Error, then sound disappeared from tracks

I am working on an audio drama podcast with some friends. The Audacity project for our file is pretty massive, using 97 tracks because of all of the different voices, music clips, and sound effects. As my friend was editing the podcast, an error popped up (something about needed to debug), and then Audacity shut down. When he re-opened the file he had been working on, the tracks were all showing, but the audio in them is missing. We can still see the places where the audio was, but there are flat lines there. Is there any way to reattach the data files to the Audacity file? Just hoping that we’re not going to have to rebuild this thing from scratch.

I’m just hoping that you made backups along the way.

Which version of Windows?
Which version of Audacity? (look in “Help > About Audacity”)

What was the error message? Was it about “missing blockfiles” or about “orphans”?
What did he click in the error message dialog?

Do you use the computer for anything else?

The Audacity project for our file is pretty massive, using 97 tracks

You may have engineered your way out of using a regular computer for this. Audacity manages the sound for your work (not the actual files) and it does it in super high quality internal format. That lets it apply effects, filters and corrections without breaking anything. It’s worth knowing that it saves the whole project as UNDO every time you make any change. Some filters and effects insist on loading the whole track into active memory in order to work.

It wouldn’t take a project that size long to outstrip the processor, the memory, the drive, or all three.

I have two experiences:

I used to build Windows machines and all went well until one machine had seemingly random failures. I ran one of those memory checkers that beats up the memory repeatedly and left it running all night. Around 3AM it crashed with a specific memory failure somewhere up in high memory where programs rarely went—except video and audio editing software. No other machines had errors like this.

Also, I have a software license that occasionally takes a mind to ‘use up’ all the processor for no reason I can tell. The license is correct and it just crowds out all the other apps.

Do you leave a browser running in order to download effects and production clips? That can be the kiss of death.

‘Firefox Web Content’ is taking 50% of the processor.

So I think you’re experiencing a Celebrity Unicorn problem by having a show that big.

And yes, as Steve, above, intentionally save a project with a unique name as you go. In this case, you would roll back to the last known good save. Of course, if the drive ran out of room, that may or may not have worked.

The video people have a similar error. “I didn’t do anything unusual and it just suddenly crashed.” How much drivespace do you have. “Ummmm. None.”

Do you use Skype? That’s my favorite whipping boy. Skype got to be the world leader in conferencing by always working. It does that by taking over your computer and it doesn’t matter what you want.


but only if you make a change to the whole project.
You can see the total amount of space used in “View menu > History” View Menu - Audacity Manual

Audacity now has an option to save a robust, perfect backup copy of the project:
“File menu > Save Project > Save Lossless Copy of Project”

robust, perfect backup copy of the project

…containing UNDO?


No, it’s a “snapshot” of the current project, with tracks rendered to perfect quality 32-bit float WAV files.