feedback when recording volume above 40%

I have the same issue as well. As of recently, possibly with a Windows 8.1 Update on 7/15/15, my Audacity software does not work properly anymore. When I try to record any musical audio input from any website or external source, I get a very loud feedback laid on top of the track. Also, I get an echo on a conversational audio that comes back if I lower the recording volume to less than 40% to remove the loud continuous feedback noise. I tried to restore my Windows Update with the help of Dell prior to when Audacity was not working properly, and the system and Windows deemed those updates as critical so I could not restore to when Audacity was working properly. I even uninstalled and reinstalled the latest version of Audacity and it made no difference. Obviously, there is a conflict going on since it is a software issue and doesn’t seem to be related to any internet or connectivity issue. All inputs into Audacity were affected equally.

I would love to continue to use Audacity. I think there is an issue that many of us have started seeing all of a sudden using Windows starting this week.

Any assistance or thoughts or upgrade patch would be appreciated.

Please don’t say that. It is hardly ever the case even if there are similarities in the symptoms.

If you are recording from a microphone (including the built-in mic on laptop computers, then you MUST use headphones and not speakers to listen.

Let’s take the case of recording from an external source.
What external source are you recording from and how is it connected to your computer?

Also, turn off Transport > Software Playthrough in the Audacity menu bar so that it has no tick (no checkmark).