Trying to recover lost project data after exporting audio

Hi, I’m using Windows 10, and installed from the .exe. I was recently editing a project I was working on, which had a variety of tracks in it. When I went to export the audio to create an mp3, the process seemed to be going normally, however the mp3 it created is silent, and when I returned to the project, all the tracks had been completely silenced. I tried restarting Audacity, and it attempted to reload the autosaved version, but failed. I tried using the Audacity Recovery Utility on the temp files in order to restore it, but also receive an error. I’ve copied the temp files to another location, in case there is a way to use them to recover my lost data. I unfortunately hadn’t manually saved in some time, because Audacity is normally so consistent when recovering projects during these types of situations. I lost a good four hours or more of work I had spent editing this project and it would be immeasurably helpful if there was any way that my data could be retrieved. Please help if you can!

What version of Audacity are you using? Please give us all three numbers from Help > About Audacity… .

So did you never do File > Save Project… ? If you don’t have the current Audacity 2.1.2 version, the default temporary directory Audacity uses can be cleaned up without warning by Norton or other anti-virus or optimization applications. It sounds like that happened, or your drive failed.

Are the AU files in the temp folder now silence if you drag one or two of them into Audacity? If so there is not much you can do except try file recovery software to find the original AU files, assuming you have an old-fashioned spinning drive. Install the recovery software on and recover to another drive, such as a USB stick.


Sorry, I forgot to add the Audacity version information and I’m away from the PC now. I’ll post it when I’m home tonight. In the meantime, I did save an earlier version of the project, but did the majority of the work after that in one sitting over the course of about 5 hours, and I lost all of that. And yes, the AU files are all silence now, so I guess there’s nothing I can do there? If I need to look into other methods of data retrieval then, what would you recommend for these types of files? And I believe it is a spinning drive within an HP laptop. I’ve never had to recover any data recovery along these lines, so any advice would be really helpful. Thank you again for the help!

I’m using Audacity 2.1.1. Is there any other information you need?

I think I may have figured out part of the problem, but I’ve still not been able to find a fix. I think I accidentally saved and started exporting the project in a separate folder than I had been working on it for the entire time. Let’s say I was initially working on the project in Folder A, but when I went to actually export the audio I accidentally chose to do so in Folder B. Now it seems as though I have a project_data folder in both Folder A and Folder B, but I only have an actual project file in Folder B. Is there any way I can recreate a project file that can read the project_data I have in Folder A? Does this sound like it could be causing the issue?

Exporting does not create a project file and _data folder. You have to use File > Save Project… or Save Project As… to do that. In fact I asked if you had ever saved a project. If you had not, then the temporary data is in the Audacity temporary folder and the temporary project file called an AUTOSAVE file is in Users<your username>\AppData\Roaming\Audacity\AutoSave.

Given you have 2.1.1 that had a default temporary directory that was prone to clean up by other applications, I am guessing clean up is what happened. Upgrading to 2.1.2 will prevent that happening again.