Does not recognize wav files

Audacity used to be able to open wav files.

Now it does not. I get an error message:

“Audacity did not recognize the type of file ‘XXX.wav’ If it is uncompressed, try importing it using ‘Import Raw’.”

Import raw doesn’t work either. Just get an empty file.

I can open MP3 files in Audacity.

I just downloaded the newest Audacity 2.0.5 .exe installer and installed, and it, too, does not recognize wav files. I have Windows XP.

Thanks in advance for any tips or suggestions.


If the file is corrupt or is not really a WAV then Audacity may not be able to open it.

Please either post the file somewhere we can look at it, like: .

Or, download “MediaInfo” from . Get the version without installer, because the installer may have malware or adware. Open the file in MediaInfo and paste the information here.

As another alternative, install FFmpeg . Audacity with FFmpeg may be able to open legitimate WAV files that have a compressed audio codec inside the WAV.


Please be careful with Windows XP. Microsoft are no longer officially supporting it, so it will be unpatched against any new security vulnerabilities that appear.

Make sure you have XP Service Pack 3. You can still download Service Pack 3 from Microsoft if necessary: .

Ensure you have a good third-party anti-virus application. Be aware though that this will not give you complete protection against a previously unknown attack.

For some extra protection you can install .

If it is not practicable for you to update to the much more secure Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can consider installing a Linux operating system instead. Most versions are free and all are very secure.


I have a whole folder of wav files. It won’t open any of them. Although Audacity used to be able to open them. The error message is a recent development, in the last 4-6 weeks.

I will try your other suggestions.



I installed FFmpeg/LAME and still can’t open any of my wav files with Audacity 2.0.5

Thanks for your assistance.

All the best,

LAME is only for exporting MP3.

If you get a message that the file is not recognised, then please provide the MediaInfo output for the file or post a link to it.

If you get no error message but the import is a flat line, make sure you installed Audacity properly. What you can do is get the latest Audacity 2.0.6 from Audacity ® | Download for Windows. When you install it, check (tick) the box “Reset Preferences” that you’ll see half way through the installation process. That should make sure that the Audacity temporary directory is set to a location you can write to.