Warning - Orphan Blockfile(s)

Using audacity on a windows 7 machine. The recordings are about 45 mins long each.

When I return to projects which I previously recorded from cassette tape over recent weeks and months, some of them present a “Warning - Orphan Blockfile(s)” dialogue box on opening.

So far I have just closed them without saving, but the problem is I need to do more work on them and I don’t know if there is missing data which has been lossed from the recording? Do I need to record them again (I still have the tapes, but very time consuming!).
Am I wasting my time re-recording these from cassette tape (and the many more tapes which I have yet to record) if Audacity projects are prone to corruption? If they are not a persistently reliable way of capturing digital files for a time span of say a year, it would seem to limit their usefulness. I would not need to keep the projects forever, but I want to know they will retain integrity as first recorded at least until I have finished working on them which could typically be several months period. After that I could keep the originals backed up as 32 bit float format (presumably this is safer for longer term storage?)

Thanks for any advice.

I should probably clarify that I have suffered no power cuts or PC crashes while these files have been open. As far as I know these files have been left dormant since the last time they were successfully saved. One of them was only recorded a few weeks ago and hasn’t been edited at all.

There are some known problems with project integrity but they are currently very occasional and non-repeatable, therefore not currently fixable. The issues and what you can do to protect yourself are outlined in the Release Notes .

These problems will be much worse and more frequent if you are using an outdated version of Audacity which lacks the fixes already made for this problem. So please look in Help > About Audacity and see if you have the latest Audacity 2.0.3. If you do not have 2.0.3, please uninstall your current version and download 2.0.3 here:
http://audacityteam.org/download/windows .

The main thing you can do is to export WAV files as backups. Yes, 32-bit WAV’s are better if you want to do a lot more editing on those backups. To export 32-bit WAV, choose “Other uncompressed files” when you export then click “Options…”. WAV files (not Projects) should always be used as long-term storage of your work once you have finished all editing.

Note that “orphans” are files that are present in the _data folder for the project but not in the project’s AUP file. Strictly therefore they are superfluous and should be harmless, for whatever reason they are there, but in case they are required for the project, please choose the option to “Continue without deleting” the orphans.

If the projects are corrupted (don’t play properly) when you see the orphans warning, but you don’t see a “Missing Audio Block Files” warning, then something is wrong. In that case please quit Audacity, open the project, then attach the AUP file and the log from Help > Show Log… . See here for how to attach files https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/how-to-attach-files-to-forum-posts/24026/1 .

Note that there is a repeatable problem that you cannot store huge total lengths of audio as a project (for example, you cannot store more than 13.5 hours total audio in a project at 44100 Hz project rate - see bottom left of the project for the rate). Details are here http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Release_Notes_2.0.3#Large_Projects .


Thanks Gale, you have put me in the picture regarding these orphaned blocks and known project integrity issues.

I am wondering if the projects are always affected immediately so that you would always know as soon as you save it the first time and then reopen, or whether it is something which can happen over time even if you have not been using the project? I think I’m right in saying the latter is true.

Thanks again for your advice.

We don’t know. I suspect the problem is multi-faceted and both those statements are true for different reasons. It’s possible that the orphans in the one project belong to another project, so if you opened that other project Audacity would say the files are missing. It is also possible the orphans are files that were for undo when the project was open but Audacity did not delete them when you closed the project.

We are pretty sure that the slower the computer, or however fast, the closer it is to maximum CPU load, the more likely any of these problems are to occur.

Let us know if you have any more problems.


OK will do. I’ll try to be aware of what kind of things are done to each project (like multiple projects opened, or ‘undo’ used etc.) and if I spot a correlation with orphaned projects I will let you know.

I do know that some of my projects have been subjected to these kind of things, I just can’t remember which ones but will keep a note from now on.
I also know my processor is highly loaded and I see a lot of “Not Responding” while I wait for audacity to carry out normalising and closing of files.