Retrieve file after crash is silence

I’m using Audacity 2.0.4
on OS X Version 10.8.5

I was exporting an audio file to mp3 of a conversation.
The power went out. And I had to reboot.
I checked retrieve project
The rainbow wheel spun for a good ten minutes as I waited.
Then an error message popped up that I don’t remember.
It said something like see log for error
The file came out one hour and twenty three minutes of silence.
I force quit. Opened again not before locating over 900mb of .au files
I reopen Audacity, checked retrieve and get same silence. This time it took only minute.
The .au files still there with no difference in edit times
I look at log and it says “Failed to load FFmpeg libraries”
I download FFmpeg libraries and install.
I force quit. Opened again with same silent file.
But log says FFmpeg libraries load this time.

Is there any way to retrieve anything? I cannot believe I have 900mb of silence.

Cherokee Steph

If there’s hope, you can open the AU files (except the first ones) and they will play very short snippets of the show. You don’t have to open all of them. It’s just proof of concept.

Then you can use Manual Recovery.


I tried to open an AU file in quicktime. It gave an error that the file could not be read.

Quicktime doesn’t know what an Audacity snippet is. You have to open in Audacity.

That’s why if you had many multiple weeks, you could put the show back together without software help. Nobody wants to do that. Even with the software help, a stereo show Left and Right could get scrambled.


Don’t pick the first few AUs. Those are pictures.


Every time I try to “open” an AU file snippet Audacity simply crashes.

That’s not good news. My hour show opens and plays in 12 second segments.

Control-Click one of the AU files > Open With > Audacity 2.0.4.

Are you running out of drive space? If you’ve been doing production on this machine since it was new, that could be years.

Go > Utilities > Disk Utilities. Select your system drive. It should tell you size, used, and left.


You have said that before. Can you explain what you mean in more detail?


Audacity 2.0.4 is very old now. The current Audacity version is 2.1.2 from

When Audacity crashed, had you already saved an Audacity project (File > Save Project…)? If not, the original AU files would be deleted when the Mac restarted, unless it was fooled by the power loss and failed to do that.

If that deletion happened, your recovered project would show as silence, and Audacity would create silent AU files for all the AU files that were missing. It sounds like that happened, given the time you were waiting. The log would have said that if you had looked then.

So I fear your AU files are just silence. The moral on Mac is to save a project. The next 2.1.3 release of Audacity will (I hope) move the default Audacity temporary directory to somewhere that does not get cleaned up on reboot.


You can force a project into graphic flatline by damaging the lead au file. It’s a graphic file. That may have changed. Doesn’t affect the sound.


If I corrupt the first AU file by removing its headers, only that portion ot the project is silenced (visually and audibly).


So that got changed.