Tackling MySQL Error 1244: Restoring Integrity to the Help Database

When you come across Error 1244 – SQLSTATE: HY000 (ER_CORRUPT_HELP_DB) in MySQL, it suggests that there is an issue with the help database — either it has become corrupted, or it does not exist. The help database is a valuable resource for information on MySQL commands and usage within the MySQL server. Resolving this error is important for maintaining access to this built-in documentation. Let’s explore how to diagnose and address this issue effectively.

Understanding the Error

MySQL’s help database, named ‘help’, contains information used by the HELP command to provide users with details on MySQL syntax and functionalities. If this database is corrupted or accidentally removed, Error 1244 can occur when you attempt to use the HELP command.

Diagnosing the Problem

First, check if the help database exists and has the correct structure:


If the database does not appear in the output, it confirms that the help database is missing. If it does exist, you can check its tables:

SHOW TABLES FROM mysql_help;

You should see a list of help-related tables. If these tables are missing or incomplete, it indicates corruption.

Fixing the Error

Rebuilding the Help Database

If the help database is missing or corrupted, you can rebuild it. This process involves populating the help tables with the data they should contain.

Step 1: Locate the Fill Help Tables SQL Script

MySQL distributions typically include a script to populate the help tables. The script is usually called fill_help_tables.sql and can be found in the MySQL installation directory, under the sql subdirectory.

Step 2: Execute the Script

Run the fill_help_tables.sql script to repopulate the help tables. You can do this from the command line:

mysql -u root -p < /path/to/fill_help_tables.sql

Replace /path/to/ with the actual path to the script.

Restoring from a Backup

If you have a backup of the MySQL system databases, you can restore the help database from that backup.

mysql -u root -p mysql_help < /path/to/backup-file.sql

Replace /path/to/backup-file.sql with the path to your backup file.

Checking for Filesystem Issues

Corruption can sometimes be due to underlying filesystem issues. Run a filesystem check to ensure there are no broader problems that could affect other databases.

fsck /dev/sdX

Replace /dev/sdX with the device identifier for your filesystem.

Preventing Future Errors

To prevent future occurrences of Error 1244:

  • Regularly back up your databases, including system databases like mysql_help.
  • Ensure proper shutdown of the MySQL server to avoid corruption.
  • Monitor your filesystem’s health and address any issues promptly.


Encountering Error 1244 in MySQL indicates a problem with the help database that can hinder your ability to access built-in documentation. By following the steps outlined above, you can restore the help database and ensure it is available when needed. Always keep backups of your system databases and maintain the health of your server and filesystem to prevent such issues from arising.

For more information on managing MySQL system databases and resolving common errors, consult the MySQL documentation and consider engaging with the MySQL community for shared experiences and advice.

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