None of my aup files will open

First…I’m not very tech-savvy so please answer as if I am an idiot.

I cannot open any aup files…only ones that have been saved as an mp3 already. I get an error opening project message every time…
Couldn’t find the project data folder
Could not load file

Please help! This is show that is supposed to air tonight.

The current version of Audacity saves projects as a single .aup3 project file, and this .aup3 file does not have the issue you reported.

Legacy projects created by older versions of Audacity consist of an .aup file which contains an index into a similarly named project _data directory. This directory contains numerous subdirectories and hundreds of tiny audio files each of which contain a little snippet of your audio. This is likely what you have.

So a legacy project named “YourProject” consists of:

  • a YourProject.aup file
  • a YourProject_data directory

Both of these must be in the same directory. If you have renamed or moved either one of these you are going to have problems.

Thank you!

Is there any way to recover deleted data files? I think there’s where I messed up.

I deleted some data file to free up space and must have deleted the wrong ones.

Yes. Restore them from your backup.

From what backup? Again…I’m not very tech-savvy.

This just happened this morning, so I’ve done nothing

When I trash something, my trash bin holds the work. It doesn’t vanish immediately. It may ask you if you really want to delete something from the bin. So actually destroying something takes two steps.

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This is kind of old news for a Windows user. Are you a convert from Mac land?


Lol I’m equally bad with a Mac.

I did restore the data from the trash bin, first thing I did after the file wouldn’t open. But I’m afraid that I permanently deleted it…I routinely delete the data files because they take up so much space.

But that is always after I’ve saved my show. However this time I was out of space and the show wouldn’t save, so I deleted the files first, not realizing everything is all tied together.

Does that make sense? I’m not explaining very well…basically I need to undelete the data I permanently deleted.

Is that possible in any way?

I routinely delete the data files because they take up so much space.

The _data folder has the actual show sound in many little snippets and pieces. That’s why it’s so large. The .aup file is all the instructions (it’s a tiny text file) to tell Audacity how to construct your show from all the stuff in the _data folder.

You need both to bring your show back.

This was a very common problem with earlier Audacity versions. Audacity 3 doesn’t do it that way. Audacity 3.1.3 is current. There is only one large .aup3 file with everything in it.


Soooo….is there a way to recover the original Data file once it’s been permanently deleted?

I googled and found data recovery tools but they are pricey :cry:and I don’t know if they would work.

is there a way to recover the original Data file once it’s been permanently deleted?

It’s not a file. It’s a folder with your show in pieces.

Let’s go with no. You should wear your Producer Hat and decide what you would do if the original show never comes back.

When you delete something, Windows doesn’t actually destroy anything except the drive address (location) of the work. UnDelete Programs try to go through your drive looking for work without addresses.

If you have a full or very busy hard drive, UnDelete will fail because deleted work will be in fragments and pieces in widely scattered locations and mixed in with other works and deletions.

In a world of large, roomy drives, fragmentation isn’t a big deal, but it used to be something you had to pay attention to.


Say somebody donates a very large, but valuable book to a library. There isn’t enough room on any one shelf for the book, so the librarian carefully rips the book apart and puts the fragments on available shelf space, and then writes it all down.

When somebody wants the book, the librarian looks at the list and puts the book back together.

If the library decides to remove (delete) the book, they burn the list.

When somebody wants the book then, the librarian looks for the list and says the book is no longer available even though all the words and pages are still there…somewhere.

If the library really, really, runs out of room, they start throwing out fragments that have no written address. That’s the kiss of death.


That’s what you have. A full, fragmented, busy drive doesn’t lend itself to UnDelete programs. But its up to you.


This is show that is supposed to air tonight.

Some Producers create “spare” emergency shows that they can present in case of problems like this.

This is in addition to saving enough work to put your show back together if the current edit becomes damaged (or accidentally deleted).

None of this is possible if you’re constantly running out of space on your machine. This is where The Producer (who has the credit card) has to decide what to do.

If you decide to go for any one of the on-line drives or “cloud drives” please note that Audacity doesn’t get along very well with those. You can use them, but use Windows to shuffle files back and forth, Do Not try to do it with Audacity.

All Audacity work should be on your home hard drive.