A new 64-bit Windows/Linux command-line utility is available to help repair broken or corrupt 3.x.x .aup3 Audacity projects. These include projects that fail to open with Error codes 11, 13, 101, and/or with the message “Audacity failed to read from a file in X:”. The utility will not run under 32-bit Windows or under MacOS and it will not work with older 2.x.x .aup files and _data directories. Complete or partial recovery is not guaranteed.
Before attempting a project “recovery”, it is best to update to the current version of Audacity. (Would you believe that some broken projects are simply due to bugs in the program?)
The utility is available here: GitHub - audacity/audacity-project-tools
In the right-hand column, look under “Releases” and click on the lastest release (currently 1.01). Then download the appropriate .zip file. I use the win64 package. I have not tested the Linux package. The Windows zip file contains audacity-project-tools.exe and sqlite3.exe nestled neatly inside of a audacity-project-tools-1.0.0-win64 folder. You many need to go to Windows File Explorer > View Tabs > and Check the “File Name Extensions” box to see the .exe file extensions.
Here are the steps I use for Windows:
- Check there is sufficient storage to recover your project. You will need roughly 4 times the size of your .aup3 for a successful recovery. If you have a 10GB file, you should have at lease 40GB available.
- In your Downloads directory, create a new sub-directory “AudRepair”.
- Unzip the audacity-project-tools which you downloaded and move the two .exe files into AudRepair.
- Copy your defective .aup3 project, then move the copy to this same AudRepair directory, and rename it to “broken.aup3”.
- Press [Windows Key]+R, and type “cmd”. A (black) cmd screen will appear.
- Navigate to your Downloads directory by typing the line “cd Downloads”.
- Navigate to your AudRepair directory by typing “cd AudRepair”.
- Type “dir”. The following three files should be listed: audacity-project-tools.exe, broken.aup3, and sqlite3.exe
- Type “audacity-project-tools -drop_autosave broken.aup3”
- The message “Project requires Audacity 3.0.0” will appear. If you see the message, “unable to open database file”, you have simply mistyped the file name or the .aup3 file name extension.
- When the command prompt reappears, type “dir” again. If a “broken.recovered.aup3” file appears, try opening this file in Audacity. If this opens properly, we are done.
- Otherwise, type “audacity-project-tools -recover_db -recover_project broken.aup3”
- The messages “Project requires Audacity 3.0.0”, and “Using ‘sqlite3.exe’ for recovery” will appear. Later the message “Executing query #xxxx…” will appear as the rescued file is being recreated. Note: This process can take quite a while depending on your specific machine. There is no status (or % completion) indicator, so you just have to be patient. I plan 15-30 minutes per GB. Hopefully, your machine is faster. Keep an eye on available disk space. Also, due to a glitch in the software, or Windows, or on my machine, I type-ahead one charater, for example “z”. This character will appear on the command line when I am done, and I simply backspace over it. If I do not do this, the process may never complete. Why? I have no idea.
- If the messages “Invalid block xxxx: Block not found”, check to see if some audio was silenced - typically near your most recent edits. Usually these message are spurious.
- When the process completes, your should be able to open the “broken.recovered.aup3” in Audacity. The message “File not saved properly” will appear the first time you open the recovered project. This is normal and you can ignore this message.
Rarely, you may get the message: “Unsupported project version”. Then, see here: Recover project - Audacity 80.156.6 - #5 by nick_gordon
Also, rarely, you may get the message: “database disk image is malformed” at step 9. If this happens, simply skip ahead to step 12.
Updated 1/30/2023 to highlight commands.
Updated 2/20/2023 to add Unsupported project version note.
Updated 3/32/2023 to add “database disk image is malformed” note.