Can I access photoshop elements from multiple devices?

New Here ,
Aug 14, 2020 Aug 14, 2020

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I work in two different locations seasonally. If I download photoshop elements can I access it on up to 4 different devices in two different locations?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 14, 2020 Aug 14, 2020

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Download:

The PSE software is available to be installed and run on a computer (no other types of devices such as tablets).

You get the installer file either by download (only solution from Adobe directly) or on a DVD (from big Web resellers).

Licence

The license is for a single user.

Install

The installer, download or DVD can install the software itself on any number of computers.

Activation

To be able to run a given computer, you have to 'activate' the link with the licensing server from the menu Help >> sign in. 
You are allowed to 'activate' two computers, typically a desktop and a laptop at the same time, but you should not use them at the same time (single user license)

If you have already activated two computers and want to activate a third one, you have to deactivate (menu Help >> Sign out) one of the already activated computers.

 

So, the answer is that you can have your four computers with the program installed with your downloaded or DVD installer.

You can have two of those activated at the same time.

You can switch the activation for two computers in the same location.

But you are not allowed to use or let other users use two activated computers at the same time.

 

Sharing of your media and catalogs:

You can backup and restore your catalogs and media from the organizer, which allows keeping copies on various computers as well as allowing to migrate your data and organization from one computer to a new one.

In your case (just like me), I would store the catalog AND media files on an external drive which I can plug in to any activated computer without having to do anything else.

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New Here ,
Sep 06, 2021 Sep 06, 2021

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Greetings I understand the concept for external drive for Elements organizer on two devices.

I think there are some tricks to make sure it stays synced.

My main goal

Desktop or laptop adding photos

And tags 

that I only need to tag one system

and if external is plugged into the other system all newly tagged added photos will be available with their respective tags on the other system when I move the external drive to the laptop or desktop.

 

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 07, 2021 Sep 07, 2021

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quote

Greetings I understand the concept for external drive for Elements organizer on two devices.

I think there are some tricks to make sure it stays synced.

My main goal

Desktop or laptop adding photos

And tags 

that I only need to tag one system

and if external is plugged into the other system all newly tagged added photos will be available with their respective tags on the other system when I move the external drive to the laptop or desktop.


By @george.cummings1

To be precise, there is no 'syncing' in the process. Your catalog and photo/video files are always updated and available to the computer to which the drive is presently plugged in.

 

'Syncing' would mean that a copy of the catalog and files would be updated when you plug in the external drive. If you want to keep  copy of the catalog and the photos updated in two computers, the solution offered by the organizer is to backup the catalog of the first computer to the external drive and to restore it on the second computer. That takes time, but that's a valid choice if you change computers only a couple of times in a year.

 

Real 'syncing' with external tools like Microsoft Synctoy is a different matter. Let's say you start with a backup and restore from the main computer to the external drive. The external syncing tool is apt to update the photo/video files as well as the catalog folder on the second computer. That works well and much faster than a backup/restore, but there is a trap: the 'synced' catalog folder does not point to the files in the new computer, it still points on those on the first computer. All files are 'disconnected' and reconnecting a whole library is hardly possible in the organizer (it would be easy with Lightroom). You would have to fiddle into the database with an sql utility.

 

The 'syncing' problem would be the same with a Cloud solution like Dropbox or OneDrive instead of an external drive. No problem to sync the photo files, same problem with the catalog folder.

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Explorer ,
May 15, 2022 May 15, 2022

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Hi all,

 

I would like to take on this topic again trying a deep analysis of the options at hand. I am in the same situation as described: A large workstation laptop at home and as very small laptop for travelling; of course with both I would like to be able to use / work on my photo library.

 

1. Built-in support: There seems to be no convenient built-in solution for this requirement within in Elements, so only workarounds are possible. The backup/restore function comes closest, but is definitely not meant to be used on a day-by-day-basis.

 

2. External storage (e. g. USB stick or micro SD card), as mentioned by @MichelBParis:

(a) Advantages: Pretty straight forward solution, no internet connection / sync necessary.

(b) Disadvantages:

(i) Additional hardware component, i. e. bulky if it is a USB stick (compared to an online/sync solution), requires a free USB port or a card slot and additional invest is needed (significant compared to Elements licence cost especially if photo lib is several hundred GB).

(ii) If forgotten at home, no chance of working when travelling.

(iii) More focus on backups needed as external storages appear to have a higher failure rate and are easier lost (encrypt the storage).

(iv) Performance loss compared to working on the internal SSD.
(v) Path name on both devices needs to be identical, if only catalog ist stored on the external storage.

 

3. A proper synctool:

(a) Advantages: Pretty convenient solution.

(b) Disadvantages:

(i) Absolute paths need to be 100% the same (incl. drive letter) for both PCs.

(ii) Broadband Internet connection required for updates.

(iii) Working at the same time on the catalog can be dangerous (e. g. workstation at home is working through facial recognition of 10'000 photos after vacation and during next day travel I would like to modify some photos).

 

4. NAS / online storage (cloud)

(a) Advantages: Pretty convenient solution.

(b) Disadvantages:

(i) Own infrastructure / costly (again, compared to Elements licence costs when coming close to a 1 TB lib) 3rd party solutions needed.

(ii) Broadband Internet connection required for updates.

 

5. Remote desktop connection:

(a) Disadvantages:

(i) Compression of the screen content does not seem to be adequate for digital image processing.

(ii) Both computers need to be running all the time.

(iii) Broadband Internet connection required.

 

 

My questions:

I. Sync solution: @MichelBParis: I noticed your "trap: the 'synced' catalog folder does not point to the files in the new computer, it still points on those on the first computer". I think, the synced catalog contains absolute paths (starting with C/D/E:\...) but does not contain any identifier of the PC itself. Given the absolute paths on both laptops are 100% identical, this trap should not be present, should it?

II. Sync solution: Which synctool do you think is most suited here (MS Synctoy seems to discontinued, in my eyes a solution to be put in place now shouldn't rely on legacy tools)?

III. Cloud: Would Elements work at all if catalog and media were stored in e. g. OneDrive?

IV: Anything else worth to mention in this context that is not listed here?

V: Which one would you finally recommend?

 

Many thanks in advance for your support!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 15, 2022 May 15, 2022

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My questions:

"I. Sync solution: @MichelBParis: I noticed your "trap: the 'synced' catalog folder does not point to the files in the new computer, it still points on those on the first computer". I think, the synced catalog contains absolute paths (starting with C/D/E:\...) but does not contain any identifier of the PC itself. Given the absolute paths on both laptops are 100% identical, this trap should not be present, should it?"

On the contrary, beside the full path starting with the drive letter, the catalog database manages a 'volume_table' including the internal serial number of the drive as well as the letter and the volume name. I know how to use an external sqlite database management tool to manually update those info, which is very fast, but a bit tricky and not realistic for most typical PSE users.

"II. Sync solution: Which synctool do you think is most suited here (MS Synctoy seems to discontinued, in my eyes a solution to be put in place now shouldn't rely on legacy tools)?"

Windows has another current syncing tool and forum friends do use free equivalents. I'll try to find those references. For me, syncing is mainly an additional backup process.

"III. Cloud: Would Elements work at all if catalog and media were stored in e. g. OneDrive?"

There has been a number of discussions about OneDrive or similar. The trap here is that there is a two levels processing. Elements does not work 'in the cloud', it relies on computer system folders to catalog files, and OneDrive does manage the syncing. So, even if your catalog (or a strict copy) is on OneDrive, it points to the files in the computer folders. If you open the catalog on the cloud from a different synced computer, it will point to the original computer (which is not in line... all files will be disconnected).

In practice, such Cloud solution are handy for sharing files, not to manage catalogs.

"IV: Anything else worth to mention in this context that is not listed here?"

I think that a big part of PSE users have already migrated to a single powerful laptop.

On the other hand, for the increasing demand on Cloud software and hosting, Adobe offers a reasonably featured and priced Lightroom Cloud solution.

So, there is no very realistic solution to be expected from Elements and the organizer apart from backup and restore (rare migrations in the year) or from using an external drive for both the library and the catalog. By the way, it's probably the cheapest and safest solution with a good backup scheme (eventually using Syncing and/or Cloud backups).

"V: Which one would you finally recommend?"

I have chosen to store catalog and media on a 1 TB SSD external drive. As a matter of fact, the processing speed depends mainly on the amount of your RAM and your scratchdisk.

 

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