Audacity settings and effects resetting to default

I am currently using Audacity 2.2.1 on 2014 Mac Mini running MacOS Sierra. Recently started having issue where after rebooting Mac and/or when relaunching Audacity after a crash or Force Quit shutdown (after Audacity Non-Responsive), Audacity settings seem to have reset to default settings. Additionally the effects menu/plug in registry appears to also reset to default. Needless to say is quite a pain as to use my plug-ins again I have to re-add effects whenever this occurs. Upon checking the usual files audacity.cfg, pluginregistry.cfg and pluginsettings.cfg, majority of times they appear to be the initial/default files would normally see after a new install. Any ideas what is causing this? Until I can find out what causes this to happen, could i save those files somewhere after I have added my plug-ins and changed settings to my specifications, so that when this occurs I can copy and replace the initial/default files and possibly have my config back after a relaunch of Audacity?

Also have noticed that both on Mac and Windows versions that saving projects sometimes is taking an extremely long time to save (30 minutes up to an hour), no matter the save location and occurs with many tracks as well as just 1 or two. Also extremely long time to export files, particularly with M4A format on both Mac and Windows.

Thanks in advance for any ideas on what may be happening.

How long are the shows?


after rebooting Mac

You’re a convert from Windows? How often do you need to reboot? Traditionally, Mac users go months without needing to restart their machines. Sometimes, it’s good to shut down or restart (twice) your Mac at the solstices.

If you need to do it regularly, then you may have an unstable Mac.

Or are you sharing a Mac with other OS’s? There was a note a while back that the latest Mac versions didn’t play well with Parallels or other sharing packages, services and systems.


I would normally rarely reboot myself, but since El Capitan I have been plagued by app freezes in general, particularly the Finder. I’d say unstable is a slight understatement. With no extra (other than Apple System) apps set to start at login (Disabled all third party apps from starting at login), it’s been beach-ball bonanza since “upgrading” from Yosemite to El Capitan, now to Sierra. Finder and most apps including Audacity start freezing or totally not responding almost immediately on reboot or shortly after they are launched. I have the max RAM at 16 GB, I could stand to get an SSD in it but the 2014 and up Mac Mini’s have mostly non user upgradable components (Thanks a lot Apple!) so I don’t think that’s even an option.

Using Activity monitor and scouring posts on the web, I think I can attribute it to iCloud and in particular the iCloud Drive/My Files trying to sync and upload/download in background. There are a couple of processes (one called bird and another Cloudd) which consume almost all the CPU and don’t seem to care if you try to disable or force them to quit. They may quit but will relaunch themselves and when they do CPU shoots up to almost 100% CPU usage again. I have called Apple Support over and over again, both regular support and Pro Apps support in case of Logic Pro, all with almost no improvements. If they have a solution they are not forthcoming with it.

The end result is a Mac which operates at fraction of speed it did on earlier OS X Yosemite. From what I find online, seems upgrading to High Sierra is worse, same issue but even worse, so not much hope there. I am considering trying to go back to Yosemite or at the very least seeing if possible to totally un-link from iCloud and setup without using AppleID. From what I hear and from what I’ve seen, they are making it harder and harder to use the system without being tied to AppleID and iCloud.

Pretty much all my audio apps affected. Logic Pro X is almost totally crippled and unusable. Cannot even play a single track without getting “Disk too slow or System Overload”. No sharing, no Bootcamp, Parallels, etc.

The other issue, long time to save and export files, however, occurs on both Mac and Windows versions of Audacity, so the problems I’m having with my Mac would not explain this issue.

I may need to move this topic over to Windows section of forum. Am using a computer at work which is Windows and problem with plug in registry/ effects listings happened just now. Saved a project then totally exited out of Audacity. Relaunched Audacity and checked the effects list once it relaunched. All effects showing were default only, all effects I had added were gone. Looked at the files in AppData/Roaming/Audacity and they were all replaced with default ones (as seen by the changes in date modified).

Got some screenshots, and prior to this happening I had copied and saved the older pluginregistry.cfg and audacity.cfg and pluginsettings.cfg. Am trying to copy and replace the new files that appeared, hopefully can get my effects menus back without having to constantly re add effects.

Screenshots: Capture1: Files as they appeared after relaunching Audacity. Effects menu is at default. All user added plug-ins gone.
Capture2: Files I had previously saved before the issue occurred.
Capture5: Copied and Replaced the saved files to AppData files.
Capture6: AppData folder after copy and replaced the files.
Capture6: Appdata folder after relaunching Audacity. Effects are back in menu.

Capture 7: AppData folder after relaunching Audacity (After copied and replaced with older cfg files). Effects menu back, all user added effects are back.

Apple is desperate to get me to an on-line service. I have to fight them off each time I do any sort of upgrade.

Do you use FireFox? Welcome to the New York Times On-Line. CPU Use: 125%.

All the laptops back to Frances (MBP-2008) have had SSDs. I knew it was a desirable decision even with the tiny sizes available at the time, but the idea was really brought home by one of the Systems People having a very similar machine to mine, except he had spinning metal. I had to produce some commands on his machine one day and I said, unfortunately out loud, “Is this machine broken?”

It wasn’t broken. It was like working through cold honey.

And just because you’re into the system stuff, have you ever done the extended memory check? I don’t remember where it is, but I know you can do a simple, one-pass and there’s a setting where you can make it flog the memory repeatedly looking for failures. That may be worth doing.

And closing iCloud.


uBlock origin[al] ad-blocker is the cure for that.

uBlock origin[al] ad-blocker is the cure for that.

How did you discover that? I’m amazed I didn’t have to “teach” it anything. It works as well as an older security program I had which collapsed in the last FireFox update.

One way to get a blizzard of hits is Google “ad blocker,” so I gave up.


Back to the original question. I’m not sure where to go with this other than holler for the senior elves to help out.

As a tangential side-issue (the best kind) I had been using a security and ad blocker which became non-useful at the last FireFox update. The machine became a slow, unresponsive time-waster, and I don’t have iCloud or any storage systems other than SSD and plug-in backup drives.

It happened to more than one machine.

I’m on-and -off working on voice recording using an iPod (rather than an iPhone). The first experiments let me transfer sound files through the charging cable to iTunes on a larger machine, but after the last few updates, that pathway seems to be missing. I’m scheduling a trip to the Genius Bar—I’m mid-way between three of them. Lots of Geniuses, no waiting. It appears the only data pathway still open is through iCloud services…oddly enough.

Oh, two items, just to cover it, you do know about “clean” Windows boot? Shift-Shutdown resets many more things than either plain Shutdown or Restart.

That and reinstalling Audacity doesn’t reset Audacity. To get a clean Audacity, you have to take the config files to the trash. This isn’t an error. This is so you don’t have to completely reinstall your plugins and settings at every update. Unfortunately, if you have damaged config files—or a much more likely a damaged plugin—the damage will follow you around like a bad rash.

In Mac-land, Go > ~/Library/Application Support. Take the audacity folder to the trash.


I don’t know where to go with your files and folders seemingly resetting themselves. I would be peeling the system(s) back to plain, non-enhanced computer until I found the problems, checking everything as I went. When was the last time you did a manual Windows DeFrag? Do you leave it running and alive all night? If not, the drive may be a blizzard of split files.

The MBA has El Capitan 10.11.6 and that seems to be reasonably stable, although I do have occasional odd behaviors. My sister and I have matching MBAs and I don’t see a lot of value in upgrading either one any further.

As we go.


Try making a copy of audacity.cfg, pluginregistry.cfg and pluginsettings.cfg and name them audacity1.cfg, pluginregistry1.cfg and pluginsettings1.cfg, then move them into the same folder as the originals.
Next time that Audacity mysteriously resets itself, look to see if the copies exist. If the copies have disappeared, then something is deleting your files, and it not likely to be Audacity because Audacity has no interest in files that are not its own files (Audacity does write to audacity.cfg, pluginregistry.cfg and pluginsettings.cfg, but it will never write to audacity1.cfg, pluginregistry1.cfg and pluginsettings1.cfg without complaining that you are doing something weird).