Can't open/import files in Audacity.

Hello. I have just run the latest (2.1.3) installer on my month-old PC (Windows 10, i7, SoundBlaster Z soundcard). However, whenever I try to open a file, it goes to the file/folder list but crashes as soon as I click on a file. Oddly, pressing ctrl+w or alt+f4 to exit a blank audacity session also causes it to crash. Something is very wrong with file management within Audacity. I have Audacity installed to C: (solid state) but have set the temporary/session data folder to d: (standard HD).

So in summary, I can open Audacity and record “What U hear” but the moment I try to open a file, Audacity crashes. Please help! Thanks in advance.

What happens if you reset preferences and use the default location for the temp folder?
To reset preferences, reinstall Audacity from the exe and select the option to reset preferences when it appears during the installation. On first run after installing, confirm that you wish to reset preferences.

Hi Steve. Thanks for your prompt response. Here’s where I’m at.

  1. ran automated uninstall via Control Panel.
  2. performed manual removal of Audacity folder from C:\prog~86
  3. deleted Audacity folder in users/app data.
  4. restarted PC.
  5. ran CCleaner (registry cleaner).
    6: installed audacity from exe.
  6. reset preferences.
  7. left default directory settings.
  8. Restarted PC.
  9. Opened Audacity. Clicked on “open,” picked a file, clicked on it and -
  10. Audacity crashed.

Can we just clarify those steps:

  1. Launch Audacity
  2. “File menu > Open”
    A file browser window opens
  3. Clicked on a file in the file browser
    Audacity crashed

Is that correct? Audacity crashed before you clicked on the “Open” button in the file browser?

Hi again Steve. To clarify.

  1. launch audacity (fine)
  2. ctrl+o and type folder location (fine)
  3. Cursoring through folders/files (fine)
  4. press enter to select highlighted file (crash)

Even if I type ctrl+o and then type a file name, audacity crashes.

I can cursor through the file/folder list but as soon as I hit enter or double-click on a file, audacity crashes. Audacity still crashes if, in a blank session, I hit ctrl+w or alt+f4.

Will it open a sound file from your desktop? No file structure, no folders. Just move a sound file to your desktop and open it from there.


Hello Koz. Following your suggestion, I selected a file in Win10 file explorer and selected “open with…audacity.” Audacity loads up with the “make copy” dialog/warning box but then crashes. Audacity crashes no matter whether it’s an mp3 or wav and no matter whether I’m loading from within the program or from File Explorer. Windows Media Player/Realplayer have no trouble loading/playing audio on my PC. It’s definitely only Audacity. (16.5 KB)

“make copy” dialog/warning box but then crashes.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen that warning…

By “crash,” you mean Audacity just vanishes, right?


I selected a file in Win10 file explorer and selected “open with…audacity.”

That’s the long way around. Do you ever right-click > Open With? Right-click should open a dialog directly without involving Explorer.


Hello Koz. Are you guys trolling me? I don’t know how I could describe this Audacity malfunction any clearer or more concise. When I say “crash,” I mean Audacity crashes (see screenshot) and shuts down. It happens whenever I try to open a file (be it wav/mp3, within audacity/from pc). I can open audio with all other applications on my brand new pc.

You stumped the band. I’ve never heard of a problem like this before.

One of the troubleshooting techniques is ask you to do some seemingly unrelated tasks and look for inconsistencies. It didn’t work. We’re still in ??? land.

We can troll you later if you want.


We’re wondering why a million people are running Audacity 2.1.3 on Windows 10 and not getting this problem, but for one person (yourself) the problem is apparently unavoidable. What’s different about your set-up? We’re missing something.

Did you download Audacity via this Audacity web site:

Maybe I have a clue. Is this is a corporate, heavily interconnected machine? I see “Oracle” and “Java” in your provided setup files. I don’t know anybody with an Oracle license or service.

That gives you a unique machine.


One of the files claims Windows 8, not Windows 10. I have no idea what that means.

In the file “audacity.cfg”:


What is the Q drive that you are trying to open files from?

Hi again folks. I’m posting again because I’ve had a little progress/change with my problem.

I uninstalled audacity, ran “repair” on my SoundBlaster Z driver and reinstalled Audacity. Now I can open .wav files (both within Audacity and from file explorer). However, ctrl+w still causes Audacity to crash. Trying to open mp3s (both from file explorer and within Audacity) still causes Audacity to crash. Anybody got any more ideas?

To answer your questions:

Yes I downloaded The .exe Audacity installer from the audacity website. I am using a standalone desktop PC (1 month old).

I am running Windows 10 Home.

"Q:sfx\" is a folder on my 3rd harddrive in which I have sound FX wav/mp3 files. I have c:\ (solidstate) containing Win10 and progs. d:\ (NTFS HD) containing music/documents/images/downloads. Q:\ (another NTFS HD) containing audio and stuff. The Q:\ came from my previous PC (Win10 updated from Win7) but the problem occurs even when trying to load files from C:\ and D:\ (which came new with the PC).

I recently installed Java runtime on my PC. Should I not have done that?

So yes, that's where I'm at. I can load .wav files and even import further .wav files within an audacity session. However, I still can't load/import mp3s and closing session/audacity still causes fatal error.

I have now uninstalled Java and restarted my PC but still can’t load/import mp3s and ctrl+w still causes audacity to crash.

Here’s the latest debug report.