Handling MySQL Error 1208 (ER_DROP_DB_WITH_READ_LOCK): Ensuring Safe Database Deletions

Encountering Error 1208 – SQLSTATE: HY000 (ER_DROP_DB_WITH_READ_LOCK) in MySQL signals that there is an attempt to drop a database while a global read lock is active. This error is MySQL’s way of protecting data integrity by preventing changes to the database structure during a read lock. This guide will walk you through diagnosing and resolving this error to maintain a secure and consistent database environment.

Understanding Error 1208

A global read lock is typically acquired to ensure a consistent backup or to prevent any write operations that could modify the database during certain operations. When this lock is in place, destructive actions like DROP DATABASE are prohibited. The error message clearly indicates that the DROP DATABASE operation cannot proceed due to the lock.

Diagnosing the Error

To diagnose the error, you need to identify if a global read lock is indeed in place. You can check for active locks using:


Look for processes with the state “Waiting for global read lock”.

Fixing the Error

Here are steps to resolve the error, depending on your situation:

1. Complete the Backup or Operation Requiring the Read Lock

If the read lock is in place due to an ongoing backup or other operation, wait for it to complete before attempting to drop the database.

2. Release the Global Read Lock

If you have manually acquired a global read lock and are done with the operation that required it, you can release it:


After releasing the lock, you should be able to drop the database:

DROP DATABASE your_database_name;

3. Investigate and Terminate Unnecessary Locks

If you find a process that has acquired a global read lock unnecessarily, you can terminate it:

KILL process_id;

Replace process_id with the ID of the process holding the lock. Once the lock is released, proceed with dropping the database.

4. Schedule Database Drops Appropriately

Plan to drop databases when no backups or read-intensive operations are running to avoid encountering this error.

Preventive Measures

To prevent this error in the future:

  • Schedule maintenance tasks like dropping databases during times when backups or other operations are not running.
  • Always check for global read locks before attempting to modify the database structure.
  • Communicate with your team to ensure that everyone is aware of operations that may acquire global read locks.


Error 1208 serves as a reminder to handle database structure changes with care, especially when global read locks are in place. By understanding when and why these locks are used, you can avoid this error and ensure that your database operations do not interfere with each other. For more information on managing global read locks and database operations, consult the MySQL documentation. If you’re uncertain about any steps or encounter persistent issues, it’s recommended to seek assistance from a database professional.

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