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Hiding MySQL Password

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I always tell my students how to protect their Oracle credentials but hesitated to do the same for MySQL because it involves Windows batch shell scripting (albeit simple one line scripting). Oracle is nice and clean about hiding credentials. If you only provide the USER name at the command prompt, then your PASSWORD is never displayed. Only the user name is displayed in the DOS command prompt session’s window frame. You do that in Oracle with a student user name, as follows:

C:\Data\Oracle> sqlplus student
SQL*Plus: Release - Production on Mon Sep 21 09:20:25 2009
Copyright (c) 1982, 2005, Oracle.  All rights reserved.
Enter password:

MySQL isn’t quite so convenient as a command-line tool. You must enter the -u or --user followed by the user name and -p or --password followed by the password when connecting to the database. For example, this shows a typical command prompt window frame:


As noted by Stephen in his comment, you can also mimic Oracle by using the following syntax:

C:\Data\MySQL> mysql -ustudent -p
Enter password:

Unless you use that syntax, anybody walking up can see your USER and PASSWORD in clear text. Not exactly the best security practice, eh? You can also suppress the USER name from displaying by writing a small batch file with your text editor or at the command-line, like this:

C:\Data\MySQL>COPY CON mysqlcmd.bat
@mysql -ustudent -p

While you’ll need to enter your password because you really don’t want to store that in a file. The @ symbol suppresses echo of the command, which means you won’t display your USER name or PASSWORD when you start the mysql client tool. It will only display the batch file name and the welcome message:


Hope this helps you when you’re working at the MySQL command-line. However, I’m often stunned by how few use it. They prefer phpMyAdmin or Quest’s Toad for MySQL.

Written by maclochlainn

September 20th, 2009 at 8:55 pm