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Backing Up and Restoring Catalog in PSE 2021

Community Beginner ,
Aug 26, 2021 Aug 26, 2021

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Good Evening All,

 

I have all of my photo and video files (about 1.7 TB total) on a 5 TB external Seagate drive, mainly because my laptop's harddrive is only 512 GB in size. I would like to backup the catalog, but I was wondering how best to do that. My plan is to backup just the catalog to a second, external drive (2 TB). The photos and videos will continue to be located on the 5 TB external drive. Is such a catalog only backup sufficent to restore the catalog with all tags intact while using the original photos and videos on the 5 GB external drive? Will the photos and videos remain connected in the catalog?

 

Thanks.

 

Jon

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 26, 2021 Aug 26, 2021

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Good Evening All,

 

I have all of my photo and video files (about 1.7 TB total) on a 5 TB external Seagate drive, mainly because my laptop's harddrive is only 512 GB in size. I would like to backup the catalog, but I was wondering how best to do that. My plan is to backup just the catalog to a second, external drive (2 TB). The photos and videos will continue to be located on the 5 TB external drive. Is such a catalog only backup sufficent to restore the catalog with all tags intact while using the original photos and videos on the 5 GB external drive? Will the photos and videos remain connected in the catalog?

 

Thanks.

 

Jon


By @Jrdnole1986

 

Jon,

Let's start by distinguishing between the catalog which is a folder containing the main database, accessory files and thumbnails and on the other hand, your library which is the files folders you have stored on the 5 TB external drive.

You don't tell where your catalog folder is located. It may be in the default (hidden) location on your main drive or on a 'custom' location, generally when you have moved to another computer or drive with a full backup followed by a restore.

The catalog location is to be found from the Help > System Info menu of the organizer.

You can move or copy the whole catalog folder where you like and its contents will not change. It will always point to the location of the files. But if you change the locations of the files by moving them externally to a new drive or location, the catalog will still point to the original location and all your files will be shown as 'missing' or 'disconnected'.

So, to be safe, you need both a backup (copy) of your catalog folder and a copy of your photo files tree. That can be done in many ways but that only lets you restore your saved files on the original drive if you need to. If you want to restore on a new computer or drive after a disaster, only the full backup and restore process from the organizer takes care to update each photo file location to its new place on the new drive.

 

So, if you periodically do full backup and restores, your concern seem to be able to protect you against loss or corruption of the data in your catalog, assuming the original photo files are still safe and available on their original support.

You are free to store your catalog on the original location on the main drive or elsewhere, generally beside the master folder of your photo folders.

- original location (hidden) : best performance, but not critical

- beside the photo library on an external drive in 'custom' location: you can share it with another computer with PSE just by plugging the external drive in the other computer

- in other locations, external drives, on Cloud locations (DropBox, OneDrive...)

 

Also note that PSE2021 now has the option to automatically save the catalog folder when you exit the organizer. The folder is saved minus the big thumbnail cache which can be recreated automatically. It's fast and highly recommended after each big editing session.

 

Otherwise, with any PSE version, remember you can always copy or move catalog folders from your Explorer.

 

 

 

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 27, 2021 Aug 27, 2021

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Hi Michel,

 

Thank you for your reply and help. My catalog is located as follows:

 

C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs\My Catalog

 

What do you mean by "photo file tree"? Do you mean that one should use the "Full Backup" option for the catalog, and not just back up the Catalog by itself? If I back up all of the photos and videos, I will need another external drive larger than 2TB.

 

Jon

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 27, 2021 Aug 27, 2021

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Hi Michel,

 

Thank you for your reply and help. My catalog is located as follows:

 

C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs\My Catalog

 

What do you mean by "photo file tree"? Do you mean that one should use the "Full Backup" option for the catalog, and not just back up the Catalog by itself? If I back up all of the photos and videos, I will need another external drive larger than 2TB.


Jon


By @Jrdnole1986

Your catalog is in the default location.

"Your photo file tree" is your library, the real location of your photo and video files on the exrternal drive.

If the drive is corrupted or stolen, every photo or video files is lost without a full backup. That requires a copy of your library on a second external drive. A copy of the catalog is useless without the original library or a backup of this library. Catalog only backups protect you against loss or corruption of the catalog folder. Not of the library (photo/video files).

 

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 28, 2021 Aug 28, 2021

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Hi Michel,

 

Ok, thanks. I will back up both.

 

Jon

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 26, 2021 Sep 26, 2021

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I have purchased a second external 5 TB drive (EHD2) to which I would like to backup my Catalog and all photos and videos. The Catalog is currently located in the default location on the C drive on my laptop, as described above. The photos and videos are located on the original 5TB external drive (EHD1). Should I first move the Catalog from the default location on my laptop to EHD1, before the backup is made (using Organizer) to EHD2? Ideally, I would like to use one of the EHDs (either EHD1 or EHD2) to be able to access the Catalog and files using a second computer which also has a copy of PSE2021 on it.

 

Is it better to periodically make full backups rather than incremental ones for the purpose above?

 

Thanks.

 

Jon

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 27, 2021 Sep 27, 2021

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I have purchased a second external 5 TB drive (EHD2) to which I would like to backup my Catalog and all photos and videos. The Catalog is currently located in the default location on the C drive on my laptop, as described above. The photos and videos are located on the original 5TB external drive (EHD1). Should I first move the Catalog from the default location on my laptop to EHD1, before the backup is made (using Organizer) to EHD2? Ideally, I would like to use one of the EHDs (either EHD1 or EHD2) to be able to access the Catalog and files using a second computer which also has a copy of PSE2021 on it.

 

Jon


By @Jrdnole1986

 

If you move or copy the whole catalog folder (the database, not the picture files) to another location, the content of the catalog is not changed. The original and/or  the copy will work just the same. So, in your case, it seems simpler to keep your catalog folder together with your picture files on the external drive. If you choose to keep the catalog in the default location (theoretically a tad faster), it's fast to copy the catalog folder to the external drive just before switching computers. Preferably, store the moved or copied catalog  just under the root of the external drive, not  within the pictures folders tree.

 

quote

Is it better to periodically make full backups rather than incremental ones for the purpose above?

 

Thanks.

 

Jon

By @Jrdnole1986

The big risk with the PSE incremental backup choice is that so many users don't understand how to store their incremental backups efficiently and that they never check the process with a real size backup and restore.

So, since that option does not really save much backup time, I recommend making full backups at regular intervals, as a night job. For the catalog folder itself, it's fast and easy to copy the whole folder frequently to a second drive.

If you have another backup procedure, for instance like me with an Acronis backup for whole drives, maybe a monthly PSE full backup will be enough.

 

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 27, 2021 Sep 27, 2021

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Thank you, Michel. Should I first copy and paste the catalog folder to the first external drive where the photos and videos currently reside, and then delete the original copy of the Catalog folder which is on my laptop? Is there an issue with having copies of the Catolog folder on both the laptop and the first external drive? If the answer is 'no', then do I only use the copy of the Catalog on the first external drive to create the full backup of both the Catalog folder and the photo and video files onto the second external drive? The second external is currently empty. Once the Catalog folder and photo and video files are located on the external drives, can either of the external drives (both with Catalog and files) be used at different times to access the photos and videos on both computers on which PSE 2021 is installed?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 27, 2021 Sep 27, 2021

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Thank you, Michel. Should I first copy and paste the catalog folder to the first external drive where the photos and videos currently reside, and then delete the original copy of the Catalog folder which is on my laptop? Is there an issue with having copies of the Catolog folder on both the laptop and the first external drive?


By @Jrdnole1986

No issues to have copies and the advantage of having them as a safety. No risk to use another older copy than the last used because each organizer on both computer knows which was the last one.

quote

If the answer is 'no', then do I only use the copy of the Catalog on the first external drive to create the full backup of both the Catalog folder and the photo and video files onto the second external drive? The second external is currently empty. Once the Catalog folder and photo and video files are located on the external drives, can either of the external drives (both with Catalog and files) be used at different times to access the photos and videos on both computers on which PSE 2021 is installed?


By @Jrdnole1986

You can create your backup from any of the catalog folder copies, but what do you mean in your last question? Your second external drive will only receive a backup folder, which is apt to restore anywhere, it will not get a working copy of both the photo files and the associated catalog.

To use both computers at different time you simply plug in alternatively the first external drive (which is always updated).

You can use the second backup external drive to restore anything on any of your computers or in other external drives, no problem except that each working set of catalog + media files will work independently: any change won't be 'synced' with the other sets.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 30, 2021 Sep 30, 2021

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Thank you, Michel. Should I first copy and paste the catalog folder to the first external drive where the photos and videos currently reside, and then delete the original copy of the Catalog folder which is on my laptop? Is there an issue with having copies of the Catolog folder on both the laptop and the first external drive?


By Jrdnole1986

No issues to have copies and the advantage of having them as a safety. No risk to use another older copy than the last used because each organizer on both computer knows which was the last one.

 

If I only copy the Catalog folder from its current location on my laptop and then paste it to the external drive containing the photos and videos, there will still be a copy of the Catalog folder on the laptop. I am concerned that having two duplicate copies of the Catalog folder (with the same name) might create problems during the backup. It seems that the whole point of moving the Catalog to the external drive containing the photos and videos would be so that the same Catalog and files can be used when swapping the external drive back and forth between the two computers.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 01, 2021 Oct 01, 2021

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quote

 

If I only copy the Catalog folder from its current location on my laptop and then paste it to the external drive containing the photos and videos, there will still be a copy of the Catalog folder on the laptop. I am concerned that having two duplicate copies of the Catalog folder (with the same name) might create problems during the backup.


By @Jrdnole1986

No such risk during the backup. That process is based on your selecting a precise catalog yourself. Other catalog folders are ignored. The possible risk is for you to inadvertently select a somewhat older catalog folder copy. To avoid such a mistake, you can rename the catalog copy in the catalog manager or in the Explorer.

quote

Thank you, Michel. Should I first copy and paste the catalog folder to the first external drive where the photos and videos currently reside, and then delete the original copy of the Catalog folder which is on my laptop? Is there an issue with having copies of the Catolog folder on both the laptop and the first external drive?


By Jrdnole1986

It seems that the whole point of moving the Catalog to the external drive containing the photos and videos would be so that the same Catalog and files can be used when swapping the external drive back and forth between the two computers.


By @Jrdnole1986

 

Exactly.

The second point of 'copying' the catalog folder elsewhere is to have a catalog folder backup somewhere.

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