Troubleshooting MySQL Error 1016: Can’t Open File

Encountering Error 1016 in MySQL, designated by the SQLSTATE code HY000, indicates that the server is unable to open a file. The error message “Can’t open file: ‘%s’ (errno: %d)” provides two pieces of key information: the file that can’t be opened and the error number that might give more insight into the nature of the problem. Let’s explore how to diagnose and resolve this issue through various scenarios.

Understanding the Error

MySQL Error 1016 usually occurs due to file system-related issues, such as file permissions, missing files, or corruption. The error number (errno) that accompanies the message can offer more details about the specific issue.

Diagnosing the Issue

Start by examining the error message closely. The ‘%s’ will be replaced by the file name, and ‘%d’ will be replaced by the error number. For instance, if you see an error like “Can’t open file: ‘mytable.MYD’ (errno: 24)”, you know that the file ‘mytable.MYD’ has encountered an issue, and errno 24 typically refers to too many open files in the system.

Fixing the Error

Scenario 1: File Permissions

Incorrect file permissions can prevent MySQL from accessing the required files. Ensure that the MySQL server has read and write permissions to the file:

chmod 660 /path/to/the/file/mytable.MYD
chown mysql:mysql /path/to/the/file/mytable.MYD

Replace ‘/path/to/the/file/mytable.MYD’ with the actual path and file name that MySQL is unable to open.

Scenario 2: File Corruption

If the file is corrupted, you might need to repair the table. For MyISAM tables, use:

REPAIR TABLE tablename;

For InnoDB tables, a corruption might be more complex to handle and can involve restoring data from a backup or using innodb_force_recovery.

Scenario 3: Missing Files

If the file does not exist, it might have been accidentally deleted or moved. If you have a backup, restore the missing file from it. If not, you might need to recreate the table and potentially lose the data.

Scenario 4: Too Many Open Files

If the error number indicates that there are too many open files, you might need to increase the open files limit for the MySQL process or globally on your system.

On Linux, you can check the current limit with:

ulimit -n

And set a new limit with:

ulimit -n [new_limit]

For persistent changes, modify the /etc/security/limits.conf file or adjust the open_files_limit setting in your MySQL configuration file (my.cnf or my.ini).

Scenario 5: Disk Issues

Check to ensure there is enough disk space on the server and that the disk is not in a read-only state. A full or read-only disk can prevent MySQL from opening files. Free up space or remount the disk with write permissions as needed.


Resolving Error 1016 in MySQL involves careful examination of the error message and errno, followed by systematic troubleshooting steps. Always start with the least invasive solutions, such as checking permissions and disk space, before moving on to operations that might affect data integrity. Regular backups and proper server maintenance can prevent many instances of this error.

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