Lost most audio files after recovery—but…

First things first: A big thank you to all involved in creating and maintaining this great program. I constantly work with it on a professional basis.

Now, I have an enormous problem I have never encountered before.

Audacity crashed, and when I opened the .aup again, the layout was still the same but most of the tracks have no audio inside.

But here comes the weird part: The .aup size is still the same (3.4 GB, multitrack project) and upon opening, for a brief moment (not even a second) all waveforms are visible! They just disappear.

I don’t think all is lost and I really hope someone can help me recovering the work; it’s been many hours and some very inspired moments!

Thanks for listening, I’ll now cross fingers…

Some details: Audacity version 3.4.2, Linux, 8 GB RAM

There are three different versions of Save Project.

Screen Shot 2024-05-14 at 11.58.05 AM

Which one have you been using?


“Save” only.

— What I find extremely strange is that the audio definitely is in there somewhere, because the overall file size of the .aup has not changed.

The whole project is a mess; I just opened it again and it has scattered the remaining audio all over the place, indicating a total length of eight hours (what has been a 4.5 minutes song).

We should resolve that.

Audacity 3 saves projects as AUP3 files and all the work is inside that one project file.

Classic, Legacy, Old projects were in two blobs. You had an .AUP file with instructions how to recreate the show from all those tiny snippets of sound in the _DATA folder. The .AUP file and the _DATA folder had the same name and they both had to be in the same location or folder for the show to open.

Here’s where it gets surreal. Audacity 3 will cheerfully open an older AUP show. I think it will cut one, too. Is that what you did? Have you been editing an old show?


I am truly sorry, I was not precise. I opened the .aup3 file.
It was a very recent project, I only started working on it a few days ago, no updates in the meantime. And no .aup file involved.
Again, sorry for the confusion.

S’OK. You’re under a lot of stress, but we can only go on what you tell us.

I think the show is fried. Not fried enough to fail, but the structure of the tracks is toast. Even if some of it comes back, it may never come back the same way twice.

If you do start over (recommended), Do Not use the Audacity that created the damaged show. Start fresh.

I know you thought we were never going to get here. Do you know why it crashed? Running out of space on the machine? Other stuff running in the background? If you didn’t change or fix anything, you’re going to get to the same place in the show and it’s going to happen again.

Are you using Cloud or External drives? Audacity doesn’t like that very much.