Editing buttons grayed out, Audacity not responding

Using version 2.1.2 on Windows 10 Home.
Today I’m having difficulty with Audacity freezing or not responding. When this occurs the editing buttons are grayed out (not clickable) and the play button, while not grayed out, doesn’t seem to function. Here’s what I’m doing:
Have downloaded my mp3 from my own recording of a conference call (15 minutes long). Imported it to Audacity on this machine and started editing.
After a minute or two, I attempted to cut an “um” from the audio but nothing happened. The audio also would not play.

I closed Audacity without saving anything and it generated an error report.

To determine whether I had gotten a corrupted file, I did the same steps on another Windows 10 Home machine which uses Audacity 2.1.0. I made a bit more progress there, exported my project and moved it to this machine. After opening the project file I started editing.
This time I reached 9 minutes (only one ‘um’ to remove) before the program stopped responding. Again, the editing buttons (icons and Edit Menu) were grayed out.
I was unable to play or export.

During the time it took to access this forum and document these challenges, the edit buttons began to function again. I’m wondering whether this could be related to a windows update or is this the “new normal?” What can I do to get back the previous functionality (quick response) of Audacity?

It could be, particularly if you have an old or underpowered machine. Windows update can cripple a single or even dual core machine while the update is taking place.

While using Audacity you can always set your connection as “metered” in the Settings app > Network & Internet. Choose WiFi or Ethernet then click the connection icon. This prevents downloading and installing of most updates except “some” critical ones. I think this is available now even in Windows 10 Home Edition.

You could also look in Task Manager. It could be some other application is using a lot of CPU or Disk I/O.