Does Audacity have an import/export cache?

I use Audacity daily and very frequently import/export files. It’s my preferred media player, I use it to convert files from one format to another (usually FLAC to WAV and vice-versa), I use it for mastering and occasionally mixing… I’m constantly importing and exporting files.

However, there is a persistent problem that I have faced for years: after enough imports/exports (usually 1-2 months’ worth for me), the program, and by extension my computer, starts running extremely slow. I have to force quit using the task manager, and usually have to restart the computer. Sometimes it gets so bad that the computer totally locks up and requires a hard reboot. The only way I’ve found to get Audacity to function again is to uninstall and reinstall it.

This typically happens the most when I’m importing/exporting lots of files at once, but it always happens after a certain period of time. It never happens with sessions that have been open for a very long time, just after enough time passes, I’ll go to import a file and the whole computer will become a brick. The best theory I can think of is that there’s a file keeping track of all the imports and exports and it’s grown too large for the program to read properly. I’d wager I probably do an average of 50 imports/exports per day, and the problem always occurs after 1-2 months of this kind of use.

Does anyone know if there is such a file, and if so, how to clear it without uninstalling and reinstalling? Or, if not, is there another solution to the problem? Thanks.

I’m using Windows 7 and whatever the final build that supported it was… 2.3.1 or 2.3.3 I think? I can’t check for sure because the computer is cooling off after crashing due to this problem…

So if you exit Audacity, it leaves no such cache file.

However, if you import, export, delete, import, export, delete, Audacity DOES save UNDO information, so you can backup all the way back to the original import. To prevent this from happening, it is perhaps easiest to just do Ctrl-Z at appropriate times to release this information. Alternatively, you can use View > History > … to achieve a similar result.

Audacity stores this UNDO information temporarily within the project itself; however, when you exit Audacity it is all deleted; so if you have a large amount of UNDO history, it can take a little while for Audacity to exit; this is more noticeable in 3.0.x.

Is there another reason why the program starts to run extremely slowly after a certain period of time with heavy import/export usage? The same thing happened years ago when I had a Windows 10 computer. I’ve never seen anyone else mention this - do I just have terrible luck?

Don’t know if it’s related but, I too keep Audacity open for weeks on end, no problem depending on usage.
If I use Audacity quite heavily, after a while it does tend to slow down and sometimes even crash.

What I do now is, after a few sessions, I simply restart it.

Audacity 2.3.1 on MacOS 10.12.6

I’ve had projects running for hours on end and no issues. The problems only happen during import/export, and they only start happening after about 1-2 months with lots of importing and exporting. That’s why I’m guessing they’re linked. Uninstalling and reinstalling fixes it.

I’m glad you found a solution. Thanks for sharing. :smiley:

A solution that’s a pain and counter-intuitive, but yes, a solution. I’m just curious if there’s a reason why this happens regularly. And if so, are there any preventative measures that can be taken to not have to delete the program in order to make it work again? Or am I just expecting too much of the software?

How often do you reboot your machine? Windows seems to like doing a full reboot from time to time.

I usually restart it a minimum of once a week. Sometimes it’s daily, sometimes it’s every 3 days. It depends how often I use it and if I notice it running sluggish.

The issue with Audacity only happens during import/export. It happens most often when I’m importing/exporting in high volume (i.e. converting files or adjusting volume on a track-by-track basis), but sometimes it will just happen out of the blue after a certain time. It really feels like there’s an arbitrary number of imports/exports that cause Audacity to tank my computer’s processing ability once that number is met. That’s what led me to believe it might be a cache file of some sort getting too big to read properly.

I should actually clarify - the problem is CAUSED by importing and exporting, but once it starts, it’s not limited to importing and exporting. For instance, if the slow-down starts during an import and then I try to apply an effect, even something basic like Amplify, I’ll sometimes have to wait 15 minutes for it to work when normally it happens so fast that the loading bar doesn’t even have time to pop up. I’ve had projects open for 8 hours or more and there were no issues. I’ve gone overboard with effects in one session and had no issues.

The problem only starts after what feels like a certain number if imports/exports. If I leave Audacity alone for a few hours, it will sort of recover (takes 15 seconds per track instead of 2 minutes) but it will quickly go back to taking forever. Uninstalling and reinstalling is the only thing that seems to work.

EDIT: Also, while the problem affects the performance of my computer, it only does so while Audacity is open. The computer will fine until I open that failing copy and then it will move slower than a snail that drowned in molasses.