Getting the right cloud/back-up service to handle Audacity

Hi everyone,
Can anybody tell me what cloud/back-up service they use to successfully back-up both their regular data/files (such as e-mails, documents, photos, etc) AND all their Audacity files (including aup files, etc) ? I was told by (I believe) Steve that it is essential to get a service that DOES NOT back up Audacity files WHILE they are open or (I guess) when Audacity itself is running. Also, my e-mail provider is G-mail, and I’ve already inquired about services
at Carbonite, but they told me that they don’t back up G-mail. And, the customer service rep. that I spoke with at Carbonite had only heard of the name Audacity, and knew nothing specific about their ability to back up Audacity files. So, I’m wondering what cloud/back-up services any of you use, and, specifically, what services those of you who have both G-mail and Audacity use, and whether or not you have had success and satisfaction with your cloud/back-up service.

Do you have any idea of the character of backup you want? Possibilities go all the way from immediate duplication of all work, to one massive backup every two weeks. There’s a touchy-feely aspect as well. I changed my Mac backups the first time I had to actually get something back from the built-in Time Machine.

I also stopped using a stacked and mirrored drive system. Yes, it was capacious and fast as a speeding bullet, but the possibilities for drive failure increased four times.

I’m not a fan of simple Cloud Storage, either. You gotta know that an earthquake in California is going to take out my systems and the backups which turn out to be in a flooded industrial building in El Segundo, two towns over.

I understand AWS, Amazon Web Services will tell you which time zone your storage is in.

That could work.


I use Google Drive as part of my backup strategy.

For important work, I make backups in multiple places - the more important the work, the more backups.

  1. Backup onto my computer’s second hard drive
  2. Backup onto a NAS drive (network attached storage - an external hard drive)
  3. Backup onto Google drive
  4. Backup onto a USB thumb drive, and include a “checksum” file (Checksum - Wikipedia) so that I can validate the backup.

The first is quickest and easiest, but could be lost if my computer blows up.
The second offers an additional layer of protection by being a separate device, but is still “on site”.
Third and fourth provide “off site storage”.

In each case I make a copy of the project file.

Note that current versions of Audacity use a single “AUP3” file for the project, which is much easier to back up.
Older versions of Audacity used an “AUP” file and a “_data” folder - in this case I would make a ZIP file containing the entire project (AUP and _data folder), then copy that to the backup storage.

The key word is “copy”.

Yes, that is very important.
When you close a project, Audacity does some internal bookkeeping to consolidate the project. This can take a while with AUP3 projects, and it is very important that you allow Audacity the time to complete these tasks.

  1. Backup onto my computer’s second hard drive
  2. Backup onto a NAS drive (network attached storage - an external hard drive)
  3. Backup onto Google drive
  4. Backup onto a USB thumb drive, and include a “checksum” file (> Checksum - Wikipedia> ) so that I can validate the backup.
  1. My Windows machines have two hard drives. I had one C:\ go into the dirt, so the machine wouldn’t start. I moved D:\ to another machine and got the information off. This doesn’t happen very often.

  2. No network drives, but each important machine has its own external backup drive. This is where I use my backup theory that important work has to appear in two physically different locations (be able to point to two different places).

  3. Super-Duper backups go onto a thumb drive which I mail to my sister four time zones away.

There’s other decisions you need to make as part of the Backup Character. Do you want it automatic or manual, and do you want the current backup to take the place of an older one? There’s a digital hygiene note here, too. -Dash- and Underscore are the only two punctuation marks allowed in filenames. No classic dates. Use ISO or ISO-like.

Screen Shot 2021-08-24 at 2.53.15 AM.png

I recently started backing up my computer’s internal hard drive files to an external hard drive (Western Digital MyBook) using Windows’ File History program, which allows automating the backup schedule. This program recreates the source drive’s folder structure in the backup drive and copies all files from source to backup drive in the respective folders, so an Audacity project’s aup and data files reside in the same backup folder as they should.

But: Though most backed-up files are usable as-is on MyBook and after copying them back to the computer’s internal hard drive, Audacity aup and data files aren’t. Clicking on a project’s aup file in MyBook brings up an Audacity screen with all tracks shown but for each track showing silence in place of the waveform. A “Missing Audio Data Block File(s)” panel appears showing the number of missing blocks for the project. An “orphan” blocks panel then appears showing the number of data blocks found in this project’s data folder supposedly unrelated to the project. The two block tallies are equal, implying that Audacity is treating the project’s own data blocks as orphans. Same result if I copy the backed-up aup file and its data folder back to a folder on the internal hard drive. The attached text file shows Audacity’s log from an effort to open a backed up project.

Note that File History appends a suffix to the original aup file name in the backup. E.g., ProjectA.aup is saved as ProjectA.aup(2021_08_19 04_33_37 UTC) in the backup, where 2021_08_19 is the backup date and 04_33_37 may be the backup time. But I get the errors described above even if I rename the backup aup file to strip off the parenthesized section.

In contrast to the backup problems, if I simply copy/paste a project’s aup file and associated data folder to an external drive (USB thumb drive or hard drive), I can open the project successfully using the aup file on the external drive.

The upshot is that I can’t use Audacity 2.4.2 project files backed up to a separate physical drive, at least those backed up with Windows File History. Is this typical? If so, it makes file backup useless. If not, please explain how to produce useful backups.
Backup use failure log_8-18-21.txt (273 KB)

Hi everyone,
Thank you pato for the additional input on this topic. I have Google Drive now, and am going to get some thumb drives for added back-ups. However, I am still confused about how to label or name the Audacity projects (both aup files and data files). So far, Audacity (2.4.2 Windows 10) has been allowing me to save my projects (both aup files and data files) with the names of the songs I am recording, WHICH INCLUDES punctuation such as apostrophes, commas, dashes, and periods. My first question is: Is this OK to do? My second question is: When I copy these aup files and data files to either Google Drive or a thumb drive for the purpose of making back-up copies, or safety copies, is it OK to use apostrophes, commas, dashes, and periods in the labels/names of these files? And, my final question is: When I copy these aup files and data files to either Google Drive or a thumb drive for backing-up purposes, is it OK to use THE EXACT SAME LABELS/NAMES (including THE EXACT SAME PUNCTUATION) that I used for these aup and data files IN Audacity itself?

Thanks again,

We may have missed a lot of important info points. Do Not use any punctuation marks in filenames other than -dash- and underscore. Today is 2021-09-08. That’s the ISO form. Being a an obsessive engineer, I don’t use spaces, either.

Screen Shot 2021-09-08 at 4.11.37 PM.png
I think the Party Line is to save an Audacity project to your internal drive, Zip it together and move the Zip to your cloud storage. The rule is do not let Audacity “see” anything but your internal drive. Zipping is two key clicks on a Mac. I don’t know how it’s done in Windows.

Screen Shot 2021-09-08 at 4.34.57 PM.png
Even the latest Audacity versions still have troubles with external, network, and cloud drives. That’s not an odd problem or sloppy programming. Audacity has to be able to do live recording, playback, and sound management in real time. Sometimes all three at once. That’s rough to do when your cloud drive is three time zones away and it takes a half-second to get stuff back and forth.

Only the internal drive can deal with sound production.

The struggle is how can Audacity tell how sloppy your drives are. The connection to network and cloud drives changes constantly. That’s how networks work. So there is no good way to tell. That leads to people telling Audacity to save projects on cloud drives and sometimes the shows don’t come back.


Didn’t finish the thought. So why does Zipping help? Audacity is not placing any files on remote drives. It’s just making a project on your C:\ drive. Your computer is dealing with Google Drive.


Thank you Koz for the added insights into this complicated issue. I find it helpful. Before I get started on the job of backing everything up, though, I need to make sure that I’m doing everything right with regard to the consolidation of the individual or separate Audacity project files (aup files and data files) into ONE folder in Audacity itself. As you know, I have Audacity 2.4.2 (Windows 10), and this, of course, generates two separate files for each Audacity project: one aup file and one data file/folder. When I do a project, and get these two separate files, I create a NEW folder inside Audacity (as Steve advised me to do months ago), and then I drag each of these two files (one aup file and one data file/folder) into this new folder, which I then label. However, I’m not sure if, after doing this, I should delete the two original, separate files (which would leave me with the two copies together inside the new folder), or if I should keep these two original, separate files IN ADDITION TO having the two copies together in the new folder. Please let me know which is the correct, or better, way to proceed with this before copying these Audacity files to my computer’s hard drive, making zip files of these copies, and then uploading them onto Google drive for backing-up purposes.


This is a strategy that I’ve used successfully:

I would start by creating some empty folders:

  • “jdsh-2021-03-107” to contain everything involved in the project. At the end of the day working on the project, I would update the backup copy of this folder on an external drive (I’m using a network drive for this backup). This is the biggest backup as it contains everything, and needs to be saved to a fast external or secondary drive.
  • jdsh-project”. The main project will be saved in here.
  • backups” for regular backups created with “save lossless copy of project”
  • source-files” for any audio files that will be imported into the project
  • I may also have a “notes” folder to keep production notes as .txt files (not shown)

Working process:

  1. jdsh-project-interview.aup” and its associated _data folder “jdsh-project-interview_data” is the main project that I’m working on.
  2.” is a zip archive of the main project. This would be updated daily and external backup copies made.
  3. At frequent intervals I would export a “lossless copy” of the project, and name them with a 3 digit number such as “jdsh-bac001.aup”.
  4. For cloud / network storage, I would make a .ZIP archive of the most recent lossless backup, and upload it. Example: