Audacity won't open

This happened today. It simply won’t open. It was fine last week. So I uninstalled it and re-installed it, and it still won’t open. I click on the icon and it shows the little box, them a ding sounds and it doesn’t open. I tried this in run as administrator mode also, to no avail. I checked my device manager, and there doesn’t seem to be a problem there. I’ve made no hardware changes, and turned off my antivirus.
I have no idea why this is happening. I’ve been using Audacity for over 10 years and kept up with all of the updates, so for this to happen out of the blue escapes me.
Audacity 2.3.2, Windows 10, Dell Inspiron 620 with Intel Core i5 and 8G RAM

As far as you know, do all the rest of your apps work? Have you checked a bunch of them?

Unplug your network (if it’s wired) or stop the network connection.

Do a clean shutdown: Shift-Shutdown > Wait > Start.

Don’t start or reconnect the network. Will Audacity open now?


stop the network connection

You may have to Google network management. This is abysmally complicated in Windows.


Something else that’s odd: after it doesn’t open, if I click it again I get this message: “The system has detected that another copy of Audacity is running. Running two copies of Audacity may cause data loss or cause your system to crash.
Use the New or Open commands in the currently running Audacity process to open multiple projects simultaneously.”
The problem is that I can’t find it running anywhere. I opened Task Manager and it doesn’t show that it’s running.

I have 2 other DAW’s that open just fine. So it must be something that’s only Audacity related.

Try rebooting the computer.

If that doesn’t fix it, you will need to manually delete Audacity’s “lock file”. I don’t usually use Windows, so I’ll have to look up where that is if we need to delete it manually.

While Audacity is running, it creates a “lock file” to ensure that there is only one instance of the application. If there are multiple instances, that can cause instability because they could overwrite each other’s temp files. On closing Audacity, the lock file is automatically deleted. It’s unusual on Windows, but possible that if Audacity is terminated unexpectedly (either through the computer shutting down, or a crash, or other reason), the lock file can get left behind, causing the problem that you now see.

By the way, I have 2 other DAWS that work perfectly, so my computer is probably not the issue.

Where is this 'lock file" located?

Interesting - Windows doesn’t use a lock file. A full reboot should do the job. Note that “shutting down” Windows 10 does not by default “shut it down”. For a full shut-down:
Windows start menu → Shift + click the power button → Select “shut down”

Hi Steve, that full reboot didn’t work. I uninstalled and reinstalled again, and it still won’t open. I also opened up the Session Data folder but there was nothing in there. There was a post on the Audacity website that suggested doing that.

I did a little digging around into past users experiences with getting the audacity box to pop up, but then the program failing to launch further.

You say you haven’t made any hardware or software changes, but computers often update things without telling you, and sometimes the little things can slip our minds.

I’m gonna give you a couple of steps, but I don’t know if any of this applies to your system because I’ve never used what you’ve got.
Open up your task manager. Click the services tab. Find ‘Audiosrv’ and ‘AudioEndpointBuilder’ and stop those files. This -should- disable your audio from working altogether until reset, and possibly will need a system reset after it.

While audio is disabled, try to start Audacity. If it opens, that means you probably have an issue with a recording or playback device somewhere along the lines. One user had a TV watching device hooked up to their computer that was causing the same issue, for example. It could be some new software installed, too, or maybe a setting was changed somewhere that’s making your mic or speakers cause an error when Audacity tries to access it.

I think I misinterpreted what you were saying here. Did that message only come up the second time that you try to launch Audacity? If so, then that’s a bit of a red herring (not the cause of the problem).

Assuming that’s the case:

  1. Reboot your computer.
  2. Open the hidden folder: *Users<username>\AppData\Roaming\audacity*
  3. From that folder, delete the three files:
  • audacity.cfg
    • pluginregistry.cfg
    • pluginsettings.cfg

Then try to launch Audacity.

Well, after doing a little digging around, I finally got Audacity to open by deleting the pluginregistry.cfg and pluginsettings.cfg files in the AppData\Roaming\Audacity section and then restarting. The FFmpeg Library didn’t reinstall upon restart so I had to download them again. Also, none of my VST plugins reinstalled either, so I’ll have to load all of them in again, but at least the program is up and running, for now. Thank you everybody for your help and input.

Hi Steve, I saw your message after I posted. I must have been on the same wave. I got all of the information you posted on the Audacity website. Thank you for your hard work. I also found out you have to load all VST plugins into the Audacity plugins folder manually. There is no re-scanning for VST plugins feature anymore in the edit section as there was previously.