Urgent File Recovery Help

I mainly use Audacity for editing, but I haven’t been using it for very long and don’t exactly know how the system works yet.

After my Audacity crashed, the window with the option for automatic recovery came up. I had saved a previous version not too long ago. However, I (stupidly) allowed the automatic recovery to go. When the project opened, every audio line was blank, though all the track lengths, clip boundaries, and envelope markings are still there.

Currently, I have that open and don’t know what to do. Can my previously saved version still be accessed?

This is a file I’ve spent a long time editing, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Do not save the blank version with it’s current file name. If you want to save it (though it is probably useless), ensure that you use “Save Project As”, and enter a new name for the project.
So long as you’ve not overwritten your backup, you ‘may’ still be able to open it. The only way to tell is to try. It may be a good idea to make a backup copy of the AUP file and it’s “_data” folder before you do anything else.

Thank you so much. Could you clarify a few things for me? I’m pretty inept at tech stuff, and this is a pretty important file.

  • If I want to open the backup file, should I close the autosaved file first?
  • Where should I save the copy of the AUP file and data folder to?

In Audacity, before you close the file:
“File menu > Save Project As…”
In the file browser that opens, navigate to your “Documents” or “Music” folder and save the project with a new and unique name.
When choosing a name, use normal characters only: a-z A-Z 0-9 - _
Example: you could name it “backup-probably-bad”.
Audacity will then create a file: “backup-probably-bad.aup” and a folder: “backup-probably-bad_data”

I created a copy of the file, then closed Audacity. I then tried to launch the original (previously saved) project, but it showed up the same as the auto-recovered one. I also opened both AUP files with Notepad, and the two files look the same (that’s all I know how to decipher from the Notepad text).

Upon opening the original project, Audacity gave me a warning message about orphan block files. I know there have been problems with those in the past, but do they have anything to do with my problem here? It gives me the three options, and though I’m 99% sure there’s nothing I can do, I’m still really hesitant to do anything.

And finally, if my AUP files are blank, does that mean the .au files are silent too?

I attached the project file just in case, though I doubt it’ll be of much use.

Thank you so much!
Magnet.aup (146 KB)

That AUP file looks OK. What exactly happens when you try to open it with Audacity?

I was half-way expecting it to be blank, but it’s not. It seems to be a working AUP file.


Without going over all that again, did you put the AUP file and the _DATA folder of the same name in the same place or folder to try to open the show? It should be possible to double click the AUP file and it should open the close-by _DATA folder and open the show.

The little AU things inside the _DATA folder are actually 6-second long sound files and they should open individually in Audacity and play. The AUP file is the instructions how to put them all back together into your long show. The AU files are mono and correspond to Left or Right in a stereo show.

The AU files are intentionally randomly named and in an edit session are completely scrambled. It is required to have the AUP file to figure it all out.

While you have an AUP file open in a text editor, look around for this listing (red box).

That is the exact registered name of the Project no matter what the files are actually called. The filenames and that tiny listing Must Match. People who like to “clean up” and rename files can run into problems with this.

Note my picture above and red box text listing match.


I know there have been problems with those (orphan blocks) in the past

Hard to know. That’s when there is a damaged or missing AU file or the little AU files and the AUP instructions don’t match.

In extreme cases, for example, the last half of an hour show may be missing or flatlined.

That might have been a good time to post for help.


Sorry, perhaps what I was saying was unclear. I know the AUP file isn’t blank and seems to denote where my AU files should be ordered when opened with the Notepad. But when I opened the project with Audacity, there was no audio. Thus, I’m pretty sure the problem lies in the AU files.

I would try listening importing the AU files to a new project to see if they were silent (which they probably are), but first I need to answer the question about the orphan block files and don’t want to click anything before double-checking with someone. Also, once I answer that, is it safe to work on other projects?

I’ve attached a picture of the opening screen. All of the track dividers, envelope markings, and lengths are correct. Even my previous track mute/solo settings have been preserved.

Do you know why the AU files may have gone silent?

Thanks again!
magnet recovery orphan block file error.PNG

(Forgot to attach the image, sorry.)

Also, the orphan file warning was upon opening the original file and is where I am now.
magnet recovery orphan block file error.PNG

One possibility is that at some point you got an error message about “Missing audio data block files”, and selected the option to “Replace missing audio with silence”.

Another possibility is that at some point you opened the project in Audacity 2.1.3 and used the “Save Project As” option to overwrite the project. (Due to a bug in Audacity 2.1.3, this would cause the project to have silent tracks as you describe. The bug was fixed in the next Audacity release, but that does not undo damage that may have been caused to projects.)

hi !
I’m in the exact same situation here.
I’ve red all your posts but still have a question in mind.
I went through the same steps and made sure I wasn’t accepting any of the 3 options given after the re opening of the project.
I did’nt saved it as a new one. just left it open since then.
Does that mean that all the _data files, that are now the silent tracks, have been lost during the crash ?

thank you for your help !!

Hey Arto!

Usually you’d be able to listen to your AU files by opening a new Audacity project. If you don’t want to have to pick any of the 3 options on orphan block files, you can’t listen to them, but you can still find out if they are likely to play audio.

If you go find the data folder for your project, you should find an e08 folder, and within that, multiple folders that start with the letter “d”. Each of the files inside is an AU sound file. If you open the file with Notepad, you can see the AU’s data.

I’ve attached examples of one of my files that’d gone silent, as well as one that still plays normally. Both of these files are from the silenced project I’ve talked about earlier. The one that plays normally is one of the “orphan block files”. Thus, if your situation really is like mine, you’ll want to be really careful about preserving those orphan block files. Those orphan files will contain all the audio data you can salvage.

To see if your situation is really like mine and see a more detailed report of my findings, see my recent post here: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/investigating-possible-au-file-bug/54688/1 You may also want to check and make sure that your AUP file is okay. If your AUP file is abnormal, your problem is not the same as mine. The photo I’ve attached is for the silenced project, too.

Keep in mind that I am no expert whatsoever, and what I’m telling you is only based on my observations. I hope it helps, though!
What a normal AUP file might look like.PNG
Example of AU file that will play audio.PNG
Corrupted AU File Example.PNG