Best Operating system for #= Hour recording

HI, I currently have been given a laptop with a 1.6 Ghz processor and 2 gig ram to be used as a dedicated Audacity Recorder for a 3+ record from our mixer.
I have all the hardware required and it all works with windows and linux

My question is what would be the best operating system to use to record? , I can install Vista, win & or linux on the laptop and I was wondering what would be the most reliable ?

Am I over thinking it?
any Ideas?


If you’re comfortable using it and you never get sick, then Linux is probably a good idea, given that all the hardware is supported. If you do occasionally get sick, then no question Windows, but not Vista. Vista is already, what, four OS’s behind in security updates.


don’t know about never getting sick, I’m an It student with enough linux experience to get the job done, and it needs to be reliable for the entire 3+ hours so I wasn’t sure what the best would be

One recording? Or repeated recordings?

If you go with Windows, then you need to take it through the updates and security patches – and not Vista. Linux is probably good to go. I don’t think any of the three operating systems is particularly preferable to any other given healthy computers with no other problems or software conflicts and somebody who knows how to drive.

If you start doing extreme recording, then yes, you need to worry about memory, drive and cache limits , the natural WAV file limit, and other export problems. People who insist on making Audacity into a Surveillance Recorder run into all these problems. But all three Audacity programs have the same limits.

When you get it set up, take it on a test drive. Hang a microphone out the window and record street traffic while you go do something for three hours. You may find that timers plague you.

“Wait, the screen went to sleep. Where is my recording?”

Test it first.


I forgot one. Windows has that Enhanced Services thing. It tries to set up your recording for conferencing whether you want it or not. I doubt Linux has anything like that.


it would be 1 recording (if possible)

I can possible get someone to stop it half way through during a 15 minute intermission and start it but i’d prefer not to just incase they forget to start it again, it’s not a powerful laptop so I will try linux as it seems to need less in the recommended requirements

Your choices are press Stop and then Shift-R to start it up again just where you left off, or “P” (record pause) and then “P” again to resume.

We can’t help you with remembering to do it. Audacity Timer Record only has one event.

You might consider setting a label during the recording so you can find the show breakpoint(s) easily in post production.


A 3 hour recording should be fine on any modern* operating system as long as:

  1. The computer is stable.
  2. The sound card is fully supported by the operating system.
  3. You are using a sample rate of 44100 Hz (default, and CD standard) or 48000 Hz (DVD standard).
  4. The machine has adequate storage (hard drive) space.

*Old and obsolete operating systems may not handle full 32 bit memory references.

It starts getting difficult when the length of the recording reaches 2^31 samples (about 13.5 hours at 44100 Hz sample rate).

Another limit to be aware of is that some file types have a maximum size, for example, the maximum file size for a WAV file is about 4 GB (about 6 1/2 hours for stereo CD quality audio).

Thank you all for the help,

I tested a Linux setup today and it seemed stable, (ram pegged at around 300 mb) to be honest It would probably be fine on a Windows setup too but I am a little concerned as the recommended requirements for windows is a double the specs of the laptop.

anyway it’ works so I’m not messing with it

Thanks guys