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Procedure for BU/Restoring all Elements Organizer Info upon Fresh Install of Windows

Community Beginner ,
Feb 03, 2024 Feb 03, 2024

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Background (giving more information than may be necessary but don't know what is important): Have about 40,000 photos/videos all people (using facial recognition)-places tagged using Photoshop Elements Organizer 2023.  All the photos are in a "master folder" on my F drive.  The program is located on my C drive.  I have about 5 other drives installed on the desktop computer.  Due to various reasons (long story), I am going to convert the physical C drive (m.2) into a storage only drive and ultimately it will have a different drive letter.  I am putting in a new physical drive (2.5" SSD) where I plan to do a fresh install of Windows 11.  After the windows install, I am putting back the remaining drives on different SATA ports than originally.  The F drive (containing the master photos) will have a different drive letter and be on a different SATA port.  I have made a full backup of the PE Organizer Catalog & Catalog Structure and put on an internal 18TB drive (which will ultimately be on a different SATA port & with a different drive letter).  I've copied the current PE Organizer Catalogs on the C drive to the 18TB drive as well.

 

Question is how to ensure I get everything back with all photo/video tags without issue.  My thought process is:

 

1.  After installing Windows, install Photoshop Elements on the "new" C drive

2. Copy the backup of the catalogs into the C:/ProgramData/Adobe/Elements Organizer/Catalogs.  (not sure if I should do this.  Maybe just a restore of the Full Backup is needed.  Please advise.  This full backup also contains all photos & videos.  Concerned that I could have 2 copies of everything if I restore to same location as original "master" photo folder.)

3. If I do #2, the "master" of all photos/videos will not have changed other than the drive is on a new SATA port & a drive letter.  What do I do next to link the "master" folder to the catalog.  How do I use the BU of the Catalog Structure.

 

So I need help on the correct procedure.  Don't want to screw this up.  Too much work invested in the tagging of people/places.

 

Thanks for any help.

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How to , Organizer , Windows

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Community Expert ,
Feb 03, 2024 Feb 03, 2024

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My big question is why are you changing the media F drive to a different letter?  My strong recommendation is that you keep it as your F drive.  Everything else will fall into place. 

 

  • Yes, once you have installed Windows on your new system drive, install Elements there.
  • It would be optional whether you copy the catalog drive from your old system drive to the new one.  A catalog folder can be anywhere you choose it to be.  If you don't put it in the default location on your C drive, you have the benefits of less storage on your system drive and less chances of problems if your system drive fails for any reason.  (Automatic catalog backups will still be saved there if you have that option turned on.)  The only downside is that you need to navigate to the folder if engaging in any Catalog Manager operations rather than the default location.
  • If you retain the drive letter assignment of your F Drive, you can simply navigate to the catalog on your old system drive and double-click on the catalog.pse21db file and your existing catalog should open automatically in the Organizer.
  • Catalog folders are not linked to the catalog; they are the catalog.  See my previous point.
  • If you follow my advice, there is no need to touch your backups.  They will remain safe for any future issues, if you have full backups.  If you are using incremental backups, there may be some other issues if you change drive letter assignments for the backup drives.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 03, 2024 Feb 03, 2024

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Bummer...was trying to avoid the long explanation.  The computer is a home built and my 18th.  This is my fun.

 

1.  My current C drive is a WD SN850x.  Many of us owners have had issues with this drive due to the NVMe driver which has caused some issues like BSODs in certain situations.  This is a WD issue.  Some have proposed a Micron Driver to resolve the issues.  Don't want to go down that path.  On top of that, I previously upgraded from W10 where I should have done a clean install but didn't.  The WD SN850x, has more partitions than the 3 necessary for Windows.  How the additional partitions got there, don't know.  Maybe part of the problem causing BSODs, maybe not.  I've had strange issues with the drive being the boot drive so decided to resolve the issue once and for all by making it a storage drive.  It is a high performance drive that I use for certain applications requiring high R/W speeds so its better to be a storage drive anyway..  I have to physically remove the m.2 drive from the MB before installing Windows on the new drive (disconnecting all other drives).  The m.2 SN850x will be temporarily put into an external enclosure where it will be partition wiped and cleaned.  After Windows is installed, the m.2 drive will be put back into the MB.

2. Although many of the articles on SATA say that it doesn't matter which SATA port one uses, that is not quite the case.  If the boot drive is on a higher SATA port # than another drive and then you remove that lower SATA port drive, the assigned drive IDs will automatically change making the system unbootable as the boot drive assigned ID will have changed.  Unfortunately, the current F drive is on SATA port #1.  That is where I 'll be putting the new drive.  This forces a ripple impact on the other drives.  I tend to repurposed old drives for various uses so this scenario is very possible.  

3.  You mentioned in your 3rd bullet, that if I retain my F drive assignment (which I won't per above) I could navigate to my old system drive.  To be clear, this old C drive (WD SN850x) will have been wiped.  So this won't be possible, however I will have backups per my original post.

4.  So I am not sure you've answered my original question.  Hopefully I've explained what I'm doing and why.  So if the drive (originally F) containing the master photo collection has a new drive letter, what should be the procedure for ensuring a successful restore.

 

Does this answer your question?  Can you propose a solution for reliably restoring the catalog?

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 03, 2024 Feb 03, 2024

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Something just popped into my head after I posted my reply.  I believe it is possible to retain the F drive letter but it wasn't part of my original strategy.  Since I was "fixing" other issues requiring a lot of time, I thought why not change the drive letters that make organizational sense.  So as I use the computer for a number of different things, changing the drive letter to force it to show up in File Explorer in an order I want made sense.  In the end though, I could do what you suggest.  I'll keep that drive as F if the alternate procedure if I do change drive letter is a significant pain with risk of loosing the catalog data.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 03, 2024 Feb 03, 2024

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Sorry last part was not properly edited.  It should say.  "I'll keep that drive as F if the alternate procedure is a significant pain with risk of loosing the catalog data.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 03, 2024 Feb 03, 2024

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Can't you change the boot drive assignment in the BIOS?  And if that changes the current assignments, you can easily change the drive letter of whatever F becomes back to F.

 

If you insist on restoring your full backup, then take a look at this HelpX article.  Let us know if that does not answer all of your questions about the process. 

 

 

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Community Expert ,
Feb 03, 2024 Feb 03, 2024

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You cross-posted with me.  So, yes, I stand by my original recommendation.  While it is highly unlikely you will lose any information, there are a number of house-keeping issues that can crop up (if you do a catalog restore).

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 03, 2024 Feb 03, 2024

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First thanks for being so responsive.  I know from the past that you're a great resource.  Thank you!

 

Drive letter assignment in Windows is easy via a built-in tool called Disk Management.  In this case, no need to enter the bios.   The reason I shared all the information about SATA ports is I didn't know whether PSE uses assigned drive IDs (this is different than drive letter) to match data with physical drive.  If it did, SATA port # would be important.  For example, Macrium Reflect (my backup software) and VeraCrypt (encryption software) do use assigned IDs so I have to be cognizant when changing SATA port order.

 

So in this case, too much information given.  It sounds like PSE only cares about drive letter.  This just makes me have to rethink the drive order in File Explorer that looks good to me.  It won't be ideal but close enough I guess.

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