Audio disappearing as Audacity records

Hi, I’ve seen this problem on the forum but don’t know if a solution has been found.

We’re using Ver 2.0.5 on a Windows 7 machine in a multi user enviroment, where users log in with independent profiles. At random times with random users, audacity will look like it’s recording but the audio vanishes from the screen a few seconds after the cursor has passed.

So though you see a waveform being created at first, you’re left with silence at the end of the recording. This problem happens only every now and then, maybe every few weeks, to different users at different times, and the quick fix is to close and re-open Audacity, then it’s fine.

The problem is not all our users cotton on to what’s happening, and don’t re-start Audacity so lose their recording. So we’d love to find a permanent solution to this.

I haven’t managed to see the log file when this problem occurs yet, but will try to get a copy of this. I’ve attached some screen shots of the build info if that helps. Oh and the ‘temp files directory’ is set to the temp folder on the local machine.

Any help you can offer on this is hugely appreciated

Thanks, Alex
Audacity st3 build info cont.png
Audacity st3 build info.jpg

What are you recording?
If it’s occasionally music, then you may be running afoul of Windows Enhanced Services. This is the system that tries to sense when you have noise or interference in your show and filter it out — in real time. Similar to what a cellphone does in a noisy environment.

If your show is voices or interviews, you may not notice it running at all. Or obviously if you or someone turned it off. But if you have music or anything with sustained musical notes, and Enhanced Service is running, Windows will try to filter out the notes, after thinking about it for a few seconds.

So that’s part of the class, right? Monitor your show in your headphones and always look at your meters? I bet the people who mess that up never do it again.


Please post the log next time this happens.

What you are describing doesn’t sound like Windows sound effects or “enhancements” or bad audio drivers, unless this problem is random (you just get bits of the recording fading away here and there). It could be a USB microphone plugged into a USB hub instead of into an empty USB port, or a loose cable in a hardwired microphone - what microphone are you using?

If the recording is silenced repeatedly every few seconds then for whatever reason, Audacity cannot write to the Audacity temp folder. This could be:

  • a permissions problem (even if each user’s temp folder is in their own user space)
  • a lack of disk space (either in absolute terms, or your IT Manager has imposed quotas so that each user is only allowed a fixed amount of space)
  • you could have an antivirus program like Norton which is deleting your temp files as you write them as part of a misguided cleanup.

Unfortunately Audacity shows no errors when writing problems occur. Get users in the habit of using CTRL + F after finishing the recording so that the whole recording is visible.

What you could do is set the Audacity temporary directory on each machine to the same folder, then right-click over that folder > Properties, click the “Security” tab and assign “Everyone” full control. Click “Edit…” then “Add…” if you don’t have an object for “Everyone”.

When setting the folder in Audacity’s Directories Preferences, type or paste in the name of a folder that does not have “temp” in its name, or after browsing to the folder and selecting it, remove “audacity_temp” from its name in the location box. That way, cleanup programs should not look there.


Thanks for your reply Koz, we’re doing pre-records for programs, so a mix of music and vocal and the recording failures are rare, random and total, and cured by closing and opening Audacity. When it happens rather than sounding filtered, the audio just disappears altogether.

Yeah you’d like to think so! Trouble is they see audio being captured in Audacity but fail to notice it’s dropping away again a few seconds later.

Thanks again for your reply, I appreciate it


the recording failures are rare, random and total, and cured by closing and opening Audacity.

We are chasing other rare production technical problems as well. They’re called “Moon Phase” problems for a reason.

“It’s the last quarter. Time for the playback buffers to flush themselves causing distortion for no apparent reason.”


Did you read my suggestions at ?

Can you save the log when this happens, before you quit Audacity?

Re-reading this, are you actually using only one machine for all users? Are you the computer administrator, or are you working in a company where someone else is the IT manager?

It could be a moonphase Audacity bug. Do you have the Audacity temporary folder open in Windows Explorer?

It could also be Norton or some other antivirus program, or messed up permissions, or an intermittent write problem on the drive.

As above, I strongly suggest you set the Audacity temporary directory to a folder everyone has access to, and do not have “temp” in its name.


Hi Gale, yes I did thank you, it was extremely helpful, I just didn’t get time to reply yesterday when I finally got back to the forum.

Yep, will definitely do this

We have a casual sys admin, I’m just the day tech. Users can log on to many machines, but It’s one machine they mainly do their recording on. This problem has happened on another machine though.

The moonphase Aud bug is real? No the temp folder isn’t open in WinEx, it’s only accessable to admin.

Intermittent write problem sounds right, did somebody say this wouldn’t show up in the log?

Okay, I’ll bring this up with the sys admin, see if he can make the change.
Thanks so much for your help with this Gale, I really appreciate it, I’ll post a log if the problem occurs again.

Thanks heaps, Alex

OK, when I suggest to set the temp folders of the machines to a folder that everyone has access to, obviously this won’t work if this is a network folder and more than one machine at a time is trying to write to that folder. Network drives are usually too slow for recording, in any case.

A folder that is not in any one user’s own space but accessible by all users (on each machine’s own drive space) should solve any permissions problems there may be.

Real but very rare.

Write errors will show up in the log, but won’t generate warning boxes in the interface.


Yep it’s the temp directory is on the local drive of each machine, 9.9 times out of 10 Audacity writes there no problem. Users can’t access the folder however, they export to their own profile.

I’ve since managed to get a copy of the log generated when Audacity has this problem. As it tries to write the file this error message just keeps repeating:
Audacity error log.txt (53.6 KB)

The log says access is denied. I think you will have to persuade the system administrator to set the Audacity temporary folder to a folder in C: that everyone has access to. For example, “C:Audacity recordings in Progress”.

And generally, setting the Audacity temp folder to C:WindowsTemp is a very poor idea - it could be targeted by cleanup applications.


“Moonphase” is a type of problem. It’s a joke on the fact that a problem seems to appear with a particular phase of the moon and for no apparent reason other than that. Bogus, of course, but it fits right in with unstable machines having a “personality.”

“Every time I make my tea too strong, my computer crashes.”


How does Audacity generate the name of the temp folder dir? project XXXX where XXXX is a number - is there some logic to it? The problem is two-fold, it appears that often, Audacity doesn’t cleanup the temp files. Not sure if this is a result of the user logging out before closing Audacity or not. (The machine in question is joined to a domain and users are domain users) Very occasionally, another user logs in and Audacity attempts to create the same temp folder that is left from another session by another user. Second user of course doesn’t have permissions on first users temp folder. This is where the problem occurs.

We’re going to set the temp location to the users %temp% (local profile) which will avoid the problem, but somewhat concerned about temp folder buildup if temp file cleanup is a problem. Will investigate further.

The XXXXX is a random five-digit number.

I understand.

Audacity defaults to that anyway, so on Windows 7, C:UsersAppDataLocalTempaudacity_temp.

I don’t believe there is a problem with temp file cleanup. Each Audacity window is a separate “project”. The temp data for a project will not be cleaned up until that project window is closed and the user responds to the “Save Changes?” prompt.

If you wish Audacity to be kept running so as to be ready for the next user, ask the user to use File > Close before logging out and to check after logging in that File > Save Project is greyed out. If it is not greyed out, then the last user’s temp data still exists and the user should File > Close and not save changes to remove that temp data.


Ah, now I understand, thanks Koz