Audacity Crash: Changing Track Names in a Project

Audacity just crashed while I was changing track names in a project, and now it can’t be recovered; it’s an empty project.

I don’t understand how this is possible since I did a project save just a couple minutes prior. Then, when I tried to save the project as a compressed project I got an error message saying it couldn’t write to disk. Learning from this forum that I needed to change my track names (most of them included the “/” character) in order to do a compressed project save, I started to do so and Audacity crashed.

I reopened Audacity and recovered the project, but it’s now empty. What I don’t understand is how can this project be empty when I had saved it prior to attempting the compressed save? How is it that my files got nuked simply by attempting to change the track names after attempting to do a compressed save? The data file is empty, the project file is empty, and it looks like I’m out several hours worth of work on my current audiobook project. Is there really nothing I can do to resurrect the recordings since I actually saved the project prior to attempting the compressed save?

Using Windows 10, Audacity 2.1.2. Support file created during crash attached. (131 KB)

It’s a good idea not to do production on original raw recordings. After you finish a shoot, Export a WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit of the work before you do anything else. If you’re professionally obsessive (raising hand) copy the work to a second location, thumb drive or other storage.

You can include dates in the filenames in the ISO format. Today is 2016-10-20. The -dash- and underscore are unconditionally safe. As you’re finding, slashmarks can cause problems.

If you do use Projects throughout, please know that even though they save the layout and other production details, they do not save UNDO.

Did you stick with the same filename through the whole process? There is provision to rescue the work if you do that, but you might consider Save As under a different name occasionally, so you have multiple trailing Projects.

Are you checking your audiobook recordings in any way before you plow through the whole book? We have tools that replicate ACX AudioBook testing, so you can be sure of your submission before you ship the files.

I’m not a good recovery helper. We should wait for a senior elf.


Thanks for the report. It seems an unfortunate combination of circumstances, but yes I can reproduce the crash when renaming a track (which is dependent on Audacity having failed to create the uncompressed project properly), and the data loss recovering the project (which seems to be due to a cleanup Audacity does, perhaps due to the fact that the AUTOSAVE file Audacity is recovering from refers to the OGG file that the Compressed Save failed to write).

Any change to the AUTOSAVE file after the failed Compressed Save, for example, press the Mute button, reproduces the data loss if you then force quit Audacity and recover the project. If you had not recovered the project, choosing the option to discard, then reopened the saved project by double-clicking the AUP file, the data would have been intact.

Audacity deletions bypass the Recycle Bin so unfortunately there is no recovery from this, short of a data recovery tool like Pandora. This requires you to have a spinning hard disk drive and a second drive to install the recovery tool to and to recover the data to. Problems like this show the value of a backup export to WAV.

I’ll submit bug reports for these in the near future when I’ve written them up and found out in what Audacity version the problems started.