Troubleshooting MySQL Error 1011 – SQLSTATE: HY000 (ER_CANT_DELETE_FILE)

Encountering Error 1011 in MySQL can be a roadblock for database administrators and developers. This error message indicates that MySQL encountered an issue when trying to delete a file. The ‘%s’ in the error message is a placeholder for the filename, and ‘%d’ is a placeholder for the error number from the operating system. Understanding the root cause of this error is crucial for a swift resolution. Let’s delve into the various causes and solutions for MySQL Error 1011.

Understanding Error 1011 (ER_CANT_DELETE_FILE)

Error 1011 occurs when MySQL tries to delete a file but fails. This can happen for several reasons, including insufficient file permissions, the file being locked by another process, or issues with the file system.

Diagnosing the Problem

  1. Check File Permissions: Ensure that the MySQL server has the necessary permissions to delete the file in question. The MySQL server typically runs as the ‘mysql’ user, and this user must have write permissions for the directory containing the file.
  2. Identify Locking Processes: A file might be locked by another process, preventing MySQL from deleting it. Use tools like lsof on Linux or Resource Monitor on Windows to check if any processes are holding the file open.
  3. File System Issues: The file system itself might be in a read-only state, or there could be corruption that’s preventing file deletion. Check the file system’s status and perform any necessary repairs.
  4. MySQL Server Status: Ensure that the MySQL server is running properly and not in a state that would prevent file operations. Restarting the MySQL service might be necessary.

Fixing the Error

Correcting File Permissions

If the issue is related to file permissions, you can change the permissions using the chmod and chown commands on Linux. For example:

sudo chown mysql:mysql /var/lib/mysql/filename
sudo chmod 660 /var/lib/mysql/filename

Replace /var/lib/mysql/filename with the path to the file that MySQL is trying to delete.

Releasing Locked Files

If another process is locking the file, you may need to terminate that process or wait for it to release the file. You can use kill on Linux to terminate a process if necessary:

kill -9 PID

Replace PID with the process ID of the locking process.

Repairing the File System

For file system issues, use system tools like fsck on Linux to check and repair the file system. This should only be done when the system is not actively being used to avoid data loss:

sudo umount /dev/sdX
sudo fsck /dev/sdX

Replace /dev/sdX with the appropriate device identifier for your file system.

Restarting MySQL Server

Sometimes, restarting the MySQL service can resolve issues that might be causing Error 1011:

sudo systemctl restart mysql

This command will restart MySQL on a systemd-based Linux system.


The MySQL Error 1011 is a file-related error that can be caused by permission issues, locked files, or file system problems. By methodically checking permissions, identifying locking processes, and ensuring the file system is healthy, you can diagnose and fix this error. Always proceed with caution when dealing with file operations and system-level changes, and ensure that you have backups of your data before performing any actions that might affect the file system or database integrity.

Remember to maintain regular backups and monitor your system’s health to prevent such errors from disrupting your database operations. With careful attention to detail and a systematic approach, Error 1011 can be resolved, allowing you to continue managing your MySQL databases effectively.

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