How to recover deleted audio files from Audacity

Audacity is a popular audio editing tool and used by filmmakers on a daily basis. It’s a great piece of software with a multitude of tools and it’s absolutely free, these factors make it such a popular tool to use. However, sometimes it can crash and you can lose all your hard work. But, fear not – we are here to help you recover deleted audio files from Audacity.

How do I recover lost audacity audio recordings?

As Audacity is an open source program it actually backs up files in temporary files when the recording process is complete.

If your Mac or PC crashes you can easily restore the temporary files from the last time you saved.

NOTE: Always try and save you files every 10-15 minutes. It’s devastating if you haven’t saved for over an hour and haven’t finalised the files. You’ll lose a whole hour of editing work.

READ MORE: Top audio editing tips on Audacity for filmmakers

Here are three different methods on how to retrieve those lost files:

1. Perform a Chkdsk

What the hell?! Yep, this isn’t a typo. When you get an error pop up on the lines of: “You need to format the disk before using it.” – it’s best to perform a Chkdsk. This command will resolve any minor corruptions to your audio files and can be a quick save to revive your lost work. To perform this on Windows:

  • Type cmd in the Windows search box on your PC
  • Right-click cmd and then select Run as Administrator
  • Type Chkdsk < SD card drive letter>:/f
  • Then press enter

This will then restore your Audacity files. For MAC users, you’ll need to do the above but on the “Disk Utility” function. Here is a quick article if you need additional support: Mac Disk Utility solution.

2. Reinstall the driver

If your system doesn’t recognise the .au file from your USB or, memory card or your disk drive, the most common fix is to reinstall the driver. To reinstall the driver simply follow these steps:

  • Go to my computer and right click on my computer
  • Followed by manage > device manager
  • Double-click on disk drives from the list and then right-click on the name of your removable drive
  • Then finally click on ok

The final method is…

3. The Audacity recovery utility

This is the best method if your Mac or PC has crashed and your work wasn’t saved before. There are two methods for this, these are:

  1. Manual Recovery from temporary folders
  2. Automatic Crash Recovery

1. Manual Recovery from temporary folders

Firstly depending on Windows or Mac do the following:

  • Mac users: /Users//Library/Application Support/audacity/SessionData
  • Windows Users: C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Audacity\SessionData

Then view the files in the directories tab:

Audacity directories

Remember to use the import audio command, this will then import all the .au files from the Audacity temporary folder and it will then save them as projects.

2. Automatic Crash Recovery

When working on your project and Audacity crashes and you haven’t saved any of the project files it has a function to help you recover them. The feature helps you recover that data on the next launch from an autosave file.

So, the next time on the launch of AUdacity you’ll be greeted by the following dialogue box:

Audacity crash recovery

If you did have chance to save it, it will pop up with your saved name but if you didn’t save it at all you’ll have a generic “new project” with the corresponding dates and times appear as above.

Simply click “recover projects” and Audacity will recover your latest file. If none of this works, try the above “manual recovery from Audacity temporary files”. One of these will definitely work, and your project will be recovered!

We hope this article was helpful, please check out our tutorials here on our YouTube channel and have a look at some of our articles below:

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