Win10/3.1.3 Preserving/restoring a new installation

I used RevoUninstaller today and removed Audacity, then used the 64bit installer to install a clean copy of Audacity.

Of course I lost all my macros and preferences (by design), but they are all spinning around on backup disks somewhere.

I know that my macros will accumulate in "C:\Users*Chris075*\AppData\Roaming\audacity\Macros" as a collection of text files
I know that my preferences will be stored in "C:\Users*Chris075*\AppData\Roaming\audacity" as three *.CFG files (text files)

At this stage if I found myself in the business of serving two masters (LibriVox and Amazon) I would have to be careful about macros and preferences. The same is true if I wanted to maintain a production set of macros and preferences, but on weekends play around a bit with different settings and macros. On Monday I would want to roll things back the way they should be.

In Windows (and I imagine other o/s) once can write a simple script file to load Audacity.exe which (script file) copies in a “good” set of text files, and, in the case of the playpen/sandpit, also rolls out the changed text files.

I do this with MSWord - a Word2003.Bat that copies a from a secure location over the existing before loading WinWord.exe.

Question: Are there other text or simple files that should be preserved beside the 1+3 files that I have mentioned? Or will those 4 files cover me in most cases?

And yes, I do nightly backups of everything, and weekly (grandfather) backups, and System Restore Points, but restoring from these avenues is using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.


If you have any custom Nyquist plug-ins you may want to back them up. (…AppData\Roaming\audacity\Plug-Ins.…)

Rather than constantly switching between different configuration files, you could replace your current Audacity installation with two “portable” versions, each with their own set of configuration files. To do that:

  1. Backup any macros / plug-ins
  2. Uninstall Audacity
  3. Download “Audacity 3.1.3 64 bit zip file” from
  4. Extract the file somewhere convenient. It will extract to a folder called “audacity-win-3.1.3-64bit”
  5. Open the “audacity-win-3.1.3-64bit” folder and create a new empty folder inside it - name the new folder “Portable Settings” (without quotes).
  6. Make a copy of the complete “audacity-win-3.1.3-64bit” folder.
  7. (optional) make Desktop shortcuts to the two “audacity.exe” files.

When you run one of the audacity.exe apps, it will create it’s own set of .CFG files, Macro folder, and Plug-Ins folder, which will be in its “Portable Settings” folder.
(Additional details:

Thank you, Steve. I think that I have managed to misunderstand both you and the manual!
On my data drive T: I have a folder T:\APPL\Audacity\ where are stored zip files.
The “” of 01/01/2022 created a folder “audacity-win-3.1.3-64bit” and within that folder a second folder “audacity-win-3.1.3-64bit” which contains the file “Audacity.exe”.

I gathered from your comments that there were to be separate copies of “Audacity.exe”; one in its original place, and a second copy in a folder “Portable Settings”. I created the folder “Portable Settings” and copied into it every file except the new folder "Portable Settings, because I did not want to create any sort of recursive folder structure on Win10.

You can see that I created two more copies of the host folder as “Production” and “Testing”.

I now have four copies of “Audacity.exe”, each in its own folder as File Explorer Search shows. Each folder has a complete set of the Audacity files.

I executed each of the four versions separately in time, and used Preferences Directories to change the Open File path, Preferences, Directories - “The last directory used for that operation”, but after setting up what I thought would be four separate CFG files (in each of the Audacity.exe locations) I find that I have only one audacity.cfg and that is in the Portable Settings folder.

I now think that:

(e) Audacity recognizes only two locations for CFG: the original installation folder and a folder named “Portable Settings”

(f) If the folder “Portable Settings” is detected, then that folder’s CFG file is used for all executions of “Audacity.exe”

(g) Only one CFG file is ever used on a machine (“ … then delete or rename the folder and restart Audacity when you want to use the previous settings”). One cannot flip-flop between the two CFG files.

If this is so, then the prospect of setting up different CFG files and moving amongst them freely (six concurrent book projects on LibriVox) is not easily done. At the least I would need small o/s script to roll in-and-out or rename folders as “Portable Settings”

Thanks for any help in clearing up my mind on this.

Here there are two versions of Audacity. “audacity-home” and “audacity-work”. Both are inside a folder that I’ve just called “Audacity”.
Note that “audacity-home” contains a “Portable Settings” folder (alongside the “Audacity.exe”).
“audacity-work” also contains a “Portable Settings” folder, though you can’t see that in the screenshot.

To run the “audacity-home” version, I could double click on the "Audacity.exe file:
…\Audacity versions\audacity-home\Audacity.exe

To run the “audacity-eork” version, I could double click on the "Audacity.exe file:
…\Audacity versions\audacity-work\Audacity.exe

Thank you Steve, for this rapid and helpful response.
I have adopted your folder names (but can change them once we leave this topic), and have set Preferences Directories to L:\ in work (LibriVox) and to B:\ in home (research and testing)

I suppose that now I can have six book-project installations - one for each book project from LibriVox - and a seventh as a research-and-development or testing folder.

Now, for bonus points (grin):-

(1) Each home/work/original folder is only 90MB, so no need for this now, but I had been thinking of my collection of USB memory keys, and reasoned that I could have copied the original folder to each of six old memory keys, and inserted a key when I wanted to work on a specific book project. No need for that now, but that might have allowed me to isolates settings for each book project.

(2) With home\audacity.exe loaded on the screen and running, I executed work\audacity.exe but ended up with just one executable available to me. So I can’t have a work-project on the go and then (in Win10) Alt+Tab to the other executable and dabble in a quick test before Alt+Tabbing back to the book. Is that correct?

(later) the second execution appears to merely locate the running copy and transfer to it. The original execution’s settings are not replaced by those of the second execution folder.

Thank you again.
I can’t believe how much i have learned here in less than a month; I feel like an expert, but am so aware of how much more there is to learn

Under Win10 I have made a batch files for each version, with a shortcut link pinned to the task bat, different icons from Audacity.exe.
The “work” or professional version batch file copies the three CFG files to my daily blotter folder to create a daily audit (backed up nightly) of the WORK configuration.

:: REM AudW.bat Chris Greaves 6:54 AM 02/14/2022
:: Launch Audacity (portable) for WORK
:: Update History

:: Make local (time and space) copies of our configuration
copy "T:\Appl\Audacity\audacity-work\audacity-win-3.1.3-64bit\Portable Settings\*.CFG"  B:\

:: Launch AUDACITY

REM end of AudW.bat

The HOME version is configured to the B:\drive for files; B: is my daily desktop Blotter folder which, as I post is mapped to "T:\Blotter\20220214
The WORK version is configured to the L:\drive for files; L: is my LibriVox folder.

Now: back to work!

This works, sort of, but I have a found a hurdle that was discussed in Have 2 Audacities open at the same time? back in 2016. Here is my situation under Win10/3.1.3:-

I run Audacity 3.1.3 from two batch files.
Because I am working on two fronts “production” aka Work and “research and development” aka Home, I have set up two configurations of Audacity, hence the two batch files.

The two executable commands are

I run the first batch file and Audacity fires up, presenting me with the configuration for WORK, but when I run the second batch file, I remain in control of only one copy of Audacity - with the WORK configuration.

I want to have two copies of Audacity running, one in the Work configuration (where I am doing my job), and another copy running in the Home configuration (where I experiment with macros and so on). My idea is that while doing Work, I can Alt-Tab to the Home version, experiment, and then Alt-Tab back to the precious Work configuration.

I do not know enough to determine whether Audacity is being smart and restricting itself to one copy, or whether Win10 is trying to be smart and economize on memory. If this is a feature of Win10, I reason that there might be some sort of general Win10 workaround that would be effective for other applications.

I gather from the 2016 thread that Audacity will not allow me to launch two distinct incarnations from separate batch files.


You can only run one instance of Audacity at a time. One instance of Audacity can have multiple projects open, but only one instance.

If you really must have two instances of Audacity open at a time, then the best way is to use two computers. An alternative is to run one Audacity on a VM (Virtual Machine) and the other on the real hardware, though you will need a good computer to handle that well.

Thank you, Steve, for this prompt confirmation.