Is it ok to use have both x86 and x64 versions of Audacity?

Hello, so I have been using Audacity 3.0.2 since it came out in April 2021. Recently, I found out that Audacity now has a x64 version since 3.0.3 and I’m considering downloading the recent x64 version, but I want to keep my x86 version for testing and compatibility reasons. Is it ok use have both the x86 and x64 versions of Audacity on Windows 10?

Unzip (rather than install) different versions of Audacity into separate folders.
Then launch a version by clicking on the Audcaity icon in that folder.

If you install two versions they will share the hidden Audacity preferences file and corruption will ensue.

So create a “Portable Settings” folder for each version: Preferences - Audacity Manual

If you have a old 32-bit version of Audacity installed, that you wish to preserve as is,
then installing the 64-bit version could corrupt it the moment it is installed,
before you have a chance to create a “Portable Settings” folder.

I have a 32-bit version of Audacity installed, and 64-bit versions unzipped (not installed), on Windows (8).

I have a whole raft of 32-bit and 64-bit versions installed in my PCs - in fact most versions from version 1.0.0 onwards, each version installed its own named folder.

I use these for QA regression testing rather than for any production use.
old versions.png

Strictly-speaking they are not “installed” if they are just unzipped into a folder:
e.g. they won’t appear on the list of installed programs …

They are only installed if you run the installer (.exe) version,
(which can do things like nuke the old version of a program).

Actually most of those of mine are “installed” with the EXE (as I liked to QA test the normal user experience). :sunglasses:

They did no nuking of older versions as in the EXE installation process I was carefully changed the directory for where the installation was to be made. :ugeek:

I only tend to use ZIP for obtaining alpha, beta and developer branch builds for testing and documentation purposes. :wink:


BEWARE of installing Audacity in a custom folder ! Many filters pertaining to the spectrogram rendering editing will NOT work if Audacity is not installed in it’s default folder… if they have not corrected that bug yet…

What bug is that? I always install into a custom folder and I’ve not encountered any problems doing so.

Steve, have your already done spectrogram editing ?

What do you mean by “spectrogram editing”?
Do you mean using Audacity’s “Spectral” effects?

Spectral Editing part I

Precision editing by frequency in Audacity using the spectrograph display

Exploring Audacity’s Spectrogram View


Yes, I’m familiar with the Spectral Edit effects. What’s the “bug” you were referring to?

I don’t remember well. It was couple of years ago. Something like Notch filter or some other filter not wanting to work properly. After having uninstalled Audacity and reinstalled it in the default folder, the filters worked again properly…

Found it : [RESOLVED] The Notch filter don't want to work !

To install multiple versions of Audacity on the same machine, the best way is to use “portable” installations.

To make a “portable” instance of Audacity on Windows,

  1. Download the ZIP version of Audacity.
  2. Extract the contents of the ZIP file to somewhere within your user space (C:\Users\your-name.…).
  3. Create a new empty folder in the same directory as audacity.exe and name the directory:
    Portable Settings
  4. Create a launcher (such as a Desktop shortcut to audacity.exe).

A “portable” installation stores Audacity’s configuration files (including user Preferences) in the Portable Settings folder, so each version has its own settings that don’t interfere with other installed versions.

Only one version of Audacity should be run at a time as running multiple instances risks data loss.