Recovering corrupted projects

Using the Audacity Project Tools to recover corrupted projects

This article addresses the following error codes in Audacity:

  • Error code 11

  • Error code 13

  • Error code 101

  • "Audacity failed to read a file in C:" (or D:, E:, ...)

Make sure you use the latest version of Audacity. See Downloading & installing Audacity for more information.

Sometimes, just opening the file in the latest version automatically recovers the project. If not, proceed with the following steps:

First, download the latest version of the Audacity Project Tools:

After downloading, follow the instructions relevant to your system. Note: macOS is not supported yet.

Caution: Make sure you have plenty of space left on your computer. You will need roughly 4 times the size of your .aup3 for a successful recovery. If you have a 10GB file, you should have at least 40GB available.

  1. In your Downloads folder, create a new sub-folder "AudRepair".

  2. Unzip the audacity-project-tools zip which you downloaded

  3. Move the two .exe files from the unzipped folder into AudRepair.

  4. Copy your defective .aup3 project file into the AudRepair folder.

  5. Rename the file to broken.aup3.

  6. Press Windows-key + R, and type cmd. A (black) cmd screen will appear.

  7. Navigate to your AudRepair folder by typing cd Downloads\AudRepair and pressing Enter.

  8. Type dir and press Enter. The following three files should be listed: audacity-project-tools.exe, broken.aup3, and sqlite3.exe

  9. Type audacity-project-tools -drop_autosave broken.aup3 and press Enter.

  10. The message "Project requires Audacity 3.0.0" will appear.

  11. When the command prompt (C:\Users\(yourname)\Downloads\AudRepair\>) reappears, type dir again.

  12. If a broken.recovered.aup3 file appears, open it in Audacity. If that file works as expected, go to File -> Save As... and save it to your usual location. The recovery process is now over, you can continue working as normal. If that file does not appear, or is still broken, continue with the following steps:

  13. Type audacity-project-tools -recover_db -recover_project broken.aup3 and press Enter.

  14. The messages "Project requires Audacity 3.0.0", and "Using 'sqlite3.exe' for recovery" will appear. Later the message "Executing query #xxxx...." will appear as the rescued file is being recreated. Note: This process can take quite a while depending on your specific machine. There is no status (or % completion) indicator, so you just have to be patient. You should plan 15-30 minutes per GB, though it may be faster if you have a fast PC. Keep an eye on available disk space. Due to a glitch, sometimes a single character can appear when the program is done, eg "z". If this happens, simply press Backspace.

  15. When the process completes, your should be able to open the "broken.recovered.aup3" in Audacity. The message "File not saved properly" will appear the first time you open the recovered project. This is normal and you can ignore this message.

If the messages "Invalid block xxxx: Block not found", check to see if some audio was silenced - typically near your most recent edits. Usually these messages are spurious.


  • There is no guarantee that all content will be able to be restored, or any at all.

  • Some additional commands for the Audacity Project Tools can be found on Github.

  • If a section of audio is missing, you may need to manually re-record it. See Re-recording a section for more information.

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