The dreaded "Audacity failed to read from a file" error :'(

I really hope someone can help me.

Mac iOS 11.5.2
Audacity 3.1.3

Last night I got a ‘failed to read from file’ after the end of my recording session, which I thought was odd, but I did File → Save As, and then closed both files with no issue. Today I get that error on BOTH files, and I fear I’ve lost hours of work =( Oddly, the File → Save As file is larger than the original.

Of note, OneDrive backs up all my files, but everything is saved locally and then synced.

This makes me want to cry because I’m narrating a book that’s so incredibly boring, and it’s been so draining to do.

Can anyone help me recover this file?

If not, can anyone advise what I did to cause this error?

what with this and the lack of punch and roll clip boundaries, I don’t think I can stay with Audacity.

Got all of my work back. Thanks to this forum. Though I have a Mac, I used my husband’s computer to follow these steps: and had my stuff back within minutes! HALLELUJAH

I am still feeling a bit strung out from the stress of that so would still appreciate advice on why this happened. Through my internet searching I see OneDrive might be to blame…?

Yes. Audacity does not play well with cloud drives.

How can we use both OneDrive and Audacity? or do I have to pick just 1?

I believe you are going to have the potential for file corruption if you work interactively using any program with files on any cloud drive.

So I don’t backup files myself using OneDrive, but I believe there is a way to specify an exclude directory. Work offline in this directory, then when done, backup your projects to a OneDrive directory. :smiley:

Thank you. I suppose the alternative is to be religious about exporting backup WAV files (which I appear to have done on every project except this one, bizarrely) I’m a bit scared of turning OD off.

And you have a solution! :smiley:

Is there a ‘for dummies’ version? I don’t even know what some of the words in the steps mean :S The other day we were experiencing a big windstorm. I saved my Audacity Project but I did not close the program. The power ended up going off, and the next day when I tried to open my project it said, “Failed to open database file”. Not sure if the power outage had anything to do with it. These are the steps I found, I made it through the first two, the bold are all the parts that already confused me. I am not a computer-literate person, is there a service I can send this to? Or a ‘for dummies’ directory? Thanks for any advice.

  1. Check there is sufficient storage to recover your project. You will need roughly 4 times the size of your .aup3 for a successful recovery. If you have a 10GB file, you should have at lease 40GB available.
  2. In your Downloads directory, create a new sub-directory “AudRepair”.
  3. Unzip the audacity-project-tools which you downloaded and move the two .exe files into AudRepair.
  4. Copy your defective .aup3 project, then move the copy to this same AudRepair directory, and rename it to “broken.aup3”.
  5. Press +R, and type “cmd”. A (black) cmd screen will appear.
  6. Navigate to your Downloads directory by typing the line “cd Downloads”.
  7. Navigate to your AudRepair directory by typing “cd AudRepair”.
  8. Type “dir”. The following three files should be listed: audacity-project-tools.exe, broken.aup3, and sqlite3.exe
  9. Type “audacity-project-tools -drop_autosave broken.aup3”
  10. The message “Project requires Audacity 3.0.0” will appear.
  11. When the command prompt reappears, type “dir” again. If a “broken.recovered.aup3” file appears, try opening this file in Audacity. If this opens properly, we are done.
  12. Otherwise, type “audacity-project-tools -recover_db -recover_project broken.aup3”
  13. The messages “Project requires Audacity 3.0.0”, and “Using ‘sqlite3.exe’ for recovery” will appear. Later the message “Executing query #xxxx…” will appear as the rescued file is being recreated. Note: This process can take quite a while depending on your specific machine. There is no status (or % completion) indicator, so you just have to be patient. I plan 15-30 minutes per GB. Hopefully, your machine is faster. Keep an eye on available disk space. Also, due to a glitch in the software, or Windows, or on my machine, I type-ahead one charater, for example “z”. This character will appear on the command line when I am done, and I simply backspace over it. If I do not do this, the process may never complete. Why? I have no idea.
  14. If the messages “Invalid block xxxx: Block not found”, check to see if some audio was silenced - typically near your most recent edits. Usually these message are spurious.
  15. When the process completes, your should be able to open the “broken.recovered.aup3” in Audacity. The message “File not saved properly” will appear the first time you open the recovered project. This is normal and you can ignore this message.

    Running on and ol’ but reliable OS X El Capitan 10.11.6

The utility will not run under 32-bit Windows or under MacOS

Yes. The instructions won’t work on MacOS. You need to find a friend with a (64-bit) Windows or Linux machine. :frowning:

:astonished: Oh I see! Thank you

Hello , i am having the exact same issue and i’d like to know if anyone could help me recover my files.
It’s a 40 second guitar recording for music school
Audacity crashed and now i get this error
I will share the google drive link with the .aup file
If you could help me it would be greatly appreciated

I have a modest battery backup system on my “office” machine and monitor. If the power crashes (or we have another quake) there’s enough battery to keep the systems going long enough for me to race across the house and gracefully close everything.

The laptop, of course, doesn’t have this problem. I have a couple of hours to shut it down.

You can push files back and forth to cloud drives all day long, you just can’t let Audacity see you do it. Audacity assumes every drive it can see is practically perfect in every way.

And it’s not just cloud drives. External, network, internet connected, and cloud. They all have increasingly unstable behaviors.

I don’t remember the whole thing, but there is a protocol with network services. Connection quality analysis, error detection and correction, routing management, and resend commands. All of that is normal.

It’s not likely, but it’s totally possible to send files between your house and the next town and have most of them go direct. Then the path becomes busy (or damaged) and the last one goes by way of Schenectady.


That’s how it’s supposed to work. The network drive companies would just as soon you forgot all about that.

There was a real-world event last Thursday when the Airline Videos plane-spotting people started having network connection troubles. Later I found a solar flare surge was causing a lot of radio problems.