Lost Data! Pls Send Halp!

Just recorded the first episode of a podcast (I’ve used Audacity for several years now). I saved the raw data with no edits as a project file. It generated a data folder. I then attempted to use Nyquist’s Noise Gate, and at the end of it, the effect crashed Audacity. So I reopened with no issues and tried again. Crashed again. Tried to reopen for the second time, but it popped up with “Project Check of *****_data” folder detected **** missing audio data (.au) blockfile(s), probably due to a bug, system crash, or accidental deletion. There is no way for Audacity to recover these missing files automatically.

I chose the “Close project immediately with no further changes” option, and looked at my data folder and it was completely empty, where just a moment ago there had been an hour and a half of podcast audio.

How can I get that audio back? I’ve checked the temporary data folder in my local appdata and it’s empty. My recycle bin in empty as well. Not sure where I can look or how to recover.

Senior elves will be by shortly.

Next time you finish a recording or production (or both), File > Export a WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit (stereo or mono)file. Then if you’re completely paranoid, copy it to a external thumb or other drive.

I don’t know any reason your files and folders should be empty other than drive or machine problems.

I’ve used Audacity for several years now

Other than that. Which three-number Audacity are you using?

Current is Audacity 2.1.3.



I’m using the current 2.1.3

I don’t think it’s a drive problem, b/c I haven’t had any other issues like this. I feel like Audacity did me a bad…
I downloaded a free recovery software to see if it can find anything salvageable.
From now on, I’ll export to .wav like you recommended. That way I could still import it into an audacity project and edit it that way, yes?

import it into an audacity project and edit it that way

Yes. WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit, 44100 sample rate, stereo is the Music CD audio standard and it’s the Audacity standard WAV export (you can use MONO if your show is mono).

You can open up one of those and just keep right on cutting your production and they will open on all three computer types.

It’s the recommended sound format for archives.


If it’s 1800 here, that means it’s 2AM in Britain, so we may get to wait a bit.


Alright thanks, I appreciate it. My scan should be done soon, maybe that’ll turn something up. Fingers crossed.

You could spend the down time thinking what you would do if the show doesn’t come back and what the split decision point is. That’s one of the least desirable things a Producer does.

Projects are completed entities. The _DATA folder is a barrel of sound snippets and fragments and the AUP file is the blueprint how to put it all together into a show. Sometimes under certain circumstances and you’ve lead a good life, you can recover a mono, plain, raw recording with older recovery tools. But if it’s stereo, chances go way down and very few people have ever recovered an edited show.


I’m a little surprised that the Noise Gate crashed, unless you were trying to apply it to a hugely long project. Were you doing that?

More surprising is that the project could not be recovered.
The Nyquist Noise Gate effect reads data from the _data folder, and writes new data to that folder, but it does not delete data (the old data remains available for “Undo”), so the mystery is, what deleted your data?

At this stage I’m not optimistic about recovering the project, but it would be useful to know what went wrong so that it can be avoided in the future.

Where was your project saved? (exact file path)
How big was the project?
How big is the drive where the project was saved?
How much space is free on the drive where the project was saved?
What security products run on your computer?
When did you last scan for viruses?
Any other strange behaviour on your computer recently?

The project was about an hour and twenty minutes long, so that could have been why it didn’t work.

The data folder WAS on a separate drive (2 TB w/ 1.4 TB left) from the audacity program, but I’ve never had issues writing to that drive before with programs like FRAPS, Adobe Premiere, etc.

“D:\Shea Hates Everything Podcast Audio\Raw Files” and it was saved as “SHE Ep 1 Raw Audio_data”

I don’t run any extra AV software apart from normal windows stuff b/c they always just cause more problems for me than they solve. It’s been a little while since I scanned for viruses, though. No unusual behavior since I reinstalled Windows about 5 or 6 months ago (was having problems with Windows Explorer at the time).

Is that an external USB drive?

I wouldn’t recommend working directly on an external USB drive as just one little hiccup on the USB could trash the entire show. External USB drives are very useful for backup copies though, but in this case, if there’s a read or write error, the computer has chance to tell you and you can just tell the computer to do it (read. or write or copy or whatever) again.

No, it’s a secondary internal SATA drive. I just use it to house archived video files and music

I tried right clicking the data folder and checking previous versions, but that didn’t turn up anything. Worth a shot…

The recovery program I’m using is still scanning. I think it encountered a large folder (probably my steam folder lol) and is trying to parse through it. Still no help on that front.

Sorry to say that I’m still not optimistic about project recovery, but worth letting the scan complete since it’s been running so long.
Also, nothing comes to mind as to what may have caused the problem. I would have expected that the effect would handle 1h 20, assuming a normal sample rate (could be a problem if much longer or a very high sample rate). All other likely causes you seem to have covered, though probably worth running a full scan with Windows Defender (overnight - it takes ages to do a full scan).

nothing comes to mind as to what may have caused the problem.

Nothing in software. My hat says hardware and I’d be getting out my tools. If the machine is several years old, when was the last time you checked the motherboard coin battery? They have about a 3-year life.

Who made the second hard drive? There are first and second tier manufacturers. Did you put the drive in? I’d be shutting down completely and checking all the connections. Reseat everything.

Newer drives have an Early Warning System that’s supposed to know when the drive isn’t feeling well, but your system has to know to look for it. I can’t remember the name, but many drives have it.

You can do a surface scan so the drive updates its list of dead locations.

You could just replace it. Several of my motherboards will support four drives, so it’s possible to put three in and transfer the work to the new drive.

When you finish a live recording, save an additional WAV to an external thumb drive. Losing an edit is very different from shooting the show over again.


Are all the fans going 'round and 'round? I have several newer muffin fans that almost can’t be heard in normal operation. It’s good to check them now and then.

It’s possible to have elevated temperatures and no warning. You can carefully clean inside the cabinet with a fresh paintbrush a vacuum.

I have decades old machines still working.


“SMART” (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology).

The simplest way to check is from the command line:

wmic diskdrive get status

There are also third party graphical tools. Google can make suggestions.

The simplest way to check is from the command line:

Writing that down…


Thanks for all the suggestions! Glad to see an active and clearly knowledgeable forum community.

Both 2TB hdds are Seagate ST2000DM001 Barracudas and are just over 2 years old. I installed them myself when I built my rig. I cleaned and brushed everything out a few months ago, unplugged everything and replugged. Try to do that a couple times a year. Carefully, so I don’t wear down the connectors, and all of my fans and water cooling are operating a-okay.

Steve, I ran the command and they all came up OK. (that’s a super neat trick, btw thanks for that)

Once the recovery program is done (it’s still going lol) I’ll run a defender scan, that’s a good idea.

I’ll definitely be saving an extra WAV file. I have a 64GB thumbdrive that I leave plugged in for quick backups, so I’ll start doing that. All very good suggestions, thanks all!

My co-host and I are planning on rerecording it tomorrow morning. It’s a bummer, but we’re both actors and know how to make it sound genuine the second time around XD

I’ll update if the scan returns anything

Do post back if you have more info. It’s pretty unusual to stump the band here, but we got that way from posters telling us what broke.


know how to make it sound genuine the second time around XD

OK, now we’ll shoot the love scene from the woman’s point of view with our one (1) camera.


“Oh, Marcia…”