Opening .AU files in bulk? Project not recognizing some data files

hi all. long-time lurker, first time poster. have been using audacity for about 3 years now. love it, very few problems. your support through this forum has been so helpful.

i had a large project (3-hour interview) crash on me. i was an idiot and did not back up original before editing. the recovery utility did not work to restore the project (crashed audacity again) and temp files are gone.

the .AUP project has no longer shows a wave form when opened, just flat lines. when opening the project, the playhead lands where i was editing at the time of the crash, so it’s remembering something.

i still have the data directory with the .AU files (thousands of them) in their data directories (183 total directories). about half of the .AU files are flat -lined, but half contain waveforms. i imported a few .AU files with waveforms and they were slowed down, requiring 333% “changeSpeed” to sound right (seemed about right, not sure if exactly 333%). i’m not sure why the .AU files w/ waveforms aren’t being pulled into the project when re-opened, as the whole project is flat-lined.

i understand a few .AU files can be imported and manually arranged, but not thousands.

  • am i out of luck?
  • is there a utility available for opening the .AU files i select from their data directories?

any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.

i was an idiot and did not back up original before editing.

That’s not why. You should Export raw performances as WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit Immediately when you stop recording. That’s the safety backup. Then, later when you’re starting to edit, edit a copy of the project which is harder than you think. You have to open the show in Audacity and Save As a different show. You can’t make successful copies or file management outside of Audacity.

Open the AUP file in a text editor (don’t save anything).

It should look something like this.

This has been cleaned up for the class photo, but you get the idea.

If it’s a collection of garbage characters or blank, that’s the end of the Project Structure.

If you want to rescue manually, that is possible, but how close is your retirement?

The AU files alternate Left and Right stereo and generally follow the file time-and-date stamps. Unless you were editing. If you were in the middle of editing or made any show changes before the crash, then the AU file are scrambled. The AUP file is, or was, assembly instructions.

I’m not expecting a speed change, though. That’s new.


Missed a couple.

The AUs are, or should be, six seconds long. The only way to accurately reconstitute the show is by comparing content and using Time and Date as general guidelines.

There used to be an automatic manual rescue (so to speak), but since it succeeded only a tiny portion of the time, all it really did was give everybody a false sense of success and delayed the need to manage a failed project. Both of those are pretty evil.


A word on backups. You can copy the _DATA folder and AUP file to a different drive. You can have two identical but separate files that way. You can use split folders, too, but that’s dangerous depending on how you have your screens deployed. It’s not fashionable to know where your folders are.

I like twos. Valuable work is on two different devices or in two different locations. “One” can give you what you got and nobody keeps up three or more. Thumb drives work, external drives, CD or DVD burner, cloud storage all valid.

I don’t trust automatic backups. They can’t judge your intent and it’s too easy to do something that accidentally damages a backup.