Clear mysql command line history stored in ~/.mysql_history file

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Q. How do I clear the mysql command line history stored in ~/.mysql_history file?

A. mysql is a simple SQL shell. It supports interactive and non-interactive use.

On Unix and Linux, the mysql client writes a record of executed statements to a history file. By default, the history file is named .mysql_history and is created in your home directory. To specify a different file, set the value of the MYSQL_HISTFILE environment variable.


Remove ~/.mysql_history by typing following command:
$ > ~/.mysql_history

If you do not want to maintain a history file, first remove .mysql_history if it exists, and then use either of the following techniques:

Set the MYSQL_HISTFILE variable to /dev/null. To cause this setting to take effect each time you log in, put the setting in one of your shell’s startup files.

Create ~/.mysql_history as a symbolic link to /dev/null. You need run following command only once:
$ rm $HOME/.mysql_history
$ ln -s /dev/null $HOME/.mysql_history

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

3 comment

  1. Setting MYSQL_HISTFILE to /dev/null is not such a good idea as mysql tries to creates the file on startup. Thus it replaces /dev/null by a regular file accessible only by root – not something you want to do on your server system!
    In case you already tried and hosed your /dev/null, the following command will restore it:
    mknod -m 666 /dev/null c 1 3

  2. nixcraft,
    if you set the environment variable MYSQL_HISTFILE to /dev/null, there is no symlink but the file is accessed directly. If you create the symlink, you don’t run into the troubles I described. Of course you’re right, you should never ever work as root, but… you know…

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