Lost source files when attempting a batch chain

Hello! I’m new to audacity and have a strange situation I’d would like some help solving.

First try, I used a simple chain (normalize/compress/export to .wav) to process all my original files (over 100 fairly small .wav files at apx. 10-20KB each) - No result, the chain ran but no cleaned file/no exported files generated

Second try, Audacity froze during the process so I hit cancel. When I went to find what/if any files had been exported/generated, not only where there no new files, but I had lost about half of my originals as well. - A disaster

My questions are;

  1. Why was no ‘cleaned’ export destination generated?

  2. Why did this happen?

  3. How can I recover my originals?

Thanks for any help! GS

Hello. Please tell us what version of Audacity you are using (all three numbers, see the pink panel at the top of the page).

The exported files should be in a “cleaned” folder inside the folder the original files came from. The cleaned folder should be created as soon as Audacity starts to write the first exported file.

At what stage of the Chain processing did the freeze happen and did you force quit Audacity or only Cancel? What drive are the original files on? Audacity may have problems writing to remote network drives.

Audacity should always copy in the audio data from very short WAV files so the original files should simply be left alone. There could be a small risk to a file if a force quit occurs while the file is being copied in.

If you have an old version of Audacity in which you turned on the now removed “Audio cache” feature, the audio data gets copied to RAM instead of disk. That would be a possible freeze or crash risk if the RAM does not get released after each import.

There is no recovery of any data in that sense unless Audacity was force quit while an imported file was being processed. In that case the imported file (or a stage in its processing) should be recovered.


Did you try to set Audacity to step on or cover up the old files with the corrected work? Keep the same filenames but improve the sound?


Chains are not supposed to export over the original files. If there are edge cases where they do, it’s a bug.

If you repeat the same Chain on the same original file, the “cleaned” file produced by the first run of the Chain will be overwritten, of course. But you should still have the original file.


Hello, thanks for the replies.
I’m on Audacity 2.1.2.
I’m not working on a network, everything is on this computer. Hitting the cancel button was enough to get out of the chain, I did not have to exit Audacity.
I didn’t set Audacity to do anything different with the output files.

As I asked, at what point did you cancel the Chain? While it was importing, normalizing, compressing or exporting?

I did test but could not find a problem with cancelling the Chain or force quitting Audacity during a Chain, except that cancelling gives you a superfluous message about exporting (but nothing is exported, in my tests).

So we can’t give you any advice except perhaps to make extra backups of original files, which is always a good idea anyway.