Duplicate Backup Files

Explorer ,
Feb 15, 2021 Feb 15, 2021

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I just installed Photoshop elements 2021 (version 19.0.0.0 oddly enough) on a new Win10 PC.  After importing my file from another PC and PE 2014, I made a backup of my data on my F:\ drive.  A week later, I edited some files and accepted the prompt to backup my work and another backup was created on C drive (C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs).  The catalog manager only displays the first one on F: drive (where I want it) and labels it as “current”.  The System Information only identifies the one on C drive.

 

I want to specify where all backups are to go (F: drive).  I can’t find that option, and I'm confused as to why these two views are different.  How do I fix this?

 

Thanks.

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 15, 2021 Feb 15, 2021

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Hi WSC33,

 

Thanks for reaching out to Adobe forums.

To clear the concept of two backup types, the backup you saved on F:\ drive is the manual backup of your catalog. Here, you can specify the backup location of your choice. Using this backup file, you can later restore your catalog either on same or a different pc.

The automatic backup that is by default saved on C:\ drive, has its significance in auto restoring the corrupted catalog on same pc. In case your catalog gets corrupted, catalog manager will identify its automatic backup on c drive (at: C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs\_AutoBackup_) and will automatically restore the corrupted catalog, saving your time to create everything from scratch.

I hope this answers your query.

 

Thanks!

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Explorer ,
Feb 16, 2021 Feb 16, 2021

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You know, that makes sense to me but the odd thing is that both folders are almost exactly the same size, contain very close to the same number of files, and have the same folder structure.  There are no photos in either backup.  I'm not sure why I need two different backups that contain the same information. The first is just out of date.

 

And why would I use this older one when there is another more current version that I only learned about by accident?   I must have been asked at the beginning where to put the first catalog backup (F: drive), and I assumed my backups on exit would keep it current.  I didn’t get asked for the second folder to be created.  I was prompted for permission to backup the catalog that ended up on C drive when I exited the program.  I don’t consider that automatic.  I went looking for the other (C:)  when I noticed that the F:\ drive one didn’t have any new files or updated dates.

 

I understand the need to back up the catalog, but I'm not sure why I can’t specify where it should go nor why I don’t see both of these backups in Catalog Manager and in the System Information view.  BTW, both catalog backups have the same name, but as I noted, the first is not being updated with the current catalog information.

 

What am I not getting?

 

Thanks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 16, 2021 Feb 16, 2021

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Much too dangerous to specify only the  drive for the backup.

You must specify a distinct destination folder each time.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 16, 2021 Feb 16, 2021

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I just installed Photoshop elements 2021 (version 19.0.0.0 oddly enough) on a new Win10 PC.  After importing my file from another PC and PE 2014, I made a backup of my data on my F:\ drive.  A week later, I edited some files and accepted the prompt to backup my work and another backup was created on C drive (C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs).  The catalog manager only displays the first one on F: drive (where I want it) and labels it as “current”.  The System Information only identifies the one on C drive.

 

I want to specify where all backups are to go (F: drive).  I can’t find that option, and I'm confused as to why these two views are different.  How do I fix this?

 

Thanks.


By @WSC33

You say:

I made a backup of my data on my F:\ drive. 

How?

Did you use the catalog manager to create a backup with the option to backup the file structure (without the media files)?

Did you only specify the F: drive (the root folder) without creating a folder to store the resulting the backup folder?

It's always a bad idea to store your data directly in the root folder. The worst result is that if you start a new backup, everything will be mixed together and totally unuseable. Whether you want to create a full backup, and incremental backup or a catalog structure one, you have create your destination folder;  preferably with a clear folder name, specifying the type and the date of the backup.

 

You say:

"...and accepted the prompt to backup my work and another backup was created on C drive (C:\Users\user\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs)"

Depending on your preferences, PSE2021 (version 19 - 19th version since the first version in 2002 ) offers a new automatic backup feature by making a copy of the catalog folder (minus the thumbnail cache, which is the bigger part and does not need to be copied since it can be recreated automatically.)

I suppose you have agreed to the prompt when exiting the organizer. That's the automatic part commented by @yachikag65468126 

 

If I am right, you now have two versions of the catalog structure backup.

The first one is voluntary and created and restore from the catalog manager. It's also much longer to process.

The second one is automatic and very fast; it's restored automatically when crashes are recorded in the system.

 

Anyway, the important thing to keep in mind is that both solutions don't backup the media files. And there is a much simpler solution, available to all versions of Elements: just copy periodically the catalog folder as a backup on your external drive. You find that catalog folder from the menu 'Help >> System Information'

 

 

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Explorer ,
Feb 17, 2021 Feb 17, 2021

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“You say: I made a backup of my data on my F:\ drive. How?

Did you use the catalog manager to create a backup with the option to backup the file structure (without the media files)? Did you only specify the F: drive (the root folder) without creating a folder to store the resulting the backup folder?”

 

To be honest, I don’t remember, but I suppose I did as you suggested, and I stored the backup in a folder called “F:\Scott Elements 2021 Catalog” on my F drive which is reserved exclusively for my photos and related data.  I'm assuming this means that, yes, I stored it in a folder on the root drive of F:\ or are you suggesting that the folder "Scott Elements 2021 Catalog" must be a subfolder under another folder?  And when I do a backup I should create a whole new folder instead of updating the existing one?  Is this what PSE does on the automatic auto-backup?  I mean, does it create a new date-specific catalog backup each time? I see no sense in creating multiple backups, just keeping the existing one reasonably current.  Am I missing something?

 

Yes, I have two versions as you describe.  I realize that they don’t backup the media.  I handle that via my backup program to an external drive (obviously along with my other files).  After a disaster, I would put media files back and then look to PSE to reapply the catalog.  

 

Am I missing anything?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 18, 2021 Feb 18, 2021

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I totally agree that it is confusing to choose among the various solutions for your backup strategy, and that is particularly true for the 'catalog folder structure backup' in PSE2021.

Not widely known and never suggested in help docs for previous versions:

- finding the location of the catalog folder and using the explorer to manually copy it where you want. Typically in an external drive or a dedicated OneDrive, Dropbox or Google drive synced folder.

- including the path of your catalog folder in your usual external backup software.

- Using 'syncing tools' like Microsoft SyncToy or Syncredible to sync the catalog folder to another drive.

 

New in PSE2021:

The 'automatic' catalog feature is well implemented in my opinion. I have set it to ask on exit. It will protect against user errors and software bugs. It checks for errors. It is remarkably fast. I don't see any drawback to using it even with other backup strategies.

New again, the option for the traditional backup procedure to offer catalog structure backup additionally to full and incremental backups. Not automatic, much slower. Good for longtime users using the full backups. Probably the best if you want to keep versions of different dates.

I recommend to test both and choose for one's own situation.

 

I handle that via my backup program to an external drive (obviously along with my other files). After a disaster, I would put media files back and then look to PSE to reapply the catalog.

Maybe you are missing that external backups can only restore the files and the catalog ONLY on the original drive. The restored catalog points to the original drive, not the new drive or computer. All your files are 'disconnected'. Good luck to reconnect!  Just try to restore on a new spare external drive or partition and report back.

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Explorer ,
Feb 18, 2021 Feb 18, 2021

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If the auto backup folder were taking up a lot of room, I would create a junction point (MKLink), a command line feature I had to use years ago when I had a small SSD for my boot drive and Apple insisted on backing up my iDevices to the root and it took up many gigs I didn’t have.  I'm inferring that this auto-catalog feature will not get much bigger than it is now, so I won’t sweat it.  True? 

 

I totally agree the auto backup is a great thing, easy to use, and fast. 

 

About my backup plan, I guess I wasn’t clear.  If my current hard drive died, I would replace it, partition another F:\ drive on it, and copy all of the files back to it from the external back up exactly as they are now.  I would then expect the catalog backup to restore PSE metadata to my collection since the replacement drive mirrors what used to be there.  Is there a problem with this approach? 

 

BTW: I'm a big fan of SyncToy but had a heck of a time getting it to install on my new computer as I searched for the right (read: older) version of .NET.  The download place on Microsoft’s site for Synctoy is gone, but there’s nothing else like it that I have found. You mentioned what I presume is a similar program that will sync in each direction, source and destination, called Syncredible which I would like to check out, but a Google search didn’t give me much. 

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 19, 2021 Feb 19, 2021

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If the auto backup folder were taking up a lot of room, I would create a junction point (MKLink), a command line feature I had to use years ago when I had a small SSD for my boot drive and Apple insisted on backing up my iDevices to the root and it took up many gigs I didn’t have.  I'm inferring that this auto-catalog feature will not get much bigger than it is now, so I won’t sweat it.  True? 

You can check that the autobackup folder has a reasonable size.

Otherwise, I would totally avoid any advanced solutions like syncing backups like Time Machine or symbolic links, which don't play well with the 'basic' file management in the organizer. May seem to work well but are like time bombs when working with backup restores.

I totally agree the auto backup is a great thing, easy to use, and fast.

Right.

 

About my backup plan, I guess I wasn’t clear.  If my current hard drive died, I would replace it, partition another F:\ drive on it, and copy all of the files back to it from the external back up exactly as they are now.  I would then expect the catalog backup to restore PSE metadata to my collection since the replacement drive mirrors what used to be there.  Is there a problem with this approach? 

Yes. Once again, the replacement drive mirrors the original if you are cloning. Otherwise the files location in the catalog show the original drive identification by its internal serial number, not by its drive letter. Everything is missing. If you clone, you get the other trap: if you reuse the original drive together with the new restored drive, you'll get two similar drives in the catalog which will completely fool the organizer.

Take the time to look at the help file of John R Ellis's psedbtool software:

https://johnrellis.com/psedbtool/#_Writing_File_Metadata

BTW: I'm a big fan of SyncToy but had a heck of a time getting it to install on my new computer as I searched for the right (read: older) version of .NET.  The download place on Microsoft’s site for Synctoy is gone, but there’s nothing else like it that I have found. You mentioned what I presume is a similar program that will sync in each direction, source and destination, called Syncredible which I would like to check out, but a Google search didn’t give me much. 

 

Thanks.

 

 

 


By @WSC33

Same problem for me to install Synctoy lately into a new W10 computer. I am testing syncredible, based on a recommendation on another forum.

 

https://www.ascompsoftware.com/en/products/synchredible/tab/details

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Explorer ,
Feb 19, 2021 Feb 19, 2021

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Well I certainly didn’t know that PSE is linked to some internal serial number.  Why is the world would they make it so complicated?  Yeah, I know that they have their own backup system, but still, what value does this degree of complication provide?  I guess they have a reason, but the user prefers simplicity.

 

I can do a full system back up but it’s takes a while and then takes a really long time to back up that large folder and 80k files therein to my external drives too.  Maybe once I do a full backup and then just do incrementals, the external backups will be much faster.  Thanks for your input.  I had no idea.

 

Move SyncToy to your new computer by copying the two SyncToy folders and then try to execute it.  I got an error and an offer by the software to grab the right version of .Net and install it.  The software did so, and I was up and running.  I was astonished….

 

I was a big fan of Ellis’ metadata embedding tool in a previous version of PSE, maybe 11.  When I moved to 14, he told me that it no longer worked with the new database that Adobe had transitioned to.   I see all of his warnings about serial number, drives types, etc.  Great.

 

 I do use Adobe’s option to embed metadata when I have filled a subfolder with all the photos that will go there.  I guess that offers another level of protection.   

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 19, 2021 Feb 19, 2021

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"Well I certainly didn’t know that PSE is linked to some internal serial number. Why is the world would they make it so complicated? Yeah, I know that they have their own backup system, but still, what value does this degree of complication provide? I guess they have a reason, but the user prefers simplicity."

There is nothing simpler on the contrary, except that even advanced Windows users are not aware of the internal serial drive number which is very well hidden by Microsoft.

Twenty years ago, your backups as well as your libraries were stored mainly on CD/DVDs. Identifying drives by drive letter did not help, and when USB external drives became current, Windows had the bad habit of assigning the letter drives to the next plugged in device. When I move the external drive with my library and catalog from one computer to another, the drive letter may change, but not the internal serial number.

Here is how the drives known to the catalog are stored in the database.

Volume_table-1.jpg

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Explorer ,
Feb 19, 2021 Feb 19, 2021

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Oh yeah, I'm sure M/S has this.  But why would Adobe mandate that in it's catalog structure?  It just complicates for backup approaches like mine. Make them (the photos and metadata) easy to match up.  what value does looking for a specific h/d via the serial number do for the product or the consumer?  Maybe they have a reason, but it just seems unnecessary to me. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 20, 2021 Feb 20, 2021

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Oh yeah, I'm sure M/S has this.  But why would Adobe mandate that in it's catalog structure?  It just complicates for backup approaches like mine. Make them (the photos and metadata) easy to match up.  what value does looking for a specific h/d via the serial number do for the product or the consumer?  Maybe they have a reason, but it just seems unnecessary to me. 


By @WSC33

How do you suggest any catalog based management asset can work at all without knowing and storing the location in the database?

Just compare with Lightroom, which was created after the organizer and which did not even try to be able to restore the media files and to restore the catalog to a new drive/computer without breaking the links and necessitating a special tool to reconnect the missing links (mostly the missing drive identification). Fortunately, the reconnecting is much better in LR than in the organizer.

Other catalog based softwares rely on storing the media in dedicated parts of the drive.

Most other asset managements work as browsers with a cache.

 

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Explorer ,
Feb 20, 2021 Feb 20, 2021

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How do you suggest any catalog based management asset can work at all without knowing and storing the location in the database?”

 

Oh no, not at all. All my location information would be the same. It’s the serial number requirement that puzzles me.  I would put everything back where it was on the original drive:  all files, drives, folders, etc. named exactly the same but now on a new drive.  I should be able to restore the catalog without problem. 

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