Forced to Lose all Progress at Program Freeze

I recently had an infuriatingly frustrating moment with Audacity that, I think, warrants a look at the way the program handles glitches. I worked for several hours recording, editing, and building a file that I saved frequently to avoid losing what I had done. Just before the problem occurred, I saved because of some big changes I had made, and then the program froze (after the save). When I restarted it, it told me there was a problem, and it gave me two options: replace all tracks with silence or close without making any changes. I chose the latter and found that re-opening only brought me back, endlessly, to the same two options, so ultimately, it was stuck on a loop of “something’s messed up so we need you to do something” or “delete all your work.” The only way to get out of getting out of this whenever I opened that particular project was to choose replace everything with silence, at which point, I lost the hours of work I had done.
I have never been more frustrated that I am right now. I have never had a program punish me for its own glitches despite the fact that I had saved my work right before the glitch happened. Once or twice, I’ve found the program’s responses to glitches helpful, but more often than not, it ends up causing problems and ruining several steps of progress I’ve made before the glitch happened. Saving frequently sometimes helps with this, but too often whether I’ve saved or not is irrelevant.

You’ve been saving over one show name, right? Not over multiple different show names?

Do you mean the project file? I haven’t saved a different one for every time I’ve backed up my progress. I don’t have the space to do that.

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “show.” I saved a project, and I re-saved it periodically when I’d made changes. I didn’t create any new project files, but rather saved over the same one. It isn’t really a practical solution to have to save a new project every time, as that would create an unreasonable amount of unnecessary files.
Can you define the word “show”? Or do you mean project file?

I don’t have the space to do that.

Then we may have found the reason your Project failed. Every time you perform an action, Audacity has to prepare UNDO which is basically saving a copy of the whole show. If you don’t have enough room to save the Project twice, then you don’t have enough room for production.

Very probably why the messages kept insisting on deleting some work.


What version of Audacity are you using? Please see the pink panel at the top of the page.

It would have been better to ask for help before replacing everything with silence. Audacity only did what you asked. What you could have done is given us the content of Help > Show Log… which might have given us some idea.

What Koz is saying is that while you go on and on making changes with the project window still open, whether you File > Save Project or not, you are using more and more disk space because Audacity lets you undo any of your changes sequentially. Audacity stores undo states as audio data, not as a “decision list” without modifying any data, like some DAW’s do.

If you are short of space, it is best to export as WAV (probably export multiple for each track in your case), then save the project and close it. When you close the project, only the data for the saved project state is retained, so lots of disk space is then relinquished.

Doing File > Save Project As… every hour would cost you a lot less space than leaving the one project open, as long as you also saved and closed the currently open project version from time to time.


Thanks, Gale. I think frustration just got the better of me.
It frustrated me because I had saved everything I had done, and when the error came up (after the save), the options it offered were worded in software designer jargon, and I saw no option to just ignore what the program thought was a problem and revert to the latest save. I chose the one that seemed closest to ignoring the software’s supposition of an error, and it came back on every new restart of the project file, so, then my only option was to choose the one that replaced all my tracks with silence. I can’t remember the exact wording of the error and the options it offered, but I tried to work around it. I get your suggestion that I wait until I get some help, but that’s only viable if I have plenty of time to keep the software running and wait around for a meaningful response from someone as knowledgeable as yourself.
An alternative (and in my view, better) solution would be to change the wording of the errors and the options offered so that users (not the people who designed the software or other software designers) could make intelligent decisions, and always offer, in clear, layman’s terms, the option of reverting to the last saved version of the file.
I’ve started over with the project, and now, I’m saving alternate versions, so that I can avoid this problem in the future. It’s a bit of a hassle, as I need to go in and delete the obsolete versions occasionally to not end up with too big a pile of saves, but it’s more secure than trusting the program to decide for me when it thinks I’ve shut it down with an error.

We still don’t know what version of Audacity you are using. If you are not using the latest 2.1.0 from I recommend you use that version which has the latest fixes and features.

From your description, I think you did not see this dialogue

when you restarted Audacity, but tried to reopen the saved AUP file, is that so?

In that case, you are already at the latest saved state of the AUP file, but the problem is that the audio data has become incorrect - I assume missing, but you did not give us details.

If you saw the warning for “Missing Audio Data Block File(s)”, like this:

then you can just close Audacity as you did with no changes - no need to keep it running.

If you saw the Automatic Recovery dialogue, then if you don’t have time to fix issues it is actually best to force quit Audacity in Task Manager - that way, the unsaved data is kept safe and the Recovery dialogue pops up again next time you launch Audacity.


Yes, the second one was the error I got. As I said, the option to “close immediately with no further changes” had no effect, as when I chose it, the next time I opened it, the same error came up. I tried it several times, and it always gave the error. I don’t remember seeing two other options, only one which replaced the audio with silence.
The version I’m using is 2.0.5; sorry. I’ll look at updating, and next time, I’ll pay closer attention to the error. Thanks.

All “close immediately” does is that. It does not repair problems.

To fix problems it would be necessary to look at the log (as the dialogue says).