Audacity 3.0 fiile association bug (.WAV, Win10.)

Dear Anyone.

This might be me, after that alarming, attention-grabbing title! But anyway…

I write music on ancient 32-bit software - why? Because I actually understand it, I’m disabled (Asperger’s/Cerebral Palsy) and I can’t get anyone to teach me the posh stuff. Anyway.

What the masterplan is, is to save the toon as a soundfile, open the soundfile in Audacity and use Audacity to kinda master it, adding depth/reducing treble etc. it’s VERY good for doing things like that, you should push it as a mastering tool more! So to that end I associated. WAVs with Audacity, the idea being if I wanted anything else to open one I could just right click and use ‘open with’. (I know the same works the other way around, I could NOT associate it with Audacity and use ‘Open With’ to get Audacity to open it but anyway, bear with me!)

If you associate .WAVs with Audacity, it think they’re project files and comes up ‘FAILED TO OPEN DATABASE!’ Is that just because nobody’s thought of associating files with Audacity or is that an actual bug? I mean Audacity CAN open .WAVs, so why can’t you associate .WAVs WITH it?

If the rest of the world can, just not me, I’ve been there many times with bits of software over the years, ask and I’ll provide a screenshot so you guys can tell me what’s going on!

Yours respectfully


That’s not something that I’d recommend, but if you want to do that, Windows has a couple of “gotchas” to be aware of.

  1. Windows file association cannot handle more than one app with the same name. If you have multiple apps with the same name (such as Audacity 2.4.2, which is called “audacity.exe”, and Audacity 3.0.2 which is also called “audacity.exe”) you will have problems.

Solution: Ensure that you only have one version of Audacity installed, and ensure that you remove any custom file associations for “audacity.exe” before creating new ones for Audacity 3.x

  1. Audacity works with “projects”. For Audacity 2.x, they were “.AUP” files + a project “_data” folder. For Audacity 3.x, projects are “.AUP3” files (self contained without a separate “_data” folder. “Open” and “Save” work with projects.
    Normal audio files are “Imported” and “Exported”.
    When you “open” a normal audio file in Audacity, what actually happens is that Audacity “opens” a new project and then “imports” the audio file into it.
    This is not really a “problem”, but just something that you should be aware of.

  2. Audacity cannot currently import audio files from FAT formatted drives. This is likely to be a problem for USB thumb drives as they are usually formatted as FAT. This is a bug and will be fixed in Audacity 3.0.3 when it is released.

Workaround: If you have audio files on external drives, copy them you the computer’s internal drive first (for example, copy them to your “Documents” folder, and open them from there.

  1. Do not use FAT formatted drives for Audacity projects. The FAT format is ancient and does not support features required by Audacity’s “AUP3” project format.

Workaround: If you have projects on external drives, copy them you the computer’s internal drive first (for example, copy them to your “Documents” folder, and open them from there.

My guess is that issues 1 or 3 (above) are the cause of the problem that you are having.

Just to confirm - I don’t have this problem with 3.0.2.

If you are having trouble with changing Windows file association, it can sometimes help to remove or rename the old association, e.g., change audacity242/audacity.exe to say, audacity242/audacity242.exe. Then Windows can’t find it and will allow a new association. e.g., audacity302/audacity.exe to take hold.


To associate a WAV file with Audacity in Windows 10, so that Audacity will open the file when it’s double clicked, start by right-clicking on an WAV file.

When the menu opens go down and click on “Open with”.

If audacity is not shown in the menu that opens, or if multiple incidence’s of Audacity are listed, then click on “Choose Another App”. Scroll down to the bottom and click on “More Apps”.

Check the box that says “Always use this app to open WAV files”, then click on “Look for another app on this PC”.

When the search box opens maneuver your way to the Audacity folder where the “audacity.exe” file is located for the version you are currently using.

Click on the “audacity.exe” and then click open. This should open the WAV file that you initially right clicked.

In the future when you double-click on a WAV file it should open inside of Audacity.

There may still be some limitations that Steve mentioned above such as Audacity cannot currently import audio files from FAT formatted drives. This also takes the focus from your default music player so that all WAV files, when double clicked, will open in Audacity.

Hope this was what you were looking for.

I only looks like you can “Open” WAV files (and other adudio files) in Audacity …

BUT what is actually happening is that Audacity is Opening a project and then Importing the audio file into that project - and when it imports that audio file it converts it into its own internal project formay for working on.


See also: