.bak rename overwritten export file

It would be nice to have an option to make Audacity make a copy (.bak) when overwriting an already existing file through Export/Export as function.
I.e., if you export as WAV to c:\Music\Untitled.wav and Untitled.wav already exists in _c:\Music_ , then Audacity first renames existing Untitled.wav to Untitled.wav.bak and only then writes the new Untitled.wav
If Untitled.wav.bak already exists, then it is replaced by the newer Untitled.wav which is now Untitled.wav.bak, and the project is exported to Untitled.wav

Basically this might save you a lot of trouble if you accidentally replaced a file of the same title and other mishaps.

Pretty standard behavior most users expect, I’m surprised it is not in Audacity yet.

We used to do that, but we had a lot of complaints about it, so now we just warn users that they are about to overwrite the file and they have to confirm that they wish to do so. Putting power in the hands of the people.

We do however, highly recommend that users implement an effective backup strategy.

The next release of Audacity includes a new feature that provides an easy way to make a perfect backup of the current state of the project. It will be in:
“File menu > Save Project > Save Lossless Copy of Project”

Ironically, we still get complaints from people that want to be able to just overwrite old work with no warnings at all, but the developer’s consider that to be too dangerous and won’t implement it.

Two things to this issue:

(1) Emacs can make numbered backups automatically, and enabling it has saved my work when Emacs autoconverted all chars incorrectly. My folder is full of todo.~123~ files.

(2) I requested Checkpoints to the savefile a while ago here. The upcoming lossless copy is ok but the Checkpoints would greatly save the disk space and would be faster operation. For example, most often I want do minor editing and save the unedited version. In disk space it could mean 500+5 MB (checkpoint) vs 500+495 MB (lossless copy).

When I export multiple labels to mp3 files, the overwrite operation is the default. I always unselect it, and don’t actually know if it asks a confirmation. It says clearly it will overwrite and feels dangerous.

I don’t want test this but the overwrite option could be unselected by default.

I just tested this on W10 with the released 2.2.2 and the latest test alpha for the upcoming 2.3.0 - and for me the default ids “no verwrite” - so safe by default.

Testing by clearing out may audacity.cfg settings prior to test - so that I obtain “factory” default settings.


Well, today I’ve just lost more than two hours of late night work because I was exhausted and accidentally overwritten older .wav over the hard night’s work. It’s completely vanished. The Undelete doesn’t work too well in this case because the filename is the same.
Can’t express how frustrated I am having to redo the same work again from scratch, but now even more tired because of the late night creativity (there is a deadline I have to meet).

Could we at least get an option to turn this on or off for exports?

There is already an “are you sure” prompt.
Are you asking for an option to never overwrite an existing file?
If so, what about project files? Do you want an option to make it impossible to save changes to your project without giving it a new name?
Do you make backup copies?

Em, after moving my “portable” 2.3.0 instance to the fresh Windows 10 reinstall (to 1809 LTSC) the -old1.wav -old2.wav copies started to appear when overwriting export WAVs.
I’m not sure what caused this behavior, but I’m happy with it nethertheless.