How to Fix Audacity’s “Error While Opening Sound Device”

How to Fix Audacity’s “Error While Opening Sound Device: Are you frustrated with encountering Audacity’s daunting “Error While Opening Sound Device” message? This article is your key to unraveling the mysteries behind this common Audacity hiccup. Discover a comprehensive guide to troubleshoot and fix the issue, ensuring a seamless audio editing experience.

Imagine effortlessly navigating Audacity without interruptions, confidently crafting your audio masterpieces. By the end of this guide, you’ll possess the knowledge to overcome the “Error While Opening Sound Device” hurdle and reclaim control of your editing environment.

Ready to eliminate disruptions and enhance your Audacity journey? Dive into this illuminating guide and equip yourself with the skills to conquer the “Error While Opening Sound Device” challenge.

Fixing the Audacity “Error While Opening the Sound Device”

When encountering the “audacity error opening sound device” message, it can be frustrating and disrupt your workflow. However, you can take several troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue. Here’s what you can do:

Solution 1: Allow desktop apps to use the microphone

If the microphone for Audacity is turned off, you can’t record with it. In Windows, the first thing you should do is check how the microphone is set up. Make sure that the microphone is turned on for Audacity by doing this:

  1. Open the Start menu in Windows and click the Settings button or the shortcut you saved.
  2. Next, click on a Privacy tab or area in the Settings window.
  3. Choose to allow the Microphone app.
  4. If the Microphone access setting is off, turn it on.
  5. Go to the list of apps below the Microphone access option and scroll down until you find Audacity.
  6. If Audacity’s toggling switch is off, turn it on to give that app access to the mic.

Solution 2: See if the sound devices are turned on.

The “Error while opening sound device” message may appear if playing or recording devices are turned off. So, ensure all devices you want to use with Audacity are turned on and set to their usual settings. Here’s how to make sure that your Windows sound devices are turned on:

  1. With Win + R, you can open Run.
  2. Then type mmsys.cpl into the command box in Run.
  3. If you click OK, a Soundbox will appear.
  4. If the Playback tab shows that a device you want to use with Audacity is turned off, right-click it and choose “Enable.”
  5. To get to that tab, click Recording.
  6. If the input recording device you want to use is blocked, right-click it and choose “Enable.”
  7. Then, right-click on the recording and playback devices you want to use with Audacity and choose “Set as default devices” and “Set as default communication device.”

Solution 3: Check if another application uses the sound device: 

Sometimes, another application may be using it, preventing Audacity from accessing it. Close any other programs using the sound device and try opening Audacity again. To check:

  1. Task Manager (Windows): Open Task Manager by pressing `Ctrl + Shift + Esc` or right-clicking the taskbar and selecting “Task Manager.” Navigate to the “Processes” tab and look for any applications utilizing the audio device. End those processes to free up the device.
  2. Activity Monitor (Mac): Launch Activity Monitor from the Applications > Utilities folder. In the “CPU” or “Memory” tab, locate processes using the sound device. Quit those processes to release the audio device for Audacity.
  3. PulseAudio Volume Control (Linux): Use the PulseAudio Volume Control application to manage audio devices. Check the “Playback” and “Recording” tabs for active applications. Terminate any processes using the sound device to allow Audacity access.

After ensuring no other programs are monopolizing the sound device, relaunch Audacity and see if the “Error While Opening Sound Device” persists. This simple step often resolves conflicts and restores Audacity’s smooth functionality.

Solution 4: Verify the device settings in Audacity.

Incorrect device settings in Audacity can also cause this error. To ensure your settings are correct, follow these steps:

  1. Open Audacity and navigate to the “Edit” menu.
  2. Select “Preferences” from the dropdown menu.
  3. In the Preferences window, find and click on the “Devices” or “Audio I/O” tab.
  4. Look for the input and output device options. Ensure the correct devices are selected for input (microphone or audio source) and output (speakers or headphones).
  5. You can check your system’s audio settings to identify the connected input and output devices if you are unsure about the correct devices.
  6. After verifying and selecting the appropriate devices, click “OK” to save the changes.

You should do this step to eliminate potential conflicts that may trigger the “Error While Opening Sound Device.” This simple check ensures that Audacity is synchronized with your system’s audio setup, promoting smooth recording and playback functionality.

Solution 5: Update and Reinstall your audio drivers.

Outdated audio drivers can lead to compatibility issues with Audacity. Visit the website of your computer or audio device manufacturer and download the latest drivers for your specific operating system. Once installed, restart your computer and try opening Audacity again.

If you check and find that your PC’s audio driver is not outdated, try installing it again. Here’s how to put the sound driver back on:

  1. First, use the Win+X key to open the Power User menu.
  2. To get to the tool’s window, choose Device Manager.
  3. Press the little arrow beside the Sound, video, and game controller.
  4. Choose the High Definition Audio device to see the Uninstall menu
  5. The device will ask you to delete the driver for this software. Check the box next to it.
  6. Click Uninstall Device.

After you restart Windows, a sound driver should be installed again immediately. If not, go to Device Manager and click Action > Scan for hardware changes to reload the lost driver.

If the issue persists after verifying and selecting the correct audio device, there may be conflicts with other applications or drivers on your computer. In such cases, it may be necessary to troubleshoot further or seek assistance from the Audacity support forums or official documentation.

Important: Always save your work before making any changes to the audio device settings or any other preferences in Audacity. This will prevent any accidental data loss and allow you to revert any changes that didn’t resolve the issue easily.

For an ultimate guide to saving your files, you may check out our article on How to Save Files in Audacity.

Solution 6: Updating Audacity Software

Another potential solution is to update the Audacity software to resolve the “Audacity error opening sound device” issue. Updating the software can help ensure compatibility with your operating system and any changes to your audio devices. Here’s how you can update Audacity:

  1. First, visit the Audacity website or the software’s official download page for updates.
  2. Once you’ve accessed the download page, look for the latest version of Audacity. Make sure it is compatible with your operating system.
  3. Download the update and save the installer file to a location on your computer.
  4. After downloading, locate the installer file and double-click on it to begin the installation process.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the latest version of Audacity on your computer.
  6. Once the installation is complete, restart Audacity if it runs during the update process.
  7. Test if the “audacity error opening sound device” problem still occurs. If it persists, try the other troubleshooting steps mentioned earlier.

Updating Audacity software can often resolve compatibility issues and improve overall performance. It’s recommended to keep your software up to date to ensure you have access to the latest features and bug fixes.

Remember to always save your work before making any changes to the software or audio device settings to prevent accidental data loss.

And that’s it! Following these steps, you should be able to update Audacity and potentially fix the “Audacity error opening sound device” issue. If the problem persists, other underlying causes may require further investigation or assistance from Audacity support forums or official documentation.

Solution 7: Restarting the computer and Audacity

Sometimes, a simple restart can work wonders in resolving technical issues. If you still encounter the “Audacity error opening sound device” message, try restarting your computer and Audacity. This step can often help reset any temporary glitches or conflicts causing the issue.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Close Audacity completely.
  2. Click on the “Start” menu in the bottom left corner of your screen.
  3. Select “Restart” to restart your computer.
  4. Once your computer has rebooted, open Audacity again and check if the error message persists.

Solution 8: Seeking Professional Help

Suppose you have followed all the troubleshooting steps mentioned above and still haven’t been able to resolve the “audacity error opening sound device” issue. In that case, it may be time to seek professional help. Some problems require more advanced technical knowledge or access to specialized tools, and reaching out to experts in the field can save you time and frustration.

Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Contact Audacity support: Audacity has a dedicated support team to assist you with any software-related issues. You can visit their website and look for the support page, where you will find various resources, including a knowledge base, forums, and contact information. Reach out to them, explain your problem, and they will guide you through the troubleshooting process or provide further assistance.
  2. Consult a professional audio engineer: If the issue seems related to hardware or more advanced audio settings, it might be worthwhile to consult a professional audio engineer. These experts have in-depth knowledge and experience in dealing with intricate sound systems and can help diagnose and resolve complex audio-related problems.
  3. Visit a local computer repair shop: If you cannot resolve the issue independently or through online support, you can take your computer to a local computer repair shop. They have trained technicians who can diagnose and fix hardware-related issues that may be causing the error in Audacity.

Remember, seeking professional help doesn’t mean giving up or admitting defeat. Sometimes, certain problems require specialized expertise, and getting professional assistance can be the most efficient way to resolve them. By seeking help, you’re taking proactive steps towards finding a solution and ensuring smooth and uninterrupted audio recording and editing experiences.

So, don’t hesitate to contact experts if you’ve exhausted all other options. They have the knowledge and tools to tackle challenging issues and help you return to your audio projects with minimal downtime.

Common Causes of the Audacity Error

The “Error While Opening Sound Device” message in Audacity can show up for many reasons, making it impossible to record or edit audio. For troubleshooting to work, you need to know the possible reasons. This mistake might happen for the following reasons:

  • Exclusive Device Use: Audacity might have problems if another program uses the sound device alone. This can cause problems, making it hard for Audacity to access the audio files it needs.
  • Incorrect Device Settings: The mistake can happen if the input and output devices are set up incorrectly in Audacity’s preferences. If Audacity is set to use the wrong microphone or speakers, it might not be able to connect to the stereo.
  • Problems with driver compatibility: If your computer’s audio drivers are outdated or don’t work with Audacity, it might be unable to open the sound device. Ensuring your system’s drivers are always up to date can help avoid problems.
  • Problems with the audio interface: If you’re using an external audio interface or device with Audacity, the mistake could be caused by problems with how it connects or works with Audacity. This problem can be fixed by checking the links and ensuring they work together.
  • Limits on system resources: Audacity may not work well if your system doesn’t have enough RAM or processing speed. The error message may appear when the program tries to open the sound device because it has trouble accessing the resources it needs.
  • Computer hardware changes: Changes to your computer’s audio hardware like, adding or removing devices can sometimes mess up Audacity’s settings. It might be necessary to update Audacity to recognize the current audio setting.

You can fix the “Error While Opening Sound Device” in Audacity more effectively if you know about these possible reasons. By checking for and fixing each possible problem one at a time, you can get Audacity working again and get back to recording or editing audio without any problems.


Can incorrect device settings cause the error?

Yes, incorrect Audacity device settings might trigger the error. Verify the input/output devices match your system’s settings in Audacity preferences.

Can I fix the error without technical expertise?

Many solutions are user-friendly. Follow the step-by-step guide to troubleshoot and resolve the error, but don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Why does Audacity show this error after updating the software?

Software updates can alter compatibility. Ensure your Audacity version aligns with your operating system, and update audio drivers to match any changes.

How do I check and update Audacity?

To check for updates, open Audacity and go to the “Help” menu. Then, select “Check for Updates” to see if a newer version is available. If an update is available, follow the prompts to download and install the latest version of Audacity.

How can I fix the “Error While Opening Sound Device” on Windows?

Ensure microphone access is granted, confirm sound devices are enabled, close other applications using the sound device, verify Audacity’s device settings, update audio drivers, and consider restarting your computer.


As you finish this complete guide on how to fix Audacity’s “Error While Opening Sound Device,” keep in mind that every problem you face in audio editing is a chance to learn and grow. You now have a range of options at your disposal and are ready to face this common problem head-on and win.

You’ve taken steps to learn how to use this powerful audio editing software, like changing the microphone settings in your system’s privacy settings and making sure you have the right device settings in Audacity. Every action you’ve taken, like updating drivers, resetting up audio devices, or even getting professional help, has helped you learn more about your audio surroundings.

With the new information and tips you’ve learned, picture audio editing sessions that go smoothly in the future. There will be no more annoying delays or confusing error messages. Now you’re ready to deal with any technical problems that come up, seeing them as just steps on the way to perfect music production.

Are you looking for more informative and comprehensive guides in Audacity? Visit AudacityGuide for a treasure trove of tutorials, tips, and troubleshooting insights. Your path to mastering Audacity starts here at AudacityGuide – your go-to destination for everything Audacity-related. Dive in, discover, and empower your audio editing prowess!

Want to see steps in action? Watch the video below!

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