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MySQL Reference Manual by Kaj Arno, David Axmark, Michael Widenius

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MySQL ODBC Support

MySQL provides support for ODBC by means of the MyODBC program. This section will teach you how to install MyODBC, and how to use it. Here, you will also find a list of common programs that are known to work with MyODBC.

How to Install MyODBC

MyODBC is a 32-bit ODBC (2.50) level 0 (with level 1 and level 2 features) driver for connecting an ODBC-aware application to MySQL. MyODBC works on Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP and most Unix platforms.

MyODBC is in public domain, and you can find the newest version at http://www.mysql.com/downloads/api-myodbc.html.

If you have problems with MyODBC and your program also works with OLEDB, you should try the OLEDB driver.

Normally you only need to install MyODBC on Windows machines. You only need MyODBC for Unix if you have a program like ColdFusion that is running on the Unix machine and uses ODBC to connect to the databases.

If you want to install MyODBC on a Unix box, you will also need an ODBC manager. MyODBC is known to work with most of the Unix ODBC managers. See Section 1.6.1.

To install MyODBC on Windows, you should download the appropriate MyODBC .zip file, unpack it with WinZIP or some similar program, and execute the SETUP.EXE file.

On Windows/NT/XP you may get the following error when trying to install MyODBC:

An error occurred while copying C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\MFC30.DLL. Restart
Windows and try installing again (before running any applications which
use ODBC)

The problem in this case is that some other program is using ODBC and because of how Windows is designed, you may not in this case be able to install a new ODBC driver with Microsoft’s ODBC setup program. In most cases you can continue by just pressing Ignore to copy the rest of the MyODBC files and the final installation should still work. If this doesn’t work, the solution is to reboot your computer in “safe mode” (choose this by pressing F8 just before your machine starts Windows during rebooting), install MyODBC, and reboot to normal mode.

  • To make a connection to a Unix box from a Windows box, with an ODBC application (one that doesn’t support MySQL natively), you must first install MyODBC on the Windows machine.

  • The user and Windows machines must have the access privileges to the MySQL server on the Unix machine. This is set up with the GRANT command. See Section 4.3.1.

  • You must create an ODBC DSN entry as follows:

    • Open the Control Panel on the Windows machine.

    • Double-click the ODBC Data Sources 32-bit icon.

    • Click the tab User DSN.

    • Click the button Add.

    • Select MySQL in the screen Create New Data Source and click the Finish button.

    • The MySQL Driver default configuration screen is shown. See Section 8.3.2.

  • Now start your application and select the ODBC driver with the DSN you specified in the ODBC administrator.

Notice that there are other configuration options on the screen of MySQL (trace, don’t prompt on connect, etc.) that you can try if you run into problems.

How to Fill in the Various Fields in the ODBC Administrator Program

There are three possibilities for specifying the server name on Windows 95:

  • Use the IP address of the server.

  • Add a file \windows\lmhosts with the following information:

    ip hostname

    For example: my_hostname
  • Configure the PC to use DNS.

Example of how to fill in the ODBC setup:

Windows DSN name:   test
Description:        This is my test database
MySql Database:     test
User:               monty
Password:           my_password

The value for the Windows DSN name field is any name that is unique in your Windows ODBC setup.

You don’t have to specify values for the Server, User, Password, or Port fields in the ODBC setup screen. However, if you do, the values will be used as the defaults later when you attempt to make a connection. You have the option of changing the values at that time.

If the port number is not given, the default port (3306) is used.

If you specify the option Read options from C:\my.cnf, the groups client and odbc will be read from the C:\my.cnf file. You can use all options that are usable by mysql_options( ). See Section

Connect Parameters for MyODBC

One can specify the following parameters for MyODBC on the [Servername] section of an ODBC.INI file or through the InConnectionString argument in the SQLDriverConnect( ) call:


Default value



ODBC (on Windows)

The username used to connect to MySQL.



The hostname of the MySQL server.


The default database.



An integer by which you can specify how MyODBC should work. See next table.



The TCP/IP port to use if server is not localhost.


A statement that will be executed upon connection to MySQL.


The password for the server user combination.


The socket or Windows pipe to connect to.

The option argument is used to tell MyODBC that the client isn’t 100% ODBC-compliant. On Windows, one normally sets the option flag by toggling the different options on the connection screen, but one can also set this in the opton argument. The following options are listed in the same order as they appear in the MyODBC connect screen:




The client can’t handle that MyODBC returns the real width of a column.


The client can’t handle that MySQL returns the true value of affected rows. If this flag is set, MySQL returns ‘found rows’ instead. One must have MySQL 3.21.14 or newer to get this to work.


Make a debug log in c:\myodbc.log. This is the same as putting MYSQL_DEBUG=d:t:O,c::\myodbc.log in AUTOEXEC.BAT.


Don’t set any packet limit for results and parameters.


Don’t prompt for questions even if the driver would like to prompt.


Simulate an ODBC 1.0 driver in some context.


Ignore the use of database name in ‘database.table.column’.


Force the use of ODBC manager cursors (experimental).


Disable the use of extended fetch (experimental).


Pad CHAR fields to full column length.


SQLDescribeCol( ) will return fully qualifed column names.


Use the compressed server/client protocol.


Tell server to ignore space after function name and before '(' (needed by PowerBuilder). This will make all function names keywords!


Connect with named pipes to a mysqld server running on NT.


Change LONGLONG columns to INT columns (some applications can’t handle LONGLONG).


Return ‘user’ as Table_qualifier and Table_owner from SQLTables (experimental).


Read parameters from the client and odbc groups from my.cnf.


Add some extra safety checks (should not be needed but...).

If you want to have many options, you should add these flags. For example, setting option to 12 (4+8) gives you debugging without package limits.

The default MYODBC.DLL is compiled for optimal performance. If you want to debug MyODBC (for example, to enable tracing), you should instead use MYODBCD.DLL. To install this file, copy MYODBCD.DLL over the installed MYODBC.DLL file.

How to Report Problems with MyODBC

MyODBC has been tested with Access, Admndemo.exe, C++-Builder, Borland Builder 4, Centura Team Developer (formerly Gupta SQL/Windows), ColdFusion (on Solaris and NT with svc pack 5), Crystal Reports, DataJunction, Delphi, ERwin, Excel, iHTML, FileMaker Pro, FoxPro, Notes 4.5/4.6, SBSS, Perl DBD-ODBC, Paradox, Powerbuilder, Powerdesigner 32 bit, VC++, and Visual Basic.

If you know of any other applications that work with MyODBC, please send mail to about this!

With some programs you may get an error like: Another user has modified the record that you have modified. In most cases this can be solved by doing one of the following things:

  • Add a primary key for the table if there isn’t one already.

  • Add a timestamp column if there isn’t one already.

  • Only use double float fields. Some programs may fail when they compare single floats.

If the this doesn’t help, you should do a MyODBC trace file and try to figure out why things go wrong.

Programs Known to Work with MyODBC

Most programs should work with MyODBC, but for each of those in the following list, we have tested it ourselves or received confirmation from some user that it works:


To make Access work:

  • If you are using Access 2000, you should get and install the newest (Version 2.6 or above) Microsoft MDAC (Microsoft Data Access Components) from http://www.microsoft.com/data/. This will fix the following bug in Access: when you export data to MySQL, the table and column names aren’t specified. Another way around this bug is to upgrade to MyODBC Version 2.50.33 and MySQL Version 3.23.x, which together provide a workaround for this bug!

    You should also get and apply the Microsoft Jet 4.0 Service Pack 5 (SP5) (http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q 239/1/14.ASP). This will fix some cases where columns are marked as #deleted# in Access.

    Note that if you are using MySQL Version 3.22, you must apply the MDAC patch and use MyODBC 2.50.32 or 2.50.34 and above to go around this problem.

  • For all Access versions, you should enable the MyODBC option flag Return matching rows. For Access 2.0, you should additionally enable Simulate ODBC 1.0.

  • You should have a timestamp in all tables you want to be able to update. For maximum portability TIMESTAMP(14) or simple TIMESTAMP is recommended instead of other TIMESTAMP(X) variations.

  • You should have a primary key in the table. If not, new or updated rows may show up as #DELETED#.

  • Only use DOUBLE float fields. Access fails when comparing with single floats. The symptom usually is that new or updated rows may show up as #DELETED# or that you can’t find or update rows.

  • If you are linking a table through MyODBC, which has BIGINT as one of the column, the results will be displayed as #DELETED. The workaround solution is:

    • Have one more dummy column with TIMESTAMP as the datatype, preferably TIMESTAMP(14).

    • Check the 'Change BIGINT columns to INT' in the connection options dialog in ODBC DSN Administrator.

    • Delete the table link from Access and re-create it.

    It still displays the previous records as #DELETED#, but newly added/updated records will be displayed properly.

  • If you still get the error Another user has changed your data after adding a TIMESTAMP column, the following trick may help you:

    Don’t use table data sheet view. Create instead a form with the fields you want, and use that form data sheet view. You should set the DefaultValue property for the TIMESTAMP column to NOW( ). It may be a good idea to hide the TIMESTAMP column from view so that your users are not confused.

  • In some cases, Access may generate illegal SQL queries that MySQL can’t understand. You can fix this by selecting “Query|SQLSpecific|Pass-Through” from the Access menu.

  • Access on NT will report BLOB columns as OLE OBJECTS. If you want to have MEMO columns instead, you should change the column to TEXT with ALTER TABLE.

  • Access can’t always handle DATE columns properly. If you have a problem with these, change the columns to DATETIME.

  • If you have in Access a column defined as BYTE, Access will try to export this as TINYINT instead of TINYINT UNSIGNED. This will give you problems if you have values > 127 in the column!


When you are coding with the ADO API and MyODBC you need to put attention in some default properties that aren’t supported by the MySQL server. For example, using the CursorLocation Property as adUseServer will return for the RecordCount Property a result of -1. To have the right value, you need to set this property to adUseClient, similar to waht is shown in the following VB code:

Dim myconn As New ADODB.Connection
Dim myrs As New Recordset
Dim mySQL As String
Dim myrows As Long

myconn.Open "DSN=MyODBCsample"
mySQL = "SELECT * from user"
myrs.Source = mySQL
Set myrs.ActiveConnection = myconn
myrs.CursorLocation = adUseClient
myrows = myrs.RecordCount


Another workaround is to use a SELECT COUNT(*) statement for a similar query to get the correct row count.

Active server pages (ASP)

You should use the option flag Return matching rows.

BDE applications

To get these to work, you should set the option flags Don't optimize column widths and Return matching rows.

Borland Builder 4

When you start a query you can use the property Active or use the method Open. Note that Active will start by automatically issuing a SELECT * FROM ... query that may not be a good thing if your tables are big!

ColdFusion (On Unix)

The following information is taken from the ColdFusion documentation:

Use the following information to configure ColdFusion Server for Linux to use the unixODBC driver with MyODBC for MySQL data sources. Allaire has verified that MyODBC Version 2.50.26 works with MySQL Version 3.22.27 and ColdFusion for Linux. (Any newer version should also work.) You can download MyODBC at http://www.mysql.com/downloads/api-myodbc.html.

ColdFusion Version 4.5.1 allows you to use the ColdFusion Administrator to add the MySQL data source. However, the driver is not included with ColdFusion Version 4.5.1. Before the MySQL driver will appear in the ODBC data sources drop-down list, you must build and copy the MyODBC driver to /opt/coldfusion/lib/libmyodbc.so.

The Contrib directory contains the program mydsn-xxx.zip, which allows you to build and remove the DSN registry file for the MyODBC driver on ColdFusion applications.


You have to change it to output VARCHAR rather than ENUM, as it exports the latter in a manner that causes MySQL grief.


Works. A few tips:

  • If you have problems with dates, try to select them as strings using the CONCAT( ) function. For example:

    select CONCAT(rise_time), CONCAT(set_time)
        from sunrise_sunset;

    Values retrieved as strings this way should be correctly recognised as time values by Excel97.

    The purpose of CONCAT( ) in this example is to fool ODBC into thinking the column is of “string type”. Without the CONCAT( ), ODBC knows the column is of time type, and Excel does not understand that.

    Note that this is a bug in Excel because it automatically converts a string to a time. This would be great if the source were a text file, but is plain stupid when the source is an ODBC connection that reports exact types for each column.


To retrieve data from MySQL to Word/Excel documents, you need to use the MyODBC driver and the Add-in Microsoft Query help.

For example, to create a db with a table containing 2 columns of text:

  1. Insert rows using the mysql client command-line tool.

  2. Create a DSN file using the ODBC manager—for example, my for the preceding db.

  3. Open the Word application.

  4. Create a new blank document.

  5. Using the toolbar called Database, press the button Insert Database.

  6. Press the button Get Data.

  7. At the right hand of the screen Get Data, press the button Ms Query.

  8. In the Ms Query create a New Data Source using the DSN file my.

  9. Select the new query.

  10. Select the columns that you want.

  11. Make a Filter if you want.

  12. Make a Sort if you want.

  13. Select Return Data to Microsoft Word.

  14. Click Finish.

  15. Click Insert Data and select the records.

  16. Click OK and you see the rows in your Word document.


Test program for ODBC.


You must use BDE Version 3.2 or newer. Set the Don't optimize column width option field when connecting to MySQL.

Also, here is some potentially useful Delphi code that sets up both an ODBC entry and a BDE entry for MyODBC (the BDE entry requires a BDE Alias Editor that is free at a Delphi Super Page near you. (Thanks to Bryan Brunton for this):

fReg:= TRegistry.Create;
  fReg.OpenKey('\Software\ODBC\ODBC.INI\DocumentsFab', True);
  fReg.WriteString('Database', 'Documents');
  fReg.WriteString('Description', ' ');
  fReg.WriteString('Driver', 'C:\WINNT\System32\myodbc.dll');
  fReg.WriteString('Flag', '1');
  fReg.WriteString('Password', '');
  fReg.WriteString('Port', ' ');
  fReg.WriteString('Server', 'xmark');
  fReg.WriteString('User', 'winuser');
  fReg.OpenKey('\Software\ODBC\ODBC.INI\ODBC Data Sources', True);
  fReg.WriteString('DocumentsFab', 'MySQL');

  Memo1.Lines.Add('DATABASE NAME=');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('USER NAME=');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('ODBC DSN=DocumentsFab');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('OPEN MODE=READ/WRITE');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('BATCH COUNT=200');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('MAX ROWS=-1');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('SCHEMA CACHE DIR=');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('SCHEMA CACHE SIZE=8');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('SCHEMA CACHE TIME=-1');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('ENABLE BCD=FALSE');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('ROWSET SIZE=20');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('BLOBS TO CACHE=64');
  Memo1.Lines.Add('BLOB SIZE=32');

C++ Builder

Tested with BDE Version 3.0. The only known problem is that when the table schema changes, query fields are not updated. BDE, however, does not seem to recognise primary keys, only the index PRIMARY, though this has not been a problem.


You should use the option flag Return matching rows.

Visual Basic

To be able to update a table, you must define a primary key for the table.

Visual Basic with ADO can’t handle big integers. This means that some queries like SHOW PROCESSLIST will not work properly. The fix is to set add the option OPTION=16834 in the ODBC connect string or set the Change BIGINT columns to INT option in the MyODBC connect screen. You may also want to set the Return matching rows option.


If you get the error [Microsoft][ODBC Driver Manager] Driver does not support this parameter the reason may be that you have a BIGINT in your result. Try setting the Change BIGINT columns to INT option in the MyODBC connect screen.

Visual Objects

You should use the option flag Don't optimize column widths.

How to Get the Value of an AUTO_INCREMENT Column in ODBC

A common problem is how to get the value of an automatically generated ID from an INSERT. With ODBC, you can do something like this (assuming that auto is an AUTO_INCREMENT field):

INSERT INTO foo (auto,text) VALUES(NULL,'text');

Or, if you are just going to insert the ID into another table, you can do this:

INSERT INTO foo (auto,text) VALUES(NULL,'text');
INSERT INTO foo2 (id,text) VALUES(LAST_INSERT_ID( ),'text');


For the benefit of some ODBC applications (at least Delphi and Access), the following query can be used to find a newly inserted row:

SELECT * FROM tbl_name WHERE auto IS NULL;

Reporting Problems with MyODBC

If you encounter difficulties with MyODBC, you should start by making a log file from the ODBC manager (the log you get when requesting logs from ODBCADMIN) and a MyODBC log.

To get a MyODBC log, you need to do the following:

  1. Ensure that you are using myodbcd.dll and not myodbc.dll. The easiest way to do this is to get myodbcd.dll from the MyODBC distribution and copy it over the myodbc.dll, which is probably in your C:\windows\system32 or C:\winnt\system32 directory.

    Note that you probably want to restore the old myodbc.dll file when you have finished testing, as this is a lot faster than myodbcd.dll.

  2. Tag the `Trace MyODBC’ option flag in the MyODBC connect/configure screen. The log will be written to file C:\myodbc.log.

    If the trace option is not remembered when you are going back to this screen, it means that you are not using the myodbcd.dll driver (see Step 1).

  3. Start your application and try to get it to fail.

Check the MyODBC trace file to find out what could be wrong. You should be able to find out the issued queries by searching after the string >mysql_real_query in the myodbc.log file.

You should also try duplicating the queries in the mysql monitor or admndemo to find out if the error is with MyODBC or MySQL.

If you find out something is wrong, please only send the relevant rows (max 40 rows) to . Please never send the whole MyODBC or ODBC log file!

If you are unable to find out what’s wrong, the last option is to make an archive (tar or zip) that contains a MyODBC trace file, the ODBC log file, and a README file that explains the problem. You can send this to ftp://support.mysql.com/pub/mysql/secret/. Only we at MySQL AB will have access to the files you upload, and we will be very discrete with the data!

If you can create a program that also shows this problem, please upload this too!

If the program works with some other SQL server, you should make an ODBC log file where you do exactly the same thing in the other SQL server.

Remember that the more information you can supply to us, the more likely it is that we can fix the problem!

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