Space bar is suddenly intermittent for Play function

Hi - been using Audacity for years and I think it’s great.

As we all know, one just has to touch the space bar and you go into play mode. Or, touch the Play button and it will also go into play mode.

Except today it doesn’t. Or to be more precise, the Play function with either the spacebar or the Play button has become maddingly intermittent

I might have to tap the spacebar twice to get it to play. Or, I tap it once, nothing happens for a second or two and then it goes into play mode.

There’s no discernable pattern to get it to play - just a matter of tapping spacebar and Play button until it decides to go into play mode.

I upgraded to the newest version 3.3.3 and the problem persists. I haven’t made any changes to Windows, still using Windows 10.

It’s like the program just woke up today with a really bad attitude!

And this has slowed my work progress considerably. Help! Thanks!


It feels like “Play” is waiting for something to get out of the way.

Is this machine used with an internet connection on all the time? Is it using an internet connected drive? Do you use Skype, Zoom, Meetings, Games, or other group activities?

Save your work so you don’t break anything. Disconnect your internet, however you have to do it.

Do a Clean Shutdown. Shift+Shutdown > OK > Wait > Start. Do not let anything automatically start when the machine comes up.

Launch Audacity and open some work or Generate some Noise. Does the Spacebar Play work?

We are looking for an improvement in the behavior, or any change in behavior. Also important, pay attention to whatever complains when you disconnect the internet.


Or maybe its just your spacebar becoming sticky/malfunctioning.

I cannot replicate this on W11 with 3.3.3 or the latest alpha test build I have for the upcoming 3.4.0


It’s not just the spacebar. Chances are good the machine is doing Something Else and putting “Play” on hold for a while. Clear out the machine and see if that helps. If it doesn’t, you may have actual machine problems.


Hi Koz,

Thank you. I defragged, optimized disc, rebooted and didn’t start any other programs but Audacity.
It seemed to work! Spacebar and Play are functioning as before.

Thanks for your help!


Hi Peter,

I cleaned up my drive, rebooted, kept all other programs shut and it worked.
We’re up and running again.


Hi Jin,

Audio editing and recording is like photo and movie editing in that they all take a lot of computer resource and often do quite tricksy things with the hardware 9and OS) - so usually it’s best, as you said, to be running just the editor in question.

Glad you got it sorted,


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