Installing MySQL on Windows 8

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 8.​​

Once you do so, you'll have the tremendous power of the flexible MySQL relational database available to you for free. It's an extremely useful database for both developers and system administrators. Installing MySQL on Windows 8 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.

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Download the Right Installer

MySQL website screenshot

First, you will need to download the appropriate MySQL installer for your operating system. 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 ​about Installing MySQL on Mac OS X.

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Log on With an Administrator Account

Windows 8 login screen

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

MySQL installer screen

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. If you receive any security warning messages, chose to continue the installation process. Once it finishes opening, you will see the MySQL Setup Wizard screen shown above.

Click Install MySQL Products to move forward.

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Accept the EULA

MySQL installer screen

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.

The next screen will ask you to check for updates to the installer. Click the Execute button to complete this check.

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Choose an Installation Type

MySQL installer screen

The MySQL Setup Wizard will then ask you to choose an installation type. Most users can simply click the Full button which installs the complete set of 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 server-only or client-only install by clicking the appropriate button. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will assume that you have chosen the Full install.

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Begin the Installation

MySQL installer screen

Click the Next button to advance to the Check Requirements screen. Depending upon the other software already installed on your system, this screen may guide you through the installation of software required before you may start installing MySQL.

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

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Initial MySQL Configuration

MySQL installer screen

When the MySQL Server Configuration screen shown above appears, verify that the settings are appropriate for your environment. Be sure to choose the appropriate Config Type for your situation. If this is a machine that you are using as a developer, choose Development Machine. Otherwise, if this will be a production server, select Server Machine. Click Next when you are ready to continue.

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Choose a Root Password and Create User Accounts

MySQL installer screen

The security screen that appears next will prompt you to enter a root password for your database server. We 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.

On this screen, you may also create user accounts for your database server. If you wish, you may defer this until later.
Click the Next button to continue.

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Set Windows Options

MySQL Server Configuration screen

The next screen allows you to set two different Windows options for MySQL. First, you have the ability to 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. Once you've made your selections, click the Next button to continue.

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Complete the Instance Configuration

MySQL installer screen

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!