Version 3.1.3

I have two versions of Audacity, one version I use on a Linux OS system, the other is newer on a Windows 11 system.
For the most part it does everything I ask it to do in regards to recording, playback, and even video-to-audio file conversions. However I have run into a snag with this new version…
Where’s the data file?
In prior versions when saving a project it created the “pointer”, which shared a place with the accompanying data files. This allowed me to move projects to other systems, to share with fellow musicians to add their part.
Now this newer version, there’s only a pointer, no data file. And I have combed through my file explorer and exploited the search function, even read forums, which turned out to be useless as they were on about prior versions, but cannot find anything.
This creates a big problem, should anything happen to this system, then the files are lost, even if I copy the project, because it is only a pointer, not the project file.
I am open to thoughts and suggestions from the team and abroad, but I’d rather this get fixed so I can continue to work with other musicians.
Thanks in advance.

Before v3, the .aup file was what you call the pointer, and the data was stored in lots of other files in subdirectories.

From v3, all the data and structure is stored in a single .aup3 file. This makes it much easier to move project files around! As I understand it, lots of people had issues with moving around multiple files and keeping all the parts together in the right places.

Note however that earlier versions can’t read the .aup3 file format.

Audacity 3.0.0 brought a new project format. Rather than having an AUP file + _data folder, Audacity 3.0.0 and later write projects into a single, self contained AUP3 file.

See also:
and: (important)

Also, this topic may help you to avoid problems with the new format:

Dear Audacity team,
I recently installed V3.1.3 and had not read the release notes about the new file structure. I use the app to record sermons and then turn them into podcasts. It was a surprise at first to see one huge *.aup3 file and no subfolders. But it was definitely a major improvement and made the source file easy to transfer to another system.

One question is what is the purpose of the *.aup3-wal and *.aup3-shm files that are created during the recording. They disappear after closing the project file.


Michael F

Basically, they handle temporary data.

Audacity uses the SQLite database manager to manage your .aup3 project file. There is additional information on the WAL and SHM files here:,The%20Wal-Index%20or%20"-shm"%20file,frame%20within%20the%20wal%20file.