"Without the optional FFmpeg library, Audacity cannot open this type of file..." But it's installed!

The title says it all. I am attempting to open an MP4 file and receive the following error message.

However the library shows that it is indeed installed. Any ideas?

That error message can be misleading in some cases. Basically that error message is triggered when Audacity is unable to import a file for any reason, and Audacity is guessing that “the reason” is because FFmeg is not installed.

Audacity natively supports many of the most common audio formats, but it is not realistically possible for Audacity to support all audio formats. However, Audacity supports FFmpeg, which is able to read and write a huge range of audio formats. Audacity does not include FFmpeg by default as it may be subject to licensing / copyright / patent issues in some countries.

If an audio file fails to import into “out of the box” Audacity, there’s a very good chance that installing FFmpeg will enable Audacity to successfully import the file. This is what the error message is referring to.

Unfortunately, Audacity does not check to see if FFmpeg is already installed before sending that message, so you will still see that message any time you try to import a file that Audacity is unable to support, even if you already have FFmpeg installed.

Personally, I think it is a minor “bug” that this error message is sometimes misleading. What I think “should” happen is:
A) If FFMpeg is not installed: Give the same error message as now.
B) If FFMpeg IS installed, but the selected file still cannot be imported: Give a different error message along the lines of: “File cannot be imported - The file may be damaged or in an unsupported format”.

Thank you for the explanation.

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