Help! My Audacity project crashed!

Hi everyone,

I was just working on a project and, while it was open, Audacity crashed on me! I have version 2.4.2 Windows 10, and I clicked on “recover project” when it prompted me to do so, and eventually Audacity came back on and I got into that project again, but it is all screwed up! Tracks seem empty, others look all scrunched up or compressed, and when I played it, I heard nothing. I know nothing about what to do in such a situation except to follow the prompts and click “recover project”, which I did. Then it said something like “when it is recovered, save it so that the changes can be stored or saved onto disc”. I did that but it didn’t really recover it, then it said something about go to help>diagnostics>log. I did that but it gave no further instructions (as usual!) except that when I clicked on log it brought me to a list of things that seemed very technical and gave me the option of saving the “log”. Not knowing what else to do, I saved it, but the project is not back to normal. What is going on and what, if anything, can I do about it? I’m absolutely desperate!


Has it ever done anything like this before?

Newer Audacity versions from 3.0 and up have recovery tools and fairly good stability. Not so earlier versions.

If Audacity comes back from a crash in 2.4.2 and the show isn’t usable, chances are the show is gone. It’s not unusual for someone to post that Audacity crashes all the time only this time it didn’t come back. That’s not you, right? It’s never crashed before?

Let’s hit a couple of common problems. Audacity is only stable on the computer’s internal drive. No External, USB, Network or Cloud Drives. Is your show long and complicated? Is your drive filling up? The video people used to have a common problem where they would edit long and complicated shows and then “for some reason” their machine stopped working (when their drive filled up).

Do you use Skype, Zoom, Meetings, or other chat or conference service? They can seriously mess with the sound settings in your machine and cause instability.


I know now is a bad time to post production backups…

Do you keep WAV file copies of all your work including live performances and guest interviews? Could you put your show back together again from pieces if you had to? It’s a New User problem to live-record their podcast, edit it, clean it up, add special effects and music, and then post it without ever once saving anything. The first time something serious goes wrong, they’re toast.


Thanks Koz, for the input. This has only happened one other time, over a year ago. Fortunately, I frequently back up my projects and any WAV files. I copy and paste them into a “music” folder that is outside of and separate from Audacity. This music folder is on my hard drive. It comes up after I click on “This PC”, and is listed among others such as “Documents”, “Downloads”, etc. And, I ALWAYS turn off Audacity BEFORE I copy and paste the Audacity files into this “Music” folder. Then, periodically, I copy them from the music folder and then paste them onto USB/Thumb drives for external back-ups/protection. So, when that other project crashed a year ago, I was able to simply copy the crashed project from my music folder and paste it into Audacity, and it was immediately successful. I will try that here as well if nobody can tell me about another possible solution first. I see online that a free? downloadable recovery program called Apeaksoft Data Recovery claims to be able to help you recover crashed Audacity files. Do you know anything about this particular recovery program?

By the way, if I choose to upgrade from Audacity 2.4.2 to the latest version (3.2.1? I believe), then how would I go about doing that. I have only ever had 2.4.2 and don’t know where to begin with the process of downloading the newest version and transferring all my projects and WAV files into it. I’m a little nervous about this, and I’m afraid that the entire process might become extremely time consuming as well. But, if it can help me to have a more stable and secure Audacity set-up, then I will certainly consider making the switch soon. I can’t afford to be losing good recorded tracks (as I did today!). Also, my projects are, of course, in two separate files (the .aup files and the data files). I started to combine each set into a single folder, and THEN copy and paste them into my “Music” folder for the purposes of backing them up, but I was a little afraid of messing things up and losing everything. What would have to be done with all my Audacity projects before I pasted?/transferred them to the new version of Audacity. And, can you have BOTH versions (2,4,2 AND 3.2.1) on your computer at the same time so that you can transfer all the files from the old one to the new one?

Any help with this will be greatly appreciated. Sorry for all the individual questions, but I have to know what I’m doing before I make a decision and act.



I’m not one of the users that goes charging off to the very latest upgrade. If you like using 2.4.2 and it’s been working for you, I would stay right there. You do have to be careful about upgrading everything around your Audacity.

Since you seem to have this production thing licked, the logical next step is get a new computer and software and leave the old one there to pick up the pieces if the New (and Improved) one Hindenburg’s on you.


Have you run the diagnostics for disk health and defragmenting? That’s not the worst idea if you have odd catastrophic failures.

There are other explainer pages.

Have you ever done a “clean” shutdown? Shift+Shutdown > OK > Wait > Start. That will really shut the system down, not make you think it shut everything down, but it didn’t really. That will take longer than you’re used to. This is important to do if you had a crash which can leave data shards and fragments all over the floor.


Thanks again, Koz, for all the input. It all makes sense. And, yes, I do like using version 2.4.2. That’s why I am not too keen on the idea of upgrading. And, once again, I was successful with copying the project from my “Music” folder and pasting it into Audacity (and deleting the old, damaged version that crashed on me). It is working fine again. I think that you were right about my computer being too filled up with files. I was shocked when I checked my c drive and found that, of the 226 GB worth of total space there, I only had 14 GB worth of space free!! I have gotten it up to 82 GB of free space now, and will try to get it over 100 GB and maintain something like that. I will be checking it far more regularly from now on. Also, the project that crashed (AND the one that crashed a year ago) is a very large, multi-track recording of a song, with many different tracks. I have been trimming it down a lot since the crash the other day.

Two questions:

(1) When I do get another computer, will I be able to download Audacity 2.4.2 again, or is that unavailable at this point?

(2) If I have to go with a later version, such as 3.2.2, will I be able to copy and paste the projects (.aup files and data files) and WAV files from the new computer (with 3.2.2 on it) to the old computer (with 2.4.2 on it), AND vice versa? I would feel more secure if I were able to have all my stuff on two computers, and have the ability to move stuff from one to the other, so that I would have a complete back-up Audacity set-up.

Thanks for everything,


Many older versions of Audacity, including 2.4.2, are available here:

No. 3.x.x can only “import” a 2.x.x .aup project, which it then can save only as a 3.x.x .aup3 project.

To get around this limitation, you can export your audio as .WAV, but you may lose track, clip, envelope, and other project information. 3.x.x does not export to 2.x.x .aup project format.

Thank you, Jademan, for the information. It is very clear and helpful. When I get a new computer (soon, hopefully), I will download version 2.4.2 onto it and then the two computers’ Audacity programs should be compatible and I should then be able to transfer (i.e. copy and paste) .aup and data files (as well as .WAV files) back and forth between the computers to maintain a second Audacity set-up or back-up system. Especially when it comes to professional use, this would be far more secure and would make sense.

Thanks again,