I want to buy a new computer, but am daunted by the process of moving the Photoshop Elements catalog to the new computer. The new computer will have both a SSD drive and a spinning disk drive. I have too many photos and videos to fit on the SSD drive, so my photo and video library will go on the disk drive. The spinning disk drive willl have a different root drive letter than the SSD drive, so I can't simply copy the photo and video library to the new disc, as the Catalog will never find them in the new computer since they are in a new root drive letter. My understanding is that the solution to this problem is to back up the catalog on the old computer to an external drive, then restore the backup from the external drive to the spinning disk drive on the new computer, keeping the tree structure intact. So far, so good, but there is an additional complication.
Just as in the days of print photos, people had loose photos and photos in albums, so also I have photos that are in the photo library but not in the Photoshop Catalog. So how do I get the "loose photos" that are not catalogued in Photoshop to the new computer without interfering with the backup/ restore process. I suppose that after the restore process I could inspect the restored tree structure for missing folders and sub-folders, but that would be a long and inexact process. What else could I do? If I first copy the entire photo folder tree structure to the new computer, and then restore the Photoshop catalog to the new computer, what would happen? Would Photoshop tell me that the folder being restored already exists and do I want to replace it? Would it create a second folder at the restore relocation? Would the whole process abend? What should I do?
The very precise description of your issue shows it can apply more generally to any situation where you have to restore "loose photos" not in a catalog. By the way, that would be the case if your library is split between two or more catalogs. In which case, you would have to restore each catalog with the backup/restore process.
Restoring several times means overwriting media files which are included in the different catalogs. Indeed, the restore process would warn you to overwrite the already present file.
Similarly, if you start by doing a simple copy of your media folder tree before the restore, you'll be warned, and everything will work as expected.
The tricky question for you is to be sure that the copy and the restore will be exactly the same; same master folder, same tree structure.
I would suggest to create a temporary test catalog to test the process: a folder with subfolders and a few "loose" items. The easiest way would be to import that folder and to voluntarily 'delete' from catalog but NOT from disk.
- If you want your library to be restored under a master folder like 'Restored Catalog' on the destination drive, copy the above folder as a subfolder of Restored Catalog.
- Do the backup and restore. Choose 'Custom location', that is the Restored Catalog folder, and don't check to keep the folder structure. The existing structure will be kept, but the restore will not create intermediate hierarchy steps including your user and 'Pictures' folders above the main library folder.
- You'll see if the restore finds the already present files and asks you to overwrite (two warning messages). If you get those messages, you are good to do the process with all your catalogs after deleting everything under the custom destination folder.
Note that the restore also stores the restored catalog folder just under the custom destination. As discussed in a recent conversation, It's your choice to keep the catalog there or to move it back to the default location on your system drive. Remember you can always use the explorer to copy or move a catalog folder where you want.
I believe that if my new computer had a single drive instead of both SSD and HD drives, there would not be this problem. In both the old and new computer the photo library tree would be under the same root drive, C:\. Then if I copied the entire photo library and the Catalog folder from old to new, under the same user name in both, I would not have to do a backup and restore nor a reconnect photos because each JPEG file would be in the same relative position to the same root drive, under the same folder names, and the Catalog now in the new computer would find each JPEG file in the new computer just where they relatively were in the old computer. It’s the fact that I am using two drives, and the drive letter in the new computer where the JPEG files are will not be C:\ that greatly complicates the solution. Is my thinking on this correct?
If so, is there something I can do in Windows 10 to rename root drives, so I can call the HD drive containing the photo files C:\, and the SSD drive something else? What un-anticipated problems might that cause?
BTW, this problem applies to Videos as well. My video library contains both Slideshows created by Photoshop Elements in a WMV format and movies created by Premier Elements in a MPG format. The slideshows are catalogued, but the movies are not. The backup and restore will only move the slideshows, not the movies.