FL Studio 12 tutorial: Recovering lost projects using backups after crashes

Discover how to recover FL Studio projects and retain changes made before the crash by using the Autosave feature.

FL Studio 12 tutorial: Recovering lost projects using backups after crashes

FL Studio crashed after it stopped responding, and that’s how all recent project changes were lost… This is a common excuse from producers who suffer unexpected loss of data when using the DAW.

What many don’t know, however, is that there is a genuine way to recover FL projects and retain changes made minutes before the crash. This is by using FL Studio’s Autosave feature.

It is essential to note that the steps listed below to recover your project can be applied in the case where you mistakenly closed your own project without accepting to save your recent changes, or when your computer restarts without your consent. It really doesn’t matter how you lost your changes; what this article is all about is project recovery and if you are reading this, I’m assuming that’s what you are after as well.

Note: This article assumes that you have a licensed FL Studio product, and not a hacked version, or one that you did not obtain legally (via illegal torrents, cracked, etc.).

Whenever you lose project changes, head over to FL’s browser/plugin picker and find the Backup section. Check the screenshot below if you are struggling to locate it.

You can retrieve your backups directly from FL Studio by locating the dedicated section between 'Scores' and 'Clipboard files' once you open the program.

Once the option is dropped down, you will see your 20 latest backed up versions of the project(s) you recently opened and/or worked on. You will notice that each auto-saved project version has a written time in its filename to clearly indicate the moment when the project was overwritten by that version’s specific set of changes.

The Backup area will list your 20 latest autosaved versions.

Simply right-click on the backup file you want and select Open to verify it and continue working on it. Once you find a version you are pleased with, it is recommended to save it using FL Studio’s Save As option. You will notice that when you try doing this, the Save As window will have the version’s name as ‘untitled’.

This is because different auto-saved versions are not files that remain saved in FL’s Backup folder. Yes, they are created automatically and available when you need them; but they are also auto-deleted to regularly make way for new backups, hence the limited number of versions available.

How often backups are created by the program depends on your configurations. To determine the interval between the creation of new backup files in the background while you are advancing in your projects, go to File Settings. In the Autosave field, the following options are available.

FL provides you five Autosave options to select from.

Never (just remind every 10min): Selecting this will make you fully responsible for your projects’ fate, as the program will never – yes, never, not even once – save your file automatically, no matter what happens. It will only remind you via a brief message under the menu, but the message is hardly noticeable if your attention is fully on your patterns and plugins (if you catch my drift).

This option is obviously not recommended, as it means you will need to hit CTRL + S regularly in order to overwrite your project with your new changes. While frequently saving manually is a good practice to avoid loss of work, the downside here is that in case FL Studio crashes, stops responding or closes unexpectedly, none of your unsaved changes will be automatically saved, and your Backup folder will always be empty.

Rarely (every 15min): This option will only create backups of your project every 15 minutes. Although this is better than nothing, the auto-saving intervals are arguably way too extended. A lot of changes can be made in that time; losing 10 minutes of changes can already be a nightmare so imagine what 14min of lost work can do to you!

Occasionally (every 10min): Selecting this will save versions of your project every 10 minutes, which you’ll be able to access later on. It’s not bad, but not the best option you have.

Regularly (every 5min): That’s more like it. Even if FL Studio crashes, you know you only lost some 4-5 minutes of work, which is easier to recover.

Frequently (every 5min & before risky operations): That’s the best option you can go for. Not only will you be secured with frequent backups, but FL Studio will also auto-save your project before operations that put a lot of pressure on the program.

Finally, if the steps above to retrieve your backups did not work and you are a Windows PC user, go through the video below, which I made in 2014 on an old Windows 7 PC – don’t worry, the video’s content is still valid – and follow the instructions.

Drop whatever questions or message you have on my YouTube video and leave your comments below.


  • comment-avatar

    My folder dosent have any backup folder

  • comment-avatar
    Vajnush 2 years ago

    Thank you, it saved 50% of my project 🙂

  • comment-avatar

    THANK YOU so much!!!!!!!!!!!! You have no idea how happy I am right now!!

  • comment-avatar
    MAKSO 2 years ago

    Thank you alot! I lost my unsaved project today and didn’t know how to recover it. Then i found this link, which helped me to return.

  • comment-avatar
    Nick 1 year ago

    Thank you soooo much!!!

    Managed to recover my 8.5 hour project I wrote for a school assignment.

    So happy…. Thanks again xD

  • comment-avatar
    BigO 1 year ago

    Is there any way FL Studio can let me access older autobackups, or project information, pass the recent 20? Or am I screwed?

    • comment-avatar

      Hey mate, 20 is the maximum, according to FL Studio’s Support section. Backups are actually also created on manual save, but perhaps if you want greater intervals between your automatic backups, you can change the auto-saving time to 15min or 10min. The downside here is that, in the event you forget to save in between these 15-10min intervals, and the application crashes, you risk losing a lot of progress.

  • comment-avatar
    Elba Surita 1 year ago

    what can i do if it says “The file doesn’t exist or has been moved”?
    I think that something in my file folders its wrong because it begins to happen with some projects and now with the backups, but i dont know what can it be…

  • comment-avatar
    Josh 1 year ago

    I had been working on a project for about 30-45 minutes. I then exported it as a wav, and closed FL studio without saving the project as an flp. There weren’t any warnings to save before I closed, and when I went back, there were no backups. Even though I had autosaves on every 10 minutes, either no backups were created, or they all got deleted. What happened?

    • comment-avatar

      Even though you might have Autosave set to 10min, it is always best to save your project as an FLP, at least once, at the start of the project. This way, FL Studio can continue the automatic backups in case you forget to manually save again. Not saving your project at all may prevent FL Studio from creating any backup copy for you. Also, it’s recommended to set your Autosave settings to ‘Frequently (every 5 minutes & before risky operations)’.

  • comment-avatar
    David Mancap 1 year ago

    Thanks for the help, really works

  • comment-avatar
    Runn1ngnack 11 months ago

    Will this also work for midi data that got lost from using the demo version of “harmor”? My project froze and when I went to reopen it I couldn’t access my midi notes because it was the demo version of Harmor but I can still see my midi notes in the background when it gives me the option to purchase or use the demo and then they disappear when I continue to use the demo

    Thanks for your help!

    • comment-avatar
      Runn1ngnack 11 months ago

      I am also using a Mac btw (fl studio 12 beta version)

    • comment-avatar

      Hey, unfortunately, I don’t think backups are made for midi data of VST plugins in demo version. I guess the steps I’ve shown above only work to restore projects and everything they contain from full-version VSTs (not demo VSTs).

  • comment-avatar

    I LOVE YOU! One of my FLPS were corrupted and I surely thought I was screwed. You just saved me bro thanks a TON your the best!!!!

  • comment-avatar
    Dulmin 8 months ago

    Thank you very much. It helped a lot.

  • comment-avatar
    Jones Jones 3 months ago

    Hi my pc crashed and I got this pc recovery tool which helped recover all my flp files, I reinstalled fl studio but the recovered flp files wouldn’t open, they are all corrupt. Any way to save them? They are too important to loose, please help!

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    Tilitson 1 month ago

    Am screwed,i mistakenly rename my new project with the old one and before trying to retrive in the backup folder ive overwritting the hole backup of the old one,what can i do

    • comment-avatar

      If your older project versions aren’t available in the Backup folder, I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do to retrieve your previous autosaved files. However, I believe using Splice to sync your project files will help you avoid being stuck in such a situation in the future.