Trouble Retrieving Saved Audacity Projects

I’m having trouble retrieving audio files for Audacity on my Mac Desktop.
I’m using Mac OS Big Sur 11.6 with a Dual Core processor.
And I’m using Audacity 3.0.5

I’m also using a Seagate external drive back up and that’s where I’m having the problem.
On an older Seagate External Drive I can open saved Audacity projects and they populate perfectly.
However, on the newest Seagate External Drive I’m getting the same error message on every project (dozens) that says,

"Error opening Project"Couldn’t find the project data folder: “Various Commerical Tracks_data”


It also says… “Couldn’t import the project.” Could not load file: “/Volumes/Seagate Backup/Backups.backupdb/Greg’s Mac mini/2017-06-12-170644/Macintosh HD/Users/GregHurst/Desktop/FINAL CUT MP3/Various Commerical Tracks copy 2.aup”


Many Thanks,
Screen Shot 2021-10-14 at 1.30.53 PM.png

Isn’t that a Time Machine backup? You might be able to go into Time Machine and get the files back that way.

Screen Shot 2021-10-14 at 5.52.33 PM.png
In any event. Legacy Projects come in two parts.

Wherever you put them, they have to have the same name, be the name you gave them in Audacity, and be in the same location or folder for a show to open. If you only have the .AUP file, that could be very serious. The AUP is the project manager, not the sound.



Thanks so much for the reply.
Yes, this is a Time Machine Back-Up and those files are stored on the Seagate External Drive.

I’ve included another screen shot and I do believe these files are just as you suggested ‘have the same name, be the name you gave them in Audacity, and be in the same location or folder for a show to open.’

Plus, Im getting another error message that says the program is inserting “silence” in place of missing files.

I have also now realized that even recent audio files that are being backed up… are experiencing the same problem… not just files that were created a couple of years ago.
Could this be a corrupted external disc??? Other files on the disc are still there for review (MP3’s for instance play perfectly) Or any other ideas on what might be preventing these projects from being saved properly.

Is there anything I might be missing or any other suggestions on how to retrieve these audio projects?
Again, I can open earlier files that are stored on a different Seagate External Drive.
But for some reason, I’m having trouble with these.

Many thanks,

Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 1.10.20 PM.png

I’m not a Time Machine wizard, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Audacity wouldn’t open up a project as long as the file and folder were still inside the Time Machine structure…and I don’t know how to get them out.

You know that graphic with the panels getting smaller off to infinity? I’m not sure the metaphor of how to use that. I can totally go into Time Machine and see the work down through the ages, but that doesn’t do any good without the actual file management.

I do two separate backups periodically. One Time Machine and one plain file and folder backup as recommended by the Systems people at work. On my big “office” machine, I put them on separate drives.

So this is both of us going into Google to find out how to use Time Machine—unless there’s someone on the forum who knows.


If you’re far enough along to be managing the little .au files, then you do have an actual project, but possibly a damaged one. That’s when Audacity volunteers to stick silence in place of some of the damaged or missing .au files.

You can get that one if the computer was interrupted while it was saving the project. Like you shut Audacity down too soon. I think there’s other ways to get that, too.

Fair warning that once a project starts doing that, it may get progressively worse and it’s a terrific idea to export whatever you have as ordinary WAV files instead of trying to manage or rescue the project.


Now you know why Audacity doesn’t use that split-file project format any more.



Thank you so much!
I do back it up with an MP3 file and those play just fine off of the same back up external drive. My problem with the MP3 or the WAV file is that when I save the file, the audio track is mixed with a music track or natural soundtrack as opposed to having separate tracks to work on. Do you know of another way to save those files where they populate track, music, and natural sound separately or independently ?

Do you know of another way to save those files where they populate track, music, and natural sound separately or independently ?

I do.

Select one of the tracks with the SELECT on the left.

File > Export > Export Selected Audio.

Use WAV, not MP3. MP3 gets its small, convenient files by moving musical tones around and leaving some of them out. If you make an MP3 from an MP3, it does it again. By the third time, your show may be trash.

This just kills people making podcasts from downloaded music and other content. “How come the music in my podcast MP3 sounds bubbly and like playing into a milk jug?”



That’s great!
I will use the WAV file. That way I will have separate tracks and be able to start a new project on Audacity and I won’t have to worry about retrieving the Audacity files that might be corrupted.
Thanks again,