total loss of sound data

I am working with audacity 2. 1. 2 for Windows 8.1– A DELL Inspiron 7000 series with a terabyte of storage and 16 gigs of RAM.

I thought I was beginning to learn this program and was finding my way about very well, working all the bells and whistles and slowly but surely learning all I thought I had to know. Importing and exporting editing, adding and removing tracks,playing with the effects and mastering many. So far I am really impressed with this program… BUT… 1/2 an hour ago – a tragic unknown mistake. All my sound files have flatlined on all their timelines. I have no idea what happened or what I did, or did not do, to make it happen. I was working with at least a dozen tracks. I went through all the possible undo’s to get back where I left off. All the markers and timeline positioning’s were intact at the beginning of this, and after getting to the end of all of it, I re-did everything I had undone hoping to come across the error. No luck. Three weeks of hard work utterly lost – or is it? I certainly haven’t been able to find it or recover it. What am I missing? Could one mistaken keystroke or whatever it was cause so much damage?

If you have never saved this as an Audacity project and the contents become a flat line, then something may have deleted the files in the Audacity temporary directory, or the temporary directory cannot be read or written to any longer. So look at Audacity’s Directories Preferences to see where that temporary directory is.

Or if you were working with imported WAV files and chose to read them directly, the source files may have been moved, renamed or deleted. If that is the case, File > Check Dependencies… will show you the path Audacity needs the WAV files to be in.

Note if you press the DELETE key on a selection then press it again in error, this deletes all the project’s audio, but you can Undo that.


Replying to Private Message from Edward 1

No, it did not ask if you wanted to create a dependency. You won’t have a dependency unless you copied WAV files into the project and chose to read them directly rather than copy them in.

\AppData\Local\Audacity\SessionData is not a directory that cleanup applications should target. In fact we changed the default temporary directory to be as above because the contents were often getting deleted by Norton and other cleanup tools.

Never rename the AUP file or the _data folder. Always keep the AUP file and the _data folder together in the same directory (folder). Do not move the AUP file inside the _data folder.

Never move, delete or rename any of the files or folders inside the _data folder.

If you want to rename your project (for example, to save a snapshot at a particular point), use the File > Save Project As… command.

If a specific project opens with a warning about missing block files, you have to use Help > Show Log… to see a list of the missing files. Then put those files back in the path mentioned in the log.

If you have lost the AUP file for a project, then even if you have the _data folder that has the same name as the AUP file, the project is unrecoverable unless it was a recording that you never edited. You won’t be able to recover a project where you have been running effects on sections and taking pieces out and adding pieces in.

Obviously, you can look in the Windows Recycle Bin for the AUP file, or retrieve it from Windows File History if you set that up, or you can try file recovery software like Pandora.


I’m sorry for the earlier misapplication of semantics… It wasn’t a ‘file’ under check dependencies, but a folder, and did I want to create that? I click the create button – waited – and then did a search for it which turned up nothing. That particular project had edits all over the place, not only the sound effects but the narration files. Audacity apparently throws in a new track for every continuation of narration. I then check it for extra sounds that shouldn’t be in it. It was a good recording I pasted into the narration track and then hit “remove tracks” to get rid of that one track, making sure nothing else is selected.
The instructions and advice are very much appreciated. I will implement all this as best I can and get back to you with my result.

Edward Easton

I was talking about the menu item “Check Dependencies…” in Audacity’s File Menu. You can read this link to understand what dependencies on imported files are about:

If you are talking about recording creates a new track, you can SHIFT-click on the Record button to record at the end of the selected track(s).