Keeping Multiple Versions of Audacity Under a Single User


I was wondering how to keep multiple independent versions of audacity (2.3.3, 2.4.1, and the current 2.4.2 RC) under one User Account on Windows 10.

I know you can choose the directory that Audacity installs to in “Program Files (x86)” so I could have 3 separate folders for each of the versions. But I think that in the C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming folder, there is no choice what to name that Audacity folder - so I think that all three versions of Audacity would try to share the same files in that folder.

Is that correct and is there a way to get around that?



Hi Mike,

yes you can - I have versions going all the way back to the original release 1.0 and indeed the pre-release 0.8 - I ned all these for regression testing.

Correct, they will all share the same audacity settings folder for preferences, plug-ins, Macros etc.

I know of no way to get around this, sorry.


For most users, it is not recommended to have multiple versions under a single user account, but it is necessary for people that are testing new versions.

  1. To use multiple versions, download the ZIP version rather than the EXE version.
  2. Extract the contents of the ZIP archive to your hard drive, anywhere that is convenient within your “user space” (for example, in a sub-folder of “Documents”)
  3. Open the folder, and create a new empty folder. Name the new folder “Portable Settings”. This must be in the same location as the audacity.exe file.
  4. For convenience, create a Desktop shortcut to audacity.exe

The main disadvantage of multiple versions is that you may see multiple versions of each effect. Careful use of the Plug-ins Manager will allow you to disable effects that don’t belong to that version of Audacity (a bit tricky - you need to carefully look at the “paths”)

Thanks Peter and Steve,

So if you use the approach Steve laid out, then everything is self-contained for each version within the folder that you setup and there is no crossover of preferences , macros, effects, etc. (assuming you manage them correctly). Is that correct? Is that a preferred way to structure things or, for the current release, is it better to do an install?



I use the .exe installer for pukka version installs ad Release Candidates - but zip downloads for all alpha builds.

The alpha zips share the same audacity settings folder as all my earlier versions when I run them.

I usually avoid the multiple copies of plug-ins (that Steve talked about) as I reset/clear the audacity settings folder most times before launching a different version (I don’t have load of Macros and Plug-ins with saved settings).


Okay, thanks much - this was very helpful and will save me time in the future - I appreciate your feedback.

I do almost the opposite from waxcylinder on Windows. I use the ZIP versions (except for testing the EXE) and use “Portable Settings” for each so that I have separate plug-ins, modules, macros and settings.