Search for Plugins at Startup is Suddenly Endless

I’ve been using 3.2.0 for a Mac since it came out but today the scan for plugins is up to 104 minutes and still increasing. It was working fine yesterday. If I cancel or stop the process only one of my VST3 effects shows up in the track control panel. I’m running Audacity 3.2.0_X86 on a MacBook Pro M1, 32GB MacOS 12.6.
Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 1.44.13 PM.png

If I cancel or stop the process all but one of my VST3 effects shows up in the track control panel.

Without being ridiculously obvious, what happens if you temporarily remove that one plugin? I can see Audacity searching for weeks to find one damaged plugin (even if it used to work).


I started version 3.1.3 out of frustration. A lot of my plugins were marked New so I re-enabled them. Then I went back to 3.2.0 and the scan was quick but it reported a few plugins as invalid. But they were all available and they worked. 3.2.0 is buggy. Another thing I didn’t mention earlier is that a second instance of 3.2.0 starts up for some reason and the only way to close that instance is by using Force Quit. I had a typo on my original post that I just fixed.

You get two instances of Audacity running at the same time?

I think this is where I would be closing all my applications and shut down the Mac. Dead shutdown. Watch it as it goes down and see if it doesn’t take a super long time. Shutdown, not Restart. Do Not let anything automatically start. If it had trouble going down, do it again.

Start clean and launch Audacity when it settles down. Newer Macs don’t “chong” any more, do they? I think there is a way to turn that back on. It’s handy to know when the Mac is happy at startup. I have one Mac that doesn’t always wake up happy.


I had a typo on my original post that I just fixed.

It’s not the best idea to go back and change original postings. Nobody is going to recursively read those and, depending on when a forum elf joins the conversation, we may be answering two different questions.

There’s also a fine-line difference between misspelling a word and changing a technical condition.


Force Quit

Force Quit is very serious for two reasons: You should find out why an application froze like that, and you should Restart the machine after a Force Quit. Interrupting a machine like that leaves trash and debris laying around. You should give the Mac a chance to clean itself.


Audacity 3.2.0 adds support for VST3 effects (previous versions only supported older VSTs), and also adds “real-time” effects (see: the video:
These two changes required big changes to Audacity, and unfortunately it has broken support for a few plug-ins that worked previously. The developers intend to release one or more “hot fix” releases (probably numbered “3.2.1”, “3.2.2”, …) to fix these problems.

If the file name shown in that window (in your case: “/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST/WaveShell1-VST 12.7.vst”) displays for more than a few seconds without changing, then Audacity’s plug-in scan has become stuck and you will need to click the “Cancel” button.

Sometimes this issue will clear itself if you reboot the computer and try launching Audacity again.

If the problem does not clear itself, then you may need to remove the plug-in that is causing the problem.
Unfortunately it can be a bit tricky working out exactly which plug-in is causing the problem. It could be the plug-in that is displayed in the message (“WaveShell1-VST 12.7.vst”), or that one may have loaded successfully and it may be the next plug-in that is causing the problem.

If all else fails, you could:

  1. Uninstall Audacity
  2. Delete Audacity’s configuration files by deleting the hidden folder:
    ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/
  3. Install an older version of Audacity (available here:

Thanks Steve. Here’s hoping the hot fixes come out soon.

I have the same problem with the same pluggin. Waves isnt my favorite anyway. Ill see what happens when I eliminate that problem, but I have included a screen shot of 5 instances of Audacity. MacOS 12.6 MacPro MacBookPro for your amusement. This thread has been helpful.
Screen Shot 2022-10-03 at 9.54.02 AM copy.jpg

Audacity 3.2.1 is now available:

3.2.1 didn’t help

Thanks for your report. This issue has been reported here: which is where the developers will see it. :smiley:

The developers have marked this issue for attention for the next maintenance release which would be 3.2.2, which they are hopeful will be released within a few weeks, barring unforeseen problems.

I’m having the same problem too, with 3.2.1 on my Mac M1Max running OS Monterrey 12.4. I have to tell it to stop loading plugins (even though I went in and disabled all types except one) or it stops at the first one (a UA plug I don’t own) and then it opens two instances of Audacity, one of which I have to force quit.

3.2.2 beta pr seems to fix this

Prior to the change no skip button exists, after it the skip button exists and works.

This issue has been addressed in Audacity 3.2.2 which is now available here:

i get this issue. v3.3.2. windows.
if i click “skip”, audacity crashes, access denied error.
if i click “cancel”, audacity loads. i dont know, if it works correctly.

renaming plugins, by appending “.bug”…
issue seems gone!