Trouble Saving Project [SOLVED]

Hello! I didn’t see this in the topic list on the first Help screen, so need to ask. I am getting an error message when I try to save an audio file. I had saved the partly edited file previously, and closed the program. I reopened it later and finished the editing, and went to re-save it, and couldn’t. Actually, I saved it twice, I forgot I had a folder for Audacity and saved the file in my Novel file. When I noticed I’d put it in the wrong place, I changed to the right folder, but now I keep getting the error message ‘Could not save project. Perhaps C:\Users etc. is not writable or the disk is full.’ My C drive is not full! Used only 1/3.

I can’t save the file!

If you still have the whole performance available and open, try saving it to your desktop. You can move it around later and be sure to move both the AUP file and the _DATA folder together.

You can get into trouble if you use punctuation marks in the filename. A date is famous for messing up saves. Use the ISO version of date. Today is 2015-06-06, not 6/6/15.


You should not move AUP file and _data folder around while Audacity is open, if that is what you mean. In fact you should not move AUP file and _data folder around in Explorer at all.

Sometimes export as WAV works when save project doesn’t. You can always restart by importing the WAV into a fresh project.


I’m gonna try all those suggestions, thank you! I’m not sure what is meant by move the files around while Audacity is open. Did I 'move them? I tried to delete all the several versions that seem to have been saved (when I thought I was only saving one file, and that it was overwriting the old one the way Word does, except that it never gave me that message about being sure I wanted to overwrite). I wasn’t able to delete all of them without getting perfectly savage–I forget how I finally deleted the one I’d inadvertantly put in the wrong folder. See, I thought it was the existence of the file with the same name in the folder that was keeping me from saving. Not, as it turned out, because I finally deleted all of them, because I still wasn’t able to file.

But give me another minute.

I am naming the files thus (consistent with my Word files, but what else do I know??): Run Chapter One The Civic Is that name unfortunate and likely to cause problems?

What is an AUP file? What is a data file? I noticed when I saved the first chapter that altho I only saved one file, when I came back I had two files, one in a folder I never created with the word _data appended to the end, the other the project file.

Is there any place where the whole file thing is explained? It’s not in the list of topics that come up in Help.

Thanks everyone. Am going to try everything! Starting with saving to desktop. Then changing the name using _.

You said

so I was not sure what you had done.

Are you using the latest Audacity 2.1.0 from

If you use File > Save Project, there is no overwrite warning - you just update the same AUP file and _data folder. If you use File > Save Project As… this does create a new project and leaves you looking at the project with the new name after closing the old one. If you try to overwrite an existing project Audacity won’t let you.

Not in Audacity 2.1.0 on Windows if the files are only for yourself. If the files are for putting on the internet or for someone else’s computer then you should only use A to Z or a to z characters, whole numbers (0 to 9), underscore or hyphen-minus (or use the NUMPAD_SUBTRACT key). See

That is correct - there is the AUP file which is only a reference text file to the actual audio pieces in the _data folder. See Managing Audacity Projects - Audacity Manual.


Gale, thanks! I bookmarked the tutorial Managing projects, and was able save the file to my desktop, but I don’t know if it were the desktop part or that I added hyphens to the name. I suspect the former because in the end, the one without hyphens actually saved even though I got an error message. See, I saved it named as I usually do, and got an error message, roughly the same as the first one but shorter, mysteriously, that either ‘the file was not writable or the disk was full.’ Yet when I went back to try one more time, the data file was there! So I’m going to try to open it, even though I already have one open. I’m scared to close the live one! Thank you so much for clearing up about Save and Save As, not like Word insofar as Word does not create a new file each time you Save As. So will use Save–but how will I back it up to my Dropbox? Do you know? Because that’s how I usually back up, using Save As too.

Also, I wish I could get the file now in Desktop into the folder where I have the rest! But at least it’s saved–about ten hours of work!

Thank you,

I spoke too soon. The stubborn file is listed, but the folder is empty. It would not load. I’m going to try the advice to export as a wave and import back into a new project.

I loaded the tutorial on Managing projects with every intention of learning it and avoiding future problems. But there is no way! It is really technical, really dense, and really different from the file management I have used in word processing or my sewing design software or picture editing app. I can’t use Save As the way I usually do. I have to unlearn everything, and I feel distinctly unequal to it. Isn’t there some Easy Start page somewhere??

But anyhoo. Will you help me to plan my next steps, relative to what I have left from the shambles I have made.

Chapter One is completely edited, saved as a project, and exported to me as a WAV.

Chapter Two is gone. That’s the one I originally posted about. I thought I managed to export it at least as a WAV file, but not. The file is empty when I try to load it, altho I got no error message before closing the old live file. There is a _data folder in Dropbox and a _data folder in my Documents, but they also are empty. To re-do it, I’m afraid Audacity won’t save it again with that name (the one consistent with the others and consistent with my future plans for the file), since it’s listing it in Recent Files and in the other places too with that name even though I’ve tried to delete it a jillion times, and if I just start over I might do another ten hours of recording to get to this same place! All I think I know now, after abusing all your courtesy, is that I musn’t ever ever use Save As again unless I am prepared for Audacity Armageddon. Do I have to re-install Audacity (and yes I’m using the latest) to get it to forget I ever used that name, so I can stay sane and consistent, and that won’t wipe out the other two files, will it?

Chapter Three Is there as an unedited project and I exported it in a WAV file, too, in a panic, even thought it’s unedited. It loads as a project okay, and I figure I’ll be able to edit it, but because I used Save As to save it, I won’t be able to save it, rename it, or do anything else, right? ( because Save is not hot on my menu, I figured because I abused Save As) So maybe I’ve lost that one, too?

I am sorry to be so dense and abuse everyone’s good will. I should have learned all this before I started. But if I’d read that tutorial before I started, I never would have started!

I don’t use Word any longer but Wordpad creates a new file if you save as to a new name, and leaves the file with the old name where it is.

If you are just making an update to the project that is already open in that window, Audacity’s Save Project As will overwrite that same file without asking - what happens is the same as when you use Save Project, except that with Save Project there is no dialogue to go through and except that Save Project is not available if there are no changes to be saved.

In sum there is no point using Save Project As to update the current project - it’s just unnecessary steps.

When you want to backup the project then you can use Save Project As to save to a different file name, or to the same name in a different location. What you can’t do is Save Project As overwriting some other project than the one in the current window - you should be able to do that with a warning prompt, but there are bugs in our code that make that unsafe, so we don’t allow it.

The project structure is two items - 1) an AUP file. This is nothing more than a text file. It lists the small AU audio data files that the project uses. Those AU files are in 2) the _data folder for that project.

The AUP file must have the same name as the _data folder for example, “singsong.aup” and “singsong_data” and the AUP file and _data folder must be together in the same folder.

The data in the _data folder is in subfolders inside it. Inside the _data folder there is at least an “e00” folder. The e00 folder contains a “d00” and perhaps “d01” and more “d” folders. Those “d” folders are where the AU data files are.

Does that help?

Recent Files doesn’t do a live scan to see if the file exists until you actually click on the item to open or import it.

You can use Save Project As if you understand that it creates another file if you choose a different file name and/or location. But that should be no different to Word.

Reinstalling Audacity doesn’t change its settings at all unless you enable “Reset Preferences” in the installer.

Even if you reset preferences it doesn’t delete saved projects or exported files.

All Audacity should remember for file name when you save or export is the name you see in the Audacity title bar. Anything else Audacity is getting confused about or behaviour accepting some legal characters but not others are Audacity bugs. Audacity should accept all printable characters except these:

\  /  :  *  ?  "  <  >  |

Absolutely you can rename it using Save Project As to some file name/location that doesn’t exist yet. Just bear in mind the original file still exists and is now closed.

For Chapter 2, I recommend restarting the computer. Then bearing in mind that the identically named AUP file and _data folder must be together in the same folder, just open the first AUP file in Audacity. Tell us exactly what happens and what error messages are given, and show us the contents of Help > Show Log… after opening that project. You can also save the log and attach it here.

Then close that project without making any changes, restart Audacity, open the second AUP file and do likewise so we can see the log for that project.

Also attach each AUP file. Please see How to attach files to forum posts.


Gale, thank you so much. I have deleted all the chapter twos because I thought it would interfere with me saving it again. But they are in the trash, maybe I can get those to work. I think from what you have said that the problem has been that I separated the Aup files from the _data files.

But I have to do some urgent family stuff in the next couple of days, will follow your steps when I am able.

Thank you really for trying to bail me out! Too kind of you!

Hi, Gale! I got some time, and sat down to follow your directions. Remembering you’d mentioned to restart my computer, I did that before I came to the forum for the steps. Well, I restarted and then opened Audacity, and looked at the files on my hard drive–and everything was back to normal! Everything I needed was in the folder on the hard drive. I had a bunch of copies, I think they must have been, so I did do more deleting, but I have now all three chapters in aup and data forms, and I made a wav file for each chapter. My dropbox folder did not have the same luck. It seemed like when I saved as the aup file, it didn’t trigger the creation of the folder called _data. And I couldn’t ‘load’ the _data file to save as it to dropbox. So–I was able to make the wav files and save–no not save! export! the file to dropbox as well as my hard drive. So I believe I understand they’re safe that way, I can change them to MP3 files for the eventual audio book.

I think I have it straight enough to take on chapter four. Things that tripped me up, like Save does not get hot until you make some change in the file. Save As takes you to an unfortunate screen where you can’t tell where you are, your computer files or your dropbox files. And the ‘two kinds of save,’ Save and Export. I think I have it straight now, not to screw it up from here on.

Thank you so much. You wrote all those good steps, and I never got to them, with the re-start curing things! But some other person may see the thread and benefit from your efforts. Thanks again!

I’m glad you were able to get things worked out.

I think there is an Audacity bug there that sometimes it can’t save projects (or other XML type files) when it has no issue exporting an audio file to the exact same folder. For whatever reason, reboot cures that.

It is often best to make a ZIP file containing the AUP file and _data folder if you want to store projects on Dropbox. It is much simpler to retrieve them that way - you can’t download folders and subfolders to retrieve, only files.

Save Project As is a standard Windows file save dialogue. If you are not sure where you are, click the downwards-pointing arrow at the right edge of the “Save in:” dropdown (at the top).


I’ve locked this now and marked it [SOLVED].

If you need more help, please start a new topic.