Missing Data Files. How to Restore projects


I just discovered to my shock(!) that several of my data files have disappeared for a few of my projects. The .aup files are there but not the data.

First, how does this happen? I’m always careful about saving.

Second: How can I restore the projects from the .aup files.

My version is 2.1.3



No “_data” folder at all?

Nothing, just the .au files. When I try to load the project into Audacity, this is confirmed by a message from the program saying it can’t find the data files.

What could cause this to happen?


The usual cause is “user error” (inadvertently deleting the _data folder, or moving the .aup file to a new location without its _data folder).
A failing hard drive could also account for the problem, but that is rare and very likely to cause other problems (files disappearing or becoming corrupted).

No, this was a catastrophic failure - multiple data files were suddenly gone, not just one. And I hadn’t been moving any files around.

But now after each session I will additionally save the project to an external hard drive.

Thanks for you input. J

Doesn’t Windows have a Restore function that can step you back to an earlier time?

If you have the opportunity, Export the work as WAV (Microsoft). Use only “safe” characters in the filenames (upper, lower, -dash- and underscore) and don’t export any stereo work over about three hours (six hours for mono).

This isn’t going to work if you have multiple hours long projects or multiple tracks (anything over stereo). But WAV files are very robust and not subject to system coordination difficulties or odd interactions between files and folders.

If you are recording live, it is strongly recommended you Export the recording as WAV (Microsoft) backup before you do anything to it. Move it to a safe place.


But now after each session I will additionally save the project to an external hard drive.

Live recording session? That puts you in the Export WAV camp.

If you continue to have problems or you discover what the original problem was, do post back.