Audacity hangs or crashes due to no temp folder set.

Hi. I’m not a regular user of Audacity but I recently purchased a stereo component with a USB B port, so I’m hoping I can use Audacity to record from it directly onto my Mac Mini. I’m running Mac OS 10.9 Maverick and have downloaded three versions as a DMG. When I copy it to my Applications folder and open it, I get a message that no temp folder is known and to set one in preferences. It then either crashes (2.0.5, 2.0.4) or hangs (2.0.3). I didn’t want all this hassle so if anyone can give me a tip to just get it launched, I’d appreciate it. Otherwise, I’m bailing on it.

Thank you … Robert

The Disk Image (DMG) needs to be installed before you can really use Audacity. Pull the DMG back onto the desktop and double click on it. It will explode into the program folder and a comment file. Drag the program folder into /Applications and enjoy.


The user did say that they copied “it” to /Applications - I am not sure if this meant the Audacity folder or the DMG. This is just back up help if Koz’s instructions don’t help.

Make sure you didn’t run any of the versions from the DMG, and make sure all versions are force quit before starting another version. It’s best to eject the DMG before starting Audacity.

If Audacity still does not start, force quit it, open Finder, Go > Go to Folder and type:

~/Library/Application Support/audacity/

Open the file “audacity.cfg” in Textedit, select all the text and delete it. Then paste in the following:

TempDir=/Users/<your user name>/Desktop/audacity_temp/

Replace “” above with your actual user name. Audacity should create the “audacity_temp” folder on your Desktop.

If you are not allowed to write to your Desktop then I suggest Go > Utilities > Disk Utility. Run “Verify Disk” and then “Repair Permissions”.


Strangely, when I run Audacity from the DMG on Mavericks, with no audacity.cfg or older Preferences file available, I get no error about Nyquist files and the temporary directory is the normal one in /var. The only issue is that I cannot save or export without changing the directory because that directory is pointing to the DMG.

I am logged in as admin, so perhaps I should try it as standard user.


Thanks Koz, Gale. Editing the audacity.cfg file directly did the trick. I installed and opened Audacity as myself, which has admin rights, so I don’t know why Audacity couldn’t update in /tmp (which was linked as /private/tmp), but I pointed it to my Desktop and so I’m good to go. Thanks!

… Robert

Audacity should be able to write to an “audacity_temp” folder in /private/tmp if you navigate to /private/tmp by pressing Choose… from the Directories Preferences then use COMMAND + SHIFT + . to show hidden files and folders.

It should also work if you type /private/tmp in the text box in Directories Preferences.

If you just typed the /tmp symlink in the text box, that will not work. It’s bad behaviour for Audacity to crash rather than try its default temp directory, though.