All Files Orphaned After Crash (10.15.4 / 2.4.2)

Hi there,

First time here. I’ve been tinkering around with a project for a while now, basically taking little snippets of dialogue and stitching them together over some music as a podcast intro. The project had about 10 of them, each quite heavily edited, but all under 15 second long.
Anyway, I adjusted the gain on one slightly and audacity froze. I force quit.

When I opened it back up, it now has the “80 orphaned files” message, and all my audio is silenced.
Have I really just lost everything?
Is there really no way to get it back?

I mean… I know this is often said, but I really didn’t do anything. I’ve got 2 TB of free space and everything else has no issues whatsoever.

My thanks in advance for any help

Yes. That is correct. :frowning:

On the bright side, a new version of audacity which addresses orphaned files and project structure is hoped for during the first quarter of 2021. :smiley:

2 TB of free space

That’s not the only place you can run into problems. Audacity does a lot of its processing, filtering, and effecting in memory with occasional kicks out to the drive here and there. Macs make it super easy to leave things running in memory rather than go to the bother and annoyance of closing and opening them up again when you need them.

That means Audacity is trying to spread out its sound work and the effects and corrections and fit it all between the nine applications you also have running in memory. I used to get one of the managers at work out of trouble regularly when his machine would start gargling spit. I’d close all his apps and make him start over. Boom! New machine.

Do you leave Zoom running in the background? Skype and Zoom, etc. are not gentle, graceful programs. If they need a service or resource, they take it. No question.

There’s a more evil version of this. I once caught a software licensing server taking up 93% of my memory. I’m correctly licensed, but apparently it just kept launching itself, and again, and again…

Desktop > Go > Utilities > Activity Monitor.


I don’t think I had anything odd going. Chrome, Word, Preview ig?

Nothing odd in the background going either, I rechecked with Activity Monitor.

I don’t think I had anything odd going.

It doesn’t have to be odd. How many markers do you have under apps in your dock—usually at the bottom of your screen. Depending on your Mac, it can be little black ticks or little lights.

If you have a browser and Audacity running at the same time, you have two apps that like to spread out and make themselves comfortable.

You might think you’re only editing tiny portions of sounds here and there and it can’t be that big. Depending on the effect and what the action is, Audacity has to save a copy of the whole show as UNDO. That means it has to keep, at minimum, two copies of the show in memory at once.

This isn’t the guaranteed cause of the problem, but it is a problem that people overlook.

There are more exotic problems as well. Audio (and video) cause user grief because they are two unique applications that can “use up” a machine—use parts of the machine most other apps don’t. Again back to memory. You can’t do live production from the drive. It might be fast enough, it might not. Shows have to run from hardware memory. Not that long ago it was possible to have little portions of memory that just fail. Only apps that use large chunks of memory would run into it and it would seem that the app or the work was defective. It would drive the producer crazy.

Do you use cloud storage? Audacity hates that. Even if you’re not using your cloud for the show, the machine has to go out and service the drive periodically and if it does it at the wrong time, there goes your edit. This is a cousin to the reason it’s a terrible idea to rip a thumb drive out of a machine before unmounting it. It’s probably OK, but if the machine is touching a file on that drive when you do that, it can destroy the work.