[Fixed] Project doesn't recover after improper shutdown followed by (auto)upgrade from 2.2 to 3

In July 2020 I recorded a 30+ hour live stream (which obviously isn’t available anymore) and I’ve been working on it on and off for the past year. I always let Audacity just be killed every time I need to reboot or log out because I could always recover the project the next time I start Audacity and continue where I left off. I didn’t save the project it because it’s too big.

While editing, I removed about 90% of the audio, spliced, merged, and reordered a ton, and fixed hundreds of recording glitches (short silence) and have a quite filled Labels track. I was in the last stretch, re-listening everything to make sure everything’s fine before exporting the few tracks that remained of the original 30 hours.
This morning when I unlocked my computer, I was presented with “Hard disk almost full” (as I was downloading stuff in the background). I went to look how much was still free with df -h and found it was about 18/825 filled. Less than the 10% I use as a target, but not too serious yet. So lets quickly finish that audacity project to make more space. I fired up Audacity and to my surprise it didn’t pop up the automatic recovery dialog. I later found out I misinterpreted the df output and it was actually 18M of 825G.

Let me retrace the steps I did exactly, because they may be important. Bear with me. I went to File→Open and navigated to the temp folder where the recovery files are. I didn’t see any file Audacity recognized until I went into “eff/d00” and clicked the first AU file. To my dismay it was only about 12 seconds of audio. I killed Audacity with signal -9 and went into the directory itself. There’s a few folders like “project1313829843”, one of which contains all 36GB of AU files (almost 35,000 of them), and three separate files:

project358334934 (dir)
project1313829843 (dir)
project1780778675 (dir)
New Project 2021-08-03 10-43-59 N-1.aup3unsaved (1.4 MB)
New Project 2021-08-03 10-43-59 N-1.aup3unsaved-wal (1.2 MB)
.audacity.sock (0 bytes)

Judging by the timestamp in the filename, the aup3unsaved is obviously from the 12-second fragment in the new empty project from just now. I verified this as Audacity now does show the recovery dialog upon launch. I deleted these and did the same three times over (the last time in order to gather data for this post)

I suspect there would have been another aup3unsaved file, but either it was missing since the last time I ran Audacity (a couple of weeks ago) or during the launch of Audacity it got removed because of lack of disk space. (although 18M doesn’t seem too tight). I immediately looked into the log window and found only 4 lines; nothing suspicious or related to recovery in any way.

I looked into ‘manual recovery’ on the Wiki and it requires me to order all the AU files by accurate timestamp. I looked at the timestamps, and they’re not even in chronological order, probably because I edited so much. But it would only end up with raw audio anyway, which isn’t good enough.

Is there any way to recover this project — as I edited it (this is important) and including the Labels track?

Linux 18.04 LTS
Audacity 3.0.2 from PPA

Ouch. That may have been fatal for the project.

They are most likely left over from a previous version of Audacity. Audacity 3.x does not use AU files.

18 MB is far too tight if you are working with hours of audio data. 1 minute of mono, 32-bit float audio at 44100 sample rate is about 10 MB of data.

That’s probably very out of date.
If you could post a link to the page, I’ll check and mark it as obsolete if appropriate.

Audacity 3.x uses a new “AUP3” format rather than the old “AUP + _data folder”.
An AUP3 file is a self contained project.

That’s a very bad idea. Even though Audacity has pretty good crash recovery, you should still close down Audacity properly as that allows it to perform essential book-keeping tasks and clean up after itself.

What is the last saved version of your project that you still have?

18MB is for loading the project, not storing sample data.

That explains why the interface suddenly looked even more crippled on HiDPI than ever before. It probably updated in the background.

Where can I find these AUP3 files? From what infor I gather, AUP3 are project files, not autorecovery files.

As I said, I couldn’t save my project because it’s too big.

When a project is saved with Audacity 3.x, it creates an “AUP3” project file.

While Audacity is open and the project has not been saved, there will be two files in:


(Where is your user name.)

The files will have names like:

New Project 2021-08-03 15-13-22 N-1.aup3unsaved
New Project 2021-08-03 15-13-22 N-1.aup3unsaved-wal

If Audacity crashes, or is improperly shut down, the “unsaved” files will be stranded in the /var/tmp/… folder. On next launch, Audacity will attempt to recover them.

If you still have old-style usaved projects in the /var/tmp/… folder, you “may” be able to recover them by removing your current version of Audacity, install Audacity 2.x from your distro’s main repository, and see if that can auto-recover the old projects.


I downgraded to v2.2.1 and my project recovered again. Thanks for mentioning the AUP3 thing which pointed me in the right direction. I’ll also fix the topic title to be more helpful to others.

I suspect this is some kind of oversight by the developers.

Steps I took:

sudo apt remove audacity
sudo apt autoremove
sudo apt install audacity-data=2.2.1-1
sudo apt-mark auto audacity-data
sudo apt install audacity=2.2.1-1