Recording keeps stalling

Hey everybody, I’m hoping you can help me. Audacity has suddenly begun stalling every time I try to overdub. I had this problem before and it was resolved with a cold rebooting of my computer. I have tried that this time with no luck. Anybody know any other tricks to rectifying this issue? I have updated my audio drivers and my Audacity is up to date. I am using a Presonus Audiobox USB to connect my instruments (keyboards, guitars, etc.). My recording settings are: MME–LINE (AUDIOBOX)–SPEAKERS (AUDIOBOX). I have also tried setting setting it on Windows Direct with no effect. Basically what happens is when I press record to overdub, Audacity just freezes. Any help/guidance would be greatly appreciated.

The trick with the drivers is they have to explicitly say “Windows 10.” Earlier drivers won’t do it.

cold rebooting

That’s the one where you hold Shift while you shutdown, right? Exactly that? Other combinations work differently. One poster assumed when he shut down his machine it reset itself. Nope.

Basically what happens is when I press record to overdub, Audacity just freezes.

It can do that when everything else is perfect but it stops getting data from the device, whatever it is.

Do you have any other audio program running such as games, Skype, Music Players—even in the background? Skype is particularly vicious about mucking up your sound services.

Close Audacity, start it up and make a plain, non-overdub recording. That’s one of the first steps in the overdubbing paper I wrote. Now play something into your headphones through the Audiobox. Audacity and the computer have to do both of those things absolutely, perfectly correctly and at the same time for overdubbing to work.

Play back the recording you made. Are there any skips, gaps or holes in it?

Are you going through a USB hub or splitter. Stop.

Try changing the USB ports, or try just unplugging and replugging a couple of times.

How old is the machine? Are you filling up your drive?


Koz, thanks for helping me look into this, man.

So the cold reboot doesn’t work. It fixed it last time I had a similar problem many months ago, but now it doesn’t rectify the problem.
Audacity will let me record a single track. When I click record to overdub a second track over it, however, Audacity stalls–it doesn’t record or even play any audio, and it pops up the error message: “Latency correction setting has caused the recorded audio to be hidden before zero”.

My recording settings all seem correct to me (the same as they have been the past year I’ve been using Audacity).
44100 Project Rate, Overdub On/Off selected, etc. Audio to Buffer is 100, and Latency correction is -130. Is there any other setting in there somewhere that may have somehow gotten askew that I need to readjust?

The computer itself is less than 2 years old. It says I have 7.87 out of 8GBs of usable RAM.

I haven’t changed the USB port I’m plugging into yet because when I installed the Presonus Audiobox it said I had to always plug it into the same USB port I installed it through. Is it safe to plug it into others?

I don’t have any other software running. I did have Audacity running concurrently with Sound Forge for a while, but both seemed to work fine. And Audacity is still exhibiting the same symptoms–stalling when I press record–when it is literally the only thing I’ve got running on my computer.

Thanks so much for helping me get this fixed, man. I really just want to get back to recording again but being unable to overdub is a real drag.

One other note. As an experiment, I recorded a single track. Then I checked off the “Overdub ON/OFF” function. It then let me overdub a 2nd track on top of the first track (however, I was unable to listen to the first track while I recorded on top of it, of course, because overdub was turned off).
So it still has the ability to overdub, it just won’t let me overdub while listening to the pre-recorded tracks.

My recent experience with windows and audacity is new drivers and/or system updates can frack a working system (NVIDIA video driver). I would try a system roll back a month or two at least to test if it might have been one of those issues.

I installed the Presonus Audiobox it said I had to always plug it into the same USB port I installed it through. Is it safe to plug it into others?

That’s scary because that makes the install brittle. Change anything and it all stops. But I do believe them.

He’s right. There are billions of complaints of Windows systems that stopped working with updates and behind the scenes changes. That past the obvious problems caused by Win10 itself.

I got nothing. If you decide to reinstall Audacity, remember there is a check box part-way through that makes Audacity reset everything and not save old preferences and settings.

As always, if you figure it out, post back.


It says I have 7.87 out of 8GBs of usable RAM.

The system juggles RAM as needed, but it can’t do that with the hard drive. It’s good to check that although that’s not the problem it was on older machines.

You need one of the heavy Windows elves. I don’t know the Windows tricks-particularly in Win10.

Obsessive Engineer can think of wacky things to try. It should be possible to play a YouTube video at the same time you record a fresh track in Audacity. If you are not in Overdubbing, those are two separate tasks and should run at the same time without collisions.


There is one other item from the graveyard. I think Windows machines still get fragmented. As hard drives get used, they have to break up work to fit in the places available. There’s a half-song empty space here and another half-song empty space over there. That’s fragmentation and an insanely simplified version of what it’s doing. If you do that enough, the system starts to slow down as it thunders through the drive looking for nooks and crannies to store things in.

Some Windows machines would automatically defragment themselves if you left them alive all night.

Windows 7 had a process where you could force a defragment during the day while you’re watching it. I have no idea how Win 10 works, but it’s worth a Google. A badly fragmented, full hard drive may not be able to run fast enough for both play and record at the same time—required for overdubbing.


You can do it manually—and check it, too.


Thanks for all of your suggestions. It was doing the same thing for 3 days straight and then when I went to try it last night it started working normally again. I have no idea what caused the problem or how it got fixed but it is working again now so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way. Thanks for your help!