Audacity erase project's data when close

Hi guys,

i tried to have a look to previous topic, but it seems i am the only one to experience this issue.

Yesterday I downloaded Audacity 3.0.2 and I started registering my voice to generate my new company’s IVR.

I saved different projects as .aup3 and everything seemed go right. But, after quitting the program, when I reopened the files, every files was erased. I mean, there is a grey empty rectangle wide as the length of the registration, but no waveform inside and if i push play no sound is played.

I thought it was my fault because I saved all the file on the desktop, so I started over saving different files in different folders always on the desktop. But it happened again…

I work always with at least 3 files open (1 for my master voice, 1 for the master background song, 1 for the mix of the two). Don’t know what I am doing wrong…
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This sounds serious, but I don’t know how to reproduce the issue.

What sort of “files”?
Do you mean that you have 3 Audacity project windows open?

Hi Steve,

i am also having problem in reproduce the issue, yesterday evening I closed all the files and this morning everything was working.
But suddenly something happened reopening a file (i don’t know what) and all the files now is blanked. Every projects that I try to open, made before the issue. If I make a new one, however, that work correctly

Yes, i mean 3 Audacity projects.

The only thing I did (maybe could help) is to saving the projetc with a different name (in my mind i wanted to work on a variant not overwriting a possible choice).

Did you save a backup project like this?

Screen Shot 2021-05-26 at 4.22.05 AM.png
Or did you Save Project As… and then work with the newly created, differently-named project.

How long are the shows?

Are you doing all this on network or cloud drives?

On a Mac, you can right-click (Control-Click) on a Project > Get Info.

Screen Shot 2021-05-26 at 4.29.28 AM.png
Are your Modified or Created dates of a time when Audacity was not open?


my voice to generate my new company’s IVR.

Something Voice Response?

“Your call is very important to us.”

Try not to use abbreviations in a question.

1 for the master background song

Also try to use as clean and uncompressed music as you can. Download MP3 doesn’t make good products that are compressed again for use. MP3 won’t do multiple compressions without sound damage.


The reason I’m asking about the dates because it’s possible Audacity is saving a damaged Project. It was damaged when you saved it, not sometime after.

Did you close Audacity immediately after you saved the bad Project?


Do you have punctuation marks in your filename? I don’t think that can cause this problem, but it’s good not to leave anything out.

Only -dash- and underscore are safe to use in filenames. Other punctuation marks can cause problems when the save location conflicts with the name.

Today is not 5/26/21. It’s 2021-05-26. Slash marks can have special meaning to computers.


Hi Koz,
Wow! Lots of questions :smiley:

  • I choose “Save Project as…” with a different name
  • The audio has a length of 30 seconds or around that
  • I’m working on my desktop (Scrivania in Italian as you can see from the screenshot below)
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Not sure of fully comprehend your question, but the only thing I could did while Audacity was not open was to copy the file for backup. I remember i’ve done that, not sure if the issue occurred right after that.

Yes, sorry. IVR: Interactive Voice Responding. Something like “Press 1 to place an order, press 2 for information…”. I just thought it wasn’t important for the topic.

In this case I did not. When needed I always use the “2021-05-26” format, but never use slash or dots or special char.

Thanks for the advice about the quality :wink:

Please describe your workflow.
(I’m wondering if you have found a way to make audio appear in a project as “unused” temporary data when it is actually “required” by the project.)

“Save Project As” is the correct way to save a new version of a project without overwriting the original.
After running “Save Project As”, you are now working on the NEW version of the project.

“Backup Project” is the correct way to create a copy of the current project state. This does not touch the original project. After backing up the project, you are still working on the original and have NOT saved any updates to the original copy - if you want to save your changes to the original project, you still need to “Save”.

The workflow is pretty simple:
I open a new file to register all the sentences that i will need in the project.
I open a new file importing the song .mp3 without saving it. I can redo this step when needed.
I open a new file where i will paste the selection copy and pasted from the previous two files. On this file I manage the audio level (with envelope tool (F2)).
This way I obtain something like this
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The strange thing is that the issue happened two times (this afternoon everything seems working (#superfingercorssed)) and every time both the file with the voice and the file with the project broked up. Also the backup copy that was close and on which I wasn’t working…

I know, I’m not so professional, I just looking to save some money in this things (since we’re still a small business).

When you say “I open …” do you mean that you Import each of those files into one project, or do you mean that you open each one in a separate Audacity window?

Yeah, sorry… in Italian is such a slang… I’m not used to speak in english since a while.

When I say “I open” I mean I open a brand new file. File → New (cmd+N).
So I start with a white canvass. On the first I register my voice, on the second just dragged the mp3 that is converted by Audacity, on the third i paste the selection copyed from the previous two.

You can probably avoid the problem by using just one Audacity project. Import all of the files into one project. Use the “Mute” button to silence any tracks that you don’t want to hear.

On the other hand, I’d very much like to be able to reproduce the problem, because there’s clearly some kind of bug that needs fixing. So far I’ve been totally unable to reproduce the issue. I’m thinking that there must be some detail that you haven’t told us that’s causing the problem, and I’ve been unable to find what it is.

If you can work out steps that will reliably reproduce the problem, please do tell us so that we can fix it.

I am now working step by step. Saving many times and closing and reopening the projects paying attention to every move i make.
At the moment the program is working fine. I will tell you if happen again or if I can reproduce the problem :wink:

Would inspecting one of those blank projects be helpful?

There was one poster’s project where the .aup3 file looked like something “stomped all over the data in the middle.”


Are you talking about this screenshot?
This is correct, the low volume part is where I want the music is just in the background while talking (the second track).

If you want a copy of a corrupted file I can upload it somewhere. Could be helpful?

All right guys. It’s a bit weird but I found what generate the problem. Or at least part of it.
Tell me if you can replicate it:

1- Generate a file with an audio track
2- Save it
3 - Close it
4 - Duplicate it via finder (or via “Save project as…”) it is the same.
5- Open both the files.

Until here everything work properly. Now, my intention was to copy only a track from a file to another, for exemple i have a file with the music and speach, copy the music to the second file but not the speach. So:

6- with selection tool select all the track
7- cmd + c
8- close the file
9- paste on the only file you should have open (nothing should happen, like as your clipboard is empty)
10- press cmd + z to undo (nothing should happened)
11 - now reopen the file you would like to copy from (the file should be empty)

Watchout because until you will close Audacity, every file you will open will be empty and even if you will not save the empty file, Audacity will do it for you (without showing nothing) and all the data in the file you open will be erased.

Until the file is open, even if blanc, the file dimension is correct, but as soon as you close the windows Audacity will erase the data without asking to save the modify or anything else.

You must fully close the app (cmd+q) not just close all the projects.
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Thanks for the clear steps.

I’m currently on a Linux machine. The issue does not happen here.

@ Koz can you reproduce it on your Mac?

@ Koz can you reproduce it on your Mac?

My machines are on High Sierra, not Catalina, but I’ll give it a shot.


All right, if I find something else I will let you know.
I’m on Big Sur by the way.
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