How many time Audacity should take to startup?

Hi, I’m using a Windows 8.1 x64 notebook, with an Intel quad core i7-4700MQ 2.4GHz up to 3.4GHz, 8GB of RAM, 1TB 5400rpm HDD and a 24GB SSD for cache.

Well, since the notebook’s accelerated with the SSD (that caches the most used files), it’s a really fast notebook, it takes just 16 seconds to show in Chrome. Press ON button, load Windows, type pass, load user, open Chrome, show… that’s just 16 seconds.

Well, I’ve manually added the whole Audacity folder to the SSD, so it’s already cached. BUT, when I open it, it takes sometimes like 14 seconds to load, which is the time that Adobe Photoshop CS6 x64 takes to startup (and I think PS loads way more plugins and stuff).

When I’ve already loaded it and STILL running it, if I open another instance of it, it takes less than a second to load (cause, I think, it’s already loaded in RAM). If I close Audacity, and then open it, it takes like 5 seconds. So it seems that if I close it, it gets deleted from RAM (I don’t understand why).

Is it normal?
Why Audacity is that slow at startup? What Audacity has to load?
Does anyone have Audacity installed i an SSD? Startup time?

I think it should be loaded in 3-4 seconds.


Machines with hybrid drives (magnetic and SSD) won’t necessarily be as fast as SSD only.

When Audacity launches it looks for and loads FFmpeg (if found) and queries all your sound devices under the different audio hosts. It isn’t quick.

If you double-click “audacity.exe” when Audacity is already running, that does not start a new instance of Audacity. It just opens a new project window in the same instance.


It took about 8 seconds on the system I’m on right now. It’s dual core 1.87Ghz Intel chip. 32-bit Windows 7. 2MB of memory. Regular-old hard drive.

I do have the FFMPEG library installed and the optional plug-ins from the Audacity website (no VST plug-ins). There’s a basic motherboard soundchip, but nothing’s plugged-in so all recording inputs are disabled.

Yeah, I know. But in my case I have 1TB HDD 5400rpm plugged in a sATA III port AND a 25GB SSD plugged in a M.2 (NGFF) interface, I don’t have an hybrid HDD. Anyway, many other programs load way faster than if they were in a HDD, and that’s why I’m asking it. I know SSD caching isn’t the same as just an SSD running everything.

Well, after all I think it’s all right, I gotta upgrade my system and install there a 750GB or 1TB SSD, HDD’s nowadays aren’t fast enough to run powerful systems and squeeze their power. Thanks guys!

I am running Windows 8.1 (x64) Build 9600 on a Desktop PC with a modest Intel Pentium CPU G2020 (2.90GHz) and 8 GB RAM. Windows and all applications, including Audacity are installed on the C: drive which is on a 120 GB SSD. I also have a 500 GB Serial ATA drive for storage. The Audacity temp folder is located on the SSD in “C:UsersADMINAppDataLocalTempaudacity_temp”. The FFMEG library is also located on the SSD in “C:Program Files (x86)Ffmpeg For Audacityavformat-52.dll”.

So Audacity and all related files and folders are run from the system SSD. Audacity launches in the blink of an eye and works lightning-fast.

One thing that might slow Audacity launch is having media players open (not necessarily running).

I use a file manager program called xplorer2 which has a built-in media player. I usually have at least six tabs open in xplorer 2, all of which have access to the media player. Also I probably have tabs open in Firefox with a flash player open (not running).

I only have an HDD, which can boot Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows XP SP3 (or Ubuntu 14.04). Audacity on Windows is much quicker launching without xplorer2 open and if I don’t have any Firefox tabs using flash players.


I also use xplorer² (x64 Ultimate).
I just opened several tabs in xplorer² and played a MP3 in one of the tabs through the xplorer² “Draft View”. I also had 2 flash players open and running concurrently in Chrome Canary (64 bit).
I then launched Audacity 2.0.4 (which I kept because of WDM-KS support). Audacity launched just as quickly as usual. In the twinkle of an eye.
I think what matters is having Audacity and all related files and folders running from the system SSD. Maybe it is also crucial to have enough RAM.

Yeah, I have 8GB of RAM too, AND the whole Audacity’s folder cached in my 24GB SSD. Still takes from 5 to 14 seconds to launch :unamused: . I guess I have to buy a 1TB SSD as soon as possible.

Robert2, I have one question for you. When I import/add huge length audio files to Audacity 2.0.5 (latest), when zooming in and all that stuff it is sloppy and laggy at first. I’m talking about audio tracks extracted from films. I add them to Audacity and edit them. Can you import that kind of file and tell me if Audacity is laggy or something?

I am not sure what exactly you mean by “the whole Audacity’s folder cached in my 24GB SSD”. If you install Audacity on your SSD (or any other application for that matter), Audacity will not be “cached” on your SSD. Applications are run from SSDs in the same way as they are run from an ordinary hard drive. They are not “cached” on the SSD. What actually happens when you launch an application, is that Windows loads the application into RAM. As far as Audacity is concerned, you must make sure that the Audacity temp folder is located on the SSD in “C:UsersAppDataLocalTempaudacity_temp”, and the FFMEG library is also located on the SSD in “C:Program Files (x86)Ffmpeg For Audacityavformat-52.dll” (see “Edit | Preferences > Libraries”, and “Edit | Preferences > Directories” in Audacity). The Windows system temp files should also be located on the SSD in “C:UsersAppDataLocalTemp” (type Winkey+R, then enter “%temp%” without the quotes).

I only have Audacity 2.0.4, but I don’t think it matters.

I don’t know what exactly you mean by “huge length audio files”. How huge is “huge”?

I just used drag & drop to load a “huge” FLAC file (741 MB) into Audacity. It took Audacity exactly 40 seconds to completely load that file.
I then used drag & drop to load a much bigger FLAC file (2 GB+) into Audacity (this is the sound track from the film “Children Of A Lesser God”). It took Audacity exactly 2 minutes 05 seconds to completely load that file. The Audacity progress bar proved to be unreliable then: it kept blinking idiotically until the file actually got loaded; but the file got loaded correctly. I could play that track, select portions of it, and zoom in or out: everything happened instantly. So only the loading (understandably) took time.

Hi, sorry for the incomplete info I gave.

First, you gotta know my rig. I have a laptop with Windows 8.1 x64, Intel quad-core i7-4700MQ 2.4GHz up to 3.4GHz, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD 5400rpm and a 24GB SSD for CACHE. “For cache” means that I can’t save there a program or something like that, that’s done automatically by a software. The SSD doesn’t even appear in THIS PC. I don’t have an hybrid HDD, I have 2 separated devices. There’s a software installed that is called Expresscache, that manages the caching process. It works this way:

Each time I open a program, it caches (copy from the HDD to the SSD) the most used data and saves it in the SSD. So the next time I open it, it is ALMOST like if I had the program in a SSD. So I’ve manually cached the Audacity folder in the SSD, but it still takes 5-14 seconds to launch. That’s done in MS-DOS using the command [eccmd.exe -preload “C:/Program Files…”].

By huge I meant film audio files, that can be a 6 channel DTS file that is 1.3GB and 2h 30m 00s length. It takes like 3 minutes or more to load. But that’s cause it’s in the HDD. Once loaded, it’s still laggy when I zoom in, move to different sections… And I think it’s ALSO because the HDD. Reading your comment I see that the SSD is the solution. Thanks!

Probably this does not work as well as either a single SSHD hybrid drive (HDD with a flash portion, which also looks like one drive to the OS) or separate HDD’s and SSD’s where you can manage everything yourself (this setup will outperform a hybrid drive too).

Audacity is slow fitting long projects to the window and zooming in/out. It’s very noticeable on Windows using a HDD, and since you have no control I assume you are using the HDD for your project data.


That’s right Gale, thanks.

And there’s really no difference between hybrid HDD (SSHD) and what I have. It’s the same, but in one case you have the 2 devices in the same pack, and in my case you have 2 different devices. Indeed, with my configuration, I could stop use the SSD as cache and use it as another drive, so I could install there programs and all and it would be like having a pure SSD. The problem is that Windows and stuff wouldn’t be accelerated by cache (thing that I really really notice). As I said, I need a 1TB SSD, probably Samsung 840 EVO 1TB, which is awesome. So save money it is, cause that device costs 350€. :mrgreen:


This is a most unusual setup. Normally, Windows and all applications should be installed directly on the SSD. If there is anything to be cached, it should be left to Windows and each particular application. Only Windows and each particular application know what should be cached, if anything. Note that Windows has a “Prefetch” function using a folder located in “C:WindowsPrefetch”. This Windows “Prefetch” function does exactly what your “Expresscache” “software” is also supposed to do. There might be an open conflict there.

I just copied my 2 GB+ FLAC file to my C: drive, i.e. to the SSD (the original copy is located on my HDD). So now I had a copy of that “huge” file on the SSD. I then used drag & drop to load this (SSD) FLAC file into Audacity. It took Audacity exactly 2 minutes 12 seconds to completely load that file. The Audacity progress bar again kept blinking idiotically until the file actually got loaded; but the file got loaded correctly. I could play that track, select portions of it, and zoom in or out: everything happened instantly. Again only the loading (understandably) took time.

So it won’t help if you place your audio files on a SSD. What matters is where the Windows system, the applications, and the temp files are located. And you cannot speed up the loading of huge audio files. But when they are loaded in Audacity, and Windows and Audacity can deal with them as appropriate, working with them should be done as expected, i.e. within seconds.

Audacity is slow fitting long projects to the window and zooming in/out

Why this happens?. Why you actually need a SSD to do this with large projects in order to do it fast?

Thanks Gale :slight_smile:

Hybrid drives do use caching algorithms to figure what data you use frequently - not just system and program files that Windows Prefetch caches. Your system is doing the same thing as a hybrid drive.

But as Robert2 said, your caching system won’t give you any advantage over using the SSD as the only drive (if it was big enough), or over using an SSD for programs and data that need fast access and an HDD for all else (where the OS sees both drives).

HDD’s are still arguably more long lasting than SSD (and definitely cheaper) for storing data you rarely access.

The Audacity temp folder should be on the SSD because that is where the audio files will be copied to and worked with. The files themselves are fine on the HDD for Audacity’s purposes, since it has to copy them. Perhaps if you were frequently playing a file, it may be better on the SDD.

If you want to save Audacity projects you should also save them on the SSD, because the project _data folder then contains the data that Audacity works with. Audacity projects can be huge, so you need a large SSD if you are going to save projects.

Audacity can import WAV files fast using On-Demand Loading where it does not copy in the data. On Linux only, Audacity can import FLAC files by that faster method.


Audacity is probably slower than it should be because it is not very efficient redrawing the waveform when there is a lot of audio data (even if the data is being read from a WAV or AIFF file rather than being copied in). There are several small reasons that combine together.

Also Audacity has autosaving which lets you recover unsaved data if there is a crash. If you cut some audio the new state is autosaved, and if you click somewhere else or draw a region somewhere else, that new state is autosaved.

Audacity iterates through the whole data when it autosaves, which can make it slow. We have made autosave save fewer positions when you drag a selection, so that is now quite fast, but cutting and pasting can still take a long time. Not only does it have to redraw the waveform, it has to autosave too.


Gale, if I drag my 2GB+ FLAC file into Foobar 2000, it loads and can be played instantly. If I do the same into Audacity, it seems On-Demand Loading is not available. Why is it that On-Demand Loading is possible for Foobar and not for Audacity? This is on Windows 8.1 with all updates.

By default, Audacity copies in uncompressed files, converting the entire data of the FLAC file to PCM. All Foobar 2000 is doing is opening the file.

Audacity never simply opens a file, even with On-Demand Loading. Even there, it is creating small summary files that reference the audio data, without which it could not draw the waveform.

On-Demand is only available for FLAC on Linux. It’s generally available on Linux because Audacity builds made by Linux distributions are built with system versions of libsndfile that enable FLAC.

When Audacity uses the local build of libsndfile supplied in the Audacity source code (as happens in builds Audacity Team makes for Windows and Mac), FLAC import and export support using libsndfile is removed. FLAC support is then provided only by the libflac library.

I don’t fully understand why the above is the case, but where it is the case, there are bugs when reopening projects that were saved without fully importing the On-Demand FLAC file. So FLAC On-Demand for Windows and Mac has not been released yet.

If it is important for you to import FLAC On-Demand in Windows, you can compile Audacity with #define EXPERIMENTAL_OD_FLAC in src/Experimental.h uncommented.


Gale, thanks for explaining.
From what I read at libsndfile, it seems that libsndfile does not support 32-bit float for FLAC files. Since 32-bit float is default in Audacity, this might be one of the reasons why libsndfile is not used for FLAC files in Audacity, and why FLAC files cannot be opened On-Demand in Audacity. But I might be wrong, I am only second-guessing.

FLAC itself does not support floating point samples (though it does support 32-bit integer). So no that isn’t anything to do with it.