In this guide I’ll show a ‘working’ method to upgrade from MySQL Server 5.1 to 5.5 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine. In this case MySQL Server 5.1 was installed by the Microsoft Web Platform Installer some time ago, however this version doesn’t deliver very good performance (and its horribly outdated!) so it was time to get it replaced.

The good chaps at MySQL do offer a guide on how to do this on their website – however I hope you will find this one will serve you better.

A few points to note before we continue….

  • This guide assumes you are using a default install of MySQL Server 5.1 (as delivered by the Microsoft Web Platform Installer)
  • This guide only looks at a ‘simple’ server deployment i.e. no clustering or other funky features are in use
  • It is recommended to jump only one version at a time when going from MySQL version to version e.g. 5.1 to 5.5 (there were no 5.2, 5.3 or 5.4 versions) and then 5.5 to 5.6 and 5.6 to 5.7…
  • You can download previous versions of MySQL Server from this link – just click on the ‘Looking for previous GA versions?’ link
  • Be sure to take a backup of your databases before you attempt this guide on a production machine (see for some ideas on how to do this)
  • If possible run through the upgrade process a few times on a testing machine (one that you can break and no one will notice) first

So on with the guide!

Final point to note….this guide only works with migrations to 5.5 from 5.1, if going to further versions you will be missing some tables which will in turn generate error messages during the upgrade process. More information on that here

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7 Responses to Upgrading MySQL Community Server from 5.1 to 5.5 on Windows

  • Robert Valcourt says:

    Hi James, thank for much for writing this., Your server config was exactly as mine. I tried to follow your steps however the SQL installer I found was very different. The only installer I could find on the MySql site was: “mysql-5.5.57-winx64.msi”. Notice mine doesn’t have the ‘community’ word in the filename and version difference. The setup screens were very different… asking about database types, server roles, table formats etc. I tried to choose logical options. When all was said and done, the server installed, started, and the databases upgraded, I fired up a wordpress site. All I am getting is “Error establishing a database connection”. So I stopped the service, removed it, and and reinstalled the 5.1 service and all is well again. Another point to note is that when I was shutting down the 5.5 service, it did not recognize ‘net stop mysql55’, I had to use ‘net stop mysql’. Do you have the original setup files? I am so close, your help would make a world of difference, thanks!

  • WP says:

    Great guide!

    2 problems that I encountered and solved myself: my SQL service had the same name in the 5.1 instance as in the 5.5 instance. In the last step when i removed MySQL 5.1 from Programs and Features, it also removed my MySQL service from services.msc. It can be fixed by running mysqld.exe –install, and then start the service manually.

    The other problem was that I picked the “custom” installer option which meant I installed the data file in the wrong place. I fixed this by opening my.ini from the 5.5 instance folder in Program Files and changed the innodb_data-Home_dir parameter to this: innodb_data_home_dir=”C:/ProgramData/MySQL/MySQL Server 5.5/Data/”
    Then i restarted the MySQL service and it worked fine.

  • Chin_kmtm says:

    Thank you for your guide with the images. It was help me to get my knowledge develop in upgrading mysql. As you have mentioned mysql should make upgrading easier. Highly appreciate this post

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