myisamchk man page

myisamchk — MyISAM table-maintenance utility


myisamchk [options] tbl_name ...


The myisamchk utility gets information about your database tables or checks, repairs, or optimizes them. myisamchk works with MyISAM tables (tables that have .MYD and .MYI files for storing data and indexes).

The use of myisamchk with partitioned tables is not supported.


It is best to make a backup of a table before performing a table repair operation; under some circumstances the operation might cause data loss. Possible causes include but are not limited to file system errors.

Invoke myisamchk like this:

shell> myisamchk [options] tbl_name ...

The options specify what you want myisamchk to do. They are described in the following sections. You can also get a list of options by invoking myisamchk --help.

With no options, myisamchk simply checks your table as the default operation. To get more information or to tell myisamchk to take corrective action, specify options as described in the following discussion.

tbl_name is the database table you want to check or repair. If you run myisamchk somewhere other than in the database directory, you must specify the path to the database directory, because myisamchk has no idea where the database is located. In fact, myisamchk does not actually care whether the files you are working on are located in a database directory. You can copy the files that correspond to a database table into some other location and perform recovery operations on them there.

You can name several tables on the myisamchk command line if you wish. You can also specify a table by naming its index file (the file with the .MYI suffix). This allows you to specify all tables in a directory by using the pattern *.MYI. For example, if you are in a database directory, you can check all the MyISAM tables in that directory like this:

shell> myisamchk *.MYI

If you are not in the database directory, you can check all the tables there by specifying the path to the directory:

shell> myisamchk /path/to/database_dir/*.MYI

You can even check all tables in all databases by specifying a wildcard with the path to the MariaDB data directory:

shell> myisamchk /path/to/datadir/*/*.MYI

The recommended way to quickly check all MyISAM tables is:

shell> myisamchk --silent --fast /path/to/datadir/*/*.MYI

If you want to check all MyISAM tables and repair any that are corrupted, you can use the following command:

shell> myisamchk --silent --force --fast --update-state \
          --key_buffer_size=64M --sort_buffer_size=64M \
          --read_buffer_size=1M --write_buffer_size=1M \

This command assumes that you have more than 64MB free. For more information about memory allocation with myisamchk, see the section called “Myisamchk Memory Usage”.


You must ensure that no other program is using the tables while you are running myisamchk. The most effective means of doing so is to shut down the MariaDB server while running myisamchk, or to lock all tables that myisamchk is being used on.

Otherwise, when you run myisamchk, it may display the following error message:

warning: clients are using or haven´t closed the table properly

This means that you are trying to check a table that has been updated by another program (such as the mysqld server) that hasn´t yet closed the file or that has died without closing the file properly, which can sometimes lead to the corruption of one or more MyISAM tables.

If mysqld is running, you must force it to flush any table modifications that are still buffered in memory by using FLUSH TABLES. You should then ensure that no one is using the tables while you are running myisamchk

However, the easiest way to avoid this problem is to use CHECK TABLE instead of myisamchk to check tables.

myisamchk supports the following options, which can be specified on the command line or in the [myisamchk] option file group.

Myisamchk General Options

The options described in this section can be used for any type of table maintenance operation performed by myisamchk. The sections following this one describe options that pertain only to specific operations, such as table checking or repairing.

You can also set the following variables by using --var_name=value syntax:

Variable Default Value
decode_bits 9
ft_max_word_len version-dependent
ft_min_word_len 4
ft_stopword_file built-in list
key_buffer_size 523264
key_cache_block_size 1024
myisam_block_size 1024
read_buffer_size 262136
sort_buffer_size 2097144
sort_key_blocks 16
stats_method nulls_unequal
write_buffer_size 262136

The possible myisamchk variables and their default values can be examined with myisamchk --help:

sort_buffer_size is used when the keys are repaired by sorting keys, which is the normal case when you use --recover.

key_buffer_size is used when you are checking the table with --extend-check or when the keys are repaired by inserting keys row by row into the table (like when doing normal inserts). Repairing through the key buffer is used in the following cases:

Repairing through the key buffer takes much less disk space than using sorting, but is also much slower.

If you want a faster repair, set the key_buffer_size and sort_buffer_size variables to about 25% of your available memory. You can set both variables to large values, because only one of them is used at a time.

myisam_block_size is the size used for index blocks.

stats_method influences how NULL values are treated for index statistics collection when the --analyze option is given. It acts like the myisam_stats_method system variable. For more information, see the description of myisam_stats_method in Section 5.1.4, “Server System Variables”, and Section 7.4.7, “MyISAM Index Statistics Collection”.

ft_min_word_len and ft_max_word_len indicate the minimum and maximum word length for FULLTEXT indexes. ft_stopword_file names the stopword file. These need to be set under the following circumstances.

If you use myisamchk to perform an operation that modifies table indexes (such as repair or analyze), the FULLTEXT indexes are rebuilt using the default full-text parameter values for minimum and maximum word length and the stopword file unless you specify otherwise. This can result in queries failing.

The problem occurs because these parameters are known only by the server. They are not stored in MyISAM index files. To avoid the problem if you have modified the minimum or maximum word length or the stopword file in the server, specify the same ft_min_word_len, ft_max_word_len, and ft_stopword_file values to myisamchk that you use for mysqld. For example, if you have set the minimum word length to 3, you can repair a table with myisamchk like this:

shell> myisamchk --recover --ft_min_word_len=3 tbl_name.MYI

To ensure that myisamchk and the server use the same values for full-text parameters, you can place each one in both the [mysqld] and [myisamchk] sections of an option file:


An alternative to using myisamchk is to use the REPAIR TABLE, ANALYZE TABLE, OPTIMIZE TABLE, or ALTER TABLE. These statements are performed by the server, which knows the proper full-text parameter values to use.

Myisamchk Check Options

myisamchk supports the following options for table checking operations:

Myisamchk Repair Options

myisamchk supports the following options for table repair operations (operations performed when an option such as --recover or --safe-recover is given):

Other Myisamchk Options

myisamchk supports the following options for actions other than table checks and repairs:

Myisamchk Table Information

To obtain a description of a MyISAM table or statistics about it, use the commands shown here. The output from these commands is explained later in this section.

The tbl_name argument can be either the name of a MyISAM table or the name of its index file, as described in myisamchk(1). Multiple tbl_name arguments can be given.

Suppose that a table named person has the following structure. (The MAX_ROWS table option is included so that in the example output from myisamchk shown later, some values are smaller and fit the output format more easily.)

  last_name  VARCHAR(20) NOT NULL,
  first_name VARCHAR(20) NOT NULL,
  birth      DATE,
  death      DATE,
  INDEX (last_name, first_name),
  INDEX (birth)
) MAX_ROWS = 1000000;

Suppose also that the table has these data and index file sizes:

-rw-rw----  1 mysql  mysql  9347072 Aug 19 11:47 person.MYD
-rw-rw----  1 mysql  mysql  6066176 Aug 19 11:47 person.MYI

Example of myisamchk -dvv output:

MyISAM file:         person
Record format:       Packed
Character set:       latin1_swedish_ci (8)
File-version:        1
Creation time:       2009-08-19 16:47:41
Recover time:        2009-08-19 16:47:56
Status:              checked,analyzed,optimized keys
Auto increment key:              1  Last value:                306688
Data records:               306688  Deleted blocks:                 0
Datafile parts:             306688  Deleted data:                   0
Datafile pointer (bytes):        4  Keyfile pointer (bytes):        3
Datafile length:           9347072  Keyfile length:           6066176
Max datafile length:    4294967294  Max keyfile length:   17179868159
Recordlength:                   54
table description:
Key Start Len Index   Type                 Rec/key         Root  Blocksize
1   2     4   unique  long                       1        99328       1024
2   6     20  multip. varchar prefix           512      3563520       1024
    27    20          varchar                  512
3   48    3   multip. uint24 NULL           306688      6065152       1024
Field Start Length Nullpos Nullbit Type
1     1     1
2     2     4                      no zeros
3     6     21                     varchar
4     27    21                     varchar
5     48    3      1       1       no zeros
6     51    3      1       2       no zeros

Explanations for the types of information myisamchk produces are given here. “Keyfile” refers to the index file. “Record” and “row” are synonymous, as are “field” and “column.”

The initial part of the table description contains these values:

The table description part of the output includes a list of all keys in the table. For each key, myisamchk displays some low-level information:

The last part of the output provides information about each column:

The Huff tree and Bits fields are displayed if the table has been compressed with myisampack. See myisampack(1), for an example of this information.

Example of myisamchk -eiv output:

Checking MyISAM file: person
Data records:  306688   Deleted blocks:       0
- check file-size
- check record delete-chain
No recordlinks
- check key delete-chain
block_size 1024:
- check index reference
- check data record references index: 1
Key:  1:  Keyblocks used:  98%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  3
- check data record references index: 2
Key:  2:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:   97%  Max levels:  3
- check data record references index: 3
Key:  3:  Keyblocks used:  98%  Packed:  -14%  Max levels:  3
Total:    Keyblocks used:  98%  Packed:   89%
- check records and index references
Records:            306688  M.recordlength:       25  Packed:            83%
Recordspace used:       97% Empty space:           2% Blocks/Record:   1.00
Record blocks:      306688  Delete blocks:         0
Record data:       7934464  Deleted data:          0
Lost space:         256512  Linkdata:        1156096
User time 43.08, System time 1.68
Maximum resident set size 0, Integral resident set size 0
Non-physical pagefaults 0, Physical pagefaults 0, Swaps 0
Blocks in 0 out 7, Messages in 0 out 0, Signals 0
Voluntary context switches 0, Involuntary context switches 0
Maximum memory usage: 1046926 bytes (1023k)

myisamchk -eiv output includes the following information:

Myisamchk Memory Usage

Memory allocation is important when you run myisamchk. myisamchk uses no more memory than its memory-related variables are set to. If you are going to use myisamchk on very large tables, you should first decide how much memory you want it to use. The default is to use only about 3MB to perform repairs. By using larger values, you can get myisamchk to operate faster. For example, if you have more than 32MB RAM, you could use options such as these (in addition to any other options you might specify):

shell> myisamchk --sort_buffer_size=16M \
           --key_buffer_size=16M \
           --read_buffer_size=1M \
           --write_buffer_size=1M ...

Using --sort_buffer_size=16M should probably be enough for most cases.

Be aware that myisamchk uses temporary files in TMPDIR. If TMPDIR points to a memory file system, out of memory errors can easily occur. If this happens, run myisamchk with the --tmpdir=path option to specify a directory located on a file system that has more space.

When performing repair operations, myisamchk also needs a lot of disk space:

If you have a problem with disk space during repair, you can try --safe-recover instead of --recover.

See Also

For more information, please refer to the MariaDB Knowledge Base, available online at


MariaDB Foundation (

Referenced By

aria_chk(1), myisampack(1).

3 April 2017 MariaDB 10.2 MariaDB Database System