Windows Bugs

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This page is solely for recording Audacity issues that are specific to the Microsoft Windows operating system (or to different versions of it), and are thus issues which do not occur with Audacity on Mac or Unix/Linux systems.

If you are looking to request a new feature for Audacity, please go to our Feature Requests page.

This page is intended as a reference point only. It is not constantly monitored by the Audacity team and is thus not meant as a direct method for obtaining technical support.

Before adding a report here, please:

  • Check the existing reports below thoroughly, plus our extensive online help resources as listed on our Reporting Bugs page, to see if your issue is already known.
  • Only add an issue on this page if you're sure it is something specific to Macs only, you're sure of your facts, and that there is not some other explanation for the problem. In all other cases, please follow the instructions on Reporting Bugs to get help and/or give us a useful bug report that we can follow up.

Active issues


Applies to: All Audacity versions
Some issues apply only to Windows Vista but not to previous versions of Windows, notably that Audacity's Mixer Toolbar dropdown selector is non-functional under Vista. You must select input sources at Edit > Preferences: Audio I/O tab in the "Recording Device" dropdown. Please see our Windows Vista OS page for detailed help.

Reversed button order in dialogues

Applies to: All Audacity versions
OK/Cancel buttons in Audacity dialogues are switched from the Windows convention which states "OK" should be on the left, and "Cancel" on the right, or are inconsistent in applying this. This will be fixed in the next stable version of Audacity 1.4.0, where button order in dialogues will more consistently follow Windows convention (unless there is a compelling reason a particular dialogue or set of dialogues should not do so).

Sound cards and drivers

Applies to: All Audacity versions
A limited number of high-end professional PCI sound cards are reported to be incompatible with Audacity. As a result, Audacity will crash on launch if its Audio I/O Preferences are set to use the card. This can occur not only when the card is explicitly selected in Preferences, but also if "Microsoft Sound Mapper" (Audacity's default option as shipped) is selected when the sound card is the current default Windows device. As a workround, explicitly select a different device in Preferences.

If you've already set Audacity explicitly to use your sound card and it now won't launch, you must clear the Audacity preference settings for PlaybackDevice and RecordingDevice before you can use the program again. To do this, reset your Windows default sound device to your inbuilt sound device, then go here , scroll down and right-click over "Audacity 1.2.6 reset Preferences .reg file for Windows". Save this .reg file to your drive, then double-click it and click "Yes" when asked if you want to add the information to the Registry. If you are using Audacity 1.3.1 or later, open the "audacity.cfg" file at:
Documents and Settings\<your user name>\Application Data\Audacity\audacity.cfg
in a text editor and delete the two lines starting with "PlaybackDevice=" and "RecordingDevice=". You can also simply delete the .cfg file, but this won't work if you have previously used Audacity 1.2.x and its preferences are still explicitly set to the card. See more help resetting 1.3 Preferences.

Note that certain other custom devices or applications may similarly be incompatible with Audacity. A known example is the Total Recorder  application which uses "virtual drivers" to capture sound directly before it reaches the inputs of any other installed sound devices. If you want to use Total Recorder as the default Windows device you'll need to set Audacity explicitly to use your inbuilt sound device. Alternatively you can leave Audacity set to "Microsoft Sound Mapper" but set the Total Recorder preferences so that the Total Recorder drivers load only when Total Recorder is in use. If you've already explicitly set Audacity to use the Total Recorder drivers and it won't launch, reset the Windows sound device then Audacity's preference settings as per the above paragraph. As a possible alternative to Total Recorder, you can try SoundLeech which is a free program running from the system tray. It records to lossless WAV format only.

If your high-end card or device consistently crashes Audacity, make sure you are using the latest drivers supplied by the manufacturer (but note Audacity will not work with any kind of ASIO driver). Also please try the latest version of Audacity . This will always incorporate the latest available version of PortAudio, which might solve the problem. If that doesn't help, please report the sound card or device to us here.

Some high-end sound cards will work with Audacity but don't use the Windows standard mixer interface. As a result, you won't be able to select your input sources such as microphone or adjust their recording levels in Audacity. You can do so in the custom mixer application shipped with the card.

Audio devices built into the computer motherboard almost always are compatible with Audacity, but may exhibit similar crashing behaviour due to being supplied with outdated or generic sound drivers. This is a common problem on Windows systems. For the same reason, built-in audio devices may fail to record properly or not allow you to select input sources or recording levels in Audacity. To solve these problems, you can try selecting your sources and levels in the Windows Control Panel. If problems persist, we strongly recommend you update your sound device drivers so that you have the latest ones for your computer model made by the manufacturer of the device or motherboard.

Cleared Issues

Freeze after period of use

Applies to: Audacity 1.2.5
This version of Audacity had a resources leak which meant the program became unstable with display problems after a short, variable period of use. Please upgrade to the latest  version of Audacity. Note that recordings freezing after a while are an unrelated issue that may occur with any version of Audacity, and are usually due to your sound device using outdated or generic drivers. There is advice on updating sound device drivers here. Another specific known problem with recordings freezing can occur if you are recording with a USB turntable. The problem is usually caused by a loose cable or cartridge. Please see our help page on USB turntables.