Unexpected crashing and project recovery


Wanted to post about an issue that happens from time to time while using Audacity. Overall the software is great! At times, however, it will crash while in the middle of a recording. When this happens, the software will reboot and show that there are projects available for recovery. When I choose a project to recover, Audacity is NEVER able to actually recover the previously recorded data. Here’s what happens:

After the crash, the computer reboots and Audacity opens. I instantly receive an error message that states: “some projects were not saved properly the last time Audacity was run. Fortunately, the following projects can be automatically recovered:” - then it lists the projects.


When I click on the one I want to recover, it thinks for a LONG time, and then I receive another error message that says: “Warning: problems in Automatic Recovery. Project Check found file inconsistencies during automatic recovery. Select ‘Show Log…’ in the Help menu to see details.”


If I access the log, it looks like this:


…the ‘missing data block file’ errors continue for a very long way below this, until the program replaces all the missing data block files with silence and as a result, I have no recovered project.

Please help! This is happening pretty regularly (i.e. every other day) and it’s really frustrating, especially when I get through like 90% of an album and this happens; then I have to do the whole album over again. My version of Audacity is 2.1.2, my OS is Mac OS X El Capitan.

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It’s not clear at the top. When Audacity crashes, just it vanishes, or the Mac restarts?

When you intentionally restart the Mac, do you get the opening “chong?”


Are you recording to an internal drive with enough room? External FireWire drive with enough room?

External USB drives are not recommended for live production.


So that is very likely a problem with the audio device you are recording with. What device is that, for example a USB turntable or USB or Firewire interface? If it’s an interface, does it have the correct drivers and firmware supplied by the manufacturer?

Unfortunately this is totally expected, because Audacity by default saves its temporary data in a location inside var/folders/, and Mac cleans out var/folders/ when it reboots.

You really must address why your recordings are crashing the Mac. Until then, open Audacity > Preferences…, Directories section and change the temporary directory to somewhere in your own user space like your Documents folder that won’t be cleaned out on reboot. Alternatively, do File > Save Project As… to your Documents folder before you start recording.

Look at the disk space Audacity reports for that drive. You want to have at least 20 GB free as a rough working rule. Audacity by default takes 20 MB per minute for stereo recording, and every edit takes 20 MB per minute.


A program crashing shouldn’t make your Mac reboot. And certainly not Audacity. Maybe your audio interface could provoke it, by drawing to much USB power, but that would still point to failing hardware.

If this happens, there’s something seriously wrong with either your system software, or your hardware.

Software is easy enough to test: reboot from the recovery partition (hold command-R during startup, immediately after the gong). Release when you see the progress bar. Once started up, choose “install new system software”.

If it is hardware, it’s bad news. How old is your Mac? Which model is it precisely?