Windows 8 OS

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Windows® 8 is a version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, officially released on October 26, 2012, and updated to Windows 8.1 on October 17, 2013. Although Windows 8 has a new interface including a "Start screen" optimised for touchscreen input, the audio architecture is near-identical to that in Windows 7 and Vista.
Audacity has full support for Windows 8 and 8.1 on desktop or tablet machines on x86 32-bit or 64-bit architecture with a minimum screen resolution of 800x600. This page outlines computer requirements and possible issues using current Audacity with Windows 8.
Related article(s):

Audacity and Windows 8

Please use the current Audacity version for Windows 8. Audacity fully supports Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8 Enterprise (and their Windows 8.1 updates) on desktop or tablet machines running an x86 32-bit or 64-bit processor with a minimum screen resolution of 800x600.

Audacity is only an x86 application, so does not have a variant that supports the WinRT application architecture. Therefore there is no Windows Store (otherwise known as "Metro" or "Modern") version of Audacity, and Audacity does not support the Windows RT version of Windows 8 or 8.1 which ships on devices running ARM architecture (such as Microsoft's Surface 1 and Surface 2 tablets).

Audacity does support the Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablet which ships with Windows 8 Pro, the Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 tablets which ship with Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit and the Surface 3 tablet that ships with Windows 8.1 64-bit.

System requirements

Windows 8 minimum system requirements quoted by Microsoft are as follows, and are the same as for Windows 7:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit or 64-bit x86 processor with support for PAE, NX and SSE2
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit), or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver.

For best performance if you are working with an hour or more of audio or multiple shorter tracks, Audacity recommends 2 GHz processor and 4 GB of RAM on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 8.

Additional requirements to use certain features:

  • To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch
  • To access the Windows Store and to download and run applications, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
  • To snap applications to the side of a screen, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768.

For a convenient list of the most significant changes in Windows 8, see

Sound Device driver requirements

You should have appropriate sound device drivers intended for your particular computer model and for your version of Windows 8, as provided either by the manufacturers of the motherboard or by the device manufacturer. Sometimes, new computers may only come with generic Microsoft sound device drivers. See Updating Sound Device Drivers for help.

Warning icon

On a 64-bit system, the sound device drivers must be 64-bit.

On older machines upgraded from Windows XP, Vista or 7, sound device drivers for your particular motherboard or sound device may not yet be available. In that case, the best general recommendation is to use drivers meant for Windows 7, given the Windows 8 audio architecture is similar to that of Windows 7. If in doubt, seek advice from your motherboard or sound device manufacturer.

Start screen

Windows 8 as originally released no longer has a "Start" menu containing programs and system functions, and boots into the new tiled interface of the Windows Start screen. Audacity may be launched either from the Start screen or from the Desktop, which is accessed by the Desktop tile on the Start screen. To access Start screen, mouse over the bottom left of the monitor.

If you would prefer Windows 8 to have the traditional "Start" menu and to boot directly to the Desktop, you can install the open source Classic Shell utility. The first time you click Classic Shell's Start button, you can choose whether you want a "Classic" Start menu or one similar to Windows XP or to Windows Vista/7.

Windows 8.1 restores a Windows Start button that has some of the old Start Menu functionality. Left-clicking the Windows button still takes you to the Start screen, but by right-clicking over the Taskbar on the Desktop and choosing "Properties" then the "Navigation" tab, you can set options to:

  • boot straight into the Desktop
  • set the Start screen to an "All Apps" view with Desktop applications listed first.

Right-clicking over the new Start button provides a menu with many useful options including access to the Control Panel, Task Manager, Device Manager, Command Prompts and Search.

Launch Audacity at startup

Unlike in previous versions of Windows, a standard administrator account in Windows 8 does not have complete control of the computer without prompts, even if User Account Control is set to "Never Notify". An elevated administrator account (disabled by default) may be created for full unprompted control.

One impact of this is that if you place Audacity (or a shortcut to it) in your startup folder (C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup) with an administrator flag set, Audacity will not launch at login unless you log in as the elevated administrator. An administrator flag would be set if you explicitly created the shortcut to run as administrator or if you copied Audacity or its shortcut into your startup folder when logged in as standard or elevated administrator.

Unless you wish to take the risk of logging in routinely as elevated administrator (or to disable run all administrators in admin approval mode) it is therefore best to create the Audacity startup item when logged in as your own standard account.

Default media programs

Popular audio (and video) file types like WAV, MP3 and MP4 will open by default in the new interface's full screen "Music" or "Video" player and not in Windows Media Player on the Desktop, even if you double-click the file from the Desktop. If you want Media Player to open all such files, press the Windows key, type "Default" (without quotes) then in the search results, choose "Default Programs". Choose "Set your default programs" then select Windows Media Player from the list on the left. You can now either set Windows Media Player to open by default all the file types and protocols it supports; or select particular types and protocols for which it will be default player.

If you have installed another media player such as VLC, you can similarly select that installed program and make it default application for all or some of its supported file types. As in previous versions of Windows, you can always right-click over a particular file type in Explorer, choose "Open with" then choose the default program for that file type.

Automatic Maintenance

On Windows Vista and 7, disk defragmentation is by default carried out as a background process once a week at 1 AM, if the computer is switched on and not busy.

Windows 8 extends this with a new Automatic Maintenance feature that runs daily at a scheduled time (changeable by the user), if the computer is switched on and not busy. The maintenance tasks run in the background and include security updating and scanning, Windows software updates and system diagnostics as well as disk defragmentation. If the computer is not switched on or is busy at the scheduled time, maintenance runs at the first time the computer is available and idle. If the computer becomes active while maintenance is running, the maintenance is paused within a couple of seconds.

It may nonetheless be advisable to avoid recording close to scheduled maintenance times, otherwise the necessary maintenance may fall behind. This article explains how to manually start and stop scheduled maintenance.

Known Issues using Audacity on Windows 8

Known issues and behaviors are believed to be identical to those on Windows 7 and are documented on the Windows 7 page.

If you encounter an issue with Audacity on Windows 8 not listed in the above link, please write to our feedback email address.