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Why do I get "Error opening sound device" or "Error opening recording device"?

These error messages ask you to check the recording or playback device settings and the Audacity project sample rate. If the message mentions "recording device", it means there's a problem with your Audacity, operating system or sound device recording settings. If the message mentions "playback device", it means there is a problem with your playback settings.

There are two forms of this message:

  • Error opening recording device - Error code -xxxx this means there is a problem with your Audacity, operating system or sound device recording settings, where xxxx is replaced by a numeric code see here for details.
  • Error opening sound device ... this is a generic message that is associated with a failure to start the audio playback stream.

These messages can suggest a problem with the drivers of the sound device, or possibly that you are asking the device to do something it cannot do. For example you will see this error if you attempt to Record to more channels than your device supports, or if you try to overdub on a device that can either record or play back but not both.

The recording device message most commonly occurs on Windows when one of the sound device inputs is not properly enabled or otherwise cannot respond to Audacity's request to start recording.

For details of how to fix this please see Error opening sound device.

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Why do I get "FFmpeg Error - Can't open audio codec 0x15002" (or 0x15003)?

Error 0x15002 occurs if you export more than a 2-channel M4A file (such as a 5.1 surround sound file), using the "M4A (AAC) Files (FFmpeg)" export choice. To correct the error and export up to 8 channels, choose (external application) and specify a command that tells Audacity to explicitly use the native FFmpeg AAC encoder.

Error 0x15003 occurs if you export more than a 6-channel AC3 file. Six channels is the maximum possible for AC3.

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Why do I get "Audacity is already running ..." error message?

This can occur if an old Audacity "lock file" is still present (we believe that this error only occurs on Mac computers).

Bulb icon On Mac the lock file is in:
  • ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/SessionData

Look in the SessionData folder and delete any files and folders you find there.

See FAQ:Installation, Startup and Plug-ins for details.

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Why does the computer reboot or show a blue screen message when I launch Audacity or play or record?

This mostly affects Windows computers. It happens when your computer sound device has a bad or mismatched driver or there is a problem with a system driver that interacts with that sound device. Even if the problem occurs after updating to the latest Audacity version, it still is not Audacity's direct fault because Audacity does not have kernel privileges to make the computer restart. Inappropriate drivers can also cause Audacity to crash during playback or recording, without necessarily crashing the computer.

The best practice is to make sure the computer's built-in sound device has the latest drivers for your operating system, supplied by the motherboard or computer manufacturer. For a PCI or external sound card, obtain the latest drivers and firmware supplied by the manufacturer of the device. See Updating Sound Device Drivers on the Wiki for help with correcting driver issues. If playback or recording worked previously, but the sound device drivers are appropriate or cannot be changed to a version that prevents the problem, try Windows System Restore to revert the computer to a state before the problem occurred.

If necessary the exact driver or module causing a computer crash can be pinpointed on Windows by examining the memory dump made when the crash occurred. You can find the dump by right-clicking over My Computer or Computer > Properties, then click the "Advanced" link or tab, and under "Startup and Recovery", choose "Settings...". WhoCrashed is a Windows tool that makes it easy to identify the driver or module at fault. Another good idea is to test the computer's memory for errors (see help for Windows and Mac). Faulty memory can sometimes cause computer freezes or crashes.

If your best available sound card drivers prove to be incompatible with current Audacity, we may not be able to take any direct action, but do let us know:

  • the exact make and model number of the sound device
  • the exact driver and firmware model numbers
  • the exact operating system you are using, including the Service Pack if you are on Windows.

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Batch command ... not recognized

This error may sometimes occur for one or more commands in a Macro when updating from a previous Audacity version. The error may also occur if users sharing Macro have different Audacity versions or different versions of the plug-ins used in the Macro.

See the Macros page for more details

Errors on opening or recovering an Audacity project

There are several common causes of this, so they are listed on their own FAQ page.

Please see FAQ:Errors on opening or recovering an Audacity project for details.

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"I found a bug! now what?"

The most important things when reporting a bug are to be as specific as possible and check first in the Release Notes if we already know about the problem.

If the bug is not known about, please give us enough information that we can reproduce the bug ourselves on the correct operating system. Otherwise it's unlikely that we'll be able to fix it.

Warning icon Please include the following essential information in your report:
  • Your exact three-section version number of Audacity (for example, 2.0.0) - you can check this at Help > About Audacity or Audacity > About Audacity on a Mac computer
  • The exact operating system you are using (for example, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Mac OS X 10.6.8, Linux Ubuntu 11.10)
  • Any other information about your computer and its audio connections that might be relevant (for example, 2 GB RAM, 2.2 GHz, M-Audio Fast Track USB interface).

If you can make the problem happen consistently, tell us the exact sequence of events, step-by-step from launch of Audacity that causes the bug to occur.

If you see an error message, be sure to send us the exact text of the error message, or attach an image. If you are on Mac or Linux a crash report is useful too.

When you have your bug report ready, please post to our forum.

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"Feature X is not good enough or is missing"

You can send your ideas for new or improved features to our forum. Again, be as specific as possible, and feel free to suggest your preferred way of achieving the functionality you desire.

If you are a C++ programmer, you can send us a patch or preferably a Git pull request for the bug fix or new feature.

Thanks for all your reports, suggestions and patches! All of these help us make Audacity better.

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>  Forward To: FAQ:Errors on opening or recovering an Audacity project

<  Back to: FAQ:Editing

|< Index of Frequently Asked Questions