How to disable "Save changes before closing?" popup?

Hi, I’ve loved Audacity for many years. Such a great tool. And every time I"m done with what I"m doing, I have to endure this “Save changes before closing?” popup…

Where is the option to disable this? I looked under Preferences > Warnings, and I see several options, but no option to disable that (annoying) popup. It must be in a different part of the Preferences but I’ve searched the docs and I can’t find it.

If this means I have to rebuild from source, I can try it; just point me to the line in the code to comment out!


It’s a snap to make that message go away: Save a Project. Projects are Audacity’s main product and reason for being. Exporting a sound file is a side issue.

I don’t necessarily recommend saving a Project unless you need one, but that’s what’s happening.


1 Like

There is no such option.
I can see the attraction of having such an option, up until the day that you lose hours of work and a never to be repeated recording through accidentally closing the project without saving.

If you really want to go ahead, then probably the simplest way to disable the prompt (compiling from source), is to change the line in src/Project.cpp

if (event.CanVeto() && (mEmptyCanBeDirty || bHasTracks)) {


if (false) {

It has been previously discussed by the development team, whether to provide an option to disable this warning. The consensus was that doing so would be far too dangerous for a public release, and would be irresponsible to provide users with such an easy path to irretrievably destroying their work without warning.

There is an option to not prompt if the project is empty. See: “Show Warnings/Prompts for Saving empty project”.

If you deselect that option, then you can close a project without the warning by first deleting all tracks in the project.

Thanks. I will likely build from source. There really should be a user-selectable option in the Warnings area of Preferences, which defaults to True but which can be set to False by people like me.

I do not do “hours of work” with Audacity, lol. I pull up a few files, look at them, do some analysis or minor manipulations, and then close them – all of them, one, by one, by one.

Rarely do I ever want to “Save a Project”. These are almost always things I do not want to keep – otherwise I would simply save them, and this message wouldn’t appear, and I wouldn’t have asked this question in the first place!

1 Like

You kind folks are missing a use case however. I use Audacity to do quick checks on four channel Ambisonics files, they get spot checked before deciding whether to delete before SCM submission for later processing. Given they’re four channel I need a quick way to check all four channels, so just playing back the WAV isn’t sufficient. However the processing will occur in Nuendo so there’s no desire to create a Audacity project.

I’m also a developer and I think you’re making a mistake by trying to do the thinking for the user - just simply add it as a choice in the preferences. If you’re really worried about it still, then make the user go through a “Are you SURE?? You may LOSE work by doing this choice”. Personally I think that’s heavy handed but as long as users only have to do it once then it’s fine. You’re better supporting a workflow desired by many, as evidenced by a web search.

But at any rate deciding that you know better than your users how to do their work - here the idea that you must really always be wanting to save your work - is admittedly heavy handed. In my years of writing software I’ve learned that ultimately you need to give people what they want, and a simple preference should make everybody happy.

1 Like

It’s not that we think we “know better than our users” - we’ve been round this discussion loop many times in the past and always decided that safety was the best option - hence this prompt remains and will remain.

It’s very easy to just click on the “No” button to abandon the project without saving - or if you prefer keyboard use: “Tab” then “Enter”

It’s not just us by the way:

  1. Microsoft is like this with: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Project, Paint etc
  2. Apple is like this with say Numbers, Pages etc
  3. My Suunto Dive Manager Software is like this

And none of those have a option to turn of their similar warning dialogs for unsaved files.

The only app I use that doesn’t appear to do this is Adobe Lightroom.


I do have some sympathy as I rarely need to save projects. I also get mildly annoyed that Gimp prompts me to save a .XCF file when I close (and no option to turn that off). However, the actual amount of “time and trouble” is one click. I can live with that, and I’m very glad that I’ve never accidentally lost a project that I wanted to save (which could be the loss of hours of work).

For what it’s worth, if I only import a file to look at / play it and then close the project, I do “Ctrl + Z” (Undo the import) before closing so that I don’t get prompted to save.

You could try making a macro that
a) saves the project to a temporary file (always same name and same location)
b) and then Exit.

Then make a single key shortcut for that Macro - then a single keystroke would get you exit Audacity without the nag-prompt.
The only cost is the file space occupied for you revolving temporary project.

Just be darn sure not to nudge that key by mistake when you are using Audacity …


I don’t think you can do that unless you manually delete the unwanted project each time. The “SaveProject2:” command does not allow you to overwrite an existing project.

If you are only importing a file without modifying it in any way, then you could use a macro like this:


There is another variation to this.

In Photoshop, if I save anything, Photoshop assumes that was the desired product and just closes. If I don’t save anything, then it gets upset. Entirely rational.

In Audacity, exporting the desired product makes no difference at all. So yes, I’m on the side of the people who say “Audacity thinks it knows what my job is better than I do, and it’s annoying.”

Even more annoying is coming home after a long day facing a “Save Project?” screen when I’m sure I shut everything down before I left. Audacity doesn’t close and it can prevent the machine from powering down.

I see Audacity 3 has this same annoying feature.

Feature Request:

[X] Remove Auto Save Warning.

If it makes the developers feel better, add an inconvenient … Are you sure? [Y/N]


1 Like

and another variation: Some DAWs require that you create a project before you can do anything. Would that be less annoying?

create a project before you can do anything

I’m sure we can find outliers to prove any point. Ask the users of that software what they think of that arrangement. Then stand back.

I’ll be happy if Audacity matched all the other software on my machines.

I also want it to “Save” a WAV and MP3. This Save/Export split causes real-world production damage.


This Save/Export split is essential for users to understand.
We still see some users confusing the two and post AUP files for us to listen to, though much less often since we grouped “Save Project” commands in one menu and “Export” in the next menu item.

The distinction is arguably less important when we have a single file project format, though we still want to avoid: “I saved my song but it won’t play in iTunes”.

I don’t have many apps that use “projects”. I have Gimp and Audacity (both prompt to save on exit), and Ardour (which prompts to save on launch).

Instead of a warning, just have the whole option displayed, but grayed out. Change setting externally in audacity.cfg with your favorite notepad editor.

Change setting externally in audacity.cfg with your favorite notepad editor.

Make it hard to do by accident. It’s pure blame assignment.

Sign into the Audacity forum and your login will provide you a special plugin. I don’t care how it’s done, but not doing it at all is annoying.

Sell it. Contribute to the Audacity Effort and we’ll send you, absolutely free, a special plugin to defeat the Save Project screen. We’ll be rolling in bux. We’ll be able to buy a second trailer.

Audacity Land’s End World Headquarters.


Given that Audacity always creates a project, (if it’s not saved, then it is in the Audacity temp folder), the prompt to save could be replaced with something like:

“Project not saved.
Do you want to delete this project?
This action cannot be undone.
[YES] . [NO]”

On a scale of 0 to 10, how dangerous would it be to include an option “Do this every time without asking [X]” ?

Or what might be more palatable, always save the project automatically unless prevented from doing so in a preference.


Hi Koz,
I have read through this topic and will have to read it again tomorrow.

Your comment above made me think of Microsoft Access - a database processor. My experience in delivering training showed me that for people who “knew” MSWord and MSExcel, the concept of a change to a database record being “saved” immediately was a strange concept. Folks were too used to editing a document or workbook all day long, and then deciding to save it at 4:59 p.m. They could abandon changes at any time with a File, Close, NO, and start again after lunch time.

Most of my Audacity years (“audacity-win-1.2.6”) has been spent launching Audacity to edit the three minutes of applause from the start and end of an Opera track. To my mind Audacity was good at clipping the ends off tracks. I did not know what a Project was, was used for.

Now I see that an Audacity project is rather like an Excel Workbook. The product of Audacity is projects. The product of Excel is workbooks - that just happen to contain one or more worksheets. (Lotus DOS 2.1 had only a single worksheet!)


This last idea of a macro also provided me with a pretty good solution which is to just use undo shortcut (⌘Z) and then close shortcut (⌘W)
I also use Audacity mostly for inspecting wav files and this is the simplest solution I’ve found.
Posting in case this helps anyone even thought this is an old post