Using Windows 8. It keeps asking to install plugins when starting it: hard_limiter_1413 and sc4_1882. These are already installed. No matter what I put, install or don’t install/cancel, audacity starts to open and then crashes, forcing the entire pc to restart. Tried uninstalling and reinstalling Tried running in compatibility mode for older versions of windows. All result in the same crashes.
It’s not always plugins. Audacity can’t bring Windows to its knees by itself, but it has help. If Audacity steps on a bad sound card driver or other similar Windows software when it starts, it can put Windows right into the mud.
That is probably a red herring.
The plugins are only fully installed when Audacity has “registered” them. If Audacity has not completely opened, then it will not have registered the effects, so it will try again the next time that you try to launch Audacity. So the critical question is, has Audacity ever worked on that computer?
What version of Audacity are you using? What does it say if you hover your computer mouse over audacity.exe?
If you are using Audacity 2.0.4 then the problem may be solvable by simply updating to the current 2.0.6 version from http://audacityteam.org/download/windows.
If the problem persists in 2.0.6, it is probably a problem with the drivers of your audio device. There is help with finding out the cause of the crash and locating correct drivers for your audio device here: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/faq_errors.html#reboot.