Audio Disappeared


I recorded something a few days ago and played back that it worked, but then today went to go transcribe from it and it was gone. The timeline is still there but it completely flatlined and nothing will play.

I am a reporter so I don’t really know much technically about this, I just recorded an interview.

My Mac OS is 10.9 and Audacity version is 2.1.2.

Do you remember if you saved an Audacity Project, or exported a sound file?

An Audacity project has two parts, the AUP manager and the _DATA folder with the actual sound in it.

Does that look familiar? What did you call it? You can get into troubles with computer programs by using dates.


I never saved it, I just recorded and kept the file open and didn’t touch it again.

I never saved it

but you put the computer to sleep at least once and possibly more?

I don’t remember what happens to live cache when you do that. We need to wait for a senior elf.


Yeah, but another file that was there stayed for days.

The one I went to work on was there literally at 4pm, went back at 6pm, it was gone.

Does the timeline still start with 0 (right now) on the left? I’m leery about telling you shortcuts because I really have no idea what happened. I could make it worse.


But don’t shut down the machine until we get some other eyes on this.


Yeah. The whole thing is there but the audio. Here is a screenshot if it helps. I’ve googled this for hours and have found nothing.
Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 6.55.26 PM.png

Leaving a show up like that is a pretty bad idea. You may have lucked out on the first one, but computers aren’t non-moving and non-changing machines. You may have software that likes to update itself and change the computer a little while it’s working. So the computer now isn’t quite the same machine it was a couple of hours ago.

Best idea is to File > Export: WAV (Microwave) when you get done. Those are perfect quality sound files and you can edit them into anything else. You can save the show open, too, if you want, but that’s the go-to way to conclude a recording session. That can fail, but only if you like to record multi-hour presentations.


Okay… But is there a way to get this back? It’s really important and I cannot redo it.

I left a help note for the senior elves.


I’ve googled this for hours

And no hits because you have a celebrity problem. No normal person would do what you’re doing. Same thing with people posting on the forum for all the others who have the same wacky equipment they do (0), or through some error, their equipment works far better than everybody else. Unicorn problems.

If it’s a straight recording, we could try something pretty simple. Edit > UNDO. Take good notes what happens when you try that.


You should start making plans of what would happen when the senior elves come to visit and they can’t bring the show back.


I recreated the ways I can think of to produce the same screen you have. They all respond to Edit > UNDO.

Let us know.


If “UNDO” does not bring it back, have a look in “File > Check Dependencies” and tell us what it says.

Did you record this in Audacity or in some portable recorder that saved a WAV file that you imported into Audacity? Steve is asking about dependencies in case it’s a WAV file.

If you recorded it in Audacity, then go to Help > Show Log… and paste what it says (or save the log and attach it). Please see here for how to attach files:

Did you do more than sleep the computer, like reboot it? Unfortunately the audio has gone in that case because the Mac deleted the Audacity temporary files when it restarted.


I left an email note for the poster to rejoin the forum.

Did you do more than sleep the computer, like reboot it?

My guess is no. I know producers who work this way. They go from meeting to meeting just opening up their machine, do stuff and then close it again for the next meeting. They might save their work at the end of the day. Nobody ever makes backups.

The key is the thin line. There are a limited numbers of ways to get from a show to a thin line and they should all respond to UNDO. DEL will not do it. DEL gives you a blank, white timeline.


This is from the email exchange:

Date: Monday, June 6, 2016, 6:02 AM
Hi Greg,
I do undo the recording but that doesn’t
make it come back.

I asked the poster to rejoin the conversation.