Windows Vista OS
There is no separate or special Audacity download for Vista. You simply install from the normal installer from the site. Note that if you are installing the Beta version of Audacity (currently version 1.3.3), you need the Unicode version of Audacity marked as "Windows 2000/XP/Vista".
Audacity may install on Vista in compatibility mode for Windows 95, and this may cause problems or error messages, or cause Audacity to crash when launching. If so, try disabling compatibility mode, and if any problems persist, run Audacity in compatibility mode for Windows XP. To change compatibility modes, right-click over audacity.exe in Windows Explorer, then click Properties.
Association with Audacity Project Files
When running the installer, you can optionally associate Audacity Project (.aup) files with Audacity, so that double-clicking an .aup file will launch Audacity if it is not already running. However on Vista, the .aup extension does not get associated with Audacity as it should, and instead an "access denied" error occurs when double-clicking an .aup file. As a workround for now, you can right-click the .aup file > Open With > Choose Program, select Audacity and check the box "Always use the selected program...". This should be fixed in the current Beta (1.3.3) version but will still be a be a problem in Audacity 1.2.6 until the next stable (1.4.0) version is released. The fix is made by setting the association for each user on the machine, if association is requested when installing. As a result, should Audacity not detect the association with .aup for a particular user when launching (for example if it had been changed by another program), a warning will display that .aup files are not currently associated with Audacity, even if another user on the machine has already set this association.
No Mixer Toolbar input sources
On Vista, recording sources such as microphone, line-in and stereo mix are no longer treated as sources belonging to one device as they always were in previous Windows versions, but as individual recording "devices" in their own right. As a result, the Mixer Toolbar dropdown selector will be permanently greyed out and you cannot choose recording sources there. Instead, input sources are chosen in the Audio I/O tab of Audacity Preferences, in the "Recording Device" dropdown. The input volume however is still adjusted using the input volume slider (by the microphone symbol) in the Mixer Toolbar.
The inputs will be shown in the Audio I/O tab as an appropriate source for each physical device. So if you have more than one physical device (e.g. inbuilt sound and an external USB soundcard), you may have more than one line-in or microphone source to choose from, as in this example
- Line-In: Realtek High Definition Device
- Microphone: Realtek High Definition Device
- Line-In: USB Audio
- Stereo Mix: USB Audio
Note that the "Recording Device" dropdown can only show devices that are enabled in the Windows Control Panel. If the input you require is not listed in the dropdown, or is not apparently recording properly, try going to the Windows Control Panel to enable and select it. To do this, right-click over the speaker icon in the System Tray > Recording Devices. Or click Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Sound (if you're using "Classic View" there's a direct link to "Sound" in the Control Panel), then click on the "Recording" tab.
Simply click to highlight the input device you want to use. Then make sure its input volume is turned up. To do this, click the Properties button bottom right, then the Levels tab, move the volume slider to right, and click OK.
If the input you want is not shown, you can view all the potentially available inputs by right-clicking over any device in the list, and put a check mark by "Show Disabled Devices" and "Show Disconnected Devices". To enable a particular device, right-click over it and put a check mark by "Enable". All devices so enabled should be listed in Audacity's Audio I/O tab, but may still show as "currently unavailable" in the Windows "Recording" tab if they do not have an active input.
If you have enabled and selected the input you require in the Control Panel, go back to Audacity and if necessary, exit and restart it. The input you want to record from should now be selected in the "Recording Device" dropdown, and should record. If it does not, you may need to update your sound device drivers (see the following section on "Vista Sound Device Drivers").
Vista Sound Device Drivers
On Vista systems it's especially important to have dedicated drivers for your computer's sound device which are both specific to your computer hardware and specifically meant for Vista. Vista has a different sound architecture than earlier Windows versions e.g. the new user-mode audio stack called Universal Audio Architecture. Put more simply, the drivers on a Vista system need to communicate with the hardware and the operating system differently than they do on earlier Windows systems, and so need to be designed for Vista.
Drivers are the piece of software that tells your computer how to talk to the specific hardware you have installed or connected to your computer. These are normally made by the manufacturer of the sound device or motherboard, and not by Microsoft. If you only have Microsoft sound drivers (for example because no Vista drivers matched to your hardware were available when the system was built), these will be generic drivers which won't be specifically matched to your hardware, and may cause problems sooner or later.
Or if you've installed Vista over a previous XP installation, you may well be using the drivers meant for XP. Just as in the case where you are using Microsoft generic drivers, this may well cause problems with playback or recording, or Audacity may not even launch.
HINT: If Audacity does not launch the first time you start it, make sure first of all that your system default device is actually set to one that Audacity can work with, which probably means your inbuilt sound device. Click Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Sound, then choose a "working" device offered by your inbuilt sound device; and click the "Playback" tab and choose "Speakers" for your inbuilt sound device. Try launching Audacity again. If this works, go to the Audio I/O tab of Preferences and explicitly choose the same devices you just chose in the Control Panel.
So even if you don't have any immediate playback or recording problems, it's strongly recommended on any new Vista machine (or any system upgraded to Vista) that you try to update your sound device drivers, using Windows Device Manager. If Device Manager cannot obtain drivers other than from Microsoft, or if you are having recording or playback problems even with the latest non-Microsoft drivers it can obtain, you should then seek appropriate drivers direct from the sound device or motherboard manufacturer.
To access Device Manager on Vista with its default view: click Control Panel > System and Maintenance, then scroll down and click on Device Manager. With Vista "Classic View", there is a direct link to Device Manager in the Control Panel. Then expand "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" by clicking on the + sign, right-click over the sound device and click "Update Driver".
After the update (even if more recent drivers were not found), you should right-click over the device again, click Properties and then on the Driver tab to check the "Driver Provider". As stated above, you don't want drivers from Microsoft. So, if you have now got updated non-Microsoft drivers, try them and see if they work fine or if any problems you were having are cured. Otherwise, note the name of the Driver Provider (if it's Microsoft, note the name of the sound device you right-clicked over), and visit the manufacturer's website. You can search Google or Yahoo to find the correct internet address of the manufacturer.
If you have a PCI or external soundcard you would go to the website of the soundcard manufacturer. If you have integrated motherboard sound, try first at the website of the Driver Provider or stated manufacturer of the device. If this manufacturer does not offer driver downloads, go to the site of the motherboard manufacturer for assistance. When you visit the motherboard manufacturer's website, you will need to know details of your motherboard. If you don't have details to hand, thewill help you gather relevant information.
Always look for a driver update which is specific to your computer model and to your version of Vista (e.g. 32 or 64 bit). Be sure to uninstall the old drivers of the device (right-click over the device in Device Manager > Uninstall) before installing the new ones.
Vista system requirements
The minimum system requirements for Vista (i.e. those that allow the operating system to run, ignoring what is required to run applications) are much greater than for XP , and are. Be aware that the cheapest "deals" for new Vista machines may well only include the Vista Home Basic Edition and system specifications little in excess of the Vista minimum requirements. As such, this may cause problems when running a CPU-intensive application like Audacity. Ensure the computer you are running Vista on is well in excess of Vista's system requirements in terms of processor speed (MHz) and RAM (MB).