ppta file replaced, not updated after Record Narration. Lost audio

I had a 71 MB ppta. Recorded a little more through Record Narration. The ppta file then became 10 MB.  All my previous narration was gone; I had only the audio for that latest session, as if the ppta got replaced, not updated.

I am using Presenter '09, V6.3 on a local "C" drive. Have not changed the file name. Have not moved locations.

I had backup all files so I can restore it, but I need to know:

Why is this happening and how can I prevent it?

21 Replies
Brian Batt

Hi Linda & welcome to Heroes,

If you are working in Presenter '09 and notice that your audio is missing, please review the following article which outlines possible solutions:
Be sure that your presentation is located on your local hard drive (your C: drive).  Working on a network drive or a USB (external) drive can cause erratic behavior, including loss of resources.
If you continue to have issues, please submit a support case to us by using the link below:

Linda Nathanson

I have complied with all the remedies described in the forum.
1. I am on a local drive.
2. Did not change the filename.
3. Did not change location.
4. Using Presenter '09, Version 6.3. 1009.1313 Pro
The problem is worse.
Just opening "Record Narration" erases my ppta file. It just went from 80MB to 3 kb (again). 

Linda Nathanson

Before I submit a case, please advise on the following.

I had exported the wav files (246 MB) before yesterday's problems.

Would you advise me to do the following.

  • Delete (or hide) the existing ppta that no longer connects to the ppt.
  • Open the ppt and import the wav files (which would create a new ppta, I think.)

Before the ppt and ppta became unlinked, the ppta would routinely go from 80 MB to a couple kb, every time I opened "Record Narration." Therefore, I cannot edit  my audio because if I attempt to record, the ppta disappears.

If I am successful in importing the audio and have a linked ppta, we are still left with the original problem of why the ppta disappears.  Recall that I have addressed the issues listed in the forum (local drive, no name change, etc.)

Could it be a size issue? The ppt is 7 MB; ppta is 80 MB.

Linda Nathanson

Do you want me to do the Send to Articulate Presenter Package?

I could send two versions.

  • My latest version is the one with a disconnected ppta (80 MB) and a history of ppta disappearances and replacements (not surprising it is now disconnected).
  • An earlier version has a 71 MB ppta, which is the version that lost the ppta for the first time (in the very next Record Narration session).

Which would be most helpful to you?  If both, would that be two separate packages?

Linda Nathanson

This is a followup to the ppta disappearance.

  • ppta did not disappear at your site. What version are you using?
  • On my site, it would disappear after just opening and closing the PowerPoint ppt. (My version is 6.3.1009.1313 Pro)
  • I then re-created the file. Put the ppt in a new folder with a new name. Imported the audio as wav files; and relinked the Engage exercises and Quizmaker quizzes.
  • It worked for about 10  minutes of edits. Then, the ppta went from 80 MB to 2 kb.
  • Using Send to Package (created beforehand), I moved the files to a different laptop (version 6.2.907.1413 Pro) and it worked FINE. Completed the edits and delivered the project.
  • Does that suggest a piece of Presenter on my machine is corrupted? Would you advise me to re-install? I had the same problem with an older version of  Presenter.
Linda Nathanson

Did not deliver the screencast, as I've been going crazy with the disappearing ppta and just trying to find a way to deliver the project. We've also been dealing with LMS issues and an error message. "Error initializing communications with LMS," but only upon attempting to re-enter in SABA. For example, if you fail, going back in generated the error message. the setting for number of attempts allowed was "unlimited."

 I'll reply to Jayem (or Ang) about the screencast (which I've never done) but I'm in the middle of a webinar right now.

Stephanie Harnett

I'd be interested in understanding how this turned out. I just had all my audio disappear  *poof* This occurred after I closed the file down in the last known good working state and I opened an older packaged version to grab something from that. I copied what I was looking for then closed that file and re-opened the one I had been working on. It was then that the audio vanished. So the backup packages don't seem to useful if it corrupts what you are currently working on. Is this a known issue?

Linda Nathanson

I saw numerous posts about disappearing .ppta files, besides mine. There are some known causes, which is posted somewhere on this site, such as re-naming the ppt or ppta files, working on a network drive, or moving files. The latest I heard was having an ! exclamation point anywhere in the whole path. (I did have one, which I have now replaced.) They also said to work not only on the C drive, but only one level down. My ppta remains intact if I work remotely or when I work on a laptop, not on the network. (That's what saved my project.)

I had an 80 MB ppta, which became 2 kb.

Knowing I have this disappearance problem, I backed up three ways, when the ppta is "whole, before it gets wrecked. 1. Export the audio to .wav files. 2. Copy the files to a backup drive, especially the ppta) 3. Send to Package. (The "how to" instructions. are somewhere on this site. )  The exporting .wav files and importing is nice feature and easy to use. You just have to be careful that each wav file, which is nicely identified, lines up with your current version. For example, I included the slide number in the title of the .wav file. So, if I had new slides, since I exported to the .wav, I just made sure the .wav slide number matched my ppt slide  number. And you can import one at a time or a bunch of consecutive slides at one time.

I worked diligently on my project for three weeks, much of it at a remote location, with no ppta issues. Once it disappeared the first time at my regular work location (and I replaced it with a backup), the frequency of these mind-numbing disappearances began to increase in frequency, so that at one point, it would disappear after just opening and closing the ppt. Out of desperation, I moved to another laptop (not on the network) and magically, all was fine. I did move the files using a thumb drive, but that's another danger area. They tell you  not to do any work on the thumb drive.

At the request of the Articulate team, I moved files to the first level on the C drive (yesterday) and for testing purposes, I'm doing "Record Narration" periodically throughout the day, just for purposes of testing. It's been over 12 hours and it hasn't disappeared yet.

Stephanie Harnett

Interesting. In my case, it got a whole lot stranger. I had previously published the course I was working on and then I encountered the missing audio. After placing the audio back in I had to play the previous published output to check the timing of something and to my surprise the published output that I had not touched at all, was changed. It contains contents of a second PowerPoint file that I had open. I looked at the file dates in the root of the published folder and it showed new published dates and I didn't do it. It was just too weird. Rebooting didn't fix it. The published output was corrupted. Things seems more stable now - here's what I ended up having to do:

1) Not work with 2 PowerPoint files at the same time. This is not really acceptable as I separate my "elements" from the "course" and work between the two all the time. This causes all sorts of flakiness. Articulate likes 1 file at a time.

2) I removed special characters in the published output name. I Had been using an & and changed it to "and" instead.

3) To deal with slide level flakiness in the output I've had to convert almost the entire contents of the module, outside a text that uses standard fonts and formats, to PNG files. Otherwise, everytime I published (after waiting 30 minutes for that to complete), I found a slide here or there with screwed up positioning of elements or half drawn in elements. Shadows are bad. Shadows with animations are worse. Making everything a graphic stablizes things but it is far from rapid. I lose my ability to quickly make adjustments and because I can't have a second PowerPoint file open (that contains the source graphics), this makes editing tedious and time consuming.

4) There is some kind of limitation on the number of slides in one file too. It seems as I approach the 60 ot 70 slide mark, things become increasingly less stable. And some of the stuff that happens just defies any logical thinking to resolve hence changing everything to a PNG and the other stuff above.

So, my experience is that I need to allow 2 full days to publish a course. This is after I have developed it largely using preview instead of publishing. Once publishing time happens, there is a lot of republishing, testing, tweaking, working-around things, etc. But, taking the measures above will ease this somewhat.


Linda Nathanson

What a nightmare for you.

My latest is 133 slides and I have jpg files, exercises, and quizzes throughout. I wonder if these illegal characters in the path could be the cause of these headaches. My project has been stable on my non-network, no illegal characters, right on the desktop version. I'm going to move them to the C drive, at the first level, on my network computer and keep my fingers crossed, since it is more convenient to have them on my own computer.

Using Preview, as you said, is much faster over Publishing for viewing content, especially as your monster grows.

Stephanie Harnett

Preview, however, cannot be relied on. It usually always shows it the way you expect but then you publish and things aren't the same. And this is at the tail end of the project where you typically invest the time to publish in preparation for publishing. Again, not a lot of logic for having previews capability that doesn't accurately preview. There has been a tremendous amount of hours of what seems to be plugging holes, project after project. What I'm learning is for this to work and to be "rapid" all the content as to be in its simplest form. This often leads to the typical courses that I see. I create things differently and it makes for a lot of extra work trying to work my style in and around Articulate limitations. It's not all bad, obviously, I just have to allocate extra time at the end of the development cycles for publishing.