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Backing up Catalogs without image files

New Here ,
Sep 29, 2017 Sep 29, 2017

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I have recently installed PSE15 and now wish to backup my PSE catalogs. I have separate backups of my images files, so would prefer to only backup the catalog metadata. Why I backup images separately is that, as far as I can tell, it is not possible to restore individual photos from a backed up catalog: the whole catalog has to be restored (correct me if I am wrong). Also I do my backups to the cloud using an online backup storage provider, and wish to avoid the slowness that would result if I had to backup all my photos as well.

Has anyone got any ideas on this matter?

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Adobe Community Professional , Sep 29, 2017 Sep 29, 2017
harveyw57752522  wroteI have recently installed PSE15 and now wish to backup my PSE catalogs. I have separate backups of my images files, so would prefer to only backup the catalog metadata. Why I backup images separately is that, as far as I can tell, it is not possible to restore individual photos from a backed up catalog: the whole catalog has to be restored (correct me if I am wrong). Also I do my backups to the cloud using an online backup storage provider, and wish to avoid the slowness th
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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 29, 2017 Sep 29, 2017

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harveyw57752522  wrote

I have recently installed PSE15 and now wish to backup my PSE catalogs. I have separate backups of my images files, so would prefer to only backup the catalog metadata. Why I backup images separately is that, as far as I can tell, it is not possible to restore individual photos from a backed up catalog: the whole catalog has to be restored (correct me if I am wrong). Also I do my backups to the cloud using an online backup storage provider, and wish to avoid the slowness that would result if I had to backup all my photos as well.

Has anyone got any ideas on this matter?

You know how to locate your catalog? It's a folder. Use the menu Help >> System Information to locate it.

You copy it, sync it, even move it if you like. Moving a catalog does not change its contents, you simply have to tell the organizer where the catalog is situated. There is no command in the organizer itself to do the copy or syncing; you have to use your Explorer/Finder or set the correct parameters for your backup or syncing application. The only thing the command File >> Manage catalogs can do is to move the catalog back to default (hidden folder) destination if it's on a 'custom' location. If you have a catalog folder copy somewhere on an internal or external drive, you only locate the folder and double click on the 'catalog.pse15db' file to open the organizer with that catalog.

The catalog folder does not contain any media file. It uses a database to manage the information about the files and most of all, the location (drive identification and path) of each of your photo files. You are right that restoring the catalog folder only can't restore the media files. Let's say you have an external backup system which saves both your media files and your catalog folder. You can restore both to their original locations, ok... but if the original location is no longer available (broken, stolen computer or drive...) You'll have to restore to a new location. Then the links in the database will all be wrong, all files in the organizer will be shown as 'missing' or 'disconnected'. You'll have to run the command 'reconnect missing files', which is not something I'd like to do...

That's the reason why the standard backup and restore feature of the organizer is recommended, especially if you plan to move to a new computer. The links are always updated in the process.

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New Here ,
Sep 30, 2017 Sep 30, 2017

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Thank you Michel. You are correct: backing up the catalog folders will allow me to restore the complete catalogues, as long as I have the image files backed up separately, and they are preferably restored to the original location.

In PSE15, the default catalog location is C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs. However there is also an identical location C:\Users\All Users\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs. These two locations appear to be linked in some way: if I create a file in one location, it automatically appears in the other location. I will presume that the first location (C:\ProgramData\...) is the best one to back up.

Thank you once again.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 01, 2017 Oct 01, 2017

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harveyw57752522  wrote

In PSE15, the default catalog location is C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs. However there is also an identical location C:\Users\All Users\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs. These two locations appear to be linked in some way: if I create a file in one location, it automatically appears in the other location. I will presume that the first location (C:\ProgramData\...) is the best one to back up.

As a matter of fact, what you are seeing is a  shortcut created by the Windows explorer (nothing special for Elements, it works the same with any other file in your personal 'user' master folder.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 01, 2017 Oct 01, 2017

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harveyw57752522  wrote

Thank you Michel. You are correct: backing up the catalog folders will allow me to restore the complete catalogues, as long as I have the image files backed up separately, and they are preferably restored to the original location.

Don't underestimate the work to "reconnect" if you have to restore on a new drive or computer.

Photoshop Elements (PSE) knowledge base.

That's the reason I recommend doing full backups from time to time, not only when migrating to a new computer. If you have enough space on external media (USB external drives are affordable today), let the backup run as a night job.

I also use the Microsoft 'Synctoy' to sync my library to an extenal drive as well as the catalog folder. Very fast, I can run that after each editing session.

Slightly off topic: keeping the library and the catalog folder on an external drive lets you simply plug your external drive to another computer and you can share everything, images and catalog.

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Explorer ,
Feb 17, 2021 Feb 17, 2021

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I regularly do full backups (usually keeping two).  But I also make catalog-only backups in certain circumstances, such as when I am about to make a lot of changes and would like a fall-back position in case I want to "un-do", or in case the PSE database goes wonkey (which it has on occasion in the past).  For instance, I might want to add or delete a large number of files from the catalog, or make some significant tagging changes (such as location).  For whatever reason, they are circumstances in which I am not changing my media or their structure.  If I discover an "Oops!", then I can replace the changed catalog with the copied one.  And if nothing else, it "makes me feel safer." (grin)

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