Resolving MySQL Error 1099: Unlocking Tables for Write Operations

When working with MySQL, encountering an error message can be a frustrating experience, especially when it’s not immediately clear how to resolve it. The Error 1099 – SQLSTATE: HY000 (ER_TABLE_NOT_LOCKED_FOR_WRITE), which states “Table ‘%s’ was locked with a READ lock and can’t be updated,” occurs when an attempt is made to write to a table that has been locked for read-only operations. This error is a common issue that can disrupt database operations, but with the right approach, it can be diagnosed and fixed efficiently.

Understanding the Error

Before diving into solutions, it’s crucial to understand why this error occurs. In MySQL, tables can be locked explicitly with the LOCK TABLES statement to coordinate access between sessions. A table locked with a READ lock prevents other sessions from performing write operations on it. When you try to update, delete, or insert data into a table that is locked with a READ lock from another session, MySQL will return the Error 1099.

Diagnosing the Problem

To diagnose the issue, you need to identify where the READ lock is being set. This could be in your application code, in a stored procedure, or even due to some administrative operations that are running on the database.

  1. Review your application code for any LOCK TABLES statements that might be setting a READ lock.
  2. Check if there are any administrative tasks or scripts that might be locking the table for maintenance or backup purposes.

Fixing the Error

Here are several approaches to resolve the Error 1099, depending on the cause:

Approach 1: Unlocking the Table

If you have explicitly locked a table for reading and then attempted a write operation, you need to release the lock. You can do this with the UNLOCK TABLES statement:


After executing this command, the table will no longer be locked, and you should be able to perform write operations.

Approach 2: Using WRITE Locks Instead

If your situation requires locking, consider using a WRITE lock when you know that write operations will be needed. This can be done by:


This will prevent other sessions from reading or writing to the table until you release the lock.

Approach 3: Checking for Implicit Locks

InnoDB tables use row-level locking for operations like UPDATE and DELETE under certain transaction isolation levels. If you’re experiencing deadlocks or lock waits, consider reviewing the transaction isolation level and adjusting it if necessary.

Approach 4: Avoid Long-Running Read Locks

If the READ lock is being applied by a long-running select query or backup operation, consider scheduling these operations during off-peak hours or using non-locking read operations if possible.

Approach 5: Monitoring and Killing Locking Queries

Use the SHOW PROCESSLIST command to identify which sessions hold locks on the tables. If you find a session that should not be holding a lock, you can terminate it using the KILL command followed by the session ID:

KILL session_id;

Remember to use this with caution, as killing sessions can lead to partial transactions and require cleanup.


By following these steps, you should be able to diagnose and resolve the MySQL Error 1099. Always ensure that table locks are used judiciously and released as soon as they are no longer needed to prevent locking issues. Proper management of locks is key to maintaining the integrity and performance of your database.

If you need more details about the error message, you can refer to the MySQL Server Error Codes and Messages or consult the MySQL 8.0 Error Message Reference for comprehensive information on error messages produced by MySQL server and client programs.

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