I was opening and saving AUP files so Audacity would convert them to AUP3. All was well. After about 30 files in 45 minutes, totaling about 25 GB, Audacity froze up. I was unable to kill the process with Task Manager. I powered down my computer. When I powered it back up it would not boot. I removed the SSD and tried various tools to recover the data, no luck. I then tried to format the SSD with no luck. I get Cyclic Redundancy Error messages. I am restoring a system backup and I am going to replace the SSD.
I know drives fail from time to time and maybe I was just unlucky. However, something similar happened two years ago with an earlier version of Audacity. In that event I left the program running overnight by mistake and when I tried the machine in the morning, it would not boot. I had to replace that SSD as well. At the time I figured I had used up all the drive space and it failed ungracefully. I determined never to make that mistake again.
Here’s my question: Has anyone else had a drive fail completely while using Audacity? Having to rebuild a system twice makes me very nervous about using Audacity. At a minimum I am going to install it on a separate partition and not give it any reason to write to my system partition. Any advice or insight would be welcome.
Windows 10 Pro Build 19042
100 GB free space on SSD
Acer Aspire PC
Solid State Drives have a personality quirk. They’re not static like spinning metal drives.
If you record something on a spinning metal drive, it gets placed at one location and will pretty much permanently sit there unless you defragment, optimize, delete, or do any other intentional shuffling process.
In order not to “wear out” any one one memory cell (which have a finite life), SSDs are constantly shuffling stuff around. That’s why it’s a shaky idea to “defragment” an SSD. You may get two shuffling processes conflicting with each other.
You can read a memory cell until the sun cools off, but you can only write to one a limited number of times. You may have worn out some of the cells. That has the same effect as mechanical damage on an older drive. You lose cells in the wrong place, that’s the end of the drive.
You can either interfere with the shuffling/housekeeping, or fill one up. Either can cause problems.
All that’s in addition to you buying bad or “affordable” drives.
Once you have replaced your SSD for your Operating System (OS) it may be a wonderful idea to purchase an External USB Drive (about a Terabyte) … relatively inexpensive to store files in uncompressed and original format to retrieve to or work with through the OS Drive. Just a thought …
Let me start by saying I love using Audacity and am reluctant to accuse it of causing any problem. However, I have lost two drives while it was running so I am naturally suspicious. Thanks to all for the multiple replies. Here are some answers.
ZARDOZ: I am reluctant to use USB because it is much slower than SATA. My current plan is to install a second SATA SSD and use it exclusively for Audacity. I hope that if Audacity is the cause of my problems it won’t be able to corrupt the MBR of other critical part of the system drive.
KOZIKOWSKI: The failed drive was a SANDisk. It’s a well regarded brand.
KOZIKOWSKI: The OS was installed on the failed drive. I use EaseUS Todo Backup to backup my machines to an NAS. I do a weekly backup of files. Once the system failed I got a new drive, reinstalled Windows and restored the files I could from my backup. I had to reinstall all the apps on the machine. (An entire weekend wasted and I still don’t have some email files which I will miss.) I believe overheating is unlikely. The drive was installed in the machine which has adequate ventilation and the room is air conditioned.
KOZIKOWSKI: Yes, the difference between HDD and SSD is significant and it’s always possible to have failures. However, I wouldn’t expect the MBR or other critical part of the disk to be corrupted by a random failure. Anything is possible, but I would have expected some random file to fail, not the whole drive.
ROBERT2: I tried a bunch of different ways to recover from the Cyclic Redundancy errors, including DISM, EaseUS Partition Majic, GParted, and others. No luck and boy is it frustrating. (Once I recovered files I was even willing to format the SSD but I have had no luck recovering any use of it. It is now a compact paperweight.)
Thanks again for paying attention to my problem. It’s good that no one else has experienced this. I will be much more careful about letting Audacity write onto my OS disk in the future.
Has anyone else had a drive fail completely while using Audacity?
No, and not that I’ve heard.
I will be much more careful about letting Audacity write onto my OS disk in the future.
That’s a problem. It is recommended that you only let Audacity work from your system drive C:. If you install a D:, you may have a stable, work-around condition. You should not be using external or network drives as active Audacity production connections.
Do you have a D:\ now?
Did you keep the dead drives? You may have a warranty condition, even if the drives are out of warranty. Contact Sandisk.
Without serious googling, I would wonder what is expected to happen if you “fill up” an SSD. That’s not an extraordinary condition. My mum could run into that by accident. I would not expect the drive to be destroyed.
When was the last time you did that virus scan that takes all night? I would reference the Chernobyl Virus which figured out a way to destroy a computer’s BIOS.
Change the drive ribbon cable. Inspect it under a glass and strong light
No, I don’t think it’s Audacity, either. Although Audio (and Video) programs do stress computer systems. For one example, Audacity forms many UNDOs by simply saving a copy of the whole show. When you invoke UNDO, you just get a copy of the show before the last effect. In other words, your show storage doubled. This is where you go back through all the effects, corrections, and filters you used and calculate how big the digital footprint is.
I’m betting we would have heard about it if Audacity was destroying computers.
Are you in a portion of the world that draws sparks from your fingers after you shuffle across the rug?
Koz: I live in heat and humidity in Houston. I ran a thorough virus check just days before the failure. I have many partitions but up to now they were on the same disk. My new installation will have a partition on a completely separate disk. It will be another internal SATA SSD, so the performance should be as good as the system disk.
I have kept the drives, but I’m not one to pursue a manufacturer over an item which cost $150 when new and I can replace for $50 now, particularly when I don’t really think it was the fault of the drive.
Since I have the machine open anyway I will inspect the cable, but we’re getting pretty deep here. For now I will chalk it up to bad luck and hope for the best. I will also take significant measures to limit the damage if it were to happen again, e.g. clone the system drive every couple of weeks, keep Audacity separate, maybe even reboot the machine after working with more than a few projects.
Like you, I think we would have heard if it’s common. I imagine my post will attract anyone who has a failure in the future.
Filling up a drive completely is never nice. Modern operating systems often require some free space on their system drive. The way to recover from that is to boot the computer from an external device such as a bootable USB stick (usually some flavour of Linux) and then free up some space on the system drive.
Steve, thanks for weighing in. That’s a good summary of what happened, except in that case as in this one, the SSD was unrecoverable even with Linux tools. What was worse, I didn’t have a good backup so I lost everything that time.
In the current event I think it unlikely the disk filled up unless Audacity maintains a lot more Undo temporary files than I expected. I am going to keep a very careful eye on available space when doing large operations in the future.