Help I think I lost 25 recordings

I am running 2.0.3 on an intel macbook (several years old)
I am recording from my old Lps so I can give them away.
Somehow the last time I did this 3 months ago I decided to skip exporting them to save time and instead export them on my newer faster macbook pro so I only saved the data and aup files, or so I thought.
When I opened up the program I did get a warning that I had recovery files, but I looked at my files and they looked fine so I ignored it
So now when I try to open the files I see nothing except a warning about orphan files and then there is nothing there.

Have I lost everything and need to start over?

It’s possible.

Go > Utilities > Disk Utilities > Select the System Disk > Verify Disk.
(Assuming that’s the disk you used)

Can you make it through that? Don’t authorize a repair.

If that’s not the disk you used for capture, select the right one.


Verify shows the volume is OK. I would never have thought of checking for that. I had other projects that I did yesterday save perfectly, but I always exported them after saving the project.

So I just tried another project where I save the project after click removal and normalize before I export to wav and Mp3.THis is what I thought I did those other 25 times. I saved the aup and data files to an external drive and opened them on the macbook pro just fine. I’m almost positive that this is what I did before, but I have tried to open at least 5 of the old ones with no luck. I have Time machine on all my other computers but this old macbook I only use right now to digitize these old lps so I didnt bother setting Time machine up on it.

Any other suggestions?

Audacity should not show you the Automatic Recovery Dialogue unless it had crashed or been force quit with unsaved changes.

Were you loading large numbers of albums into the same project window? You cannot store more than 13.5 hours of total audio (at 44100 Hz project rate) in one project and save it as a project. You can export if you leave the project open.

If you are working at higher project rates the total length you can store is less.

If you reopen a project that is in excess of the limits above then the entire audio is silenced as orphan block files.

If this is not the problem and only some of the audio is missing or corrupted, have you looked at Help > Show Log… to see what the errors are?

Did you do Normalize and Click Removal strictly on the entire Audacity track (rather than on sections of it)? If so the recordings may be manually recoverable from the AU data files - but it’s hard work, so may not be worth it when you can re-record.


First of all thank you for your help.
I really don’t remember how I was doing this since it was so long ago. I certainly was only trying to save one LP in each project. But I might have left maybe 5 or more open at one time thinking I might get some time to export them later.

You are probably correct that the computer did crash since the battery in that old macbook is so bad that if I unplug it, it restarts. And I did unplug it just before I got the recovery warning.

And I did apply the click removal and normalize effects to the entire project.

I actually just tried to open more of the 25 projects and I am able to open some of them. I realized when I opened the first and went to export it that I had not yet labeled the tracks and since I can’t do that while I am recording another album, I think that is why I left so many to be exported later.

So I probably lost some of them because they were still open when the computer had restarted. I thought I saved my projects right after I normalized them but maybe I decided to wait until they were labeled and that is why I lost them.

I have over 200 albums to digitize so I will go and pull out the ones which are corrupted and start again.

Thanks again for the help. I really appreciate that there are experts like you who are willing to spend their time helping the rest of us.


You might find this suggested workflow from the manual useful - I am posting the link to the 2.0.4 Manual which is under development as I did some work on this tutorial a few weeks back to improve it over the 2.0.3 version:

Note particularly step #6: Raw master backup
That step could save you some time and re-working in the future :wink:


Thanks WC.
I was hoping that by doing several "save project"s as I go along that I would be able to go back to the last backup and go from there if this happened again. I always thought that by saving before (and not after) exporting the files I could always go back if I wanted to further refine the project or if the exports went bad. Now I am saving the project before I do any effects. Would that work?

Step 6 in that workflow recommends taking a raw master backup, by exporting a 32-bt WAV, immediately after recording and before any processing - that way you can always go right back to the beginning if and when digital audio processing improves (or your skills improve…).

Personally I never back up a project (or even save a project) while I am transcribing LPs. I tend to work with one side of an LP at a time for a smaller working set, record, process label up, multiple export 16-bit WAVs, back them up (on two disks) and then close the un-saved project. But that’s because I have no intention of ever going back and re-processing.

The only time I came unstuck with this was the digitization I made of The Allman Brothers “Brothers and Sisters” album. It was captured with my earlier rubbishy USB TT and horrible amounts of wow&flutter - really annoying every time it was played. But fortunately it got re-issued on CD recently - and with a bonus disc of rehearsal material, so I bought that :smiley:


The difference is between File > Save Project and File > Save Project As… .

File > Save Project is not a backup. It’s an overwrite of the same AUP file name and _data folder. However many times you File > Save Project, once you close that project with saved changes, it’s only in the state in which you saved and closed it.

But if you do File > Save Project As… this makes Audacity save the current state of the project as a separately named AUP file and _data folder. The project window then displays this project name you just “saved as”. The project window displaying the project as previously named is closed in its last saved state, but becomes in effect your first backup. You can reopen that project at any time as required. See Audacity Manual for more help.

Note that while the project is open, you can always Edit > Undo and Edit > Redo actions. This is because until you close the project, the AU files in the project’s _data folder are still storing the audio data that lets you do that.


Thanks Gale, That is not any different from any choice of save or save as. I know you assumed that I didn’t know the difference but that is not what I was questioning. I just don’t think I need several different backups of my project. I just wanted one so I wouldn’t have to repeat what I have to do now - start over recording each of the 19 albums again. My question was whether I was correct that by saving the project before I exported I could open it later and do further processing or exporting from the reopened saved project. I didn’t realize that I could import a 32 bit Wav file and be able to work on the project again if I so desired. But I still think I prefer to just save the project right after recording and then overwrite it before exporting. Since it takes much longer to export than it does to just save the project, I would rather just export the wav file once.

Hi Cindy,

I needed to make clear for others reading this that File > Save Project doesn’t give you any backups.

In principle of course you should be able to save a project and reopen it, but as you found out, computers can crash.

Projects are two-part, the many small AU files in the _data folder and the AUP file that tells Audacity how to piece the AU files together. The AUP is saved last, after the AU files.

If you export your recording at any time (best done after you press Stop to complete the recording) then once the WAV export completes that should be a safe “backup”.

The WAV contains the audio but it does not contain everything the project can contain. If the project contains labels , the WAV cannot contain the labels. But you can File > Export Labels… to export a text file containing the labels and import that label file back into the project.


THank you, Gale. That is exactly what I wanted to know.
Great program and great assistance. Imagine what it would be like if the programs we pay big bucks for gave us both.