recover project from copied temp folder


I guess I am in trouble. After an audacity crash I copied the temp folder. Afterwards audacity deleted the content of the original temp folder (as expected) Now I try to find a way to recover an audacity project from the copy of the original temp folder. Problem is that the timestamp information are gone through copying so i cant see a way to get the au files in order again.

Now I have two questions in order to solve my dilemma :

  • Can I get audacity to recover files from a copied temp folder? When I copied the original files back to the temp folder audacity didnt accept them, said these temp files are from another open instance of audacity.
  • Is there a way to understand the naming of the au files and by that derive the original order of the files along the timeline?

Thanks a lot


I use Audacity 2.0.3 on OSX Snow Lion

Was this an original show capture? That is, you were recording a show when Audacity went belly-up? Do you know why? Did the machine go all the way to being unresponsive and you had to hold the power button – or just Audacity crashed or froze?


Was that before you opened Audacity and it tried to recover the project?

If you want to copy a project that Audacity is about to recover you need to copy both the data from the temp folder and the autosave file .

It is expected if you save the project (in which case the data is transferred to the project’s _data folder) or if you close the project window without saving changes.

Why? What happened when Audacity tried to recover that project?

That may be true if you had the project relating to the copy of the data open in another window.

I don’t really understand what you are trying to do, unless the recovered projects open incorrectly. If that’s the case, the best thing to do is to open Help > Show Log… and copy the list of errors, then force quit Audacity ( How to force an app to quit on your Mac - Apple Support ). This preserves the temp folder and autosave file and gives you a chance to figure out what is wrong. But if you are nervous about force quit you can always make a copy of the temp folder and the autosave file.

Yes, the autosave file for that project in ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/AutoSave. Line 3 of the autosave file has a “datadir” value which must point to where the data actually is.

Can we help you with the Audacity crashes? Under what circumstances is it crashing? For example, do the crashes happen when you import a particular type of file? Is this file or the folders it is in named with non-English characters?

Can you attach a Mac crash report for one of these crashes? Please see here for how to attach files .


Thank you so much for your lengthly reply, highly appreciated.

My biggest mistake was that I didn’t recover when audactiy asked me if it should do when I reopened it. (The reason was that I was in a hurry to do some other live stream recording with audacity) All I did is quickly copying the temp folder thinking that will allow me to do it later …

My system did not crash because of audacity I am sure - some other tweaks - so thanks for asking for the crash report yet no point looking in it. I dont have a ~/Library/Application Support/audacity on my system but I found the .au files anyway. I just dont know how to get them in order as the timestamp is gone.

Thanks again for the detailed reply, I guess I just messed it up and hope to get the recorded live stream from someone …

Greets and best wishes



It doesn’t take long to recover a project, even if it is hours of audio. It is quicker than importing a file of the same length.

If you don’t have the original temp folder (only the copy with the changed timestamps) then the auotosave file would also have been deleted. To see if you can get the autosave file back you could look at for a data recovery program or Mac Time Machine if you have that running.

If you really want to stop Audacity recovering when you launch it, rename the “AutoSave” folder to something else. Audacity will recreate an AutoSave folder but not offer recovery.

Copy the correct project folder (for the previous recording) that is in the temp folder.

Save or export your new recording.

When you want to launch Audacity and recover the other project, delete the “AutoSave” folder which will be empty. Revert the original “AutoSave” folder containing the autosave file to its original “AutoSave” name then restore the “project” folder to Audacity’s temp folder.

You can drag the AutoSave folder to the sidebar in Finder, so you can get to it quickly.

All this voids your Audacity warranty of course (if there was one) :wink: