Portable Settings in Audacity 1.3.1 and later
Starting with Audacity 1.3.1, there is a way for you to keep your Preference settings with the program, rather than in a global place for user settings. It works as follows:
On startup, Audacity checks if there is a "Portable Settings" folder in the same directory as the executable (audacity.exe or audacity.app). If there is, it stores its settings there rather than in the user's home folder. Thus, a user can create a portable Audacity like follows:
1) Extract the Audacity .zip or .dmg download to a USB stick or similar
2) Create a folder called "Portable Settings" on the USB stick
When no "Portable Settings" folder is present, Audacity 1.3.1 and later stores user settings in an audacity.cfg file in a home location on the computer. This is an editable plain text file and is located as follows:
- Windows: Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Audacity\audacity.cfg
- OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/audacity.cfg
- Linux: ~/.audacity-data/audacity.cfg
Possible problem under OS X
There may be a problem under OS X: It seems that the "Portable Settings" folder is not picked up, but the default location (see below) is always used. If you have some OS X knowledge, you can fix this with either one of the two work arounds:
(1) This is the worse, but easier fix: Go to the Audacity.app with finder, ctrl-click on the app, and choose 'Show Package contents'. A new finder window opens: Navigate to Contents > MacOS. Next to the 'Audacity' file, create a folder called 'Portable Settings'. Then close the window. Audacity will now store portable settings in that folder, and you can move the Audacity.app around without loosing the settings. This may not be the best way of achieving this, as other temporary folders will now also be stored inside the Audacity.app package.
(2) This fix is better, but you need to know how to use 'ln' and the 'Terminal': create a 'Portable Settings' folder next to Audacity.app, as described above. Then, using the Terminal, create a symlink "Audacity.app/Contents/MacOSX/Portable Settings", pointing to "Portable Settings". Recipe: Suppose that you keep audacity in /Applications/AudacityFolder. Make a new folder "/Applications/AudacityFolder/Portable Settings", e.g. in the Finder, as described above. Then open Terminal, and type
ln -s ../../../Portable\ Settings/ Portable\ Settings
When you open Audacity next, you'll see the audacity.cfg file and temporary folder in "Portable Settings". You can now move the "AudacityFolder" between computers or onto a memory stick without loosing your settings.
An independent party has created a portable version of Audacity 1.2.6 called "Audacity Portable". Once the application is installed to the portable medium such as a Flash Drive, simply launch the AudacityPortable.exe file. When you're done, exit Audacity and then wait for the activity light on your removable drive to stop flashing. Then select the "Safely remove device" option from the icon in the System Tray. If you remove the drive while it is writing, you may lose data. With Audacity Portable, Audacity's temporary directory is placed on the local computer within the %TEMP% directory. If there are no problems, this directory is removed when you exit Audacity Portable, leaving no unwanted traces of data on the computer that was used.
Audacity Portable is not a U3 compliant application. It can be installed on a U3 SmartDrive and launched from its location on the drive, but cannot be launched or shut down with the U3 Launchpad software.