cannot save or export

I’ve made a long recording about 20 hours. I cannot save or export to file in any format. All grey. Is there some way to keep the file? Win 7 latest audacity 2.2.2.

All grey.

You can’t play it either, right? Click somewhere in the middle and press SpaceBar Play.

Did you press Stop? Many of the Audacity functions stop working if you’re in Pause.

I get 12.73GB of storage needed for 20 hours and it’s probably higher than that. Did you run out of storage?


Audacity from 2.2.2 onwards should now check for running out of space, warn the user and stop.


Thank you both for responding so quickly. WOW!

I think i was in pause mode. I played a bit of the file and the options to save and export returned. Foolish me.

Does Audacity have an file length restrictions or just the size of the disc capacity?

Thanks again,

Audacity doesn’t have a file length restriction, but WAV files have a limit of 4GB. Most other file types are limited by the available disk space and filing system limitations (FAT32 formatted drives have a 4 GB file size limit for all file types).

I think i was in pause mode. I played a bit of the file and the options to save and export returned. Foolish me.

Thanks for posting back. Information like yours helps dig other people out of trouble (it’s a forum, not a help desk).


Now I’m trying to wrap my head around saving this long file.

At the moment it is a single file. I would like to save as an Audacity file, save onto my thumb drive and then import, edit, using Audacity on another computer.

When i go to Save AS Project, it won’t let me b/c it’s a single file???

Because It’s longer than 4GB I cannot export as .wav. When I look at Audacity’s Open or Import options I don’t see a native Audacity file format. (When i use Photoshop I can move the .psd native file between computers and other Photoshop instances easily.)

I see I can export as a FLAC and then import as a FLAC. Is this the main/recommended way to do this?

Thanks in advance

Audacity’s native format is the “Audacity Project”. This is not a single file. It is a folder containing a tree of sub-folders, containing dozens / hundreds / thousands of 1MB audio “blocks”, plus there is a “project file” containing instructions that tell Audacity how to put all of those pieces together to reconstruct the project.

Example, if you save a project (File menu > Save Project), and give it the name “my-project”, Audacity will create:

  1. A folder called “my-project_data”, which will contain the audio data.
  2. A file called “my-project.aup” which is the “project file”.

Project files are very small because it is just a text file of instructions - there is no audio data in a project file.
The project data folder is usually very large because it contains 32-bit audio data.

What is the format of the thumb drive? If it is FAT32 then it has a 4GB file size limit.

My suggestion would be to split the 20 hour recording so that you have multiple files less than 4 GB. See here for how to split a long recording: Splitting a recording into separate tracks - Audacity Manual (you don’t need to split into separate “songs” as in that description, but the general idea is the same).