Audacity crashed and won’t recover. It’s almost 10,000 files covering about 50 tracks. Audacity is great, crashes infrequently, and is usually good about recovery. However, I get these unrecoverable crashes about once a year. I’ve seen and tried the manual recovery options. They don’t work.

Is there some log file I can look at to see which .au file(s) can be removed to maximize recovery of what is being lost.

Depending on what happened, there may be some information in:
“Help menu > Diagnostics > Show Log”

Unfortunately the log is rarely of any practical use. Automatic crash recovery has improved greatly over the years, to the extent that if automatic recovery fails, then recovery is probably impossible.

My preferred strategy when working on important projects:
Frequently using “Save Project As” to create a chronological sequence of projects.

(this does however require a lot of disk space).

Help menu? I can’t get there because of the recovery prompt which, of course, makes Audacity disappear. So, I can’t start Audacity to look at the logs.

Also, why does everything have to be lost? I saved the project regularly after each recording session. The crash event happened later while mixing and tossing unneeded takes. Isn’t saving projects regularly enough without also continuously changing the name of the project?

Which “recovery prompt” are you referring to? What does it say?

No that’s not enough.

When you are working on a project, changes that you make in Audacity are written into the project. In the event of a crash, the project may be left in an unusable state, in which case you lose your work.

When you use “Save As”, a new project is created and all changes that you make after that are written into the new project. In the event of a crash, even in the worst case scenario (if the new project is totally unreadable), you still have the previous version.

Having a series of “snapshots” like this is also insurance against human error - for example, if you add reverb to a track, shut down the computer and go to bed, then the next morning listen to recording and find that you have added too much reverb, then you can go back to the previous snapshot.

Great. Let’s rename the files. The online tutorial is NOT clear. It says “Sort the files by timestamp order” but … which timestamp? For all of the files … even in healthy projects … the creation dates are LATER than the modification dates. This means that Audacity is doing some sort of internal copying of files.

The Audacity manual also says:
“The steps on this page will only recover unedited recordings”

To clarify, if we record something, save the project, then crash while adding reverb … we lose everything?

Well normally Audacity won’t crash.
If Audacity does crash, then automatic recovery will usually recover it.
If Audacity does crash, and automatic recovery fails, then you need to use one of your backups.
If Audacity does crash, and automatic recovery fails, and you don’t have a backup, then you lose and have to start again.

I was able to recover almost everything. The .AUP file is much more readable nowadays and, because I labelled my tracks, I was able to remove the takes which I’d already decided to cut. I saved the file and … voila … it all opened well.

Sounds like Audacity it hitting some sort of array/memory limit with too many tracks or something. Perhaps they’d be interested in debugging this case.