thanx for your suggestion....silly me never bothered to look down in the task tray. here i was continuously clicking on the mysql.exe file and nothing happening, yet there WAS something happening. the program was staying minimized. by the time i realized what was going on i had over 10 instances of the program running! so now i have learned how to create tables and data from the command line prompt, and am about to learn how to interact with database via PHP. it is very exciting!