Project data files disappeared randomly

I’m really annoyed at this program. A lot of the times when I record something for school, an hour later all the files from the project data folder has disappeared (e.g. podcast1_data)

I’m sick and tired of this happening! It’s happened twice on my friends computer and now on mine. I need to know how to get it back because our project is due soon and if we can’t get it back we can’t record again on a different program. I’ve searched everywhere all over my ----- computer and I cannot find any of it anywhere. PLEASE HELP SOON!!! :angry: :angry: :angry:

Are you really saving work on your own computer, or on a network drive? Audacity doesn’t get along well with network drives.

If your computer has a very aggressive virus protection, the program sometimes eats Audacity sound files. Some programs allow you to relax the protection for Audacity only, so the protection “knows” Audacity is not trying to harm the computer.

Depending on where you got Audacity, it may be a damaged program and it is actually trying to harm the computer.


I saved it on my desktop and then in my documents folder and both of the folders cleared out. I also downloaded audacity off the site. Lastly, I only have a free anti-virus software ano I assume it’s weak.

What is the exact Audacity version, all three numbers and which Windows have you got?

So you make a recording and save the project. It produces an AUP file and a _DATA folder of the same name. Close Audacity. Double click the AUP file and Audacity should open with the show. Does it?


I have Audacity 2.0.5 and I’m running on Windows 8.1, 64-bit.
And yes, it opens the show but there’s no longer recordings in it, it’s all cleared out. It leaves the tracks the same but without the audio and the project’s data folder is cleared out.

Are you making copies of the project using Explorer? That can cause this problem if you make the copies in the same folder that the original AUP file and _data folder are in.

AUP file and _data folder must have the same name, and the AUP file must say inside it that it points to the correct _data folder. This goes wrong if you copy into the same folder or rename by hand.

If you want to rename or copy projects, use File > Save Project As… .


I make copies of my project by doing file > save as and then adding a (2) on the name. Even when I save my project is only in one copy, the files still disappear. Do you know how I can get them back? Because I have a really important one I did with my friend and it’s due on Monday, he won’t be available to record another and we can’t get extensions. :S

Are you sure you are correct that the _data folder is empty of all AU files? Note that the first 256 AU files are in an e00d00 subfolder within the project’s _data folder, the next 256 AU files are in e00d01 and so on.

If you have not copied projects by hand in Explorer, there is no really good explanation, except that some cleanup application is deleting the files because they are too “old”. If that is the case you should find out what application is doing that and configure it. You may be able to recover the files using File History.

There is an obscure bug in Audacity that “might” cause it to delete AU files unexpectedly even if you save projects correctly, but that would not happen every single time - most people would never see it.

The only way we might be able to help is if you attach the AUP file that opens with empty tracks and attach the log file from Help > Show Log… that you see when trying to open the AUP file. Please see here for how to attach files:


I had my hopes up that File History would work, but it said it was offline because I’ve never used it/set it up, so that was a bust.
TIAOPJAMM Log file.txt (1.45 KB)
TIAOPJAMM.aup (12.7 KB)

Thanks for the attachments. There are no errors in the log, and the project just references a lot of empty stereo tracks with no data. That makes me think the project was saved normally when there was no longer any data in “TIAOPJAMM_data”.

If you do encounter a project that was saved properly but opens incorrectly, there will usually be an error dialogue. If you see that dialogue it’s best to look in the log to see if it gives you any clue what happened, then use the button in the error dialogue to close the project immediately (or just close the project yourself without making any changes).

Have you checked there are no data files within the subfolders of “TIAOPJAMM_data”? Have you searched all the computer for any AU files, in case they were moved? But even if you find them, or can recover them using file recovery software, you probably won’t be able to put them in the correct order unless they were a recording that you never edited at all.

Did you ever export any WAV files from the projects when they were working? Exporting WAV backups from time to time is an excellent recovery strategy.


I can’t post a project, can I?


You can attach a project as a ZIP but you are still restricted to maximum 2 MB.

You can post a link to a zipped project stored on Dropbox or similar.


Oh, right. [smacks forehead]

Here’s a test project I made. You have to unzip it for use. Open it in Audacity, immediately save it and then save a “protection copy” named whatever you wish. Close Audacity. Do they both open with two seconds of pure tone? Did either of them become hopelessly damaged?

This is the technique where I split the problem up in half and troubleshoot each half.

Koz (142 KB)