Resolving MySQL Error 1099: Unlocking Tables for Write Operations

When working with MySQL, encountering Error 1099 can be a stumbling block for many developers. This error message is typically displayed as “Error 1099 – SQLSTATE: HY000 (ER_TABLE_NOT_LOCKED_FOR_WRITE) Table ‘%s’ was locked with a READ lock and can’t be updated.” It indicates that a write operation was attempted on a table that is locked with a READ lock, preventing any updates.

Understanding Error 1099

Before diving into the solutions, it’s essential to understand why this error occurs. In MySQL, you can lock tables to control access to them and ensure data integrity. A READ lock allows concurrent sessions to read from the table but not to perform any write operations. If you try to update a table that has a READ lock, MySQL will return Error 1099.

Diagnosing Error 1099

To diagnose this error, you’ll need to identify which tables are locked and the type of locks they have. You can use the following command to list all current locks:


This will show you tables that are currently being used and potentially locked.

Fixing Error 1099

To resolve this error, you have to ensure that the table is not locked with a READ lock when you’re trying to perform a write operation. Here are several methods to fix this issue:

Method 1: Unlocking Tables

If you have explicitly locked a table with a READ lock, you can release it using the UNLOCK TABLES statement:


This command will release all table locks held by your session. After executing it, you should be able to perform write operations on the table.

Method 2: Avoiding Table Locks

If you don’t need to lock the table, simply avoid using the LOCK TABLES command with a READ lock before attempting to write to it. This will ensure that the table is available for both read and write operations.

Method 3: Using Transactions

Instead of locking tables, you can use transactions to maintain data integrity. Transactions allow you to execute multiple operations atomically. With InnoDB tables, which support row-level locking and transactions, you can do the following:

-- Your SQL queries here

This approach is generally more efficient and provides better concurrency than table-level locks.

Method 4: Checking for Implicit Locks

Sometimes, other operations may implicitly lock tables, such as backup operations using mysqldump with the --lock-tables option. Ensure that no such operations are running concurrently when you’re trying to update a table.


By understanding MySQL’s locking mechanisms and following the methods above, you can effectively diagnose and fix Error 1099. Always remember to use table locks judiciously and prefer transactions when possible to maintain a smooth workflow in your database operations.

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