Audacity 2.1.0 can't open new projects using a shortcut

When I used Audacity 2.0.6, I could click on the Audacity shortcut 3 times, and open 3 different windows/projects of Audacity. Now, with the new version 2.1.0, if you have one window/project opened, you can’t open a new window/project by just clicking on the shortcut. If you do it, the Audacity icon in the Windows 8 taskbar goes orange, like advertising you that you have already the program opened.

Can you guys fix this kind of bug?

Now the only way to start a new project/window is going to the menu bar, click on File/New.

OK, I agree it is expected on Windows that you could open a new instance of an app (or a new window in the current instance) by executing the app again. I did not realise this was a regression because personally I never open an empty project window this way - most users I guess find it easier to simply use CTRL + N from within Audacity.

So I don’t see this as a big priority but I created a bug report for it:

If the intention is to import a file into the new project, right-clicking over the file and using “open with” was tested extensively and should still work fine.

On Mac OS X it’s actually expected that executing the app again just switches focus to the app, so we’ll have to be sure that is still working if we fix this.


Yeah, but the thing is that I have one hand holding the neck my electric guitar, and the other one using the mouse (when I’m not playing).

So I find quite more comfortable to open a new project with a single click. And I say single click cause I also have a quick launch shortcut of Audacity in the left side of the Windows taskbar. So yeah, for me it’s a big downgrade. I know it’s not a priority, but in my opinion, if a feature gets mistakenly missed and removed in an update, it should be back as soon as possible, cause it’s a feature it was already in the software.

It’s marked as a regression bug, but sometimes little used features can be legitimately cast aside if that is necessary for a new feature. I don’t like that much, and it’s probably not the case here.

Have you thought of changing CTRL + N to some other single key shortcut? Is the new window for a new recording?


Yeah, or may be not, it depends.

I usually do this:

  1. Open a folder with backing tracks.
  2. Click on the quick access shortcut icon of Audacity, placed in the taskbar.
  3. Go to the open folder and drag and drop the tracks (drums, bass, vocals, etc)
  4. Play guitar

Then I record the guitar of the track, or a solo, or just play along in a loop mode. Then sometimes I wanna work in another song or idea in parallel, so I click again on the quick access taskbar icon, it opens a new window, and record something, or after that, go to my music folder and drag and drop something.

Notice I do all of this with one hand and the mouse, cause it’s the most comfortable way for me to do it.

OK but if you set up a file association with the file type(s) in the backing tracks folder, then you can open a new Audacity window just by right-clicking one of the files > Open with > Audacity (or if Audacity is the default application for that file type, just double-click the file).

You then just have to drag in any extra files that you want into that window.

If you actually wanted say, three backing tracks each in their own new window, then if Audacity is the default application for that file type, you could just select all three files then hit ENTER.


Thanks, I know there are zillions of ways to accomplish this, but the thing is that “feature” was useful for me, and it’s a “feature” that doesn’t worsen any other feature or makes any trouble if it’s there.

I think “that feature” was a bug.
There should only ever be one instance of Audacity running at a time (within the same Shell environment). If there are multiple instances then there is a very real danger of one instance overwriting data belonging to the other instance, which may lead to both projects becoming corrupted or a crash.

Audacity does support running multiple projects simultaneously (though this is not yet entirely without problems), but all open projects should belong to the same instance of Audacity as that allows Audacity to manage the data without one project stomping on the data belonging to another project. When there are multiple instances of Audacity, then by definition they are totally independent of each other and so are unable to prevent such data collisions.

Unfortunately it seems that you have become accustomed to making use of this bug, but have fortunately also been very lucky to avoid its potentially catastrophic side effects.
As you are aware, there are many ways to safely launch multiple projects. Audacity 2.1.0 prevents one of the unsafe ways.

So you say it’s not the same to open Audacity twice from a shortcut and open it once and then press “ctrl+n”?
For me, those 2 different methods create 2 different windows, 2 different instances, so they look exactly the same. And I’ve never had any error at all, and I’ve been doing this since 2010. :nerd:

Neither you or I know that. I agree that this seems safe in 2.0.6 but the code has changed since then. We have been trying to fix problems on Linux where it was not possible to open another Audacity window from a file manager. Plus on OS X and Linux we have been trying to prevent a problem where it was possible to get two different instances of Audacity writing to the same audacity.cfg settings file.

And as I said, on OS X, executing the same app is supposed to merely switch back to the app.

So in sum I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until we ponder this.


Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

Ctrl+N creates a new project within the same instance of Audacity. In other words, there is only one “Audacity” program running, and it is running multiple project windows. I’m reasonably confident that that is working correctly.

I’m not a Windows expert (I usually use Linux), but it looks to me like opening Audacity twice from a shortcut opens two separate “Audacity” programs - and that is dangerous. I may be wrong about that, but it’s on our bug tracking system now so that it can get attention from one of the Windows developers. As Gale wrote, there are platform differences to how applications are launched, so for a definitive answer we need a Windows specialist, but it certainly looks like this change in 2.1.0 was purposefully created by one of the Windows guys.

Perhaps you are lucky - do you do the lottery? :smiley:
The nature of data collision is not that it is bound to occur, but that if it does occur the result is likely to be catastrophic.

Sorry but you are wrong about that, Steve, as I wrote in the bug report. Take a look in Windows Task Manager in the “Processes” tab after executing 2.0.5 a second time - there is still only one “audacity.exe”.

Or were you testing in a virtual machine and you’re saying you see two “audacity.exe” processes?


No need to be sorry :wink:
As I wrote in the same bug report the “evidence” that I was citing actually turns out to be a different bug.

The developer looking into this wrote:

I think this falls under the whole multiple instance, multiple project
conundrum. Solving that will be a whole project in itself and we’re going to
have to “forget” past behavior and precisely define how it should all be

I fear it will not be a quickie problem to solve either.

Nonetheless, we should try in resolving our multi-project issues to respect the expected OS behaviour if it is safe for us to do so.


But doesn’t Microsoft running its own apps on Windows like Word, Excel etc. only gave one instance of each app - multiple documents and spreadsheets yes, but surely only a single instance of the app?


I tested numerous apps including MS Excel (I only have a 2003 version) and MS Visual Studio 2013. Audacity was the only one that did not open a new window when re-executing the app.

In the case of Excel and VS 2013, it’s a second process, not a second window in the same process.


Yeah, that’s why I reported it, because it’s what’s supposed to happen when you click on a new shortcut or “.exe” file. There are some exceptions, like Anti-virus programs, some music players (actually you can change that in their respective settings, for example VLC only allow one instance by default, but you can change that in VLC settings and open a new instance/window each time you open a new multimedia file), and pretty much every piece of software where it’s senseless to open more than one instance.

So yeah, Audacity 2.1.0 should behave in this aspect the same way Audacity 2.0.6 does.

i was going to complain about not being able to open another audacity while one is open.
it cannot be done by clicking the icon on my desk top.
i use the additional audacity to listen to my recording as a wav file while having the master recording in audacity open in the first audacity open.
this way i can change vol.s or whatever and go back and forth.
now with the newest version of audacity, by clicking audacity again, it will not open a new audacity as it has been since i started using it in 2010.
luckily if you do control N it does open another audacity and as long as i can have it open another, i no longer have a complaint.

Yeah, it’s a useful thing to open new projects by just clicking 1 icon, instead of mess around Audacity’s menus (yeah, I know it’s in File-new project, or ctrl+n, but anyways). And If you have Audacity right in you quick access bar, it’s just 1 click, no matter where you are, to open a new project, cause the quick access bar is always visible since it’s in the taskbar. 1 click, 1 project. It’s not even a feature of a program, it’s what every program should do, as already said one admin here.

Nice, Audacity is without a doubt one of the softwares I have that when there’s a new version of it, I get most excited.

Now, xD, this problem has not been solved, and it was solved in the version before the 2.1.0 one.

If there’s a window opened of Audacity, if you click on a shortcut, it does not open a new window, as it’s supposed to do, and as older versions did, and as every program that’s supposed to have more than one window opened does. I have a quick shortcut in the taskbar cause I use Audacity a lot, and I find it very useful to click once on that quick shortcut and a new window of Audacity gets opened. And the advantage of that is that I can always open a new window, since the taskbar is always visible.