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This is very easy to do.

First, make a backup copy of your “mysql” folder in XAMPP.

Next, download the zip version of MariaDB 10.5.x and extract the folder to your XAMPP folder. You are not replacing your “mysql” folder. For example, you will have a “mariadb-10.5.16-winx64” folder that you extract to your XAMMP folder.

Your old version of MariaDB should be running. You will then run the Windows command prompt (cmd.exe) and change to the “mariad-10.5.16-winx64/bin” folder.

Now run “mariadb-upgrade-wizard.exe” and choose the mysql instance running. (Alternatively, you can run “mariadb-upgrade-service.exe --service=mysql“.)

That is all there is to it. The mariadb in the “mariadb-10.5.16-winx64” folder will now be the operating engine, but the “my.ini” and “data” that resides in the “mysql” folder will be used. So, DO NOT delete the “mysql” or the “mariadb-10.5.16-winx64” folders after the upgrade.

You can’t use the XAMPP Control Panel to register and unregister the mysql service now. If you want to unregister it, run the Windows Command Prompt as Administrator and then stop the service by running “sc stop mysql” in the Command Prompt.

To remove the service run “sc delete mysql“.

Installing the service is a bit more complex, but it will be like this:

sc create mysql binpath="\"C:\Developer\xampp-7.4.29\mariadb-10.5.16-winx64\bin\mysqld\" --defaults-file=\"C:\Developer\xampp-7.4.29\mysql\bin\my.ini\" \"mysql\"" DisplayName= "mysql" start= "auto"

Change the folder paths in the above command to reflect what is on your system.

Running the “sc create” commend makes an entry in the Windows Registry at “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\mysql”.

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