Audacity Running Really Slow

Windows 10
Version 3.0.2

I’m working on my 1st project and initially everything was working fine. But now Audacity is really slow - cut/paste, saving, deleting - takes several minutes every step. If I start a new project everything seems fine, but I don’t want to just restart my project and redo the recording. Not sure what I did to cause the massive slowdown.

Thanks for the help!

1 Like

That’s only relevant to Audacity 2.4.2 and earlier.
Audacity 3.x uses a different project format and does not use .AU files (See:

We’ve had a few reports of this issue, and we’re not sure what causes it either. Most of us cannot reproduce the problem except in a few specific cases.

It is known that a problem can occur if the project name, or the path to the project contains one or more apostrophe (“single quote” character).
C:\User\Zombo\Desktop\Audacity projects\Martha O’Brian\Martha’s Song.aup3

Note that in the above example there are two problem characters.
If that’s the problem, then the fix would be:

  1. Quit Audacity.
  2. Rename the folder “Martha O’Brian” or move the project to a folder that does not contain an apostrophe.
  3. Rename the project file so that it does not contain an apostrophe.

Example of a “good” name:
C:\User\Zombo\Desktop\Audacity projects\Martha OBrian\Marthas Song.aup3

Best practices: Avoid spaces in file names:

  1. Restart Audacity.
    Audacity may still be slow, but may speed up after you’ve done some work, saved and reopened.

Audacity 3.0.3 is due to be released soon. It contains some bug fixes that “may” help with the slowness problem, but we can’t be sure as we can’t reproduce the problem. The 3.0.3 version does fix the problem with apostrophes in file names, though “best practice” is to avoid special characters in file names - stick with letters, numbers, underscore and hyphen.

Thanks for the quick reply! I don’t have a “bad” name for the file. Do you think reinstalling audacity might help?

No. I think that will make no difference at all.

Hi all,

I’ll chime in with the same issue running 3.03 on Win10. Any function except playback takes 5 to 30 minutes to perform. I’d been using Audacity nine months now and only started having this issue in the last 30 days. I thought it was due to low hard drive space (240GB SSD), but things have gotten progressively worse despite freeing up 18gb on the drive.

No other programs/apps are impacted running on my machine which I had since new for about 4 months. I’ll try remove spaces between words in file name as mentioned. There are never any punctuations in the file names.

Any other advice or direction is greatly appreciated.

Enable the “Envelope Tool” (See:
Do your tracks have unexpected envelope points?


Thanks for the quick reply. I’m relatively new to audio engineering so I don’t know what an unexpected envelope is. I’ve used the envelope tool to lower then fade out the stero track on both ends of the total project.

I’ll tell you that the projects that now cause the issue have three mono track, one stero track and one label track. Audio length for the main two mono tracks run 45 minutes to an hour. Total length of the project an hour to an hour and 10 minutes.

Does any of this change your recommendation or give you any other ideas? Thanks again!

Perhaps you could post a screenshot ( of the project, with the Envelope Tool selected.
See here for how to post an image in a forum post:

I use a 5 year old HP Pavilion laptop with Windows 10, currently have Audacity 3.1.3 and have had experience of Slow response with Audacity projects since day one. From Opening up an existing project regardless of it being .au or .aup3, regardless of the size of the project, ranging from 2mins of recorded material to up to 3 hours, regardless of the number of tracks in use.

Its typically worse within the first hour of turning on the laptop, so I have started to open up a project I’m working on first thing, go walk the dog/breakfast/coffee etc and then come in to work on the project. That isn’t a guarantee though.

I also found that disconnecting the connection to the Wi-Fi and then suspending malware/security scans to free up processing power sometimes helps. Again, no guarantee.

Breaking up the project into smaller sections, saving them separately is usually a good thing, so when the responsiveness is slow, its not as slow with smaller sections, the longer the project, the slower it runs. I’m talking up to 15mins to do a simple action.

I’m of the opinion that its a hardware issue, that the bigger the RAM the quicker it is and also the smaller I keep the projects, the quicker it is. I doubled the RAM to 16gb and things overall improved, though I’m here typing this because its slowed so a halt at the mo.

As long as the RAM is not 100% in use, you shouldn’t note any improvement by adding more RAM; RAM use to be that way, or it is enough, or it is not.
It might be a problem due to an excess of activity on your HDD. Try to use the task manager to determine which resources are you lacking when your computer behaves slowly.

Many years ago, I had a virus-checker program that would literally bring my system to it’s knees and would automatically run whenever I started up my machine. But I think you have already explored that avenue.

For a sanity check, you can check that the size of an Audacity project is appropriate. For example, a one-hour single mono track would be contained in about 630MB, or about the size of a stereo .WAV file. If your one-hour project has exploded to 10GB, there may be something amiss with the project. Oh, and when you check, make sure you do it when Audacity is closed.

I put Audacity 3.2.4 on a new HP Laptop with Windows 11 and 11G memory. I found that I saved a file in the wrong folder so I decided to move it. I saved the open file to the new location and it took 12 minutes. Then it took another 15 minutes to Compress the file.It usually takes about 6 minutes to open the file.
The file is approximately 10 hrs and 50 minutes which is a book narration. This is terrible, I’m about ready to ditch this version and go back to my old computer.

Please what is my problem?

Yes. I think you are going to find that a file copy by the operating system is going to be faster than saving a second copy with Audacity. They both have to do the copy operation, but the operating system is optimized for this. Audacity is not.

I didn’t have an ’ in my project name, but I shortened the name. It did not help. I’ve restarted audacity.

I never used anything but letters in the name, running Audacity 3.2.5.

Hour long stereo track of a voice (podcaster) no music… no background. Just me talking.