How to Restore PE2019 Catalog to New PC with Windows 10 and Some but Not All Pictures in Catalog

New Here ,
Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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My old PC has an internal hard drive running Windows 8.1 and Photoshop Elements 2019 (PE2019). I have 753 GB of photos and scans in my Pictures folder, some of which are in my Elements catalog, and some of which are not. My catalog, named My Catalog 1 and stored in the default location, holds photos taken after I started using Elements and certain older photos that I needed to process in Elements.

 

My new PC has a 512 GB SSD running Windows 11 Home, Version 21H2, Build 22000.493. PE2019 is installed to the SSD. I have my folders and files from the old PC on an External Hard Drive (EHD). I also backed up my catalog inside PE2019 to an EHD. The catalog backup file is 571 GB. The catalog itself has about 45,000 photos.

 

My understanding is that I can keep my files and catalog on the same 4TB EHD and I must Restore Catalog with Original Structure to a custom location. I plan to rename my catalog PSE Catalog to avoid confusion since the name will now be visible in File Explorer. How should I handle things because some of my photos in Pictures are in my catalog and some are not? Should I copy Pictures first and then restore over it with structure, choosing not to overwrite existing files? Or do I restore with structure first, then copy over Pictures, choosing not to overwrite existing files. Either way, I presume I must run Reconnect Missing Files?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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If I understand well,  you have a copy of your 'Pictures' folder on an EHD.

You also have on another EHD a full backup of your present catalog.

 

"Should I copy Pictures first and then restore over it with structure, choosing not to overwrite existing files?"

Without more testing, I am not absolutely sure about what will happen if you don't overwrite existing files. The files not in the catalog won't be altered at all. So I would probably choose to overwrite all, which I guess will be longer but safer. Note that your full backup is still there if the result is  not what you expected. For the 'Pictures' folder copy on your EHD, it would be a good idea to copy it in a second location in the event of a bad result in merging the catalogued files with the 'Pictures' copy in your destination drive.

 

You won't have to reconnect anything. The key risk is to state an incorrect 'custom location folder' for the restore process. Could you provide a screenshot of the top folders tree in the destination EHD? A wrong custom folder choice would restore without overwriting the correct files in the destination EHD.

 

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Feb 11, 2022 Feb 11, 2022

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Thank you for your quick response. 

 

If I understand well,  you have a copy of your 'Pictures' folder on an EHD.

You also have on another EHD a full backup of your present catalog.

 

That is correct.

 

For the 'Pictures' folder copy on your EHD, it would be a good idea to copy it in a second location in the event of a bad result in merging the catalogued files with the 'Pictures' copy in your destination drive.

 

My files, including the 'Pictures' folder, are on an older 2 TB EHD. I planned to copy this and my other folders to cleared off newer 4 TB drive., which is hopefully faster. I figured the 2 TB EHD would be my backup.

 

Could you provide a screenshot of the top folders tree in the destination EHD? A wrong custom folder choice would restore without overwriting the correct files in the destination EHD.

 

I took a screen shot and attached it below. This is my first time, so I hope I did it correctly,

 

 

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 12, 2022 Feb 12, 2022

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I took a screen shot and attached it below. This is my first time, so I hope I did it correctly,


By @judyw46460634

I am afraid that the restore will also restore all the folder steps above the system 'Pictures' folder, creating a new folder tree without overwriting your files in the Pictures folder of your E drive.

 

Maybe try to copy one of your E: Pictures subfolder over the equivalent in the restored tree, while skipping existing files.

If that works, you might do that for each other subfolder?

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New Here ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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Let me backtrack.

If I understand well,  you have a copy of your 'Pictures' folder on an EHD.

Yes, I copied them to a 2 TB EHD in preparation for the move, outside of  Elements, using either Copy-Paste or Copy To.

You also have on another EHD a full backup of your present catalog.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 13, 2022 Feb 13, 2022

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Let me backtrack.

If I understand well,  you have a copy of your 'Pictures' folder on an EHD.

Yes, I copied them to a 2 TB EHD in preparation for the move, outside of  Elements, using either Copy-Paste or Copy To.

You also have on another EHD a full backup of your present catalog.


By @judyw46460634

 

So, I stay by my latest answer and suggestions.

From your description, I think that you understand the difficulty of your orginal choice: having a library made from a folder tree under the 'Pictures' system folder and a catalog of a subset taken from that folder tree. That's manageable, even if most users make things easier by having only catalogued files in the folder tree, with possibly non catalogued files on a distinct folder tree. The problem is the migration to another computer. The backup and restore and the folder tree copy don't work well together without finding a solution to avoid creating duplicates. You are looking for a way to skip or to overwrite the catalogued files.

Fom your screenshot, I assume that the restore of the backup won't overwrite the already copied files, but create a new distinct folder tree. That duplication is not destructive, so you could always cancel that restore if needed.

So, if I am right in thinking that the restore will create a distinct restored folder tree with redundant empty folder levels abobe Pictures, why not start with that.

Note that the redundant empty folders can be removed by a drag and drop of the Pictures master folder on the left folders panel to the root of the external drive. That can be made just after the restore or after the next step described now.

Since you have a normal copy of your whole folder panel, you can use the explorer to copy and paste individually each of your main original subfolders over the equivalent one in the restored folder tree. You'll be prompted if you want to skip existing files. Try this on your first subfolder and check the result. If that works, repeat the copy for each of those main subfolders.

 

 

 

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New Here ,
Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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Let me backtrack.

 

If I understand well, you have a copy of your 'Pictures' folder on an EHD.

Yes, I copied them to a 2 TB EHD in preparation for the move, outside of Elements, using either Copy-Paste or Copy To. The original 'Pictures' folder is still on drive C of the old PC.

 

You also have on another EHD a full backup of your present catalog.

Yes, I used Elements Backup Catalog to write the backup to a different EHD where I keep the last few generations of my catalog backups.

 

You won't have to reconnect anything.

I don't understand why not. I thought the Elements catalog kept track of not just the path of my photos but the physical drive they are on. Any EHD would be a different physical drive from C on my old PC.

 

Without more testing, I am not absolutely sure about what will happen if you don't overwrite existing files. 

Would it be better if I import ALL of my "Pictures" folder into Elements on my old PC? My old hard drive is very full, but since it's already backed up to an EHD, I could (1) delete everything but my "Pictures" folder, (2) run a defrag on drive C, (3)  import all of my "Pictures" folder, one subfolder at a time to keep it  manageable, knowing that Elements will not reimport photos already in my catalog, and (4) run Catalog Backup one last time before restoring to the new PC.

 

If I don't import all of my "Pictures" folder into Elements and leave it some imported, some not, then you wrote

I am afraid that the restore will also restore all the folder steps above the system 'Pictures' folder, creating a new folder tree without overwriting your files in the Pictures folder of your E drive.

Do you mean the restore will create something like(* E:/Users/Judy/Pictures separate from the (**)  E/Picures I started with?

 

Maybe try to copy one of your E: Pictures subfolder over the equivalent in the restored tree, while skipping existing files.

If that works, you might do that for each other subfolder?

Do you mean I should copy a subfolder from the ** path over the corresponding subfolder in the * path, choosing NOT to overwrite files with the same name? How will I know if it works or not?

 

P.S. I plugged in my EHD drive with "Pictures", "Desktop", and my other high level folders from my old PC and started PE2019. It said "The My Catalog 1 (the name I gave my original PE2019 catalog) file could not be found.

 

After looking at my screen shot of my folders copied to EHD, you wrote 

I am afraid that the restore will also restore all the folder steps above the system 'Pictures' folder, creating a new folder tree without overwriting your files in the Pictures folder of your E drive.

Does this have something to do with "Pictures" being a shortcut? Do we want to overwrite the files in the Pictures folder of my E drive, because the version overwritten by the catalog includes structure info, such as tags, albums, version sets and stacks, etc. that would be lost if did not overwrite?

 

The key risk is to state an incorrect 'custom location folder' for the restore process....A wrong custom folder choice would restore without overwriting the correct files in the destination EHD. 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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Let me backtrack.

 

You won't have to reconnect anything.

I don't understand why not. I thought the Elements catalog kept track of not just the path of my photos but the physical drive they are on. Any EHD would be a different physical drive from C on my old PC.

 

By @judyw46460634

Indeed, if you move files outside of the organizer, you'll have to reconnect. If you use the backup and restore process, the restore does the job of restoring. If you move from the organizer, for instance by dragging your images master folder to a new drive, the move implies updating the catalog to the new location. If you only 'convert' a catalog to a newer PSE version, nothing needs to be updated within the catalog, only the sql database structure, not the data it contains.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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I am afraid that the restore will also restore all the folder steps above the system 'Pictures' folder, creating a new folder tree without overwriting your files in the Pictures folder of your E drive.

Do you mean the restore will create something like(* E:/Users/Judy/Pictures separate from the (**)  E/Picures I started with?

By @judyw46460634

 

Exactly.

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Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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After looking at my screen shot of my folders copied to EHD, you wrote 

I am afraid that the restore will also restore all the folder steps above the system 'Pictures' folder, creating a new folder tree without overwriting your files in the Pictures folder of your E drive.

Does this have something to do with "Pictures" being a shortcut? Do we want to overwrite the files in the Pictures folder of my E drive, because the version overwritten by the catalog includes structure info, such as tags, albums, version sets and stacks, etc. that would be lost if did not overwrite?

 

The key risk is to state an incorrect 'custom location folder' for the restore process....A wrong custom folder choice would restore without overwriting the correct files in the destination EHD. 

 

By @judyw46460634

You are right.

That's why I suggested to run the restore on 'custom location' first. The restore will be 100% functional and distinct from the copies you have made elsewhere in your EHD. The useless top levels of the Pictures shortcut can be dealt with by the drag and drop move within the left folders panel in the organizer in tree mode.

Then, you can use your existing external copy of the files already in the EHD as the source for an Explorer copy over the restored pictures. I have not tried that recently, but I regularly update catalog folder copies from the explorer and I always get a warning to skip existing files. Anyway, it's not a big risk to try on a single subfolder.

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Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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Last week I renamed E/Photos to E/Photos Before Restore (to help me keep straight which version I was working with) and restored the catalog. I opened Elements to check it out and found everything (albums, people, locations, events, ratings, keywords) except Stacks and Version Sets. These showed the top photo with the stack/version set icon, but arrows, menu commands, and right click menu commands to expand the stack were missing or grayed out. (See attached image A.) I could not find images below the top one in the catalog. 

 

Today I tried to copy E/Photos Before Restore/1-Original/2001 Scans Imported over E/My PSE Catalog Restored/Users/Judy/Pictures/1-Original/2001 Scans Imported. Both folders had two images, the front and the back of a single photo. The Elements catalog had only the front image. My understanding is that I do not want to overwrite a restored photo or ceate a duplicate photo. When I copied this folder over the restored folder, it put the copied '2001 Scans Imported' folder inside the restored folder of the same name. It did not ask me about overwriting or which version I wanted to keep, as I expected it would. Is there another way I should be copying to get those messages?

 

So, if I am right in thinking that the restore will create a distinct restored folder tree with redundant empty folder levels abobe Pictures, why not start with that.

Note that the redundant empty folders can be removed by a drag and drop of the Pictures master folder on the left folders panel to the root of the external drive. That can be made just after the restore or after the next step described now.

It made several folder levels above Pictures, but they don't seem empty to me since they have other folders inside them. (See left panel tree on attached image A.) By Pictures master folder, do you mean the one under My PSE Catalog Restored, and not Pictures Before Restore (as copied from the old PC)? And when you say to move this master folder to the root of the external drive, do you mean to move it to the same level as the Desktop, Documents, Dowloads, Music, and Videos folders? I want to be sure I don't mess thing up any more than I already have.

 

Thank you for your help, patience, and expertise.

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 16, 2022 Feb 16, 2022

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Last week I renamed E/Photos to E/Photos Before Restore (to help me keep straight which version I was working with) and restored the catalog. I opened Elements to check it out and found everything (albums, people, locations, events, ratings, keywords) except Stacks and Version Sets. These showed the top photo with the stack/version set icon, but arrows, menu commands, and right click menu commands to expand the stack were missing or grayed out. (See attached image A.) I could not find images below the top one in the catalog. 


By @judyw46460634

The stacks and version sets are perfectly restored, but I believe you are browsing your thumbnails in 'adaptive view' instead of 'Detailed view'. Swith between them with the shortcut Ctrl D. The default choice of adaptative view does hide the small stack and version sets icon.

 

quote

So, if I am right in thinking that the restore will create a distinct restored folder tree with redundant empty folder levels abobe Pictures, why not start with that.

Note that the redundant empty folders can be removed by a drag and drop of the Pictures master folder on the left folders panel to the root of the external drive. That can be made just after the restore or after the next step described now.

It made several folder levels above Pictures, but they don't seem empty to me since they have other folders inside them. (See left panel tree on attached image A.) By Pictures master folder, do you mean the one under My PSE Catalog Restored, and not Pictures Before Restore (as copied from the old PC)? And when you say to move this master folder to the root of the external drive, do you mean to move it to the same level as the Desktop, Documents, Dowloads, Music, and Videos folders? I want to be sure I don't mess thing up any more than I already have.

By @judyw46460634

 

I have found that the best location for an image folder tree is in a 'master' folder just under the E root.

To be safe, when asked for a custom location for restoring, I create my own master folder. The restore will recreate the folder tree just under that master folder and it will also restore the catalog folder (the database assets) under the same master folder.

Don't choose the E drive root as the custom location, but you can choose or create your own new master folder like 'My Photo library'  as you want.

Don't be too worried about some files you might see in the redundant top levels of Pictures. The organizer ignores them and PSE still refers to the original files on C (the slideshow presets etc.)

 

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Mar 13, 2022 Mar 13, 2022

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Hi Michel. Sorry it took me so long to do all that and get back to you. Life got busy.

 

The stacks and version sets are perfectly restored, but I believe you are browsing your thumbnails in 'adaptive view' instead of 'Detailed view'. Swith between them with the shortcut Ctrl D. The default choice of adaptative view does hide the small stack and version sets icon.

I never heard of  'adaptive view', but Ctrl D indeed brought back the stack and version set icons. Thank you!

 

Since you have a normal copy of your whole folder panel, you can use the explorer to copy and paste individually each of your main original subfolders over the equivalent one in the restored folder tree. You'll be prompted if you want to skip existing files. Try this on your first subfolder and check the result. If that works, repeat the copy for each of those main subfolders.

It worked. I did this in smaller chunks and it took me a while. Photos in my Catalog looked like they kept their tags, etc.

 

Note that the redundant empty folders can be removed by a drag and drop of the Pictures master folder on the left folders panel to the root of the external drive. That can be made just after the restore or after the next step described now.

I tackled the redundant folders this weekend, but I think I did it wrong. I created a new 'Photos' folder in Explorer, cut 'My PSE Catalog Restored' in Explorer, and pasted it into 'Photos', also in Explorer. Then, still in Explorer, someone helping me said he deleted the User and Judy folders. It happened so quickly I didn't see it myself. When I got back into Elements all my photos were disconnected, so I ran Reconnect and it worked for almost of them.

 

I don't think what I did to remove the redundant empty folders worked, for two reasons.

(1) I tried to rename 'Photos' to 'Pictures' and got an error message that confused me. See attached screen shot. Why does Windows 11 think renaming 'Photos' means I want to merge or replace 'Pictures Before Restore'?

(2) Back on my old laptop, the Folder tree in Organizer looked like the folder tree in Explorer (minus folders I had not imported into Elements). Now it has many strange folders, including PSE 15.0 files when I'm on 17.0, and User and Judy folders I thought had been deleted. 

 

Rereading your comments, did you mean I should have dragged and dropped inside the Organizer's folder tree? I thought the folder tree was just for viewing photos, not moving them?

 

Also you can see near the bottom of the tree the Camera Club -- Winners folder. I moved a photo into that folder in the last few days and I'm sure I moved it inside Elements with the Move menu option. Why is it on a stub of the folder tree?

 

And lastly, I believe I'm not supposed to directly touch my catalog, other than through Manage Catalog options inside Elements. Correct? If so, should I move the Catalog (inside Element, of course) to Desktop, Documents, or one of those other main folders?

 

If it makes a difference my PC is running Windows 11, which I'm still learning.

 

Thanks again for your sharing your time and expertise to help us out on this forum. 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 14, 2022 Mar 14, 2022

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Rereading your comments, did you mean I should have dragged and dropped inside the Organizer's folder tree? I thought the folder tree was just for viewing photos, not moving them?


By @judyw46460634

 

I'll start with that question because it only requires a short explanation. The folder tree in the organizer's folders tree is a 'trimmed' version of the one of the Explorer since it is meant to display only the files present in the current catalog. Otherwise, you can work in that view the same way as in the Explorer: rename, move or delete files. When you are told not to rename, move or delete files in the Explorer but instead in the organizer, that's when you have to perform those changes in the organizer's folders panel. Exactly the same effect in the Explorer tree. But... doing those changes in the organizer means that those moves are also reflected in the catalog. So, you can reshape or trim your physical folder tree on your disk without losing the connections in the catalog.

Imagine you have all your catalogued files stored under a single master folder. You can move it elsewhere, even to a new external or internal drive from the explorer or from the organizer's folder tree.

The big difference is that the catalog is still totally connected if you used the organizer.

 

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Mar 14, 2022 Mar 14, 2022

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I tackled the redundant folders this weekend, but I think I did it wrong. I created a new 'Photos' folder in Explorer, cut 'My PSE Catalog Restored' in Explorer, and pasted it into 'Photos', also in Explorer. Then, still in Explorer, someone helping me said he deleted the User and Judy folders. It happened so quickly I didn't see it myself. When I got back into Elements all my photos were disconnected, so I ran Reconnect and it worked for almost of them.

 

I don't think what I did to remove the redundant empty folders worked, for two reasons.

(1) I tried to rename 'Photos' to 'Pictures' and got an error message that confused me. See attached screen shot. Why does Windows 11 think renaming 'Photos' means I want to merge or replace 'Pictures Before Restore'?

(2) Back on my old laptop, the Folder tree in Organizer looked like the folder tree in Explorer (minus folders I had not imported into Elements). Now it has many strange folders, including PSE 15.0 files when I'm on 17.0, and User and Judy folders I thought had been deleted. 


By @judyw46460634

 

That's where I need more detailed explanations about the default Windows folders: Pictures, Documents, Photos and more. They are 'sytem' folders with special properties. They were created decades ago by Microsoft to help users using their computer disk space in a logical default organization.

Unfortunately, those 'system' folders need special care to be moved or modified.

Lets be clear, in our case (PSE, but also for Lightroom), I strongly recommend NOT to use the Windows 'system' folders, which means you need to create different new standard master folders. For instance, your situation where the files in your catalog were in the same folder tree than many types of other image files was the main reason of your problems from the start.

Concentrate on the backup and restore process to move to a new disk.

This does not move your system Pictures folder, that creates a folder copy with the same name but without the system features. So you still have the original system folder AND a folder copy, correctly reconnected to the new destination.

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And lastly, I believe I'm not supposed to directly touch my catalog, other than through Manage Catalog options inside Elements. Correct? If so, should I move the Catalog (inside Element, of course) to Desktop, Documents, or one of those other main folders?


By @judyw46460634

 

A catalog is a folder.

That folder must have a default location, but it can be moved or copied anywhere else and the contents are still valid and still point to the same location of your image files. You can perfectly move or copy from the Explorer and then tell the catalog manager where the new location is. For instance, if you do a backup and restore, the catalog folder is recreated on the destination drive/folder. You can use the catalog manager to move the catalog folder back to the default location.

Use the menu Help >> System information of the organizer to check the real location of your catalog.

Anyway, in your case, the solution is not in moving or changing anything in the catalog folder.

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