Empty file after saving

Hi everyone,
I’m a bit desperate, and I’ve been looking for a solution to my problem without any result…

I have been working on an edit for several days now, and the last time I saved the .aup3 file from audacity, reopening it, the file seems completely empty. The tracks are still there, but there’s nothing in it anymore, and the file is only 328kb, even though there was an hour of recording.
Is this a known problem? If the file is corrupted, is there any way to fix it?
At first I thought a data file was missing but apparently the data is saved in the .aup3 file…
I would like to know where it comes from, to avoid having to deal with such a loss of data again, hours of work!

Audacity version: 3.0.2
Mac OS : Big Sur 11.4

Thanks in advance.

Yes. Audacity 3.x.x saves everything in one .aup3 file. No more wrestling with separate folders and project managers.

Audacity 3.0.2 has File > Save Project > Backup Project. That selection makes a separate aup3 file and doesn’t force you to use it or work on it immediately. It’s intended as a periodic backup. Last_Night.aup3, After_Lunch.aup3, This_Evening.aup3, etc. In your case, you could open up the last backup.

If you don’t have those backups, did you export original or raw recordings as WAV files? You could start the project over from the original production files if this current show is permanently damaged.


Hi Koz !
Thanks for your answer.
I always save my file under the same name, so it means that the previous versions have been overwritten… Did I do something wrong?
Is this a problem that happens often? I’m thinking of changing software because I cannot trust Audacity after this.


Is this a problem that happens often?

Hard to tell. Nothing obvious. We are warned against making global assumptions based on a hand-full of forum postings. There are always going to be localized machine problems with a popular program. It does get our attention when a pile of different users all arrive with the exact same problem.

– Forum elves live across 9 time zones and we should give everybody a good shot at your problem. I’m just rolling out of bed but it’s dinnertime in Stuttgart.

Did I do something wrong?

I don’t know why your machine is doing this. Others may post.


There are Digital Hygiene steps that content producers can take to increase chances for success. There are obvious cautions such as never using slashmarks in a filename (use ISO dates. Today is 2021-08-18). But there are some not-so obvious ones. Export all your original recordings as WAV files, errors, fluffs and all. Never do production in MP3. Use those Audacity backup projects periodically through your editing day.

Be able to point to two different places that have your work. For real. Sitting in my chair, I can point to the Mac and its hard drive and then to the backup drives over on the shelf. Two different places. Two different folders on one system drive doesn’t count.

There is an Inexperienced User production pathway where someone will announce a podcast, edit it just afterward, correct the errors, add music, and post it on line. All in one shot. If anything happens to the machine in the middle, it sends the performer all the way back to announcing in front of the microphone.

I’m thinking of changing software because I cannot trust Audacity after this.

Go ahead. Post back which package you decided to use and how it’s going. Digital Hygiene is good no matter which software you use.

Note if you settled on pay-to-play software.


Hello !
I restarted my editing project, but even after applying your hygiene tips, I had the same problems. Suddenly files were empty. The previously saved files were corrupted too. I wonder if it is the Dropbox sync that creates anomalies in the automatic saving of Audacity files.

By the way, I have switched to the Reaper software. Thanks for your help.

That’s quite likely. We strongly recommend not using cloud storage with live Audacity projects.

Audacity has to be able to do perfect, real-time production on a local hard drive for some of its jobs and production tricks. It can’t do that reliably on external drives or at all on Network or Cloud drives. You can use non-local drives for storage and backup, just not while Audacity is alive and active.


No. 328kb is a magic number meaning: “No data”.

Did you have a look at this thread:

Maybe it’s the same problem. If so, the headline should rather say “Empty file after opening”

The „328 kB-devil“ … :smiling_imp: