I have seen several recent previous posts about this same problem. Each time, no one could duplicate it.
This is an HP desktop running Windows 7 64 bit with current patches.
I have been using Audacity 2.0.6 for many months without problem. Suddenly, yesterday when I tried to load any mp3 file, it goes through the progress bar, but there are no waveforms visible. There is just a pair of gray empty tracks where the waveforms should be. When I close Audacity, it asks if I want to save the changes. I say no.
I tried several mp3 files that I had successfully loaded a month ago, and they won’t load now. All my mp3 files are from a Tascam digital audio recorder that has worked successfully for at least 8 months with Audacity.
I can play the mp3 files in Windows Media Player so I know there is content in them.
I can still open an existing Audacity project aup file and see the waveforms.
I updated to Audacity 2.1.1, but nothing changed with this problem.
I still have Audacity 2.0.6 on my laptop, and it will correctly load the same mp3 files that fail to load on my desktop. The laptop has essentially the same apps and environment as the desktop, yet Audacity works on the laptop and not on the desktop.
I think something has changed about the environment on my HP - maybe some recent Windows patch? I have recently installed Malwarebytes on both the desktop and the laptop, so that probably is not the cause.
I re-installed Audacity 2.0.6 on the desktop, but that didn’t change the problem.
I think I solved the problem, but I don’t understand it exactly.
After I failed to open the .mp3, I looked at the log, and saw this:
8:14:48 PM: Audacity 2.0.6
8:14:48 PM: Log Cleared.
8:14:59 PM: File name is C:\Church recordings\building dedication & wendy installation 9-15\building dedication.mp3
8:14:59 PM: Mime type is *
8:14:59 PM: Opening with libsndfile
8:14:59 PM: Opening with libmad
8:14:59 PM: Open(C:\Church recordings\building dedication & wendy installation 9-15\building dedication.mp3) succeeded
8:14:59 PM: Error: Directory 'C:\Users\JOHNDE~1\AppData\Local\Temp\audacity_1_2_temp\project31272' couldn't be created (error 5: access is denied.)
8:14:59 PM: Error: mkdir in DirManager::MakeBlockFilePath failed. (error 5: access is denied.)
8:14:59 PM: Error: Can not enumerate files in directory 'C:\Users\JOHNDE~1\AppData\Local\Temp\audacity_1_2_temp\project31272\e00\d00\' (error 3: the system cannot find the path specified.)
8:14:59 PM: Error: can't open file 'C:\Users\JOHNDE~1\AppData\Local\Temp\audacity_1_2_temp\project31272\e00\d00\e0000314.au' (error 3: the system cannot find the path specified.
This told me that no project file was found, so I closed Audacity, re-opened Audacity, and immediately created a project. Then I opened the .mp3 file in that project, and it works OK now. I can see the waveform, and hear the audio.
What I don’t understand is that always before I have been opening the .mp3 first, without creating a project, then saving a project later. For whatever reason, this doesn’t work now.
8:14:59 PM: Error: Directory ‘C:\Users\JOHNDE~1\AppData\Local\Temp\audacity_1_2_temp\project31272’ couldn’t be created (error 5: access is denied.)
This seems to suggest you don’t have permission to create new work in that directory. Audacity has to make a personal copy of the music you’re trying to open. If it can’t do that, then the show is damaged.
I’m in fuzzy water here, but If you create a Project and save the project on the desktop, then Audacity will do all its work on the desktop which you clearly have permission to use.
That describes the problem better. The flat blue line is an Audacity track. We thought there was no track created.
It tells you Audacity cannot write to “'C:\Users\JOHNDE~1\AppData\Local\Temp\audacity_1_2_temp”, probably because of confusion with the tilde (~) in the name of the directory.
Your user folder is not actually “JOHNDE~1” if you look at it in Explorer. That name is the shortened 8.3 filename that Windows uses for compatibility with old applications.
Did you go back to an old version of Audacity at some stage that creates the “audacity_1_2_temp” in the name of the temp folder?
You will probably have the same problem again if you don’t save a project first.
The easiest way to fix this is to reinstall Audacity (ideally the latest Audacity 2.1.1 from http://audacityteam.org/download/windows) and enable the “Reset Preferences” box half way through the installation. Then when you launch Audacity, confirm you want to reset preferences.
This should reset the Audacity temporary directory to “C:\Users<your user name>\AppData\Local\Temp\audacity_temp”.
On my desktop machine I looked at the permissions for the audacity_1_2_temp folder, and I did not have anything but read access. I changed the folder to full control, and things seem to be working normally again with opening mp3 files Audacity.
The odd thing about this problem is that on my laptop Audacity 2.0.3 is using audacity_temp, and that folder only has read access as well. But I can open mp3 files on this laptop without problem. I have the same anti-virus and anti-malware software on both machines, so something else must also be going on.
This is a deeper problem than I understand, but at least I can function again. But it makes me nervous when a problem goes away and you don’t fully understand why.
It would have been helpful if an error message could have been generated when the mp3 could not be written to the temp folder. It was in the log, but most people probably don’t know to check the log when an error occurs. I didn’t.
From some searches on Google I see that some antivirus programs lock down temp folders so that malware can’t execute from them. I didn’t find any settings for this in AVG Free or in Malwarebytes. I don’t know if this is what happened, but the Audacity developers might want to look into changing the default directory for storing project data if this is indeed the case.
I realize that every Windows machine is different, but I am pretty much in the mainstream with what I do on these machines. If I am having this problem, surely someone else is also having the same problem.
Does the audacity_temp directory on the laptop have the tilde-shortened name for your users folder?
I agree and the developers know, but this is not as easy as it might seem because the error messages in the log are generated not by Audacity but by the “wxWidgets interface toolkit” we build Audacity with.
I use Malwarebytes free AntiVirus and AntiExploit, and I know those do not change permissions on temp folders.
Some antivirus apps do monitor and scan temp directories, which can lead to dropouts when recording in Audacity.
Some antivirus apps and clean up tools regularly delete the contents of temp folders. Norton does that by default.
I have tried setting audacity_1_2_temp 8.3 filename tempdir paths in our current Audacity code, but never found that Audacity cannot write there. But occasionally those legacy paths have caused problems in older 2.x versions of Audacity.
As I said, you probably used an older version of Audacity at some time.
According to Directories Preferences, what is the exact temporary directory shown there?
Assuming you checked the exact same folder for the exact same Group/user name, we can’t tell you that. You could look in the Event Logs perhaps.
Is the account you are logged in as an administrator account?
Whatever the issue, the answer is probably to open Directories Preferences and type in a folder path that does not have “temp” in its name.
For example, try creating a folder called “audacity” in the location where you save your projects to. Copy the path to that folder from the Explorer address bar, then paste it into the “Location:” text box in Directories Preferences.
That way, Audacity won’t add “audacity_temp” to the folder name.
I suspected the tilde-shortened name is at least part of the problem.
I don’t know why the reset of preferences would still create the shortened name. I will try it some time with an account with a long user name.
Meantime I propose you follow the suggestion I just made to paste a path into Directories Preferences that is a newly created folder (not including “temp” in its name) that is in the location you can save projects to.