Project crashed while normalizing, any way to recover?

I spent about 6 hours editing a 30 minute podcast with three separate audio tracks. I finished the edit and saved the project. I left and then returned to normalize the audio, selected all, and attempted to normalize to the default level (-1).

This caused a crash. When this happened, it brought up a recovered project, but it had extra tracks in it. Probably a remnant from the attempted normalization. I still had the previous save of the project, and no edits had been made between that edit and the attempted normalization, so I discarded the recovered project and attempted to open my saved project. It can’t find any of the audio blocks, and it now finding hundreds of orphan blocks. Clearly the files were edited during the normalization attempt.

Now that my project file is useless, can I:

  • Recover the recovered project file which I discarded?
  • Reconstruct my project using the blocks in the Project Data folder?

Is there anything that I can do or do I need to start over?

Reconstruct my project using the blocks in the Project Data folder?

You can sometimes partially recover a raw recording that way, mono better than stereo, but you can’t recover an edit. The blocks will be scrambled.

When you switched projects during production, did you use different Project names?


Or were you repeatedly saving work to the same project. You should be able to just open Edit-2.aup (or Edit-1.aup) if Edit-3.aup went into the dirt. The only restriction there is Audacity Projects do not save UNDO.

Recover the recovered project file which I discarded?

When Windows discards a file, it just removes the pointers to the file information and marks the real estate as available. As a convention, if fills up empty disk space first and then starts stepping on “Previously Owned” space.

There are ways of Windows File Recovery (google your brains out), but it can be a career move rather than a valuable tool. By the time the recovery people come up for air, you could have re-edited the show.

Did you save WAV copies of all original voices, sounds and music? If you did it’s just a re-edit job. If you didn’t, it’s shoot it again. There are restrictions for using MP3 for editing. MP3 quality starts rotting as you use it like food you left out too long.

If it’s any consolation, Macs start reusing blank spaces immediately. Chances of recovery are zero. I watched some world-class Systems people try once. It took us three days to get rid of the brimstone smell and never got the show back.