How to recover data after renaming file?

Hi, I am using Audacity 2.02 on Mac 10.6.
Yesterday I saved the file I was working on with a new name, thinking that way I would have a backup copy. Bad idea. the changes that I made and saved to the new file name have been lost now because when I try to open up the file with its new file name, it can’t find the data files that are supposed to go with it in the data folder. I tried renaming the data folder so that it also coresponded with the new file name, but even then it couldn’t recover all of the small files and changes I’ve made.

I don’t think this is going to help, but if you open up one of your AUP files in TextEdit, you should be able to read the original show name after projname=" Both the AUP file and the _DATA folder need to be named that and they need to match and be in the same folder or directory.

If you File > Save Project As multiple times and repeatedly change the name, you should get new projects one after the other and they should all open by double clicking on one of the AUP files.

If you changed the name of the project outside of Audacity, that’s deadly. You need to find out what the original show name was by reading the AUP file and repair the AUP and the _DATA folder.

None of this will produce a project that partially opens. That’s a different problem.

even then it couldn’t recover all of the small files and changes I’ve made.

That’s likely the hitch that Projects do not save UNDO. Once you save a Project, UNDO is frozen and deleted in that Project. If you then close Audacity, the live UNDO vanishes, too.

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 11.26.58.png

This UNDO behavior is why it’s a good idea to be able to finish your show even if the current project vanishes completely. Open the Project backup you saved a half-hour ago and if everything goes into the mud, build the show again from scratch using the original work and sound shoot back-ups you made.

This kills people who insist when they make a show, they need to step on original filenames and don’t make backups. If anything goes wrong, they have no show and no way to get one.


I wish I could understand you better. Thanks for your replies, but I really don’t understand what you are suggesting that I do.

All I know is that I was working on a project and then saved it with a new name, and now I can’t open the project with that new name because it says “Can’t find the project data folder” . But I can open the old file name and the project comes up how it was before I saved it to a new name, without any of the changes I made to it after saving it to the new name. But I don’t want to have to go back and re-do all the work I did after saving to the new file name.

So what options do I have? If I rename the data folder so that it matches the new project name, then it will open, but not all the data is present. There are missing pieces. So that’s no good.

Is there a way to find out which one of the little “.au” files in the data folder are the newest ones and change their names individually to the match the new project name?

Or are there any other options if that wouldn’t work?

And I’m not entirely sure how you’re opening each show.

When you File > Save As: and put a new name in different from the original name, you should then have two AUP files and two _DATA folders, one for each show. If you double click on one AUP, you should get that show automatically.

Can you find each of the AUPs and each of the _DATA folders? Each AUP and each matching _DATA folder must be in the same location or folder to open. The AUP manager file will not go down the whole computer searching for its mating _DATA folder.

I did this exercise with a ten second sound “show” and it worked exactly like that. I got two of everything and each different show opened from each AUP file. I saved both of my shows to the desktop.

Did you rename or move anything? Did you use dates or punctuation marks inside the filename? Did the show go over 13 hours?


Yes. Don’t. Don’t rename or make backups in Finder or file manger applications. Use File > Save Project As… in Audacity.


This is what I expect you to have or be able to find. Attached (click the graphic). I believe the AUP is the last to be written, so if you have two of those, then you very probably have the _DATA folder around somewhere.

Desktop > File > Find
Spotlight (desktop upper right on my machine)

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 19.03.14.png

If you must do rename or backup by hand, you have to rename or copy the AUP file, rename or copy the _data folder to the same name, AND edit the AUP file so that it points to the new name of the _data folder. If you do hand renamings in Finder you risk Audacity wiping all or most of the data.

How many _data folders do you have for the original and later versions of the AUP file? One or two?

First steps, attach the later AUP file. Please see here for how to attach files: Tell us the exact name of the _data folder or _data folders you have for this project.


No, Gale, I didn’t use Finder to rename my Audacity project. I don’t know what gave you that impression. I renamed it right there within Audacity. I had my Audacity project open and just went to File > Save As and saved it as the file name with the word “copy” typed onto it at the end. Then I continued to work on it for another hour or two and kept saving it as I worked.

I just don’t see any data folder having been created when I did that.

Koz, you were right!! I DID have the new data folder on my computer, just in a different location!

But why would that be? Why would Audacity place my new data folder in a different location than the new AUP file? That seems like a stupid thing for Audacity to do. Well, thanks to you bringing up that possibility, I was able to find the new data folder and open my new AUP file for my project and make it work with all the changes I made since creating the new name.


All kudos if you did do it the correct way (or tried to) :slight_smile: but I got that impression because you should not have had errors or any of the problems you mentioned if you did File > Save Project As… . Most users who say they renamed or copied then hit the issues you described had done the file management by hand.

It “shouldn’t” do. But you have an old version of Audacity (and if you have what you wrote “2.02” that isn’t ours because our version numbers are always three separate numbers like “2.0.2”). I would strongly recommend you trash that version and get 2.1.0 from

There still may be occasional weird bugs when projects don’t reopen but they are pretty rare, and if you always have the latest Audacity version you’ll get the latest bug fixes. I recommend subscribing at the bottom of to our announcements then we’ll e-mail you when we make a new release.

Save Project As can be a little confusing if you think of it as a backup because the project you did have open closes and you’re left working on the new project. I just mention it in case it helps anyone else.

If you have any more problems like this please attach the AUP file for us then it’s easier to help.