Cannot open .bak files after data recovery

I recently deleted some files accidentally. When I did a data recovery, one of my projects only recovered with the .bak files - the .cpr files were missing. So I tried to open the .bak files via Cubase 11, but this failed as I got an error that said: "Invalid project file “file-name.bak”!

I have tried:

  1. Using the “open” option in Cubase
  2. Right clicking on the file and opening via Cubase directly from the file folder
  3. Changing the extension from .bak to .cpr

Is there an alternative solution for this?

If the file is corrupted, or has a zero size there is nothing to do.

By the way, If by “data recovery” you mean something like the Windows File Recovery app I have found that to be nearly useless for most kinds of files.

Thanks for the quick response! There are actually several .bak files of the same name that I recovered since Cubase does that automatically. None of them open. And all other files I’ve recovered open… Weird…

I used EaseUS Data Recovery software and GetDataBack.

Any idea how this could have happened? Why can’t I find the .cpr files?

By the way, all the .bak files have a size

I don’t know those particular utilities, but I do know that these types of utilities use various methods to recover file fragments – but if they fail to restore the file byte-for-byte exactly, Cubase cannot use them, unfortunately.

(the only reason I mention zero file size, is that that can result from the program crashing while it’s saving.

WOW… That sucks.

OK, thanks again, Steve!

One more question. What utilities are you familiar with that I could try?

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The only one I have tried to use in the past few years – just a month ago – was “Windows File Recovery” which is microsoft app available in their store.

It only succeeded in in recovering some short plain text files.

Sorry I can’t provide a more optimistic reply.

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I used this awhile back to recover from a disk failure. It was only successful on about half the files. But like Steve says a file that appears to have been recovered may have some missing or incorrect bits.

In cases where I have had to revert to the .bak files that Cubase creates if the auto-save is enabled, I needed to quit Cubase, make a copy of the .bak file and rename it to have a .cpr extension.

Note that on Windows you need to have the option in Explorer called “Hide extensions for known file types” disabled to see the real file extenstion.

I strongly recommend using a backup application that can create what’s called an image backup – i.e. the entire partition rather than just at file level. Do this regularly and this also protects against ransomware attacks, as long as you keep these backups offline (a USB drive that’s not normally connected, for example).

Personally I use and can recommend Terabyte Unlimited products but there are many others out there.

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I’ve never had to do that. Double clicking the .bak has always opened it in Cubase which then runs a dialog about saving, keeping, and naming. Maybe you just need to set the file association for .bak to Cubase.

I should have been more precise: I make a copy of the .bak to .cpr before opening it to preserve the .bak just in case it’s completly FUBAR.

I wouldn’t want to have .bak files open automatically in Cubase (i.e. have a file association) because lots of applications create files with a .bak extension; I reckon at some stage, you double-clicked a .bak file, were asked what you wanted to open it with and made Cubase the default application for .bak files.

good point

Thank you for these tips. I don’t suppose you have any solutions for file recovery…? What I don’t understand is why I can’t find the original .cpr file but find the .bak files which I can’t even open.

Unfortunately, the only real solution for file recovery is to have had made backups beforehand. I know this does not help at all in your situation, and the only positive is that you have now learned this lesson.

I strongly recommend making full backups regularly, keeping these backups offline (i.e. on a normally disconnected storage medium), and testing that you can restore from them as a matter of routine.

I can’t concur strongly enough with that. Backing up saves my axx frequently.

I use Windows File History to make backups on an external drive, and I use to back up to a remote location. This is a service simliar to Dropbox, but without the problems dropbox creates (duplicate files incrementally numbered and file-lock related issues)

I’d especially like to reinforce this at the moment. A couple weeks ago my system disk failed. Even though I have daily scheduled backups I couldn’t restore my system disk because the backup itself was corrupted. I ended up installing Windows fresh on a different disk, and found an older backup that I could restore key files from which ended up being mostly current enough. The Cubase appdata stuff I was particularly keen on restoring.

FedEx says the new PC (already in the works before the fail) will arrive in two days.