Audacity project on USB is very slow... but when transferred on desktop, it gives an "Audacity failed to write to a file"

I am at my wit’s end. Usually I save my files on an extrernal hard drive, which yes, I know Audacity doesn’t like, but it hasn’t given me issues until now. So, when presented with extreme slowness and continuous crashes, I decided the best option would be working on desktop instead. Except, for every other step of ANYTHING, from trimming to CTRL+J to even saving the file, I get this “Audacity failed to write a file” error:


the problem details are as such:

{
“timestamp”: 1716249916,
“event_id”: “57f6d35b0b88704883e030a13ef9cbb4”,
“platform”: “native”,
“release”: “audacity@3.5.1”,
“contexts”: {
“os”: {
“type”: “os”,
“name”: “Windows”,
“version”: “10.0.22631”
}
},
“exception”: {
“values”: [
{
“type”: “Error_Saving_Project”,
“value”: “Audacity failed to write to a file.\nPerhaps is not writable or the disk is full.”,
“mechanism”: {
“type”: “runtime_error”,
“handled”: false,
“data”: {
“sqlite3.query”: “INSERT INTO (id, dict, doc) VALUES(1, ?1, ?2) ON CONFLICT(id) DO UPDATE SET dict = ?1, doc = ?2;”,
“sqlite3.rc”: “11”,
“sqlite3.context”: “ProjectGileIO::WriteDoc::step”,
“log”: “\tLibraryError: database disk image is malformed\n02:05:16: SQLite error (11): database corruption at line 57629 of [1b256d97b5]\n02:05:16: SQLite error (11): statement aborts at 17: [INSERT INTO (id, dict, doc) VALUES(1, ?1, ?2) ON CONFLICT(id) DO UPDATE SET dict = ?1, doc = ?2;] database disk image is malformed\n02:05:16: DBConnection SetDBError\n\tErrorCode: 11\n\tLastError: Failed to update the project file.\nThe following command failed:\n\nINSERT INTO (id, dict, doc) VALUES(1, ?1, ?2) ON CONFLICT(id) DO UPDATE SET dict = ?1, doc = ?2;\n\tLibraryError: database disk image is malformed\n”
}
}
}
]
}
}

Alternatively, I get this “Automatic database backup failed” error:


with the following problem details:

{
“timestamp”: 1716250339,
“event_id”: “3674010094ccad49863a1ee78acf1343”,
“platform”: “native”,
“release”: “audacity@3.5.1”,
“contexts”: {
“os”: {
“type”: “os”,
“name”: “Windows”,
“version”: “10.0.22631”
}
},
“exception”: {
“values”: [
{
“type”: “Warning”,
“value”: “Automatic database backup failed.”,
“mechanism”: {
“type”: “runtime_error”,
“handled”: false,
“data”: {
“sqlite3.query”: “INSERT INTO (id, dict, doc) VALUES(1, ?1, ?2) ON CONFLICT(id) DO UPDATE SET dict = ?1, doc = ?2;”,
“sqlite3.rc”: “11”,
“sqlite3.context”: “ProjectGileIO::WriteDoc::step”
}
}
}
]
}
}

I want to reiterate, these errors come from a file that is being edited on desktop, no external hard drives involved.

As for my specs, I’m on a Windows 11, x64 PC, Processor Intel(R) Core™ i5-8300H CPU @ 2.30GHz, 2304 Mhz, with more than 40 GB available on my C: drive. I’m using the current version of Audacity, 3.5.1.

What should I do? Did Audacity decide it just didn’t like my file? Should I give up and start over?

Please advise.

Edit: I tried working on a new file, and as I said in a comment below: same audio tracks copypasted from their original files (I clean them individually for editing). Five minutes worth of audio into editing, I notice that it’s slowing down - around the same timestamp I started having issues on the incriminated file. So I SHIFT+K all the tracks from that timestamp on, created a new file, copypasted it there, and… somehow it runs smoothly.

…Up until about 10 minutes worth of audio. Then it starts slowing down again.

What even is this.

Edit 2: after some scouring of the forum, I think I managed to find a solution: I individually mix & rendered every track, and that seemed to bring back the file to ideal speed. It’s a bit inconvenient, but if it works it works.

How long is the show? Stereo (two blue waves)?

You still have the show on the external drive, right?

This is when you were on the external drive?

Whenever you perform an edit, correction, filter, effect, etc, Audacity makes a copy of the Whole Show. When you need to UNDO a mistake, Audacity doesn’t undo the last edit, it just plays back the last complete show. That means your show size is the size you think it is times the number of edits you made.

I’m guessing you ran out of everything.

Koz

I mean, I don’t believe so? I’ve worked on much bigger files before, on pretty much the same disk space. For reference, there is about 1,20 TB of space on the external hard drive, and when I went to check the C: drive, it wasn’t even near to full.

Interesting fact: while waiting for a reply, I started on a new file, same audio tracks copypasted from their original files (I clean them individually for editing). Five minutes worth of audio into editing, I notice that it’s slowing down - around the same timestamp I started having issues on the incriminated file. So I SHIFT+K all the tracks from that timestamp on, created a new file, copypasted it there, and… somehow it runs smoothly.

No idea what to think. I guess I’ll have to work in chunks??

This error is indicative of a Corrupted Database Project File. See: Result and Error Codes

The “Audacity failed to write a file” error is a red herring and is triggered by the corruption.

In many cases the corruption can be repaired. See the first post here: Corrupt or Otherwise Broken Audacity Project Recovery

I am glad that you found a helpful trick to improve performance. “Undo” information and smartclips can sometimes bog down a project. I sometimes do Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-N, Ctrl-V, skipping the “smart clip” paste.

Yeah, turns out the “main” issue was the information from the tracks I cleaned separately and imported into a new file. After doing a mix&render, everything is back to smooth.

Thank you for your time and care!

Isn’t there a hardening step now where we inspect the files with an eye to make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else?

Koz