After X amount of Time, Audacity becomes unusable [SOLVED]

Windows 10 Pro Ver. 2004 OS Build 19041.450
Dell Precision 7810 Dual Xeon E5-2630 v3 @2.4 GHz

  1. Thanks for this amazing piece of software. I have been using it for 2 months now and have logged about a couple hundred hours of use.

The problem: I am using the program to record sound over my computer. With the tutorials, I was able to get myself up and running pretty easily. The program has functioned quite well when it works BUT every now and again for no discernible reason, the recording begin to sound clipped and chirpy. Once that happens, it takes quite a lot of rigamarole to get Audacity recording properly again.

One would think that simply deleting Audacity from the computer and then re-installing it would fix the problem, but no. Problem still exists. I have tried deleting software, rebooting computer, re-installing Audacity. Doesnt fix. What usually works…is to install and delete audacity about 8-10 times over the course of 6-8 hours. Eventually, one of the re-installs will take and Audacity is recording just fine again. Let me point out that in the course of installing, deleting and re-installing the state of my computer has not changed… same programs open, same vpn connection, same everything. And before someone suggests, turning certain programs off or turning off my vpn…I have tried all of those things in a variety of combinations. It doesnt make a difference.

If someone has an idea, I would be grateful to hear it. It is pretty annoying to have to get Audacity up and running every time it goes down.



Could something be checking for updates (such as Windows Update, or your anti-virus updating) or some other scheduled maintenance task?
When it next happens, try looking in the Windows Task Manager to see if anything other than Audacity is using a noticeable amount of CPU, memory or disk activity.

While some background activity could be responsible, it definitely is hard to tell. At any given time there is between 40 - 50 background processes ongoing, none of which appear to be problematic.

As far as a huge cpu drain, that does not occur. Running Audacity, my vpn, browser and task manager…yields only 1% cpu usage. I would have to be rendering video to even get my cpu usage above 10%. I am not running into Memory problems either, I currently have 64gb of RAM. And do all of my Audacity processing in a 32gb RAM drive.

Nor does any of that explain why a simple delete program, reboot computer, re-install program doesn’t get the program recording properly again. I have even unplugged and re-plugged my internet cable hoping to clear some line problems. At this point, it feels like a voodoo ritual to get the program to run again. Exceptionally frustrating.

How big are your Audacity projects?

Can other software record the audio well? Is it using the same input device as Audcaity… I think first you need to make sure it really is audacity’s fault

Just a few hundred Mbs.

At my current settings, Disk Space Remaining For Recording: 96 hours and 16 minutes.

I don’t think I am running out of space.

That doesn’t make sense, unless there’s a serious hardware fault, which is unlikely.

Re-installing Audacity will overwrite all of Audacity’s default files, except for the configuration files.
The main configuration file is “audacity.cfg”. This will be reset if you select the option “Reset Preferences” during the installation, otherwise it will be retained.

I can’t think of any reason why installing a 3rd, 4th or 5th time would be any different from re-installing once (other than faulty hardware).

More likely, something else changed while you were reinstalling multiple times - for example, Windows may have completed a maintenance task.

Would using the version of Audacity without the installer make sense here? Re-install would then be a simple delete and copy of files. That might get rid of the multiple re-installs.

The installer is generally preferable, because it’s then properly registered with Windows so that Audacity Projects can easily be associated with the application. However, there’s no harm in testing with the ZIP version.

To use the ZIP version:

  1. Extract the contents of the ZIP archive somewhere convenient (for testing purpose, I’d suggest you extract to “Documents\Audacity”)
  2. Open the folder and find the file “audacity.exe”
  3. Make a Desktop shortcut to “audacity.exe” (for launching Audacity)
  4. Create an empty folder in the same location as “audacity.exe” and name the folder “Portable Settings”.

When you run this version of Audacity, all of it’s setting will then be written to the “Portable Settings” folder (keeping it separate from any other installed version, and making it dead easy to reset to factory defaults).

I agree with you…spot on.

I have had this computer for about 6 months and everything is in tip top shape…I cannot begin to imagine a hardware issue.

Your last point, about a maintenance task, while possible, seems unlikely. Do you know of any maintenance tasks that take 6-8 hours? Granted I am doing incremental backups, but those hours are set at 2AM - 7 AM. I am not making any recordings during those hours. In one instance, it took multiple tries over the course of 2 days which including turning off my computer numerous times trying to “reset” to the state in which Audacity worked correctly again.

While I agree it seems farfetched it IS a software issue, it seems equally unlikely it is a hardware issue. I am at an impasse and perplexed. I have never had a situation like this arise in 30 years of computing.


I once had a Windows update that got stuck. It would get so far, then the installation of the update would freeze. Eventually the update would time out, then a short while later it would try again. The symptoms were that Windows became noticeably slow for about half an hour, then it would be OK for about half an hour, then slow again, and so on. 2 days later I managed to fix it by manually installing a later version of the update (manually downloaded from Microsoft website and then running the installer).

Perhaps worth looking through the Windows update history.

The update history does not reveal anything telling.

I am wondering if there is some other program that I am unaware of in the background that is accessing Windows WASAPI? Would two different programs cause a conflict?

It will if WASAPI is being accessed in exclusive mode.

Just a shout out to Steve for all of his assistance! Thanks!

With all of our brainstorming, I finally located the source of my issue. It appears there is a conflict between Audacity and Musicbee, both programs use WASAPI.

To resolve conflict: Open Audacity>Open Musicbee>Play any track in Musicbee library>Stop the track, but leave Musicbee open>Audacity works perfectly!