Logic Pro from A to Z – O is for Opening Corrupt Logic Pro Projects

Logic Pro from A to Z - O is for Opening Corrupt Logic Pro Projects

Overcoming obstacles that block our workflow is an important part of being a DAW user. One of the biggest obstacles is dealing with crashes. Fortunately there are many safeguards built in to Logic Pro to avoid losing your work; some obvious, some not so much. Here I’ll show an emergency hidden last resort workflow for recovering from a corrupt Logic Pro project that won’t open. This comes by way of my good friend L. Leon Pendarvis (aka Pen), one of the musical directors of Saturday Night Live, who unfortunately had to stare this situation down the hard way with his colleagues in preparation for a recent show.

Opening corrupt Logic Pro projects isn’t always a huge issue. Usually we can use the Import function in the All Files section of the Browser to bring the project data into a new project. Sometimes launching Logic Pro with the Control key held down and starting up without the core audio engine is enough to get the project open and access the data to copy/paste or drag and drop into a fresh project.

Other times though the project will not open at all, and the data contained within is seemingly inaccessible via the above methods. Project alternatives and automatic project backups are only available from within an open project, and so aren’t of much use with severely corrupted Logic Pro projects.

One undocumented way of accessing the data is through the file’s package contents. Here you can access a file called ProjectData and copy it to the package contents of a fresh project. And like magic, your new project will replicate the original. Here are the steps involved.

1. Right click on the icon of the source (corrupted) Logic Pro document in the Finder and choose Show Package Contents.

corrupt logic pro project

2. This will reveal a folder in a Finder window that looks like this:

corrupt logic pro project

3. Go into the folder called “Alternatives”. If your project contained multiple project alternatives, they will be accessible here in different sub folders. If no project alternatives exist in this source project, the default alternative subfolder is the one named “000”.

corrupt logic pro project

4. Within the Alternative folder is a sub folder called Project File Backups. Within this subfolder are nested subfolders; one created for each of the last ten times you saved your source project. Go into one of these project backup folders if desired. Otherwise stay within the Project Alternative folder, which will access the most recent version of your project before it became corrupted.

corrupt logic pro project

5. Create and save a new empty project and open it’s Package Contents Window the same way.

6. Take the file called ProjectData from the source project, either from the desired alternative folder or from the desired Project File Backup subfolder and copy it to the “000” alternatives folder in the fresh destination project.

corrupt logic pro project

7. If your source project was saved as a “Package” rather than in the older “Folder” format, it will also be necessary to copy the Media folder over to the Package Contents window in the destination project. If the source project was saved in “Folders” format, the assets can easily be copied to the destination project folder in the Finder.

corrupt logic pro project

Opening the fresh destination project at this point should present you with an identical clone of your source project. If project corruption continues, try using the ProjectData files from one of the Project File Backups subfolders in the source project’s Package Contents window. Hopefully stepping backwards through the backups will allow you to arrive at an uncorrupted version.

Obviously this is a “back door” method and hopefully you will never have to use it. I’d suggest it only as a last resort. Unfortunately though last resorts are sometimes necessary. Make sure you back up your project file first before altering the package contents window. And to help insure you never reach this point, use Logic Pro’s “Save As” function often to save your work in progress at critical points.

Eli Krantzberg
Follow Eli

Eli Krantzberg

Apple Certified Pro Eli Krantzberg is an internationally known author and music software trainer for Groove3. His instructional videos have helped demystify music software such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Sonar, BFD, Melodyne, and Kontakt for thousands of users all over the world. Based in Montreal, Canada, Eli is involved in all aspects of audio production. In his studio he works with various artists, as well as on commercial jingles, corporate videos, and original music composition.
Eli Krantzberg
Follow Eli

Related Posts:

  • Chris_Vandeviver

    Thanks for this article! I *just* had to manage through some buggy-ness that resulted in a project failing to open. This would’ve saved a lot of time and a few less expletives.

  • killmedj

    This is great! I get a lot of clients with this problem, now I can finally help them! =)

  • Doug Zangar

    I didn’t know this – good tip!

  • fishphacurr

    AWESOME ARTICLE! Yes, I shouted that. Thanks so much for the detailed walk thru, I just recovered a bunch of songs that got totally hosed when I moved them to my iCloud Drive.

  • Tom Parsons

    I have nothing in my autosave folder, is there any reason for that?

  • Benet Braun

    Thank you a thousand times for this information. You saved me!!!

  • Kevin Howley

    Thank you so so so so so much, Eli!! Truly, you saved me.

  • a drianzag

    Eli, I can’t thank you enough. Six hours work recovered through this method – it’s not the time, but having to try and recreate that ‘magic’ with brass part arranging / programming that made me wince – you complete star!!!!!! Have a very good day, sir!!

  • Andrew Hall Hall

    You sir are a legend! Thank you sooooo much! I was about to start crying!

  • Lawrence Vilar Tavares Leite

    hey there sir, saved my ass big time, thank you so much !!! 😀

  • Kuda Bux

    Amazing resource! Just helped me salvage a ton of lost stuff! Very appreciative!

    • Good to hear that Kuda!

  • Carlo Gino

    Thanks, thanks! Just recovered months of non-replicable work. Thank you so much.

  • Philip Kaiten

    I have a problem. my project file back ups doesnt have the “Project data” file in it

Follow Logic Pro Expert