Audacity files saved on Google Drive aren't opening

I saved some very important Audacity files on Google Drive. I just downloaded them for the first time in four years, and none of them will play. I really, really need these files – what can I do to get the audio information from them? How can I get them to play? Thanks.

Try copying the files to your hard drive and open them from there. That may or may not work. Google drive should be able to save & read files but it may not work “directly” with Audacity.

I downloaded all the files to my harddrive from Google Drive. When I try to open them, there’s no audio there! Anything I’m doing wrong? Thanks so much for your response!

You put the files on Google Drive directly from Audacity, right? That could be the problem. Audacity doesn’t deal with network or cloud drives very well.

We are investigating a solution that may be too late for you. Export your files and save Projects to your local drive. Close Audacity and copy the work to your cloud services. Do that once with unimportant test files to make sure it works.

Post back how it went.

Make sure Audacity is not running when you need to copy the work back down to your machine.

Never let Audacity see the cloud.

There are other forum posters trying to make cloud drives work just like super convenient large production drives (as it says on the tin). And yes, it’s not unusual for productions to get trashed.

All of a sudden all of the sound files I create in Audacity are corrupted.

That’s from a Microsoft One Drive cloud user.


First, thanks so much for this!! I really appreciate the helpful responses and info. If I’m understanding you correctly, the first sentence isn’t right: I saved the Audacity files on my computer, then uploaded them to Google Drive for safekeeping. I can see that the files have data: 96KB, etc. Should I try downloading an older version of Audacity? Might that solve the problem? Thanks again!!

(I’d be really devastated if I were to lose these files!)

The files say they have data.

Good to know. We’re making this up as we go. The more info the better.

Now we need to get precise. You saved Audacity AUP3 Project Files that you made in Audacity 3.5.1? Depending on your Audacity version, this answer might change. Did you try to File > Export actual sound files and manage them, too? AIFF, WAV, MP3, etc.

Also If Audacity was still open when you did this, there might be a “WAL” file in addition. I don’t think you have a “real” intact stand-alone Project until that WAL file goes away.

Screen Shot 2024-07-09 at 3.56.00 PM

So you may not have uploaded what you thought you uploaded.

As we go.


Yes, but almost certainly not. As a fuzzy rule, once Audacity destroys a show, it’s pretty much gone. It’s good that way. 3.4.2 and 2.4.2 were the last two hero versions. I’m still using 3.4.2.

There’s a trick to it. When you install a version of Audacity, make sure the last Audacity didn’t leave any land mines or poison spices behind. Tools > Reset Configuration. That is intended to restore Audacity to Factory Fresh. In days gone by, you used to have to dig in the computer system files for this.

Like this.

You young whipper-snappers have it easy.


One other note. As long as you don’t close Audacity, you can Edit > UNDO out of most activities and actions. Once you close Audacity, all those tools vanish.

Audacity 3.4.2 uses the newer Project format. One single AUP3 file with everything in it.

Audacity 2.4.2 uses the older, split file format. It has a relatively short aup file which tells Audacity what to do with all that stuff in the _data folder of the same name. That format went away when too many people tried to send shows around by just shipping off the aup file. The actual sound and music is still down in the _data folder. Worse yet the neatness freaks who deleted the _data folder to “clean up.”