How to retrieve .aup data


Here’s the case of one of my students. Any feedback that you can offer is greatly appreciated:

When working on my project I copy pasted the .aup file so I can have the original and then work on another file, just incase. Well I have been working on that copied file for a few days now, and today audacity crashed and asked me to force quit. I quit (and I was always saving anything I do) but then when I came to open the file again, first it asked me if I wanted to recover, I clicked yes to open the file, but the entire file wouldn’t open.

I have tried everything, even searching YouTube for ways to get the file back, but there is nothing there for Mac users. Now I can only open the original file, not the one that had the changes … don’t know what to do.

Thanks in advance.

there is nothing there for Mac users.

There’s nothing there for any users. The aup file is the list of instructions for what to do with that pile of stuff in the _data folder. We urge people strongly to save a whole new project periodically against problems like this. Also, if you have room, always copy external files inside Audacity as you need them. I think that’s the default now.

“Audacity Crashed!”

In general, if you fell face forward during a recording, you have a good chance of recovery. If you crashed after weeks of editing, it’s all over. The stuff in the _data folder is no longer in any kind of recognizable order.

“Where does this fragment go?”
“Not a clue. Look at the instructions in the AUP file.”


Are your students using the latest Audacity 2.0.2? See Audacity > About Audacity. Older 1.3 versions may not recover projects properly from crashes.

If your student does not recover all the audio data that they had before, then the best course is to open Help > Show Log… and look for data errors. You may possibly need to search the computer for some .au files that are “missing” and put them back in the correct folder indicated in the log. You want to make those repairs before closing the window that has the attempted recovery. If you close then save the project in incorrect state, or don’t save the changes, the changes you wanted to preserve are lost for good.

If you need to close Audacity before fixing the recovery, force quit it, which gives you the recovery dialogue again when you restart Audacity.


Thanks for the insight. I’ll pass it along. Haven’t heard from the student since the urgent email. The projects are due tomorrow so an update is imminent.

Here’s the case of one of my students.

Since this is a learning experience…

The student will now go back to all the original music and voice files and spend all night recreating the show for presentation in the morning. If there are no original files that’s a good lesson. If you have been editing “over” existing files – that is, repeatedly saving work to the same filename, stop doing that. That destroys any chance of recovering the show in the instance of a crash. That’s a good lesson.

I understand saving the AUP file seemed like a good idea, you also need to save the corresponding _data folder for any of it to be any use. Periodically save to a whole new project. ClassLesson1, ClassLesson2, etc.

I understand this seems to create tons of extra files and folders may of which will never be opened again. Until Something Bad Happens.

In my world: After a major edit is finished, the editors are tasked with “cleaning up” all the extra projects, folders, files and any other Just In Case work that is no longer needed because the show is pushed to the client. Generally, the original work and the finished edit are retained and archived. The editor invariably wants to save everything, but the Data Systems people are already cleaning out the drives for the next show.

There is the thought that a stand-alone WAV or other high-quality file format should be exported periodically also against catastrophic failure.

That student just got more out the class than all the others put together.