Automatic database backup failed


I’m on an iMAC - macOS High Sierra, version 10.13.6 and using Audacity 3.0.2

I’ve been using Audacity for about 8 years now but I’m not very technically savvy. Recently using it for editing an audiobook and each chapter’s file is a lot bigger in terms of length than any other voiceovers I’ve done before. But it’s still just me speaking and no music or added effects. I’m finding Audacity is sticking a lot when I use ‘Punch paste’ throughout, and sometimes even for just pasting something into the file it’s getting the MAC wheel and spinning for up to 30 seconds before working.

Today it won’t work at all and I keep getting an error message “Automatic database backup failed”. When I click the ? beside the error message it takes me to this page: file:///Applications/

When I look up my preferences in Audacity I have 444.7GB Free Space so I don’t see how it can be a size issue.

I also tried copying the contents of the file, creating a new audacity track and pasting it in but I’m still having the same issues and getting the same errors.

At a loss what to do next but I basically can’t continue my edit at the moment. Can anyone help please?
Space free.png

Have you closed Audacity between the chapters? Do you ever shut down the Mac? Do you use dates in your filenames?

Try this. File > Save Project > Backup Project. Give it a unique but ordinary name like TESTSunday or something like that. Post back if it does not let you do that.

Close Audacity and restart the Mac. Give it some time to straighten itself out when it comes back up*. Launch Audacity and open the backup project. Is it still crippled? The Backup Project should be right where you left it except you will be missing UNDO. None of the projects save Edit > UNDO.

Do you use iCloud for anything? Do you have any drives outside of the one in the Mac? I have some firewire and USB drives I use for backups, but they spend most of the time turned off.

*The Macs have some analysis tools you might want to try. Desktop > Go > Utilities > Activity Monitor > Disk. You can ignore most of that and pay attention to the little animation at the bottom. Let me know if you get lost anywhere.

Screen Shot 2021-08-22 at 06.46.28.png
That’s the Mac putting stuff on and taking stuff off the drive. I do not expect that graphic to be going nuthouse even while you’re editing. If your show grinds to a halt again, it would be really, really, really good to know what that graphic is doing.

I pull Activity Monitor down into my Dock at the bottom of the screen so it’s handy.

Screen Shot 2021-08-22 at 06.58.04.png
I have had applications try to take over my Mac and that’s how I found out what was happening. Look at Memory and CPU. Also, that’s how I look at how my Mac periodic backups are going. I go make coffee while the data backups are chugging along.


Back to your actual job for a second. We publish audiobook tests, services, and mastering tools, and have a pretty good track record for getting people published.


Missed an important one. Do you let Time Machine provide automatic backups? It’s a clock icon way up in the toolbar.

Screen Shot 2021-08-22 at 07.25.37.png
I do mine manually when I’m at a good stopping point for my workflow, but it’s possible to just let it go automatically.


If you care to zip up your .aup3 file and upload it to a public server, I’ll take a look at it. Post or PM me a link to it.

Ahh good to know! How do I email you to find out more separately?

Thank you! I don’t know how to PM you but happy to send it. Let me know how to send it to you or I can privately send you an email. Thank you so much!!

So you would zip up your .aup3 file, then upload it to say, Dropbox or Google Drive. Get a sharable link from them and PM that link to me. To PM, click on my name at the upper-left corner of this post, then where it says, CONTACT JADEMAN, PM:, click on “Send private message”

Hi Koz, it’s still being a nightmare. I’m getting about two minutes of editing (I am using punch paste…could that be it?) and then the little wheel of doom appears again. I’ve tried what you said. I’ve closed Audacity, closed the MAC down, opened again hours later. Still only works for a few minutes then can’t handle it again. It’s doing my head in. I never have this on my short projects. I’ve even taken to reducing these files down to 5 minutes and editing an audacity file that’s only 5 minutes long but it’s still sticking.

here’s what my activity monitor is showing this morning:

In terms of cloud - I use dropbox on this iMAC and my macbook air (also giving me Automatic Database backup failed error if I use it to edit bigger length stuff).
Activity monitor 09.30.53.png


OK, it is just as I feared. You are a victim of the uncontrolled runaway Envelope Point bug. Your project had over 22 million, 540 thousand, 061 Envelope Points, most of which have now been deleted - this problem is caused not by you, but by a bug in 3.0.x. It has been corrected in 3.0.4. I have uploaded your “Rescued” project now and have sent you a link. Before you do anything else, uninstall you current (buggy) Audacity, then download and install the latest version, which is 3.0.4. (You said you were on 3.0.2; the bug was corrected in 3.0.4).

Thank you so much for helping. I’m so relieved to know it isn’t me or my computer. Phew.

I’ve installed the new version. Do I delete the 3.0.2 completely ? I have left it in my applications folder at the moment and called it Audacity 2.


You are welcome. :smiley: So, as I mentioned before it is best to completely uninstall all versions of Audacity, and then install Audacity 3.0.4. Otherwise an errant icon or double-click could possibly take you to the wrong version (and you might not even know). It is just best to get it off of your machine completely. (While 3.0.2 was a nice release for most people - it did not suit you and your Audiobook editing technique). If for some unknown reason, you ever did need 3.0.2, you could always find it here:

Yes - you will be be able to edit in 3.0.4 without any issues from having created them in the old buggy version. Normally, the forum elves suggest staying with one version of Audacity for a project. However, in this case, you may not have a choice. There were some minor tweaks between 3.0.2 and 3.0.3, but I believe the only difference to 3.0.4 was the correction of this envelope bug. And I don’t believe there are any forum elves who will tell you not to upgrade immediately! But see:

Yes, technically, you could/should open that in 3.0.4 and then edit those versions. Quality is not an issue here.

Personally, I would be comfortable either way. Whatever you do, because of the particular way you use Audacity, get off of 3.0.2. :wink:

You are welcome! :smiley:

LEGEND thank you… Runs off to delete the 3.0.2 baddie :laughing:

You are welcome. :smiley: