Problems restoring PSE 2019 catalog with Photoshop Elements 2020

New Here ,
Jul 17, 2020 Jul 17, 2020

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I am a long-time user of PSE. I have thousands of photos, all annotated. I would really hate to lose all this data.

 

Previously I had PSE 2019, but it became unusable when I updated to MacOS Catalina. Before I updated, I did a full catalog backup to an external disk.

 

My photos are on the Mac’s internal disk in a sub-folder, organized into a folder structure that makes sense to me. This structure had not changed from pre-Catalina installation. I restored these photo folders and files from other backups.

 

I installed PSE 2020 just today & did a catalog restore from the external disk. I should mention that I am using a custom location for the catalog.

 

The first time I tried the restore, I neglected to select “Restore original folder structure”. It restored the catalog data successfully, but flattened out the folder structure so now I had duplicate folders (with duplicate files) in the top level, as well as lower in the folder structure. For example, if I had photos in “~/myPictures/myTravels/EuropeTrip/Madrid”, the catalog restoration created a new folder with the same photos in “~/myPictures/Madrid”. The catalog pointed to the new folder, not the original folder.

 

This was unacceptable. So I tried again. I renamed the newly created catalog folders so that PSE would think there was no catalog. I did the restore again, this time requesting that it restore the original folder structure. This time it created an entirely new folder structure, duplicating the entire file path (from root) within my pictures folder. Using the example above, I now have “~/myPictures/Users/myName/myPictures/myTravels/EuropeTrip/Madrid”. Again I have duplicate folders with duplicated photos in the wrong place.

 

What did I do wrong? How do I get the catalog restored and pointing to the existing files in the existing folder structure?

 

Are these the only options: restore folders in a flattened folder structure or duplicate my entire user folder under my photos folder?

 

Is there some way to just move the folders back into their correct place?

 

Is there some way to just restore the catalog without restoring the photos?

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Mac , Organizer , Problem or error

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Jul 17, 2020 Jul 17, 2020

The short answer is that what you should have done when installing PSE2020 is to simply accept the message asking you to 'convert' the previous catalog. A restore from a full backup is not needed. The conversion means the old catalog is read and all its contents are recovered in a new catalog in the latest database format. If you miss that opportunity, it's still possible to do the conversion from the catalog manager of PSE2020. The conversion process is much faster than a backup followed by a r

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Community Expert ,
Jul 17, 2020 Jul 17, 2020

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The short answer is that what you should have done when installing PSE2020 is to simply accept the message asking you to 'convert' the previous catalog. A restore from a full backup is not needed. The conversion means the old catalog is read and all its contents are recovered in a new catalog in the latest database format. If you miss that opportunity, it's still possible to do the conversion from the catalog manager of PSE2020. The conversion process is much faster than a backup followed by a restore and nothing is altered in your 'custom' media folders tree.

 

Now, I assume the restored catalog is working normally and your problem is the (unused) duplicates created in your last attempts. You have your own 'custom' master folder, which is good. The most obvious way in your case seems to create a new custom master folder and restore there with the original folder structure and then to use the Finder to delete everything under the old custom master folder. Or, if you don't have enough diskspace, you delete first and restore after.

 

 

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New Here ,
Jul 19, 2020 Jul 19, 2020

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You called it. I renamed the current master folder to hide it. I then restored the old master folder from my backup, including the last used catalog from PSE 2019 (which I neglected to do before, not knowing exactly where it was). I was able to  convert that catalog to PSE 2020 and all is well. Notes & data & images in place with no duplicates. Now I just need to bring the restored master folder up to date. It's missing some recent files. But that definitely beats hunting down & deleting duplicates.

 

Thanks for the great info. I now understand under the PSE hood better.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 17, 2020 Jul 17, 2020

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Is there some way to just move the folders back into their correct place?

The problem is to delete selectively the duplicate subfolders.

Is there some way to just restore the catalog without restoring the photos?

In your case, you need simply to convert the catalog. Generally you can always copy or move the whole catalog folder somewhere else, even in a new drive, partition or master folder. The contents are not changed. The location of the catalog is given by the menu Help >> system infomation.

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New Here ,
Sep 15, 2020 Sep 15, 2020

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Hi Michel,

 

1. We had to replace our ancient MacBook Pro with a new MacBook Air. After a successful migration, we upgraded our Elements 15 to Elements 2020. The installation was successful except for:

 

1. We had three catalogs on the old MBPro E15 version. Only one of the 3 moved over to E2020. Have tried to follow directions from the support pages to restore the other two but to no avail. We have all the previous photos and back-ups stored on a dedicated external hard drive and it appeared that the E2020 found one of the three catalogs. 

 

2. One restore catalog file attempt indicates that at least one of the two missing catalogs exists already. We don't know how to reconnect that catalog so Elements Organizer recognizes it. Any ideas besides calling tech support and wait for hours?

 

We're in our 70's and it's quite challenging to navigate all the changes, the tech language, etc. We only purchased Elements 2020 September 4 or 5 and have not been able to do it despite many attempts to find support. I also purchased a second Elements 2020 for my own laptop but I've been so absorbed in getting my husband's program working to start the great reorganizing of my own files on Elements 2020.  Any advice is so appreciated. 

 

Jade

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Sep 16, 2020 Sep 16, 2020

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Jade,

When installing a new version the organizer searches for the last used catalog and prompts you to convert it.

If you have several catalogs, either in the default location or on 'custom' location, it's up to you decide which catalogs to convert.

In the catalog manager (menu File >> manage catalogs) you have a button 'Convert'.

In the dialog that opens, you are shown a number of catalogs with their versions and number of items.

You also have the option to click on the button 'Find more catalogs' to browse to the custom location. You can also tick the box to show already converted catalogs (you can convert them again).

Can you fnd your other catalogs from this menu?

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New Here ,
Sep 16, 2020 Sep 16, 2020

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Dear Michel,

 

You're the best! This is the second time I've benefited from your expertise and generosity. Why can't Adobe support provide the clarity you did. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Guided by your response, we were able to convert the catalogs for use in E2020. All is well and he no longer despair the possible loss of years of work. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Jade

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Community Expert ,
Sep 16, 2020 Sep 16, 2020

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Jade,

I am very happy that it worked as designed.

Just a note about Adobe Help.

There is a good online help doc about catalogs. Practically all users of this forum ignore the 'Resources' section on the top right of this page; in the 'Troubleshooting' section, There is a subsection about Catalogs, including this paper:

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop-elements/kb/backup-restore-move-catalog-photoshop.html

 

You also have 'Similar discussions' for each new discussion. Unfortunately, many users would prefer only discussions about Elements rather than all Adobe softwares.

 

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New Here ,
Sep 16, 2020 Sep 16, 2020

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Thanks again, Michel. I’ve saved it.

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New Here ,
Jan 12, 2022 Jan 12, 2022

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I upgraded from PSE13 to PSE22 and from an old computer to a new one. I have all my files stored on an external drive “L” in a folder structure that makes sense to me. I did a full back up on this external drive and moved the drive over to my new computer. I installed PSE22 and did a catalog restore from the external disk. I am using a custom location (another external drive “M”) for the catalog.

I was getting errors and/or interruptions when I tried to restore the catalog from the hard drive to the original location (also used the restore original folder structure), so I restored it to M instead to see if I would get the same error. I didn’t and the restore process was successful, but not I created a new problem because I did not want everything on “M”. I want my files on “L” & my catalog on “M”. Also, in this process, it copied all my files onto “M” as well leaving me with 2 sets of files (which is nice but I don’t want this) and pointing me to the wrong location as I want them pointing to “L”.

What would you recommend I do? I’ve read everything I can get my hands on including https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop-elements/kb/backup-restore-move-catalog-photoshop.html and I just don’t dare to anything more to mess this up without just asking.

Sincerely,

Amy

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Community Expert ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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@amyv51121071 

To be clear,  am I right in thinking that the restore on 'custom' location has succeeded (you can use your restored catalog folder on M to manage restored photo files also on M)?

And that you would like to use the catalog folder on M (the database) to manage your original photo files on L?

 

Your previous restore attempt may have cluttered your L drive with unneeded files, but there is no immediate danger in your situation. So, if you confirm what you want to do exactly, we'll try to find the easiest solution in your case, which has the same particularity as the one of the original poster of that discussion: both of you are starting with a photo files tree already in an external drive.

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New Here ,
Jan 13, 2022 Jan 13, 2022

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 The restore on custom location has succeeded and when I posted last night that was my intent; to use the catalog folder on "M", however running PSE22 on "M" has proven to be extremely slow, so I did a backup catalog structure overnight onto my hard drive "C" and am running PSE22 from that location now. It is running smoother and is not stuck rendering/hanging. I'll keep my catalog here "C", but I still need to deal with the duplicate folder structure & catalog on "M" that I created during the backup and restore process. I'd like to get my folder structure pulling from or pointed to "L" which is the preferred drive and the drive I'd been using to save my files. I'm fine with leaving the catalog location on "C".  

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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quote

 The restore on custom location has succeeded and when I posted last night that was my intent; to use the catalog folder on "M", however running PSE22 on "M" has proven to be extremely slow, so I did a backup catalog structure overnight onto my hard drive "C" and am running PSE22 from that location now. It is running smoother and is not stuck rendering/hanging. I'll keep my catalog here "C", but I still need to deal with the duplicate folder structure & catalog on "M" that I created during the backup and restore process. I'd like to get my folder structure pulling from or pointed to "L" which is the preferred drive and the drive I'd been using to save my files. I'm fine with leaving the catalog location on "C".  

 

By @amyv51121071

You can move or copy a catalog folder to another location, that does not change the links in the database. Generally, the speed difference for the location of the catalog folder is not really noticeable, so I prefer to keep it in the same external drive as the photo files tree.

You should probably forget what you have done and start with the recommended way in your situation where you don't want to move you photo files, but you want to 'convert' your catalog to the new version.

Let's say you have installed PSE2022 and you have the 'M' drive 'L' drive [edited] plugged in. What is missing? the catalog on the old computer. The catalog folder is probably on the hidden default location on C drive. Menu Help >> System Info to find the folder.

So, just copy the whole folder and paste it on the 'L' drive just under the root drive, beside your photo files tree. Then, the catalog manager of PSE2022 organizer will be able to find it and convert it. The converted catalog will be on 'M'. You can move ir copy it to the default C drive location to see if that makes a speed difference, which I doubt.

 

Note that there is no simple way to update a catalog to point to a different drive. The catalog does not trust drive letters, it works on internal drive identifications. Only fiddling within the sqlite database will be able to update the drive identification provided the paths are exactly the same on both drives.

 

The above solution (catalog folder copy plus conversion) is much faster than a backup and restore and it does not change anything to your photo files or original catalog folder.

 

 

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New Here ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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Before I do what you have recommended, I wanted to ask and see if I could copy the whole catalog folder (catalog.pse16) and paste it on the 'L' drive just under the root drive instead? Would the converted catalog then point to 'L' instead of 'M'?  If not, I'll still do what you've recommended above. 

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022

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quote

Before I do what you have recommended, I wanted to ask and see if I could copy the whole catalog folder (catalog.pse16) and paste it on the 'L' drive just under the root drive instead? Would the converted catalog then point to 'L' instead of 'M'?  If not, I'll still do what you've recommended above. 


By @amyv51121071

 

Sorry, I just re-read my previous post and realized that I stated the 'M' drive instead of the 'L' drive on which you still have your original photo files trees... I have edited that post, again very sorry!

 

I'll rephrase my answer to cover the common situation when:

- what I call your 'library' (the photo/video folders tree) is on an external drive known with the letter 'L'

- the current catalog folder is NOT on the same 'L' drive; maybe on the default location on C or another drive

- you want to move to a new computer AND at the same time upgrade to a new Elements version.

 

Then you don't need to move or copy the library with the backuup and restore process.

- You need to find the catalog folder from the old computer, menu Help >> System Information. By default, it's a hidden folder under ProgramData, but it can be anywhere else.

- Copy and paste the whole folder (containing the main database catalog.pseXXdb) to the 'L' drive which already contains the library; copy it just under the root drive of 'L', beside (not inside) the master folder of the library.

- [optional] You can check that you can work with the copied catalog folder just like with the original catalog. The simplest way is to double click the 'catalog.pseXXdb' file which will open the organizer with that catalog;  or you can use the catalog manager to navigate to the new location on 'L' and open.

- Now, use the new computer to install the new version of Elements.

- plug in the 'L' drive

- verify that the drive still has the 'L' letter in Windows. Otherwise, use the Windows disk manager to assign the same 'L' letter (see note ***)

- Open the organizer of the new Elements version and choose the 'convert' option in the program manager.

- Navigate to the copied catalog folder and click convert. Wait for the conversion to run totally. A new catalog foldeer is created from the old version one, the old one is renamed with a -1 suffix. The new converted catalog is now available and remembered in the 'custom' location when you use the catalog manager.

- In rare cases, you might have to do another conversion, so don't hurry to delete the old source catalog. It does not take much space.

 

Note ***

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-assign-permanent-drive-letter-windows-10

In the event when the drive does not appear with the letter 'L' in Windows, the converted catalog may work, or seem to work because the internal serial number of  'L' is recognized; I am not sure however that you won't have issues later on for backups for instance.

 

 

 

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New Here ,
Feb 02, 2022 Feb 02, 2022

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Thank you! This worked well and the conversion from 13 to 22 went smoothly. My old catalog folder was renamed with a -1 suffix and my new one was created from the old version. I have my pictures stored (and backed up) on an external drive and my catalog folder stored on my hard drive. Is this what is best recommended?

 

Is there any reason you see to keep this old -1 catalog folder? Likewise, is there any reason you see that the old catalog.pse13db (on "L") should be kept?

 

Lastly, am I safe to delete the initial back-up that was put on "M" (the photos and the catalog folder)?

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 02, 2022 Feb 02, 2022

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quote

Is there any reason you see to keep this old -1 catalog folder? Likewise, is there any reason you see that the old catalog.pse13db (on "L") should be kept?

 

Lastly, am I safe to delete the initial back-up that was put on "M" (the photos and the catalog folder)?

 


By @amyv51121071

 

in my own experienc there comes a time when you have worked as expected with the new catalog testing your usual features. The final test is to create a new full backup. You can consider the full backup folder as trustworthy enough if the backup folder includes a backup.tly file file. (Theoretically, the only 100% criteria is the ability to create a new restore...)

When you have this new backup folder, you are safe to delete the old catalog and backup folders.

Note that a number of ussers want to keep both the old PSE version and the newer ones when moving to another computers. The reason is generally that an old feature is no longer available in the new version (customizable slideshows for instance). Thn it makse sense to keep the backup folders of those old versions.

 

 

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New Here ,
Feb 02, 2022 Feb 02, 2022

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Very well, that makes sense. Thank you for your expertise. I really appreciate you on this community!

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