Audacity Asked to Delete Unused Files

I have a really important live music recording that was recorded in Audacity over the weekend and saved directly to my USB. When I attempted to open it on my computer, I got an error asking if i wanted to delete the unused files (not sure if thats the exact wording but it said it was the recomended option). As a result all of the AU files were deleted from the USB, but the now empty sub folders were all still there. I was able to use data recovery software to restore the AU files and place them back in the original data folder.

When I attempt to open the AUP file it comes up with an empty project in audacity. Is there a way to redirect the AUP file to look in the new folder, or is it likely that when i deleted the the “unused files” it deleted the data from the AUP file as well.

thanks in advance for any help you can give

Please, have a look at the pink panel at the top of the page and tell us your version of Audacity.

How long was the recording and at what sample rate? Older versions of Audacity see very long tracks (more than 13.5 hours at 44100 hours or more than 6.75 hours at 88200 Hz) as entirely composed of unused “orphan files” when reopening the project. If the audio when you reopened the project appeared as a flat line, you should not have deleted the orphan files.

If the cause of the problem is very long audio I don’t recall whether deleting the entire data causes the references to that data to be removed from the AUP file. You can open the file in TextEdit and have a look.

Even if the recovered AU files are in the exact same location as they were previously, they must also be named exactly the same as they were before. Help > Show Log… will show you what the errors are when reopening the project.

As long as you did not edit the recording and as long as the recovery software did not change the timestamps of the AU files, you can try to recover the recording using the steps on

The moral is, if it is a very important recording, export it as WAV well as save it as a project.


The computer at the venue where it was recorded is a windows computer running audacity version 2 (not sure which exact version of 2 though) My home computer where I opened the file the first time after it was saved on the USB is a mac running version I have since updated to the new version but I’m still having the same issues.

The recording was about 5 hour 30 minutes, at 44100 Hz. When I opened the AUP file on my mac the first time it asked to delete silent files around 6,300 of them as i said before. After that the file would “open” but no audio file appeared, not silent, just an empty project with no recordings.

I went back to the venue to attempt to reopen the file on the original windows computer using the same USB, it showed the recovery option. I selected to open the recovery and the recording was the right length but the audio showed up as a flat line. I looked at the log file but it came up completely blank.

I am now back home and attempted to reopen the file (on my mac) and am now getting the "Warning -Orphan Block File (s) warning again. And Ive attached the log file
log.txt (510 KB)

Forgot one last thing

to clarify when I restored the au files, they all still had their original names and were seperated into the original sub folders, So Im thinking that maybe the data was cleared from the AUP file. As all of the orignal audio flies are there.

as for saving as a wav, unfortunately it wasnt me saving the file or i would have known to save the wav instead of the aup

1.3.7 is an ancient Beta (unstable) version.

They will be of no value for manual recovery unless the recovery software retained the original timestamps. Did it? For a stereo recording, there would originally be pairs of AU files with the same timestamp, each pair about six seconds apart.

Also I notice in your log the e and d folders in the path to the AU files are capitalised. The e and d folders Audacity are looking for will not be capitalised. This will matter if you have a case-sensitive Mac.

Please verify that or attach the AUP file so we can see it.

There are only two ways to recover. Match the AUP file with the AU files that you have, or manually recover the AU files (only if they have their original timestamps).


Ive attached the AUP file.

as for time stamps, they are showing up with the wrong dates ie dec 31 1969 so it doesn’t look like the manual option will work

I checked in disk utility and both my internal and usb are both not case sensitive. As i said before it was saved on a windows computer, not sure if thats whats causing the error since the USB comes up as the E on the windows computer.
Flash-PhilipGoyette.HeatheredPearls.RyanElliot-Dec0520151.aup (511 Bytes)

As you can see, the AUP file no longer has references to the AU files, so you are limited to recovering those AU files manually. The date itself does not matter for recovery, but having timestamps 6 seconds or so apart is crucial to allowing the recovery to piece the files together in the correct order.


Oh maybe I’m just not seeing it right, how do I view the time stamp?

Finder only shows you “short time” which does not show you seconds by default. You can set a custom short time including seconds in the Mac “Language and Region” Preferences (click the “Advanced…” button).

The recovery is probably easier done in Windows. Windows Explorer shows you the time stamp in “Details” view but may use Windows “short time” which does not show you seconds by default.

Follow the instructions on to download the xplorer2 app that will do the necessary file renaming for you. xplorer2 uses Windows “long time” by default, which should show you seconds in the timestamp. Set View > Pane style to “Details”.