Error Message 2

I had been working for weeks on an Audacity project. I saved it as late as Friday afternoon without incident. I went to call it up late Friday evening, and it opened with no data and no timeline. I just saw a blank grey screen, as if I just hit “file/new.”

Perplexed, I went to the location where the data and aup and aup.bak files were stored. I opened the aup bak file. It opened, I worked in the project, then closed it. When I came back to it today, nothing would open. I got “error message 2” and the file opened with nothing in it.

The heading on the Audacity window now reads, “chapter #480518.bak” when it should read, “Chapter 8,” which is what I named the file. This is obviously a clue.

I am panicking here - I am on deadline with this project and it would take weeks to create it again.

Please look at Audacity > About Audacity and tell us all three numbers you see there, for example Audacity 1.3.5.

If you were using the latest Audacity 2.0.2 ( ) it should not create AUP.BAK files. Old versions that did might have serious project bugs. Opening the AUP.BAK files can cause major problems because the AUP.BAK file references the current audio data in the _data folder, not the state the data was in when the AUP.BAK was saved - that’s why we stopped using those BAK files.

Do you have AIFF or WAV files you exported that you could recover from?

You can attach the AUP and AUP.BAK files if you like (see for how to attach files). Or look at them yourself in TextEdit. Drag the window wide and look for “projname=” in line 3 of the file. The “projname” is the name of the _data folder for the project and it should be the same in both AUP and AUP.BAK. So find that _data folder and make sure it’s named exactly as the AUP and AUP.BAK file says and that it’s in the same folder that the AUP and AUP.BAK are in.

Then open the project that has the BAK extension (AUP.BAK). Don’t open the file with BAK.BAK extension, which I think you may be doing.

If that does not work out you might be able to salvage something by recovering the files from the _data folder without the AUP or AUP.BAK file. We need to know what Audacity version you are using to help with that, or you can see if you can follow this page .


Hi, Gale!

Thanks so much. We DID recover the file. Unbelievable. I owe my wife and you a huge thanks. The one follow-up question is whether I should be opening the aup.bak file or just the aup file at this point.

You are a lifesaver! I am using version 1.2.5, by the way.

Thanks again,

Barry Abrams
Danbury, CT

Hi, Gale:

Now when I try to re-open the project, I get the same error message. How do I get the aup.bak to point permanently to the correct location?

Barry Abrams

Audacity 1.2.5 is obsolete and no longer supported.
To avoid recurring problems please upgrade to the current version of Audacity as soon as possible:

Excellent :smiley:
What did you do next? Did you save the Audacity Project with a new name? If you did, then open the new .AUP file using Audacity 2.0.2 (the current version).

You should not normally do anything with the .BAK files. They are not intended to be “user files”, they were used by old versions of Audacity to help with automatic crash recovery. Audacity 2.x has a better method of crash recovery that does not use .BAK files.

I hope you have now saved the data you recovered to a new AUP file; please tell us if that is what you did.

If you opened the AUP and imported the recovered files into that project, then you should open that project. If you look in Finder you want to open whichever of the AUP or AUP.BAK has the latest timestamp.

Once you open the AUP.BAK file and save the project it gets really messy. The AUP.BAK.BAK file will open, but won’t show the latest state of the project. The AUP.BAK file has the latest state of the project but would need “projname=” in line 3 of the AUP.BAK file to be repointed to the same _data folder that the AUP.BAK.BAK file is pointing to.


As above, Audacity 1.2.5 is very old and can be profoundly unstable.

It also sounds like you created a show by continuously saving new work on top of old using the same show name. A better way of working is save new work periodically as a new show: Tuesday2, Tuesday 3, Tuesday4. Also a periodic safety Export to stand-alone WAV file is a terrific idea. You can even get a multi-track WAV file (more than two) in “Other Uncompressed Formats.”

The very worst possible thing you can do is step on Original Captures.
“I did a once in a lifetime interview with Adele and then edited it for my show.”
“Where’s the original interview?”
“Ummmm. I guess I don’t have it any more.”

If your computer isn’t big enough for all these safety files and backups, then you know what you’re getting for Christmas.