Project content gone? Error message about orphan files

I spent hours editing an audio track yesterday and saved the project at the end of my work. Today I opened the project and got the following message:

Project check of “…_data” folder found 1 orphan block file(s). These files are unused by this project, but might belong to other projects. They are going no hard and are small.
Please select an action:
Continue without deleting; ignore the extra files this session
Close project immediately with no further changes
Delete orphan files (permanent immediately)

Other projects I edited and saved the same way are intact.

I am new to audacity and can’t figure out what could have gone wrong. Is there a way to restore my work if both the project files and the files in the data project are still there?

Thanks in advance for your advice and guidance.

Are the other projects relatively normal Stereo (two blue waves) or Mono (one blue wave)? If so, it’s a terrifically good idea to File > Export them as WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit for safety backup. Copy them Somewhere Else. The rule is to be able to point to two different places that have valuable work. Thumb Drives work, external Hard Drives or Cloud Storage are all OK.

This doesn’t work if you’re trying to protect serious production efforts with multiple tracks top to bottom. It’s also good to know that even with a Project’s ability to save multi-track shows and environments, it will not save UNDO.

Open the AUP file in a text editor such as notepad. It should have actual content such as semi-English programming lines. This one has been cleaned up a little for its portrait, but you get the idea.

If it seems blank or filled with thousands of graphic characters, that may be the end of the show.


What happens if you choose the first or the third option in that warning dialog - and ignore or delete the orphan file.

Does your project open ? It should …


I backed up the files and then opened it again and chose to ignore the file. The track display visually remained empty, but I was able to play the audio. When I closed audacity and opened the project again, the track display was back to normal too.

I am curious why this happened. But I am mainly happy my work is not lost.

Thank you very much for the help!

So now you’re going to make safety WAV backups of all your work, right?

The blue waves are made by a picture file. If it’s damaged, the blue waves may go away and leave the music.


Yes, now I am going to make frequent backups both of the project files and of wavs. I learned my lesson, luckily without real damage.

Thanks for the help and information!