Carbonite back-up and Audacity projects and files

Hi everyone! I recently downloaded and began using Audacity (version 2.4.2/Windows 10) and have never before used any multi-track recording programs. I’m having pretty good luck with it so far, but I need to know which back-up/cloud services will back up the multitrack (aup) projects on Audacity as well as the other, regular audio files, etc. used in Audacity. I’m going to contact Carbonite and ask them if their services will handle these Audacity projects and files, but would rather get some direct input from other Audacity users before I do so. Any help regarding this issue would be greatly appreciated.

I’m sure Carbonite can read/write ANY computer files. The “catch” is an [u]Audacity Project[/u] has a particular file-folder structure with many small files and people often mess things up when moving or sharing projects.

And, I always export to WAV whether I make a project or not (and most of the time I’m doing “simple things” and I don’t bother saving a project).

Thanks to DVDdoug for the response and the good information. That helps, but aren’t the WAV files essentially only stereo mixes of the original multi-track recordings? If so, then the original multi-track recordings would be without back-up copies, wouldn’t they? To be as safe as I know how, I have been copying and pasting the originals (aup) in one of my folders outside of the Audacity program.

WAV files can be multi-track, but are you actually recording multi-track files? Or are you mixing multiple stereo or mono WAV files?

If you are comfortable backing-up your projects and keeping the file structure straight you should be OK and you WILL have a back-up!

The main idea is to make sure you save your original files (as regular audio files) just so you don’t loose everything if your project gets trashed. It’s not THAT common and it’s usually “user error” but every couple of weeks somebody posts a question about an Audacity project that they can’t find or they can’t open, etc.

…The next major version update of Audacity will save a project as one big file but it’s in early development and there’s no projected release date yet.

So far, I’ve recorded a couple of projects, each one using several tracks (I then copied and pasted these two projects/AUP files into the music folder that is under the heading “This PC”). One of these projects, which I used purely for testing and training purposes, has a metronome track and four vocal tracks. I panned out all five tracks where I wanted them and then exported the recording as (I believe) a stereo WAV file. I then copied and pasted the WAV file into the same music folder and I am now able to play the WAV file on Windows Media Player, where it sounds exactly as it did when I panned the five tracks out in the original (the project/AUP file) in Audacity. I hope all of this is appropriate for backing these AUP and WAV files up. Everything seems to be going fine. Please let me know. If this is OK for backing the Audacity files up on my laptop, then my current task is to find a back-up/cloud service that will back up everything on my laptop (including, of course, my Audacity files). However, as I was just told by a customer service rep. from Carbonite that they do not have a plan that backs up ANY e-mail from my provider (G-mail), I have to start looking elsewhere.

A couple of points re. Audacity projects:

  1. Whatever backup solution you use, ensure that it does not access Audacity Projects while they are open. “Synchronizing” Audacity Projects with cloud services while they are open can corrupt the project.

  2. The next Audacity release uses a new project format that is a single file. That should make backing up much easier, though you should still avoid backing up while the project is open.

Danger, Will Robinson!

Be sure that you understand the structure of and audacity project. It consists of hundreds of small six-second “wav” files, a file directory structure, and an aup file that contains instructions on where to locate these file and exactly how they are stitched together to create your project.

If you copy only the .aup file and think that is making a backup of the project, you are going to be in for a rude awakening! See here for the Audacity Project structure: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/audacity_projects.html

Note also as DVDdoug and steve mention that the next release of Audacity will provide a solution to this issue.

I hope this helps! :smiley:

Many thanks to DVDdoug, steve, and jademan for all the input; especially the warnings! I plan to go over the project structure information in the Audacity manual with a fine-tooth comb. But, in regard to the last warning (from jademan), am I correct in my understanding that it will be OK for me to copy and paste the project’s AUP file into my music folder AS LONG AS I copy and paste the project’s data file along with it EACH TIME I back up the project?

Dan,

Yes. And I am sure that you know what you are doing. I was more afraid that someone else might interpret your comments that you just might be trying to do a backup via the aup file alone, and I was concerned that other less informed people might get the wrong message. By the way, dozens if not hundreds of people have complained here on this forum that they dutifully copied the aup and project folders together and named (or re-named) everything exactly the way it should be, but have lost everything that was in their once-in-a-lifetime project.

And as steve says, do NOT make your backup of the project while Audacity is still running, and expect it to open properly.

I hope this helps. :smiley:

Yes, jademan, this is very helpful! It gives me more confidence that what I’ve been doing is essentially correct and will hopefully give me the best chances possible of avoiding major problems. My fingers are crossed! I do have one question though about the project’s data file throughout this process of backing everything up: Does the project’s data file actually become modified or changed in any way when I make changes or additions to the project? I would think that it would have to, but, unlike the project’s aup file (which, as shown by the new/most recent date associated with it, is modified each time I make changes to the project), this does not appear to be the case. In other words, is the project’s data file being modified by Audacity each time I make changes to the project and save it (despite the fact that the only date shown for the project’s data file remains unchanged from the day I BEGAN the project? Unless you or someone else tells me that the data file is not modified from the first day/session of a project, I will continue to assume that I need to copy and paste BOTH the aup AND data files together into my music folder EACH TIME I back the project up so that everything will remain, as I believe steve said earlier, “structurally straight”.

I just realized that it was both DVDdoug and jademan who specifically used the term structure (“…the structure straight”, etc.) when discussing this issue of backing up Audacity projects. My apologies for the mix up.

And steve And DVDdoug.

4DanQuestt,

Please read the following, again. All of it! And don’t forget to read the contents of the link! All of it! Thank you. Key words being data files. Note that there is a difference between one data file and hundreds of tiny data files that are contained in a directory tree under a single data folder.

Danger, Will Robinson!

Be sure that you understand the structure of and audacity project. It consists of hundreds of small six-second “wav” files, a file directory structure, and an aup file that contains instructions on where to locate these files and exactly how they are stitched together to create your project.

If you copy only the .aup file and think that is making a backup of the project, you are going to be in for a rude awakening! See here for the Audacity Project structure: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/audacity_projects.html

Note also as DVDdoug and steve mention that the next release of Audacity will provide a solution to this issue.

I hope this helps! :smiley:

Yes, but ensure that Audacity is closed before you do that.

What I generally do when working on important projects:

  1. Create a new, empty folder before I start.

  2. Save the project into that folder.

Now when I want to copy the project to another location, I copy the “outer” folder (created in step 1) as that contains everything that the project needs.

If copying over a network, I make a ZIP copy of that outer folder (including all of its contents) and copy the ZIP archive. This has the benefit that the project is consolidated into a single file, so ensures that the copy is 100% successful, or fails. For extra peace of mind, a checksum can be used to validate the copy after it has been moved, though in practice, if a ZIP file can be opened without an error message then you can be pretty sure that it’s OK.

It’s not a “data file”, it’s a “data folder” (a directory).

The “.aup” is a file. The audio data is in a folder.

There is one AUP (Audacity project file) and one data folder for each project. In the data folder there may be hundreds or thousands of small pieces of audio data (typically about 1 MB each). These small pieces of audio data are called “block files” (or “blockfiles”).

When you modify a track (for example, by applying an effect), Audacity creates new blockfiles. The old blockfiles are retained so that you can “Undo” the last step. Audacity has an unlimited number of undo steps, which means that projects can grow very large while you are working on a project.

When the Audacity project is closed, Audacity will clean up and delete all of the old blockfiles that are no longer required by the project. “Undo” is no longer available after the project has been closed.

A full and detailed explanation of how to manage Audacity projects is here: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/audacity_projects.html
Although rather long, it is well worth reading.

Thank you all for clarifying certain points for me. Now that it’s the weekend and I have sufficient time, I will read all of the sections of the Audacity manual that relate to this process. In regard to the concern over avoiding backing up a project when either a file is open or Audacity is running, I always make sure that everything is closed and off before I begin copying and pasting. Once again, many thanks for all the support!