Dragging and dropping a file into Audacity in Windows locks up Explorer

Windows 10: Drag and drop a file into Audacity and it’s locked up until it’s done loading.

That shouldn’t happen.

Which version of Audacity?
How many cores does your CPU have?


4 core/8 thread i7 4790.

It does this:


I’m using Clover to add tabs to Explorer.

What’s “locked up”, Audacity or something else?
What exactly do you mean by “locked up”?

Nothing can be done in that Explorer tab until the file is done loading. No files can be selected/opened in Explorer and the “move” icon of the drag-and drop stays in the front of every window.

Just installed 2.3.2 and it’s the same there as well.

That’s because the thread is busy.
If you need to use the file browser while Audacity is reading a file, open a new file browser window “in a new process” before you start the import. The window that you dragged from will still be busy, but the new window will still be usable (because it’s running as a separate process).

Why is Audacity the only program that acts this way? I can drag and drop into Aegisub without this issue.

Why is Audacity the only program that acts this way?

Because it’s the only one that’s not a corporation. Audacity is produced to work on plain versions of each of three operating systems by a limited development staff. If you have a unicorn in one of those three, then you may get odd results.


Aegisub isn’t a corporation and is multiplatform. It’s free and open source so you can look to see how they do it. It seems to open new msvcr120.dll processes.

I can drag and drop into a ffmpeg output.wav batch file and it doesn’t lock up, so if you’re using ffmpeg to convert it doesn’t seem like this should be insurmountable.

My guess would be that that wxWidgets is using the native file browser process to read the file, rather than using the file browser to pass only the name and location of the selected file, AND, the file browser in Windows 10 only runs a single thread unless you create a new window as a new process. I normally use Thunar file browser on Linux, which does not have this problem, so I’m not able to test.

Is this actually a “problem” for you, or are you just curious about why you see this behaviour?

This is a problem for me. My workflow has me throwing things into mkvtoolnix GUI, gmkvextract GUI, and Aegisub. While Audacity doesn’t come into play in every mux, when it does it puts everything on hold while the files load, and throwing two 6GB m2ts’s in there is a pretty big hold.

You could use “File menu > Import > Audio” instead of drag and drop.

There should probably be an import audio button.
I actually find MeGUI’s audio input button to be slightly easier than a drag and drop, since it immediately opens a file open dialogue and my encoding is usually going to be all in the same directory and it will remember that. File–>Open is much clunkier from a UX perspective since you have to make a precise mouse movement to a previously invisible option. The File–>Import–>Audio is even worse since it’s two invisible options.

Though an import audio button would still suck for my use since I’m comparing audio tracks between two different directories, usually on different drives. Dragging and dropping from two explorer tabs is waaaaay easier than navigating all the way between the two in a File Open dialogue. Audacity barely supporting drag and drop is a headache.

I’m surprised that there is only 1 thread about this issue. I also experience this even with the latest Audacity 2.4.2 with i7 - 6700k - 4c/8t.
I’ve seen that this version also brings fixes to mentioned wxWidgets library but I guess this isn’t highlighted as an issue.

I just tested on W10 with 2.4.2 and the latest 3.0.0 alpha test build that I have - an d drag&drop of a file into Audacity does not lock out Windows Explorer while the file is loading.

I used a 3 hour stereo WAV file to giv eit a fair bit to chew on with the import.

I tested drag&drop of teh WAV file onto:
a) an already open Audacity window
b) the desktop shortcuts for Audacity that I have
c) the Audacity exe files in Windows Explorer

I also tested File>Import and that also did not lock out Windows Explorer either.


If you search Google for:
windows file explorer freeze
you will find lots of discussions about the problem.

I can replicate it anytime with any audio file. For example I threw 3 flac files into Audacity and as you can see in the video I made. I was trying to click with my mouse while the files were importing to Audacity but I wasn’t able to as the explorer was “frozen”


Is it possible for this behavior to be “fixed” (not lock Windows Explorer)? I’m not sure exactly why it needs to lock Explorer (and maybe it could just… not)? Now that Explorer has multiple tabs, this problem is much more impactful (locks window and all tabs). Drag & drop is much more convenient than using menu and navigating to files manually.

This is probably the most annoying thing in my usage of Audacity, which is why I ask. Especially with movie length audio files (2-3 hours), which will pause my work for a handful of minutes if I forget about this issue (hopefully I have something else to do, ha).