Made a recording with low disk space, now cant save

I recorded 5 hours, without clearing enough disk space it seems. Now I cant save or access any menus. If I clear space on my hard drive will I be able to save it? Can I access the temp file regardless??

Why not? If the menus are greyed out it may just be because Audacity is Paused and not Stopped, in which case, press the Stop button.

thanks but i have tried pressing the stop/play/pause buttons but it doesn’t do anything. any other ideas? could it be that it stuck on pause or something? if i exit the program could i recover the temp file? i have freed up 60gb of space on my 500gb hard drive now so that should no longer be an issue.

If you did a straight record, then yes, Audacity should volunteer to recover the show next time you start. That gets dicy if you’re in the middle of editing and it does that.

We do warn people that Audacity is not a surveillance recorder and recording for hours and hours is dangerous. For one thing, you start peeling off audio formats as you go up. It’s something like a four hour limit on WAV files and there is even a limit (thirteen hours??) on Audacity Projects.


If you were recording and the system crashed, you may not have all your work. If you successfully got to the end and stopped the recording, then it should be all there. Koz

What exactly are you recording and how? If it’s a USB recording device the stream may have locked up. Make sure you are connecting your device into an empty USB port, not into a USB hub that has other USB devices connected to it.

When you choose “Exit” after a recording freezes up, this may make Audacity pop up its usual “Save Changes?” dialogue. In that case press “Cancel” (NOT “No”) and you may have full control back again. Then drag-select up to 3 hours of the recording and Export Selection as WAV and repeat for the remainder. That way you are safe.

But sometimes Audacity will just exit without popup prompt in that case, and might not save the AUP file or even might not save anything.

Therefore the safest is probably to force quit Audacity in Activity Monitor, then recover the project when you restart it. This should ensure that Audacity does not delete your recording and will try to recover it when you restart.

You can always make a copy of the Audacity temp folder and the autosave file (temporary project file) before quit or force quit if you want to be perfectly safe.

Apple make it hard to find the Audacity temp folder if you cannot open the Audacity Directories Preferences to find where it is (Spotlight search never finds it). If you want to copy the temporary data, try Go > Go to Folder in Finder then type:


then click through the folders to find the folder that is called “audacity-joe” where “joe” would be your user name. The project folder with your temporary data is in the “audacity-joe” folder.

Or if you show hidden files and folders by issuing a Terminal command then you can navigate in Finder through /var/folders/ without using “Go”.

The autosave file is at

~/Library/Application Support/audacity/AutoSave

which you can type or paste into Go > Go to Folder.

If the autosave file and temporary project folder disappear after quit or force quit, just put the copies you made back where they were before, then restart Audacity and let it recover the recording.


The WAV limit is 2 GB so as to be sure any application will play the file. For a 16-bit stereo WAV, that’s a limit of about 3 hours 20 minutes.

The Audacity project limit is relative to the sample rate of tracks. No track can exceed just over 13.5 hours at 44100 Hz (less time for higher rates and more time for lower rates). You can save a project containing multiple 13 hour tracks at 44100 Hz but a project containing one 14 hour track at 44100 Hz will reopen with all the audio silenced.

These length limitations have been removed for 2.0.6 release (expected some time in January). There may still be problems in Selection Toolbar with displaying tracks that exceed the above limits.