aup3-wal file remains, and leads to corrupt aup3

I have many aup3 project files which are getting corrupted. There is a trend that goes like this…

1 - The working folder leaves behind a aup3-wal file for the project. E.g. “soundbite.aup3” will leave behind a “soundbite.aup3-wal” file AFTER I’ve saved the project and closed Audacity.

2 - When this happens… and I don’t know why but it’s happening a lot… The “soundbite.aup3” will be corrupted and can’t open anymore.

3 - The error messages always lead to something about sqlite3 errors and some “database files” not being found.

Many aup3 files which I had these problems with actually worked fine at times, but then suddenly had this problem in later use.

I “suspect” that one potential problem is that I am doing the following process:

A - record sound and save as some *_RAW.aup3 file.

B -now I want to make an edit of this audio and so I do “Save Project As…” and save it as an *_EDIT.aup3 file…

But why should that cause errors?

Anyway. I’m rambling. Tell me if any of this makes sense? Is anyone else experiencing this problem? And is there anyway to recover such corrupted files?

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

A - record sound and save as some *_RAW.aup3 file.

It’s not the worst idea to Export raw recordings as perfect quality, robust WAV (Microsoft) sound files as backup. After that you can do whatever you want with the projects.

Also, when you get to the end of production, Export the Edit Master as WAV before you save the final AUP3.

No matter where Audacity Hindenburgs, you have the WAV sound files to fall back on. This is particularly valuable in irreplaceable interviews. Note MP3 is not good for this. MP3s create sound damage and you can’t stop it.


Thanks so much for this thread! I’ve found a lot of my projects are getting corrupted lately too, specifically with 3.1.x

I’ve had a variety of database related errors, here is an example of the latest one:

    "timestamp": 1636976856,
    "event_id": "672e74c4184e524fb98d03e11397e103",
    "platform": "native",
    "release": "audacity@3.1.1",
    "contexts": {
        "os": {
            "type": "os",
            "name": "Windows",
            "version": "10.0.19043"
    "exception": {
        "values": [
                "type": "Error_Opening_Project",
                "value": "Failed to open database file:\n\n<path>Oborne & Heller on <path>Episode 70 - Raf <path>Episode <path>",
                "mechanism": {
                    "type": "runtime_error",
                    "handled": false,
                    "data": {
                        "sqlite3.rc": "11",
                        "sqlite3.context": "DBConnection::ModeConfig",
                        "sqlite3.mode": "PRAGMA <schema>.page_size = 65536;VACUUM;",
                        "log": "\tErrorCode: 11\n\tLastError: Failed to set page size for database <path>Oborne & Heller on <path>Episode 70 - Raf <path>Episode <path>\n\tLibraryError: database disk image is malformed\n11:47:36 AM: sqlite3 message: (11) database corruption at line 61875 of [1b256d97b5]\n11:47:36 AM: DBConnection SetError\n\tErrorCode: 11\n\tLastError: Failed to open database file:\n\n<path>Oborne & Heller on <path>Episode 70 - Raf <path>Episode <path>\n\tLibraryError: (11): database disk image is malformed\n"

What I had to do to recover my project was download a backup of the .AUP3 file and then when I would run that everything would be fine.

Seeing this thread made me check if those extra files you mentioned were still there with the original ‘corrupted’ version, and they were. What I did was just delete those extra files and the project opened just fine without the above error!

Thanks for the reports. I have logged this issue here on GitHub:

I don’t know if this is relevant at all but I use Google Drive for Desktop to automatically sync my files to google drive as a backup. I don’t know if it could be an issue with audacity trying to clean up the 2 extra files and while google drive is trying to sync it to the cloud. Just a thought

Yes, that could easily cause corruption of the project. Audacity requires exclusive access to the AUP3 file while the project is open. Unfortunately with cloud drives I don’t think it is possible to enforce exclusive access - the best we can do is to state in the manual

You are > strongly > advised > NOT > to save your active project to an external USB stick/disk, networked storage or cloud storage

I don’t know if this is relevant at all but I use Google Drive for Desktop to automatically sync my files to google drive as a backup

That is interesting, thank you. Generally, SQLite should just discard the journal if it sees that the transactions are written, but there could be issues with that. We will investigate it further

Just to clarify the way the backup works. I’m never working off the cloud or anything like that. All work is done on the locally stored version and as far as I understand Google Drive will just upload any changes made on my local machine to the cloud. Google will however attempt to upload the SHM and WAL files as well as the AUP3 file while I am working on them.

I’ve noticed when I save any changes to an open project google will immediately stop syncing, noticing that the file has changed and start again with the upload.

To answer above question… I was using version 3.02 I think… but when the bugs started happening I downloaded the latest, which is 3.1.1.

This is the first time I ever saved AUP projects extensively, normally I just edit and save as a new mp3 or wav file. but this is a big project for an audiobook so I thought I would be safer to have proper AUP3 files… and now I can see I was wrong. Which is WEIRD, because you would think that saving an official project file would be the safe way to go. So I will just save mp3 or wav moving forward.

I have a lot of AUP3 files for all the chapters in this book, and they MOSTLY are ok. I save 3 files for each chapter, in this order.


So what is unique about the files which have corruption? It is more frequently the _RAW or _EDITED files. I think… maybe… it is the situations where I first saved the _RAW.aup3 and then I did “Save Project As…” and also saved the _EDITED.aup3… and sometimes maybe the audio was empty with no tracks, because I hadn’t started recording yet.

So in other words, the only unique thing about these files that got corrupted, was that I was saving and re-saving, or doing “save as…”

Otherwise, it is just as simple as you think it should be. I did NOT have any crashes, I did NOT lose power, I did NOT forget to properly close the software, I did NOT forget to save… etc, etc. Everything should have been fine. But somehow I see these folders have this file wherever the problem occurs, it’s the aup3-wal file. I don’t know what that is. But when I try to open the aup3 file it says “Failed to read the file from D:” (meaning D: drive on my computer). And the more detailed report is complaining about sqlite3 errors. It says the file is corrupted or malformed.

Thanks to all who posted here. The developers have looked into this issue and have made this determination:

This is unfixable on Audacity’s side. If you use a sync client for your projects, try to exclude *-wal and *-shm files from the sync, or if the sync client doesn’t support that (Google Drive doesn’t, Google Backup & Sync did), use a different client which does, or a different service altogether (specifically, if you use a pure backup service rather than a sync service, this kind of issue won’t happen)

4 posts were split to a new topic: Backup of the file, if it’s already corrupted