PPTA file corrupting my audio and video

Over the years, we’ve had a bizarre issue with Articulate Studio (first with 09, and now with 13), and I wondered if anybody else was having the same issue.  Every so often, we would lose all of the media from a project (audio and/or video).  For years, we chalked it up to some kind of user error, and so we would go back and re-add all of the lost audio or video.  You can imagine how annoying that was, but it happened just infrequently enough that we didn’t investigate the root cause.
When we upgraded to Studio 13 and it kept happening, I opened a ticket with Articulate, and they were able to tell me that under certain circumstances (a few listed below), Articulate will get confused and won’t be able to read in the current PPTA file, which is what houses (among other things) all Articulate media.  Instead, Studio renames the PPTA file to [your-file-name]_old.ppta, and then creates a new PPTA file.  So, the “solution” is to blow away the newly-created PPTA file, remove the “_old” from the original PPTA file, and the re-launch Articulate.
This is sort of okay, except that Articulate doesn’t tell you when it gets confused, and so you could be working away for hours on something before noticing that your media is gone.  At that point, you’re either going to lose all data in the original PPTA file or the newly-created PPTA file.
So the best solution here is for Articulate Studio to not get confused.  If that’s not possible (and I concede there may be very good reasons why it gets screwed up), then at the very least, Studio should alert the user that a new PPTA file is being created.  If Studio is smart enough to figure out that a new file must be created, the it’s got to be smart enough to alert the user, right?
My understanding is that Studio gets confused most often if it’s working on a file that’s not on the local C drive.  This includes networked shares, mapped drives, etc.  In my case, I’ve got Studio 13 running on Windows 7 inside VMWare on a Mac, and the actual data files were sitting on the Mac’s file system.
Anybody else have similar issues?
5 Replies
Jack F

Hi Ben, I've definitely had this issue in the past, and recently when I've gone to update old courses, and I completely agree it's very frustrating. I work on local C drive only, so I'm not sure the "remote drive" issue is completely to blame. Other developer colleagues have had the same problem too.

We haven't upgraded to '13 yet, and I was really hoping this wouldn't be an issue any more, so I'm quite disappointed to hear it's still happening. Your suggestion of, at the very least, a warning as to when an "-old" file is created would certainly help.

Can an Articulate representative let us know if there's plans to squash this bug?

Crystal Horn

Hi Graham.  I'm sorry you're encountering such a frustrating issue.  This article provides some information on missing audio.  Check out some of those scenarios and see if they apply to you.

Otherwise, can I ask what sort of setup you're using to author your projects (Windows version, if you're saving to your local C: drive, how you're importing those media files)?  Are the media elements disappearing from your timeline, or perhaps are they not working in Preview mode?

I would also want to know if it is happening in all projects or just one in particular.  If you are having issues across the board on your projects, I would start with a repair of Presenter '13.

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Graham!

This thread is a bit dated.

File corruption is unpredictable, and there's no straightforward way to determine what causes it. Common causes are environmental (disk errors, power outages, improper shutdowns), viruses, failed Windows updates, and even file size (i.e., very large files have a higher risk of corrupting).
 
Consider these preventative measures to protect your project files:
 
1) Save and publish projects on your local hard drive. Working on a network drive or external USB drive can cause erratic behavior due to latency.
 
2) Save incrementally. If your app has an AutoRecovery feature, take advantage of it. If not, save a new version of your project every hour or so with a new file name each time. If a file becomes corrupt, you'll still have a working version available.
 
3) Install Dropbox. Snapshots of changes in your local Dropbox folder are kept for 30 days. If a file is damaged or deleted, you can restore a previous snapshot: https://www.dropbox.com/help/11/en.
 
4) Don't leave the app open and unattended for long periods of time. Some users have reported file corruption after leaving their apps open overnight. It's possible that a malware scan or disk backup could run because the machine is idle, making your app vulnerable to crashing.
 
Are you having difficulty with multiple files? You may need to repair your software.