"The system has detected that another copy..." / Keeps Crashing

Hi - I’m running Windows 10 Pro and I’ve used Audacity for weeks with no problems at all. Today I started getting this message: “The system has detected that another copy of Audacity is running. …” I am using the latest version as of 8/27/2021: Audacity 3.0.4.

I’ve looked at a number of similar posts but nothing I try seems to be working. Sometimes I can get it to open but when I try to edit my audio file, it repeatedly will stall on me so that it’s useless.

I’ve restarted my computer so many times now I lost count. I have tried uninstalling & reinstalling Audacity probably 3 times, and the last time, I selected to Reset the Settings. I have tried to stop any Audacity programs from running in the background by Ending the Task from the Task Manager. Nothing works.

I have read about deleting the lock file but I’ve never been clear on how to do that on Windows.

I am lost and stuck. Any help anybody has would be so appreciated!

Did you try Clean Shutdown? Shift+Shutdown, wait, and then start?

Regular shutdown leaves stuff laying around. Also don’t let anything start when Windows comes back up.


Hi Koz - thank you for the quick reply. When you say, Shift+Shut Down, could you clarify how this is done? Is it (a) hold down the Shift key while going to Start / Shut Down, (b) hold down the Shift key while pressing & holding the power button or (c) something else? Sorry for my ignorance on this. I tried (a) and (b) and neither of those worked, so I’m hoping there’s another way to do this. Thanks again for your help!

At the risk of being supremely unhelpful, I’m not a Windows elf. We should wait for one of those to come around and shed some light. We haven’t seen this error in a very long time.

Google has some ideas. This kind of thing can happen in current Windows 10 if someone else on your network is using the file or program. They suggest finding that user or computer and closing the application.

There is a dark version of this. Someone else is using the file or program that you know of. I’d be in Windows control panels to see who the users on your machine are. Turn off guest users. Also, when was the last time you did that thorough virus check that runs all night?


What Koz is suggesting is what Windows people call a “Cold Boot”. Here is from What is Cold Boot? - Definition from Techopedia:

Cold boot is the process of starting a computer from shutdown or a powerless state and setting it to normal working condition. A cold boot refers to the general process of starting the hardware components of a computer, laptop or server to the point that its operating system and all startup applications and services are launched. Cold boot is also known as hard boot, cold start or dead start.

Also you might find useful tips at How To Kill All Instances Of An App In Windows.