I suspect there is an easy answer to this that I'm just missing.
I have a fair sized photo library that has been built and cataloged using Photoshop Elements for several years (approximately 30,000 photos). For the last few years, I have had the media on removable media (SD card in my laptop). I am moving to a new laptop that doesn't support the same removable media and, since there is plenty of space on the system drive, it will simplify things to just move the media back to the system drive where it was years ago. It isn't as simple as using the Elements catalog backup since it just backs up the catalog info and not the media.
Is there an Elements tool that will help move all the media back to the system drive as I move systems (while retaining all the catalog and other metadata)?
Which is your Elements version?
It isn't as simple as using the Elements catalog backup since it just backs up the catalog info and not the media.
What do you mean? Elements backup do backup both your media files AND your catalog folder.
So the usual backup and restore process lets you restore everything where you want, even in the system drive.
However, in your case, you can use the left folders panel in tree mode and simply drag and drop your folders from the external media to the new destination in the system drive. If all your pictures are under a single master folder, you just move that folder with all its subfolders to the new location in a single drag/drop command. Of course, the move will take time, be patient. You can test moving a single test subfolder tree to understand the process.
Thanks for the response.
Elements 2021 (V19)
It's interesting that backup is backing up what appears to be all catalog information except media. My external media folder trees add up to about 100GB. The whole backup folder, after doing a full backup, is just over 1GB in size. I have tried doing a full backup and then restoring to the other laptop and what I get is the cataloged library but without any media (no thumbnails and every item showing as on unknown removable media). Perhaps there's something obvious I'm missing.
However, I may just elect to follow your suggestion re: dragging and dropping folders. I've historically gone overboard segmenting photos in folders and this will give me an opportunity to simplify more and let the catalog organize things rather than relying on folder structure as well.
If you see something that might be wrong with my backup/restore processes, I would appreciate the guidance.
In all versions of Elements organizer, the normal backup and restore process from the menu File >> backup catalog (Ctrl B) does work as explained in the old tech doc I linked to. The media files are saved together with the catalog media.
As expected, saving a whole big catalog with its media files takes a lot of time. So in the PSE2021 version, a new feature has been added to save only what Adobe calls the 'catalog structure', which means the catalog folder minus the thumbnail cache. You are warned that in that choice, which is very fast even if it includes a search for errors, the media files are NOT saved. The new addition is a welcome feature which protects against a number of risks. It does not replace the normal backup procedure which is unique to the organizer (Lightroom does not backup media files).
Dragging the folders works well, but a full backup is a normal safety step before moving files from disk to disk.
That makes sense. Unfortunately, with media on an SD card plugged into the laptop slot, while Elements sees and can work with the media, when I select File -> Backup Catalog and use the Full Backup option (rather than using the Backup Catalog Structure or Incremental Backup options), the backup takes a few minutes and after it says it has completed, there are no JPG files in the backup set folder.
However, dragging the folders from removable media to the system drive (from within Elements), performing another Full Backup to a new backup set folder on the same external drive, the backup set contains the JPG files as well.
I have no idea what might be different with the handling of this SD card and other removable media but your advice helped me get past this hurdle. Thanks!
Now I understand your issue.
If you store your media files library on a card or on a thumbstick (that is to say on 'removable media') you may get that backup error with no files found at all. That has already happened to me and there has been at least one discussion about this. I'll have to do a few tests to find if it's easy to reproduce. If you move those files to another internal or external drive (from within the explorer), the backup will succeed.
Thanks. If only everything worked perfectly every time. I appreciate the help and follow-up.