Any way to auto-save Audacity files when there's a forced Windows Update?

This is the 3rd time this has happened to me. There is no way to disable all Windows 11 Updates or force them to be done manually. I thought I had disabled them all but Windows 11 keeps sneaking more updates. Last night I lost valuable unsaved files. How is it that every browser in existence can re-open tabs to where they were after a Windows update, as well as Word files., etc. And yet Audacity wipes out all traces of files I have been working on? Is there no way for Audacity to recover unsaved files in progress (files/tracks–not projects) from a Windows update?? Between this and it taking 30 minutes to copy a 1-minute clip to another track, I’m getting ready to move on from Audacity.

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Please report this difficulty directly to the Audacity developers here: Issues · audacity/audacity · GitHub. (They do not typically browse this forum.) You will need to create a (free) account.

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Web browsers can simply re-download any missing data.
Word processors generally handle very small amounts of data, typically less than 1 MB for the entire document.

On the other hand, Audacity projects may contain several GB of data. If Audacity is forcibly shut down, it may not be possible to safely store all of that data before the lights go off.

This was a known problem in some older version of Audacity. The current version is 3.3.0, and copying small sections should now be reasonably quick.


I would expect in such circumstances Audacity to offer Recovery of the project(s) the next time it is launched.

I tested this, simulating such a shutdown by killing the Audacity process trees in the Details tab of Task Manager - and Recovery works fine. I QA tested Recovery very thoroughly when we made the transition to the unitary database project format in version 3.0.0 - and I tested again just now.

But this also begs a question: why are you leaving unsaved important projects lying around open and thus susceptible to data loss if your PC shuts down unexpectedly for whatever reason?

I’m 1,000 miles away from my W11 PC right now but I’m pretty sure I recall that when I upgraded it from W10 to W11 that I was able to set a managed schedule for OS updates - I will be able to check next week when I get hands-on with it again.


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In other words blaming me for the problem “Why would you leave a project lying open…?” There are many reasons for it. One: a recording set to record overnight. Another reason: not wanting to create an actual project and instead simply edit a file that may be 8 hours long, then go take a break and while doing so it shuts down and doesn’t autosave.

And, yes, I put ALL Windows updates on manual; nonetheless, Windows 11 has ways of grinding your experience to a halt (as does Firefox) if you don’t install updates, and will crash your machine to force it to restart and thereby install updates whether you want them or not. There should be a way for Audacity to Auto-Save if Windows update forces a computer to shut down, but that does not appear to be the case right now.

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That would be useful, but it might not be possible.

There are some free apps which are supposed to be able to prevent Windows from automatically rebooting. I’ve not used them myself (I don’t use Windows), but may be worth trying.

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So sorry if you thought was “blaming” you - that was not my intention, merely trying to offer a pointer to good IT practice for the future (computers can be fragile frail things at times).

Indeed yes, I make a lot of overnight recordings of webcast music shows that are only on-air when I am fast asleep. I am deeply aware every time that there is a remote possibility that I may lose that show if Microsoft interferes with an update (which I try to avoid) or if there is a powercut.

BTW Timer record dialog offers you the option to save the project and/or export the project on completion (I use both exporting a backup WAV as well as saving the project).

In this use case you are not “simply edit[ing] a file …” - with Audacity you always have a project even if you never save it. When you import an audio file into Audacity or “Open” it, Audacity creates a project for it in its temporary folder and converts the file into Audacity’s internal project format in a SQLite database.

As I said earlier Audacity’s Auto-Recovery should work in such circumstances, restoring your project to it’s state at the time of the crash/OS-interrupt. When you next relaunch Audacity should offer you the chance to recover such projects.

I have QA tested such occurrences in the past, including with multiple projects open (I for a crash of Audacity with the drastic step of killing the Audacity process tree wit Task Manager (more drastic than just ending the Audacity task. When I restart Audacity I get offered this:

And when I select “Recover Selected” I get this:

Susan, can you please try this simple test on your PC to test Recovery:

  1. launch Audacity
  2. Generate a 30 second default chirp
  3. Ctrl + Alt + Delete
  4. Select Task Manager
  5. In Task manager select the Details tab
  6. scroll down to the Audacity process
  7. right-click on the Audacity process
  8. select End Process Tree and approve the action
  9. restart Audacity

Do you get offered recovery and does it work?


But this begs the question as to just what should be saved:

a) a full Save of the “dirty” unsaved project - thus overwriting the users previous intended Save. or

b) a Crash copy stored under a different filename.

Personally I think option a) is dangerous - and option b) is best dealt with by Audacity’s Recovery process.


I don’t know if it’s changed, but from the days when I did use Windows, I recall that when Windows wanted to restart:

  1. Windows would try to close all applications.
  2. Audacity would display a prompt asking if you want to save.
  3. Sometimes Windows would wait for Audacity to be closed, and sometimes it would force Audacity to terminate after a short countdown.

If Windows waits, then it is not a problem as Windows will still be waiting when you return to the computer.

If Audacity is forced to terminate, then there is nothing that Audacity can do about it. It’s the same situation as pulling the plug (without a battery). You have to be present to abort the reboot.

I’v e just been doing some crash/recovery testing with Timer Record:

a) as I suspected if the crash occurs before the Timer Record has started - on restarting Audacity the pending Timer Record is NOT re-instated.

b) If the Timer Record runs to completion and is sitting there - then on relaunch recovery of the full recording is offered and works (regardless of whether or not the user selected automatic Save and/or Export).

c) If the crash occurs when the TR recording is in progress - then on re-launching Audacity the recording up to the point of the crash is offered for recovery and is recoverable (you may lose up to the last six seconds of the recording).

So, to me, this looks like Recovery works well with a crashed/OS-interrupted Timer Record.


Disconnect your network? I never leave the network or WiFi connected when I’m recording a critical job.

If you’re using Internet or Cloud Drives in Audacity, you should not be. Audacity doesn’t like network drives very much. They’re too sloppy.


That’s a great workaround - thank you!

Thanks – don’t know what else to say. It’s happened multiple times. I’ve lost several important recordings. I will now save them as projects and/or disconnect my computer from the network when I am not working on something.

However, what I said stands. Nothing unusual on my end it going on. Simply a Windows 11 update takes place overnight, Windows 11 restarts computer, Audacity and all other applications have been shut down, and when I click the shortcut on taskbar to Audacity (which I always do to restart Audacity) no backup appears.

This was not the case previously.

NOTE: I updated version of Audacity AND updated from Windows 10 to Windows 11 on the same date. So, it’s something related either to Windows 11 updates and Audacity not playing well. Or something to do with the most recent few versions of Audacity, it seems.

NOTE: In contrast, in the case of any other type of interruption (like the machine freezes and I have to manually restart), or if there’s an actual “crash,” Audacity still performs its recovery job correctly and when the computer is restarted and Audacity shortcut is clicked, the files are all recovered, as designed.

Does that happen often? Having a forum poster assure us that Audacity Crash Recovery always works perfectly is not reassuring.

Are you talking yourself into a Mac?

When was the last time you did that deep virus check that takes all night?

Have you ever done a heavy drive defragment and health check.

And as above, Audacity does not like directly addressing drives not in the machine. The worst connection is Cloud Drives. Those are seriously sloppy and are designed for bulk storage and archiving, not live performances.

Audacity assumes all its drives can perform its most complicated and critical tasks such as Music Overdubbing. Allowing Audacity to see cloud drives is just asking for trouble.


Ironically, if I were to unplug a Windows machine with no battery in it, Audacity would, in fact, recover the left-open Audacity file. It is only with Windows 11 Updates.

As you posted, is this an interaction between Windows 11 and the Audacity update? You can back out of the Audacity update.

You may be able to back out of the Windows update, too. I’m not a Windows elf.


As said: “a forced Windows update.” Not an Audacity update.

You can “Pause Updates” for up to 5 weeks… that should give plenty of time to do backups.
And do the updates manually when you heve the backups done… so you are uptodate before you next long recording session.
You can “Hide Updates” ,… hidden updates don’t install automatically.
Don’t leave computer on when not in use so it will not doe updates and restarts in middle of night when it thinks it is “idle”

For more info “google”… manual updates, hidden updates, psuse updates… etc etc

Your computer should not be crashing in any case…???

Yes, that came up earlier. Knowing that Audacity Crash Recovery works perfectly every time is not good news.


Thank You.