Audacity freezes up when handling large files [SOLVED]

Which version of Audacity?

There are some issues in older 3.x versions that could cause this problem. Ensure that you are using the current version (currently 3.0.5):

If you were using an older version and you have saved the projects, there may be problems in those projects. It may be possible to fix those projects if that’s the case.

I have 3.0.5 and this happens with my current projects, recorded on this version.

I would also like to qualify my earlier comment.

  1. The delays start with even smaller files or clips (5-10 min) and as the file gets larger, the delay increases and at some point becomes Audacity “not responding” i.e. frozen. Yesterday I was uploading the largest file so far (3.5 hr of voice recording) which took over 15 min, which is definitely not normal.

  2. This issue comes up with file upload (open) which opens a new window, and with pasting a clip into an open project. Audacity is clearly struggling with processing large files.

  3. With the older versions, this issue was sporadic. Once I updated to 3. version it became worse and eventually a consistent behaviour.

  4. It doesn’t crash, but it takes a VERY VERY LONG time to process large files.

Is this with saved projects, or unsaved projects?
If it’s saved projects, where are they saved? (internal hard drive / ssd / network drive / One Drive / Google Drive / USB stick …)
How much free space is there on your computer’s main storage device? (hard drive or ssd)

everything is saved on my PC SSD

57 GB free space.

Is Windows fully updated?

That would seem to suggest that it is not specific to the new version, but rather a worsening problem writing large amounts of data.
What’s the total size of your computer’s hard drive?

Is has occurred to me that one possible explanation for this difference is that quite simply - since I started using Audacity about four years ago up until June this year I had been working with large files only sporadically. From June, I started working with 1 hr+ files on a weekly basis, hence the issue became more pronounced and more noticeable.

Even getting a new, much faster computer with Windows 10 last year didn’t ameliorate this issue.

I don’t know how widespread this issue is, but when I googled it, I saw several posts on various forums about it, which means it is not isolated to my computer environment only.

It may or may not be linked to any particular version of Audacity, but it does seem like the program’s weakness in handling large files which becomes pronounced under certain conditions.

My Windows is always up to date
SSD 1.4 TB

Have you tried to replicate this issue under similar parameters to my PC?

when I opened Task Manager during this freeze, the CPU and memory usage were not excessive, while disk writing was at 100% which I guess is normal (?). If not, then it seems that Audacity needs a lot of disk space or maybe doesn’t like competing with other programs for access to it.

I’m not an audio engineer, just an analytical thinker, so I would appreciate your expert advice.

Most of those will be an earlier bug that has since been fixed. At least, I’m hoping that it has been fixed - see this post: Editing is painfully slow - #6 by steve

no, that article and issue have nothing to do with what I experience.

My issue is not with editing, as I said, but with uploading and pasting.
I have never seen white dots in my tracks.
My editing is fine, no problems.

Once again, it clearly points to the weakness of Audacity with “installing” large files and clips - uploading from OPEN and pasting.

I have given you all the technical info I can, have done all testing myself I can, and provided you with my own analysis and conclusion.

I can’t give you any more data.

if you can replicate this issue and find the fix, please let me know.

I’ve done some testing with a 3 hour stereo track. As expected, some operations are rather slow.

I’ve never liked working on huge projects because of the inevitable sluggishness. I prefer to split huge projects into manageable size chunks (say around 30 mins each). 2.5 hours stereo with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz is around 3.5 GB of data, and if there were any effects applied, that could easily increase to tens of GB of “Undo history”. It’s not unreasonable for it to take several minutes to handle that amount of data.

Audacity 3.x does seem to take longer than 2.x due to the additional “compacting” steps. Nevertheless, 15 minutes for a 2.5 hour seems excessive and I can’t reproduce that amount of slowness.

ok then, thanks

I will clean up my PC SSD to make more wiggle room and will see if it makes any difference.

An average file I work with these days is about 1.5 hr long. Splitting it before uploading to Audacity is not feasible as I can split it only in Audacity.

I don’t have any other audio editor.

I don’t often work with such big projects, but when I do I split the project as the first thing, then close Audacity, then work on the projects one at a time.
One way to split the project is by Exporting as 32-bit float WAV files (perfect copy of the audio data). These files are also useful as backups.

I think you are missing my point Steve.

the whole issue - delay - is at the very point of uploading the file to Audacity.

once I manage to upload it, after several minutes that this takes - there is no need to split it.

I can’t split it before uploading.

Suggestion for this to be fixed in the next update.


Oh, you mean importing large files?
What format are the files?

I work every week on W10 with 2 to 3 hour files - all load just fine.

I don’t do cut&paste work - But I do edits that trim the beginning and end buffer zones and amplify/normalize and export as WAV and/or MP3 - all runs just fine with no problems and no slow running.


Oh, you mean importing large files?
What format are the files?

yes. I mean importing files. Mp3.

One of the files I work with each week is a 2 hour webcast that a Dublin DJ friend of mine sends me of his show, This comes as a 320kbps MP3 and imports fine for editing each week.


Please try this:

  1. “Help menu > Diagnostics > Show Log”
  2. Click the “Clear” button
  3. Import one of the slow MP3 files
  4. Save the log from the “Audacity log”
  5. Attach the log file to your reply (See:

thanks for that - I have cleaned up my PC and am back to editing - will see if the issue persists.

If it does - I will submit the log.

Mystery solved.

After I have freed up 200 GB on my drive - was able to upload a 2 hr mp3 file within seconds.

The problem was that I tend to create several backup files while working on a project, and wasn’t deleting them once the project was done. That was a huge amount of data which is now gone.

This means that Audacity is resource hungry.


Thanks for the update. Glad to hear that it is now working for you. I’ll close this topic as “solved”.