I’ve been using Audacity for many years and consider myself an expert user. However, I just spent two days recording multiple tracks. when I hit CTRL-S to save … I got the “close project without saving” prompt. So, I must’ve fat-fingered CTRL-S. Unfortunately, I also accidentally hit RETURN.

I know that Audacity has very good recovery functions as I’ve triggered them many times. However, this time, I am not so lucky. How can I recover my data? Where was it all stored?

FYI: I was able to recover 99% of the .au files using a program called recuva along with two .autosave files.

Anyway, I put the .autosave files in appdata/roaming/audacity/autosave and then put all the .au files in appdata/local/temp/audacity_temp/project5718. When I restart audacity, it prompts me to recover but then chokes on the whole process completely.

Anyway, time is no longer of the essence as I have recovered as many of the files as I could. Of the 10,000 or so .au files, only a handful were unrecoverable as they were overwritten by the process of downloading and installing the recuva tool.

Any help on this tomorrow would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Hmmm… I also see the pattern of which subdirectories all these .au files should be in. I can write an AutoIt program to whip them into shape tomorrow. maybe that will solve all this. I can say for certainty using import raw on one of these .au files does absolutely nothing useful.

There’s a section in the manual about crash recovery that may help: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/recovery.html

Yes, steve, I’ve seen that but I still can’t recover. I’m not sure what the whole “Stereo or edited audio is unlikely to be recovered in the correct sequence” thing means as, like most people, the whole point of a project is to edit audio and, yes, some of that audio is in stereo format simply because the world converted to stereo almost 50 years ago.

Audacity saves the audio data in randomly numbered “block files” (“.AU”)
The .AU files are stored in a data tree with no more than 100 files per folder.

When the project is Saved, the .AUP file holds all the information necessary to reassemble the block files to recreate the project.
The .AUP file is XML format and contains plain text.

While working in Audacity, a “.autosave” file is created. This is very similar to the .AUP file but does not have the final closing tag.

Automatic crash recovery is triggered when Audacity finds a “.autosave” file.

Automatic crash recovery reads the .autosave file and then tries to locate the block files that belong with project.
If you can put the .autosave file and all of the .au files back into the temp folder in the correct sub-folders, then launch Audacity, Audacity will read the .AUP file and then look for the .AU files. Any block files that are missing will be replaced with silence, and the problem logged in the log file. To see the log file: “Help > Show Log”

The problem that you will have is getting all of the .AU files into the right folders so that Audacity can find them.
The log file will tell you which files it can’t find and where those files need to be located.

In the “special case” of an unedited mono recording, the “time stamp” (creation time) of the .AU files will be in chronological order, so even without the .AUP file it is “possible” to recreate the project, by sorting the .AU files into date order and reassembling them end to end. This does not apply to edited projects because the creation time of the .AU files will not be in the order necessary to reassemble the tracks. Also, data recovery tools (such as “Recuva”) are unlikely to retain the original time stamp.

I have restored the .AUTOSAVE files into “C:UsersMeAppDataRoamingAudacityAutoSave” and all of the .AU files into the correct temp directory and then correct subdirs (ex; “C:UsersMeAppDataLocalTempaudacity_tempproject5718e00d0ae000a0s2.au”) but, alas, Audacity comlpetely chokes on this.

Upon reentering Audacity, I get the nice little “Automatic Crash Recovery” window showing the project I was working on. When I clilck on the “Recover Projects” button, I get the “Error Importing” message;

Audacity did not recognize the type of the file "C:UsersMeAppDataRoamingAudacityAutoSave{xxx}.autosave.  If it is uncompressed try using "Import Raw"

NOTE: this particular project is only 5 tracks of audio, yet, the number of .AU files is tremendously high. I have 38 subdirs each with about 255 files totalling just under 10,000 files.

Change the file extension to “.txt” and post it as an attachment. I’ll have a look to see if it looks anything like a proper .autosave file.
Did you say that you had recovered 2 .autosave files? If so, post both of them.

Audacity projects are big, particularly while you are working on them. By default the audio data is in high resolution “32 bit float” format, and whenever you change the audio data, the old data is retained as “Undo data” until the project is closed.

Got it steve … here you go!

FYI: these files do not look as much like AUP files as we thought as a lot of XML header stuff is missing. Further, I don’t see any reference in the AUTOSAVE file indicating what the project number is.

NOTE: Why were there two AUTOSAVE files when I was only working on one?
:arrow_forward: The Beatles - She’s Leaving Home Instrumental - 2014-09-03 22-06-16 N-4196.txt|attachment (72.5 KB)
:arrow_forward: The Beatles - She’s Leaving Home Instrumental - 2014-09-03 22-05-39 N-4187.txt|attachment (73.1 KB)

I just looked at a current AUTOSAVE file and it is definitely different than the ones that were recovered! There is a lot of stuff missing from the beginning of the AUTOSAVE files I want to recover.

Yes that’s the correct directory for the AUTOSAVE file. Audacity won’t look in its temporary directory for the AUTOSAVE file.

The bad news is that the AUTOSAVE files you posted are just nulls (zero data). There is no way to use those files. What version of Windows are you on? Do you have “previous versions” of files enabled?

Are these unedited recordings, or have you been applying effects and moving parts of the recording around? If the recordings are edited there is no practical way to figure out without the AUTOSAVE file what the correct order of the AU files is, and no way to figure what data belongs to the state of the project when it crashed.

As Steve said, unless Recuva kept the original timestamps of the AU files, even unedited recordings can’t be recovered in the correct order.

Next time, please export each recording as WAV as soon as you hit the Stop button.


Not quite, but there is a load of invalid data at the start of the file.
As Gale wrote, unfortunately the file is irretrievably corrupt.

How did both files get corrupted in exactly the same fashion?

Unfortunately we still don’t know what version of Audacity you are using, but in case you are using an obsolete version, the current version is 2.0.5: Audacity ® | Download for Windows .

AUTOSAVE files are created every time you perform most editing operations.

What is supposed to happen as I understand it is that the AUTOSAVE file is first created with a TMP extension then if all goes well it is renamed with the AUTOSAVE extension.

I “think” the previous AUTOSAVE file gets deleted before even the new one is created, and it’s rare for there to be AUTOSAVE files left behind. If the AUTOSAVE can’t be written the TMP file for that write usually gets left behind and has to be deleted manually. It’s quite common on Windows for TMP files to be left behind.

I suspect Recuva just found the two remaining AUTOSAVE’s that could be (to some extent) recovered. Audacity would have deleted all the AUTOSAVE’s, bypassing the Recycle Bin.


I shouldn’t be too far out of date as I am running 2.0.3.

Why doesn’t Audacity just use the recycle bin for all cases where possible? At least this wouldallow users who accidentally close a project without saving to recover without much effort at all.

When closing a project, there could be tens or even hundreds of GB of temporary data to be deleted. Although modern hard drives can be very large, not everyone has a lot of free disk space, (particularly with new solid state drives). If temporary files were not deleted, then batch processing a large number of large audio files could easily fill all available disk space and cause the computer to crash. On Windows, recovering from a completely full hard drive can be quite tricky (Windows may not be able to boot up). Also, if a user restored all of the deleted files from their recycle bin, that could put thousands of orphaned files into a previously undamaged project, causing the project _data folder to grow enormously in size and creating thousands of errors the next time the user attempts to open the project.

Now before I give up, is this timestamp thing worth investigating? I do seem to have valid timestamps for all of these .AU files. So, without a valid AUTOSAVE file, would it help if I chronologically renamed the AU files?

We had a long discussion before with a couple of people who closed projects without saving by mistake. The upshot was that Audacity would have to handle this itself if it was going to handle it at all, for example by having a setting that made Audacity always reopen with whatever work it closed last time (saved as a project or not).

I agree with Steve that using the Recycle Bin for deletions is not an option. Some projects could generate hundreds of AUTOSAVE files. If those were restored from the Recycle Bin, Audacity would be trying to “recover” hundreds of “projects” next time you launched it.

As explained a couple of times now, that would only work if the project was an unedited recording and Recuva did not change the AU timestamps from what they originally were. And if it was a stereo recording you will need extra efforts to recover the channels in correct order for the length of the recording.

You didn’t answer about your version of Windows. If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 and you have “System Restore” or “Backup” enabled, then you may have a “previous version” of the AutoSave folder. Right-click the folder to find out.


I can safely say that we’ve concluded all efforts to recover this particular project as I was able to re-record everything this morning. It’s not as nice as the original that was lost but it will do.

Just to fill in a few questions. I am running Windows 7 64-bit. Yes, I have System Restore enabled but it only runs once a day at 3 am. So, all of the work I did that day could never be in the backup since I accidentally closed the project later that same day.

I see what you mean about using RecycleBin but I’ve seen other applications also use RecycleBin to store hundreds of files as well. I mean, storing them in RecycleBin is not that much different than storing them in AudacityTemp. Further, Audacity would only be using RecycleBin in the rare case where someone chooses to close a project (strike 1) while also declining to save (strike 2). Perhaps Audacity could check RecycleBin each time it is opened (just like it checks AudacityTemp) and, if something fitting that criteria is found, prompt the user to recover. If the user says no … this is essentially the third and final confirmation (strike 3, you’re out) … remove all such project matter from RecycleBin. Again, since we are only talking about the case where someone chooses to close a project while also declining to save, this logic would surely only be triggered once in a blue moon.

So, the changes to Audacity would be as follows:

[]When closing, move temp files into RecycleBin only when user closes a project while declining to save.
]When opening, check RecycleBin as well as AudacityTemp

:wink: Please do not let the tragic loss of my precious recording be in vain!