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Elements Catalog Problem

Explorer ,
Apr 15, 2024 Apr 15, 2024

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I’m running Elements 21 on Windows 11, and I just noticed that I have 2 sets of most of my pictures.  A complete set is located at X:\Users\William\Pictures, and most of these pics are also located at X:\PSE X CATALOG\Users\

William\Pictures. When I use Tags to search for pics in the Organizer, it gets them from X:\PSE X CATALOG\Users\

William\Pictures - if they are there. If not, it gets them from X:\Users\William\Pictures.  Here are relevant portions of my file tree, with creation dates:

X:\

   PSE X CATALOG folder  (12/15/23)

       MY CATALOG 2023  folder  (12/15/23)

            CAXMPFiles folder

            FaceAnalysis folder

            WaldoData folder

            Watch Folder folder

            (Also miscellaneous cache, dat and db files)

       Users  folder (12/15/23)

            William folder  (12/15/23)

                        Pictures folder  (12/15/23)

                        (Two sub-folders created this year and many individual pics are missing)

   Users folder  (12/2/22)

        William folder  (12/2/22)

             Pictures folder  (12/2/22)

             (Contains all my pics, including the 2 sub-folders added after 12/15/23)

 

Catalog Manager is currently set to Custom Location X:\PSE X CATALOG.

Apparently, something changed on 12/15/23. I'm an old guy, and don't remember!

 

I want a single location for my pictures, preferably X:\Users\William\Pictures, and to delete those in X:\PSE X CATALOG\Users\William\Pictures.  Can someone help me clean this up? Thanks very much.

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Organizer , Problem or error , Windows

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Community Expert ,
Apr 16, 2024 Apr 16, 2024

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This is indeed a mess and could cause some serious problems.  You have moved your catalog and your media files from their default locations to another (external??) hard drive.  That would be OK.  But it also looks like you have copied your media files  to inside of the catalog folder.  That folder should NOT contain your media files.  Here is my suggestion for what you should do:

 

  • In Windows File Explorer, move the folder marked in my screenshot to another location, preferably on another drive to avoid confusion:

Ashampoo Snap 16_Tuesday, April 16, 2024_0h7m38s_6.png

If I am interpreting your diagram correctly, you should now have two main folders on your X:\ drive - the PSE X Catalog folder (with the catalog sub-folder) and the Users folder (with the Pictures sub-folder).

  • Open the catalog and see how many media files are present
  • Select Find>All Missing Files.  The number of missing files should be approximately half of the total.  This may not be an exact number since there may be differences in how many files you have edited and saved in stacks.
  • If you are confident that the missing files are merely duplicates, press Ctrl+A to select them all, and then press Delete to remove them from the catalog.

If the catalog is now complete and has all of your tags, you can delete the media files that you moved in the first step or keep them as a backup.

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Explorer ,
Apr 16, 2024 Apr 16, 2024

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Thank you for your help.  I removed the Users folder and sub-folders from X:PSE X CATALOG and put them on another drive, but I was not confident enough to delete missing files in the Organizer. I spent the day re-connecting missing files, and everything seems normal now. My only concern at this point is, how did this happen? I'm not confident that I understand the relationship between media files and the Organizer.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 16, 2024 Apr 16, 2024

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The Organizer is simply a database of the files that are stored on your computer's hard drive.  Think of it like a catalog of paintings in a museum. If you move one of the paintings to a different gallery, without changing the catalog, patrons who look at the catalog will go to the wrong gallery.  Similarly, if you tear a page out of the catalog, the paintings on that page will still be hanging on the wall.

 

You haven't given us enough information to figure out how you ended up with duplicates of your files in the same catalog.  But if you delete the missing files from the catalog, as I suggested, the files will still be stored on your hard drive.  What you have now done by reconnecting the missing files is to continue to have duplicates in your catalog.  That may be fine for your purposes.  But it can create confusion in the future.

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Explorer ,
Apr 17, 2024 Apr 17, 2024

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Thanks Greg.  Your explanation of the Catalog helps. I think I accomplished what I wanted, but did it the hard way. The Users\William\Pictures folder that was under the PSE X CATALOG folder was an incomplete duplicate of my collection. When I moved it to another drive, the Organizer could no longer find those files, so I manually connected them to the files in the other Users folder, which is complete. The Organizer now points to all of my pictures in X:\Users\William\Pictures, and the My Catalog 2023 folder is by itself under X:\PSE X CATALOG. I plan to delete the Users folder that I moved.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 17, 2024 Apr 17, 2024

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Ah, yes, I should have realized that you reconnected to the correct files.  Everything should now be good.

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