Audacity crashed, it didn't restore the project, now all of the audio is gone, how do I get it back?

After the program crashed and I re-opened it, the restore didn’t work. Now I have the program file and a folder with many .au files but nothing is showing up in Audacity itself. The named tracks are there but all of the audio is blank. Is there any way to restore the audio and get it back?

I would really appreciate it if someone can help me or point me in the right direction.

The little AU files are six second sound files and should play in Audacity. Do they? (don’t save anything).

You can also open up the AUP project manager file in a text editor. Again, don’t save anything.

It should have pseudo-English words in it. This one’s been scrubbed up a bit for its picture, but it’s real.You can see the project name is burned into the programming (red box).

Was this an edit? Were you editing, cutting, or correcting the work? How long or big was the show?


Yes the AU files play when I open, didn’t save anything.

Yes it can open in text-edit.

I had about 20 takes from string players this afternoon and I was going to add some silence and then export each file as a wav file. It crashed, tried to re-open, received this message and all the audio gone in the project:
Screen Shot 2020-12-15 at 10.37.47 PM.png

Which version of Audacity are you using? (Look in “Audacity menu > About Audacity”.)


I don’t think it will be possible to recover the project.

We can try to work out what went wrong, which may help avoid future problems.

Was the project called “1.aup”?
Where was the project saved?

Do you recall what you were doing when Audacity crashed the first time?


Yes it was called 1.aup

Saved to my hard drive, under documents

I was going to use the function to generate silence and it froze up. I waited about 10 minutes and then force quit, thinking it would not be a big deal and that all of the audio would still be there as I had saved beforehand. Much to my dismay it was all gone.
1.aup (278 KB)

That project should have 1796 “.au” files in the “1_data” folder, but the error message suggests that there are a lot less than that. What is the total size of the “1_data” folder?
How much free space is there in the Documents folder?

5.18 gigs free space

Size of 1_date folder: 1,140,577,246 bytes (1.15 GB on disk) for 1,987 items

That’s interesting.
I’m not sure how macOS counts “items”, but there’s enough data their for the project, yet only 181 files reported as “orphans” (not belonging to any project).

Can you do a manual search to see if any of these files are present within “1_data”:

Just in case there is a chance of recovery, it may be worth making a backup copy of the entire “1_data” folder.

Backed up.

I found all 3:
Screen Shot 2020-12-16 at 9.14.24 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-12-16 at 9.15.06 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-12-16 at 9.16.36 AM.png

Try this (these commands are case sensitive):

  1. Open the “Terminal” app
    It should open showing your home directory, something like:
Last login: Wed Dec 16 08:32:48 on console
Joshish@Joshishs-Mac ~ %
  1. Navigate to the location where your “1_data” folder is located.
    For example, if it is directly in “Documents”:
cd "Documents"

or if it is located in “Documents/Audacity Projects”

cd "Documents/Audacity Projects"
  1. Check that you are in the correct location by entering:

and you should see a list of files and directories that included “1_data”.

  1. Get a list of the full contents of “1_data” by entering:
ls -R 1_data
  1. Copy and paste the full result to your reply.
ls -R 1_data

d10	d11	d12	d1e	d1f	d20	d21	d22









That looks fine.

Please attach a few of those .AU files to your reply.

Attached (524 KB) (524 KB) (524 KB) (310 KB)

As I suspected, they are all totally silent.
At least that confirms that recovery is not possible.

Is it possible that this project could have been created in an older version of Audacity? I recall there was a bug (around Audacity 2.2.1) that could lose data like this, but the bug was fixed shortly after release and a new version released. That’s really my only guess as to what went wrong.


The thing is they aren’t all completely silent. I found these ones just randomly selecting and they still have audio. They are clearly the cello part distorted to a lower octave. Most of them I open are blank though.

Thanks for taking the time to look into this with me,
Josh (1.01 MB) (1.01 MB) (1.01 MB)

It was definitely created with version 2.4.2

Those three are not silent, but they are not part of the “1.aup” project.
If you open the 1.aup file in a text editor, you will see the .au files used in the project - here’s a snippet where I’ve highlighted the file names:

Ah ok I understand.

Thanks for taking the time to try to help me with this Steve, I appreciate it,