I don't have any catalogs, so there are none to manage. I just have some folders of images on my computer. I've never had any catalogs, and did not restore a catalog from an old machine.
I get the same error message when trying to view metadata on old images I have added to the "my pictures" folder moved over from my old computer, and I also get this same error message with a new image I just saved to my desktop on the new machine that I saved directly from email.
In previous versions of photoshop elements on other machines, I could edit photos and their metadata without actually having or making catalogs.