Missing Data Block

I am a novice Audacity user. I recorded a dear friend’s memorial to my computer using a line-in to Audacity. I didn’t read the audacity manual and wrongly assume Audacity worked like other media programs I’ve used. FCP, Avid etc. I may have lost audio that is incredibly important to my friend’s wife. If anyone can help me, please…

Here’s what I did:

I took the original .aup which was on my desktop and duplicated it into four copies, all on my desktop. The purpose was to make individual AIFFs of the live performances of three songs. The idea was to have those as separate AIFFs from the whole service. I named each new .aup after the song I planned to edit it down to-- so I could make the relevant AIFF.

I opened the first renamed .aup, cut down the audio, exported an AIFF, saved and closed the .aup.

When I tried to open the next .aup I had the rude awakening that I’d done a lot wrong.

I closed the project making no changes and am hoping someone can lead me down a path to recovery.
I’ve seen other posts with similar situations, but not quite the same, and I don’t want to do anything that will compromise my chances to get this data back.

In answer to the obvious question, did you backup to Time Machine, the answer is: I plugged that drive in and thought it ran, but it has not run properly since before the audio was recorded. My last back up was May 1st and the service was June 4.

Is there any hope for recovery? Anything I can do to get back the missing data?

What version of Audacity and version of OS X? Please see the pink panel at the top of this page.

To make copies of projects, use File > Save Project As… inside Audacity.

The only safe way to make a copy of a project in a file manager is to create a new folder first, then copy the original AUP file and the _data folder with the same name to the new folder.

If you make three extra copies of a project you need three new folders.

Any other procedure risks destroying your project.

You can do that from one project by selecting the first song, File > Export Selection… , select the second song then Export Selection and so on.

Restart Audacity. Open the first project AUP file. Tell us what the entire error message says and attach the saved log file from Help > Show Log… . Close without making changes.

Restart Audacity. Open the second project AUP file. Tell us what the entire error message says and attach the saved log file from Help > Show Log… . Close without making changes.

Repeat for the third and fourth AUP file.

So you will be attaching four AUP files and four log files. You can put them in a ZIP file and attach the ZIP if you like. Please see here for how to attach files: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/how-to-attach-files-to-forum-posts/24026/1



Thank you so much for your reply. Obviously I made a series of cardinal Audacity errors. I deeply regret this.

As to the information you requested:

I am using Audacity and Mac OS X 10.7.5

The files you requested are attached in .zip. I made screen grabs of each of the dialogue boxes that came up when I opened the .aup files.
There is no log for the Sorrow.aup as it will not open. That was the .aup that I worked in last night.

And, as previously implied, there is only one data folder for all my .aups

Thank you again for your help. Hoping there is hope.
logs and screen grabs.zip (204 KB)

Please attach the four AUP files as I requested.

Also please tell us the exact name of that _data folder and the complete path to it. To give us the path, right-click or CONTROL-click over the _data folder and choose “Get Info”. Look in “Where” near the top. You can drag your mouse over the location then COMMAND + C to copy it and COMMAND + V to paste it here.

Another way you can do it is to go to /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app, double-click Terminal.app, then drag the folder into the Terminal and copy the path.



The .aup files you requested are attached.

The path to Jennifer Jackson_data is:


aup Archive.zip (70 KB)

Discard all the AUP files except “Jennifer Jackson.aup”.

Put Jennifer Jackson.aup in /Users/meredythwilson/Desktop/ where Jennifer Jackson_data is.

You can look at the “log_jennifer jackson.txt” you already attached to see where Audacity expects each AU file to be.

For example, the first warning "09:24:37: Warning: Missing data block file: ‘/Users/meredythwilson/Desktop/Jennifer Jackson_data/e00/d03/e000302b.au’ " shows you that e000302b.au should be in the “d03” folder that is inside the e00 folder in Jennifer Jackson_data.

The fifth character of the AU file’s name always tells you which “d” folder the file should be in.

If the files named in the log are not in the Jennifer Jackson_data folder then you will need to COMMAND + Space to open Spotlight and find the files then move them where they should be. If the files do not exist then Audacity probably deleted them because of the way you copied multiple AUP files by hand.



Thank you for your help in this matter. It does indeed look like the files are gone. There are entire d folders missing. Luckily the one song that I saved was the most important one. I do feel terribly about what I’ve lost.

When using digital editing systems consumers like myself do expect an ability to work on material and have the source material remain intact. It’s one of the great benefits of digital editing.

Perhaps Audacity could create a dialogue box that would pop up when people are about to irreparably delete important data. I’m sure it would save more people than me heartache, or perhaps more often time and money.

Thanks again for your help confirming the facts.


Audacity could not have stopped you from duplicating and moving project files in the Finder, which is what led to the data loss.

Every time you cut or delete audio you are potentially losing important data. Every time you apply an effect you are potentially losing important data since the audio will be permanently changed. This is no different from cutting a paragraph in a word processor then saving the document - the words are gone. I don’t think people would want a warning dialog to pop up every time they make an edit.

– Bill

I’m not sure if I am doing exactly what you did, but here is one scenario.

  1. Generate or record some audio, then save the project as whole.AUP which gives you whole.AUP and whole_data. Close the project.
  2. Copy whole.AUP and paste three times.
  3. Rename whole.AUP to “1.AUP”.
  4. Rename the three pasted AUP files to “2.AUP”, “3.AUP” and “4.AUP”. Now none of the AUP’s are named as the _data folder.
  5. Open 1.AUP, it will still open because the reference in the AUP file is to “whole_data”. Apply an edit to the whole track. Save and close the AUP. The reference in the AUP file will change to “1_data” which does not exist.
  6. Open 2. AUP. All data will be missing because the file names are different. Close 2.AUP.
  7. However if I rename “whole_data” to “1_data” I can still open “1.AUP” in the same state as I closed it.

If you did not rename the originally created AUP but opened the first of the renamed AUP’s, edited the entire audio, then exported from it and saved/closed it, then all the other projects would open
with completely missing files. As above, you would still be able to reopen the project you exported from if you were to rename the _data folder.

But if you whatever project you saved was saved so that only the one song you exported was visible, the other songs have gone for good. That part would be a user error and not Audacity mishandling. Is that what you did - is that the much shorter “Sorrow.aup” file and you now have only the AU files referenced in “Sorrow.aup”?


Absolutely not, but Audacity could perhaps refuse to open a project where the _data folder does not match the name of the AUP file. Then the only project the user could interact with would be the original one, which would be safe.