Audacity constantly crashes, reset no longer fixes

For about a year now Audacity has been crashing soon after launching, and the cause isn’t apparent (happens when importing audio, cutting, starting playback, applying effects, anything). There’s no error code or dialogue box, it just freezes, requiring task manager to close.
For a while I was able to temporarily fix this by deleting audacity.cfg, pluginregisty.cfg and pluginsettings.cfg every now and then but that no longer has any effect. I have tried to reinstalling multiple times, both in English and my system language.

Any help would be appreciated, and apologies if this has been brought up before. I’m on Windows 10 LTSC, and this does not occur when using Linux.

Slowly getting worse and worse can be filling up your hard drive. Audacity has to put cache overflow somewhere. It’s not just to store music files.

Also there’s defragmenting and I have those notes here somewhere…

Also the memory can fill up, too. Do a clean shutdown. Ctl-Alt-Del and then hold Shift while you Shut Down. That will take longer than normal. That will get rid of settings and stuff that other apps leave behind that regular Shut Down and Restart don’t clean out. Start and don’t let anything else start.

Are you connected to on-line or cloud storage? Audacity doesn’t like that very much. Can you disconnect your network just to see if that helps? Pay attention to error messages if something gets upset.


There it is.

Defragment your Windows 10 PC

Windows doesn’t store files. It stores fragments of files depending on where there’s room. Fragments can get smaller and smaller over time and it can take forever to use your hard drive. Audacity hates that.


I only use local storage, and as mentioned in the OP I don’t get any error messages.

I’ve just defragged my drive and done a clean shutdown, and was able to use Audacity without a crash. Though I’m not sure how long this will last, as my drive is scheduled to defrag automatically (it said the last defrag was 14 days ago, and this problem has been over a year). Here’s to hoping this lasts and is repeatable!

Thank you :slight_smile:

I’m not sure frequent auto defrag is such a good idea. If you need one every two weeks, you’re doing something else wrong.

Which Audacity?

How full is the drive? In numbers.

How much on-board memory?

How long are typical shows and in general, what’s the content? Are you creating your weekly half-hour long podcast? Give an idea of the production editing. Do you read through a script, clean up a couple of English errors and go home? Or are you cleaning up an hour-long presentation with tons of errors, edits, and collections of files?

This is important because of the way Audacity performs UNDO. If you need to back up because you made an edit mistake, the edit > UNDO system doesn’t try to unscramble the last edit. It plays back the whole show that it saved before the edit. And it saves the whole show each time you edit. It doesn’t take long for you to run out of room on your machine.


I didn’t set the automatic defrag, unless I just don’t remember. Maybe Windows does one every time it updates? Never caused a problem so I don’t worry. I wasn’t even aware defragging was still recommended in current year especially for SSDs.
I assume by “which Audacity” you mean the version number? It has happened all the way up to the current 3.5.1. Drive is 930 GB, 518GB remaining. 16GB of memory.

I’m not even doing heavy editing, I can’t because the crashes happen with a couple minutes of starting Audacity. I’d import an mp3 (sometimes 5 minutes long, sometimes an hour), trim it to the part I actually want as a file, and export it. The crash has happened at all points of this process (it’ not specifically cutting, importing, playing or exporting).

It doesn’t (that I know of). That would take way too much time from the updating process.

It’s not. SSDs are so fast at managing files that it doesn’t much matter that the fragments are splashed over the drive.

Words. Words.

It happened between which two versions?

This sounds completely unsolvable, doesn’t it? Actually, I had a machine with symptoms like this. I had a bad memory strip on the motherboard.


Change out the strip and the machine has been in faithful service ever since.

We’ll see if anybody else has any ideas.


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