Projects seem pretty fragile

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jeffl
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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:23 pm
Operating System: Windows 7

Projects seem pretty fragile

Post by jeffl » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:42 pm

I'm using Audacity 2.0 on 32 bit Win7, was just trying to archive my LP collection and I had it on 5 64GB thumb drives with about 70 LPs on each of the first 4 drives and 48 on the last. So I wasn't editing anything, just selecting, normalizing and exporting as FLAC files. I swapped drives and tried to open a project on the fifth drive and Audacity got locked into "(not responding)". So I killed the process, Windows "helpfully" noted that it thought the drive file system might be flawed and "offered" to fix it, and like a fool I accepted, but the "fixing" terminated well before the progress bar was full which already made me suspicious. So I rebooted and went through this again, now this time the progress bar completed but now when it was through it said there were multiple problems it was unable to fix and the problems basically corrupted virtually every file on the drive. Now I have no evidence whatever that there was a HW problem with the drive, possibly available memory was a bit low (it's maxed at the 4GB HW limit) but now I'm stuck having to rerecord all this stuff. So before I go through this exercise again what the hell did I do wrong and how could I avoid it the next time? The premise I thought I was getting into was the projects might be a little more robust than vinyl but now it seems the exact opposite is true. Can anyone say a newer version of Audacity either has better recovery or is less prone to leaving me in this situation? If I get in this situation AGAIN it's one time too many as I'm sure you'll agree, especially if it's avoidable THIS time!

steve
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Re: Projects seem pretty fragile

Post by steve » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:06 pm

Some paragraph breaks in your text would make your question more easily readable.
jeffl wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:42 pm
So before I go through this exercise again what the hell did I do wrong
The first thing that I would advise against, is recording directly to a thumb drive. These devices are not the most reliable. For normal file transfers, the operating system is able to try again if there is a read or write error, but in time critical applications (such as recording) it is "now or never" - if a write fails, or partially fails, it can corrupt the project.
jeffl wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:42 pm
Can anyone say a newer version of Audacity either has better recovery or is less prone to leaving me in this situation?
Audacity 2.3.0 should be more robust and better at crash recovery than all previous versions. There has been a lot of recent work (last few releases) aimed at improving robustness.

Regardless of how robust projects are, it is highly recommended to make a backup copy of recordings immediately after pressing the Stop button. Exporting as a WAV file is a good way to make a backup of the recording. A copy of the backup on a different drive adds additional protection against drive failure.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

DVDdoug
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Re: Projects seem pretty fragile

Post by DVDdoug » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:03 pm

and the problems basically corrupted virtually every file on the drive.
I don't THINK Audacity did that!!! Your FLACs shouldn't have been touched and one damaged/corrupted project shouldn't have damaged another project, especially if you're not moving project files & folders around.
Projects seem pretty fragile
I'd agree with that... An audacity project is multiple files, it's easy for something to get messed-up, especially if you move or share projects and it's not unusual to see panicked-posts on the forum where users have lost their recordings. :(

...So I also agree with Steve and I always recommend that people export to WAV immediately after recording (FLAC should be fine too) whether they make a project or not. It depends on what you're doing and your preferred workflow, but I rarely make an Audacity project...

From there, you can use whatever backup procedures you normally use, depending on how critical your file are. Your files are not exactly irreplaceable, but obviously it's a LOT of work if you have to re-record and re-edit, etc.

jeffl
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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:23 pm
Operating System: Windows 7

Re: Projects seem pretty fragile

Post by jeffl » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:53 pm

Well the FLACs weren't touched because in my standard workflow they're generally on another volume, the idea of course is ultimately the FLACs wind up (among other places) on an SDHC that goes into my player. I think what bothers me here is Audacity going into this "not responding" mode and leaving me with NO option (regarding that one project at least) other than halting the process and asking Windows to step in and rectify matters (no I'm a longtime Microsoft watcher, it's kind of normal for their "recovery option" to cause AT LEAST the most damage you could possibly conceive of). But for all I know the first thing Audacity does is simultaneously open every last file on the drive, and if anything screws things up well you just lose everything, what's the big deal? Obviously most of the damage was caused by Microsoft's "checkdisk" (should it be "destroydisk"?) utility, I'm looking for suggestions there to but there may not be any alternative if you elect to invoke it at all to losing everything. I'm mostly trying to figure out for example is there any alternative to stopping the process if Audacity hangs, what should I do to minimize the odds of THAT happening in the first place, and is there such a thing as a "least intrusive" replacement for checkdisk for FAT32 volumes, or anything that someone knows can in fact fix the damage that tool leaves you with? But if you think about it "one little incident" and now I'm faced with the horror story of having to recreate 96 Audacity projects (yes one for each side of each LP), obviously something I don't want to risk having to do any more times than is absolutely necessary! Could there be something created for the next version like a "trial open project" and see if everything's gonna go alright before going into a full-blown session, or something like that? Any other ideas?

jeffl
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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:23 pm
Operating System: Windows 7

Re: Projects seem pretty fragile

Post by jeffl » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:24 am

So I guess I could make one whole side of the LP into a WAV or FLAC and normalize/depop/chop into cuts later, funny I sort of thought the project format retained more "context" than a simple WAV file but I suppose it could do, particularly if it's safer but then again it's ONLY all in one file so if that's lost...?

kozikowski
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Re: Projects seem pretty fragile

Post by kozikowski » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:49 pm

Some paragraph breaks in your text would make your question more easily readable.
That's still true. Why don't you go back up to that solid block of text two before this post and put some paragraph breaks in. My eyes are falling out trying to read it.

Koz

James H
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Re: Projects seem pretty fragile

Post by James H » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:55 pm

jeffl,

I'm very new to the audio/sound field, but I have over 30 years' experience in building and maintaining Windows PCs. What you are describing sounds to me like an incipient HDD (Hard Disk Drive) failure or a corrupted Windows configuration. From what I have seen, for all of its robustness and utility, Audacity has a pretty lean footprint.

Head over to these folks, they can help you with diagnosis. They are a well-respected site with plenty of knowledgeable helpers. I am not associated with them in any way; I just know they have assisted many people with Windows 7 hardware/software issues.

https://www.sevenforums.com/

I hope this helps you,
-JH

Elves, please delete my post if I've overstepped. I'm just trying to help this gentleman.

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