Can't open a file; can I reverse-engineer the MP3?

I am using Windows 10 Pro and Audacity version: 2.0.6

Hi—I made a recording and exported it as an MP3 file. I also got the .aup file of it, which showed up on my desktop.

I listened to the MP3 and realized I’d made an error in the intro that I need to fix. So, I clicked on the .aup file but it won’t open in Audacity; I get this error:
“Couldn’t find the project data folder: “name of my folder_data”

I checked my trash – not there. I checked my entire computer – not there.

I also checked File/Recent Files. Not there. However, File/Open offers a series of Chinese-box files, each with about 5 seconds of the recording I made. This seems unhelpful, as I’m not going to try to piece them all back together! Easier just to re-record the whole thing.

I also have the MP3 version of this file; is there a way to reverse-engineer it so I get the .wav file or the .aup file back, or whatever it is I need?

Otherwise, it seems like I’m out of luck and will have to re-record the hour-long session, yes?

I read that I’m supposed to update to the latest version of Audacity, but I’m worried that it will further mess things up with respect to this project.

Thanks for any help you can give.

It may be possible to reassemble the jigsaw of 5-second chunks, see …

If Windows’ search feature did not find the file, you may still have the file on a drive as Microsoft’s search is unreliable. I use a third-party app, like the very fast UltraSearch (freeware) and turn Windows indexing off, which makes your PC run faster.

Did you look in Audacity’s autosave folder, after a refresh?

If you saved the file before the loss, you might find it using a good recovery tool. Good luck.

is there a way to reverse-engineer it

You can open the MP3 file in Audacity, correct it and Export it to anything else you want.


The MP3 compression distortion is burned in and if you make a new MP3, the compression distortion will get worse. If you intentionally saved the work as a tiny file for the purpose of posting, transmission or content control, then you may be out of luck. The second pass through MP3 generation will probably have audible “wine glass” distortion—except for your correction.

I use WAV (Microsoft) Export as the primary production format and work down to the other formats and products from there. The only reason you would require Audacity Projects is if you had multiple tracks or other complexity that Projects retains. Projects do not, however save UNDO, so you can’t change your mind later even with Projects.


There are ways to edit MP3 without taking them apart. I guess it’s possible to record your correction (itself a juggling act to get them to match) and then use one of the Pure MP3 editors to jam them together.

Scroll down to Other MP3 Editing Tools.

The task then is to get your voice to match.