Can I select 'no backup'?

I just installed Mint 18/Mate and Audacity 2.1.2. I have used previous versions of Mint and Audacity. I didn’t know to record the previous Audacity version number, but 2.1.2 behaves differently. In particular, it creates a backup when a .wav file is edited. When I edit plover.wav and export to the same name I also get plover-old1.wav, plover-old2, etc. If there is a way to turn this off I’ve not found it, and that’s the question, can I turn off the auto-backcup?

No that can’t be turned off. There are several reasons why Audacity does not allow you to overwrite the original data.

In some cases Audacity will reference the original WAV file for its data rather than first making a copy of the data. In this case the new file must be written before the old file is deleted, otherwise there will be missing data, producing silence, in the exported file. Also the Audacity project would be broken because it would now be using the wrong (new file) data. Audacity is not actually “creating a backup”, it’s renaming the original data (wav file) and then writing the exported data with the name of the original file. What it doesn’t do, which would be required for this feature request, is that it doesn’t delete the renamed original when it has finished exporting.

Murphy’s Law. If the original file was ever overwritten by a new version that was not right, then there may be no going back, the original could be lost forever with no hope of recovery. Once the project has been safely exported and you’re sure that it works, then it’s fairly safe to delete the original, but only if you’re sure that you will never need the original again, and the file is not being used by other projects. It’s then just one or two clicks to manually delete the original.

However, all that said, I agree that there are cases where it is much more convenient to overwrite the original without retaining it, and where the “risk” factor is low. So yes I agree that it would be a useful option to have, provided the user is aware of the possible risks.

On our “feature request” page of the wiki there is this request (below) which I think matches your request, so I’ve added your vote for this feature.
Overwrite: (16 votes) Just overwrite the imported file without any questions asked about name, format or options

In other words, that is a setting. Set the Import / Export Preferences to “Make a copy…”. Then there will be no renaming of the original file to “old” before writing the new file with the original name. You will only have the updated original file.

If you choose the “read directly” option, the import is faster, but Audacity has to create the “old” file because its working data is the original file.

I don’t think “Overwrite: (16 votes) Just overwrite the imported file without any questions asked about name, format or options” is saying "clean up the “old” files if you choose “read directly” " because you might not be using “read directly”. I do have three noted requests for cleaning up the “old” files, but they are not on the Wiki Feature Requests page yet.


Thanks for explaining things in ways my small brain can understand. I changed the Import/Export setting as suggested and the ‘problem’ is solved and life is good again.