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Split Photos now in 1 Library into 2 Libraries in Organizer

Community Beginner ,
Dec 29, 2019

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My Adobe Elements 2020 is on Win10.  I have almost 9000 photos in my library and think I would like to divide the photos into 2 libraries on the same machine. All the photos are in a directory structure organized by date.  Each photo is tagged, some with multiple tags: people, places, events. I don't want to lose the tags and the info I have associated to each photo. I need to understand the pros and cons of manageing multiple libraries and the process to move photos from one library into another on the same computer. I searched online but did not find what I needed. Hope you can help.

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Split Photos now in 1 Library into 2 Libraries in Organizer

Community Beginner ,
Dec 29, 2019

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My Adobe Elements 2020 is on Win10.  I have almost 9000 photos in my library and think I would like to divide the photos into 2 libraries on the same machine. All the photos are in a directory structure organized by date.  Each photo is tagged, some with multiple tags: people, places, events. I don't want to lose the tags and the info I have associated to each photo. I need to understand the pros and cons of manageing multiple libraries and the process to move photos from one library into another on the same computer. I searched online but did not find what I needed. Hope you can help.

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Actions, Organizer, Performance, Windows

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Dec 29, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 29, 2019

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Very simple:

Forget this generally horrible idea.

http://www.johnrellis.com/psedbtool/photoshop-elements-faq.htm#_Splitting_and_rearranging

 

You have a very small library, so it's possible to split it by the second method in that faq.

However, deleting thousands of photos in one batch is very long and will often fail, needing to delete by smaller batches.

The worst idea is to think that splitting catalog will make the organizer more responsive.

The best idea is to think that you only need a single keyword to dissociate virtually two 'libraries'.

Another important question is that you can create two differents catalogs pointing to the same physical files. That avoids duplication, but what you do in a catalog is ignored by the other. The result is often a lot of disconnected files in the other catalog.

 

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Dec 29, 2019 1
Community Beginner ,
Dec 30, 2019

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Thanks for your response. I stopped adding to my library in 2015 because I was not sure how many photos the Organizer would handle reliably.  I have about 10,000 more photos I need to add from 2015 thru 2019 and I also have many photos from 1880 thru 1950 that I also want to scan & add as tif files.  (FYI-I just upgraded to Photoshop Elements 2020 on both machines.)  1. What is the largest number of photos you know of that the Organizer has been known to handle with no problems?  2. Is there any "easy" way to not have to do duplicate work to add them to the library on both my Win10 PCs?  When I got my laptop I did a backup of the lib on the desktop and restored it on the laptop so they both contain the same photos right now.   I would appreciate any wisdom you are willing to share. (Are you an employee of Adobe or simply a very experienced user?)

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Dec 30, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 31, 2019

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It looks like we share an identical situation. I have two Win PCs (250 miles away from each other).

By the way, I am not an Adobe employee (that would appear under my name in this forum). I am only a PSE user like you and my profile is accessible if you double click on my name.

I have been working with Elements since PSE2. At first I used the backup and restore method when moving from one home to the other. I soon found that it's more convenient to store both my photo library and my catalog on an external drive. I only have to plug in that drive alternatively to each computer with the same PSE version. Of course, I also do regular backups from the organizer.

You start by doing a backup to an external drive and restore on the final external drive (preferably for safety, use two different drives). The only requirement is that the final drive must have the same drive letter in both PCs.

When using the catalog manager, the catalog will appear under 'custom' location.

About the maximum number of files you can conveniently manage with the organizer, it's funny to read that faq from the time of PSE8:

http://www.johnrellis.com/psedbtool/photoshop-elements-faq.htm#_Limits_on_the

Now with the available amount of RAM and 64-bits processing, 50 000 items is under average, 100 000 to 150 000 is common and there is no reason not to go for much more. However, I don't use face recognition, and older Elements versions had difficulties managing catalogs over 70 000 items with FR. Other users in this forum (like Greg_S) can give more info about big catalogs and FR. Anyway, your library can happily grow like mine (90 000 items).

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Dec 31, 2019 0
Community Beginner ,
Dec 31, 2019

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Yes.  I have a desktop which has all my "master" files... and a laptop I use when I am travelling.  Just took the laptop and my scanner to my relative's houses to scan some very old photos they have ..... for my genealogy work.  So I have a few more questions for you before I start the process to move my library and catalog onto an external drive.  (I am going to try this on my laptop first, just in case I hose this up.)  1. Since my laptop already has Elements 2020 on it as well as my library and catalog..... what do I need to do to remove it from there before I begin the reinstall for the laptop onto the external HD?  2. I have the backup on 1 external HD and plan to reinstall on a 2nd external HD.  Should I copy the backup onto the internal drive before restoring onto the 2nd external HD, or does that even matter since I have multiple USB 3.0 ports?  3. How do I tell Photoshop to put the library files on the external HD and not in the user directory on the C drive when I restore from my backup?  (I realize the library is in a different place than the actual photo files, but since I am going to move the HD back and forth without restoring I assume the library has to be somewhere on the external drive also.) 4. When I restored before (on my desktop & my laptop) I told it to "keep the original folder structure".  This caused Photoshop to create another set of sub-directories under the directory where I wanted the catalog to be .... i.e. I got:  1Adobe->1AppData->Adobe->Catalogs->{my directories by date}. I just wanted 1Adobe->Catalogs->{my directories by date}. Any easy way to "fix" this without losing my entire directory structure by years? Hope my questions are clear.  And thanks for all your time and advice.

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Dec 31, 2019 0
Community Beginner ,
Dec 31, 2019

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Or maybe I am making this too hard.  I have made sure my 4TB Western Digital external drive is seen as the same letter (E) on both machines.  Should I skip deleting and restoring the backup on the laptop and simply select some (or all?) of the photos from the catalog on the laptop and use File->Copy/Move to Removable Drive? Will that move the library as well as all the photo files onto the external HD? Assuming that works as expected.... and assuming (as I believe) that the catalogs on both computers are identical..... should I then do the same on the desktop.... moving the catalog from the desktop onto a different 4TB Western Digital external drive that for the moment I call E?  I am hoping elements is not smart enough to tell the difference in the two (different) 4TB Western Digital drives since the pathnames of the files will be exactly the same on both drives... If that works it seems the easiest to me.... What do you think MichaelBParis?

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Dec 31, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 01, 2020

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The backup and restore process from the organizer as described above is the only simple way to share the same library (media files tree) and catalog.

Let's dismiss the idea to only 'move' the library without the catalog. The command 'move to removable drive' is a legacy feature from the times of CDs. Nobody uses it nowadays since it's so much easier to to simply drag and drop folder trees from the left folder panal to another drive or master folder. If your library is under a single master folder, you can drag that master folder directly from the original situation to the final external drive. Not quite as safe as a backup/restore, but that works. Then you need to make your catalog folder available for both computers. You have to find the catalog location (menu Help >> System Information), then you copy that folder on the final drive. You can copy move a full catalog folder where you want, it's contents don't change. Same result as the backup/restore.

About the default location of your library: I consider the default choice to store it in the Pictures system library makes things very confusing with a very long path and two ways to access a file (from the Pictures shortcut or the full path). My advice is always to store your library on a custom master folder just under the rood drive.

For the default location of the catalog folder in a hidden location, there are pros and cons, but anyway that does not work if you want it accessible by two computers.

So, you can either use the above moving solution or the recommended backup and restore, in both cases you are the master of the new location. If you want a 'cleaner'  folder tree than the default one in Pictures, you can drag and drop your tree from the left folders panel in tree view.

Also, once you have made the move by backup and restore, keep in mind that your library+catalog is working on the external drive, but

- the previous libraries and catalogs are still working on both computers

- they are no longer in sync

- you also have a full backup for safety.

So, it's your choice to keep the old catalogs and libraries (as sort of backups) or to remove them.

Another safety possibility is to store backups from the external drive to folders on your computers...

But the main rule is that what you do in a catalog is ignored by the others. Concentrate on the common external drive and be sure to backup regularly.

 

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Jan 01, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Jan 01, 2020

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Could you verify these are my steps? 1. Make sure my external drive is seen as same letter on both computers. 2. Create a backup from either machine. 3. Restore that backup onto an external drive on my laptop. How do I keep the directory structure the same but on the ext HD? 4. Step 3 gives me a second catalog on the laptop so I should use manage catalogs to delete the first catalog  still installed on the D drive? 5. If that process works then I close photoshop & eject the drive. I put the ext HD on the desktop machine. 6. Then how do I tell the desktop to use the new catalog on the ext HD? It's already installed so I can't do a "restore". Hope you can clarify. Thanks & happy new year. 

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Jan 01, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 01, 2020

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"Could you verify these are my steps? 1. Make sure my external drive is seen as same letter on both computers. 2. Create a backup from either machine. 3. Restore that backup onto an external drive on my laptop. How do I keep the directory structure the same but on the ext HD? 4. Step 3 gives me a second catalog on the laptop so I should use manage catalogs to delete the first catalog still installed on the D drive? 5. If that process works then I close photoshop & eject the drive. I put the ext HD on the desktop machine. 6. Then how do I tell the desktop to use the new catalog on the ext HD? It's already installed so I can't do a "restore". Hope you can clarify. Thanks & happy new year."

 

Steps 1 to 3 are correct. If you check the option to keep the same structure, the current tree structure will be kept even with the useless steps in the full 'pictures' tree. The structure will be simplified if you don't check that option, keeping your own hierarchy without intermediate empty folder steps. If you check the option for the same stucture, you'll be able to simplify it later by moving parts of the folder tree in the left folder panel. What is important is to create the master folder (such as 'My Photos' just before the root folder of the external drive, preferably before starting the restore process.

 

You are right that a second catalog is created in the process (located just under your 'My Photos' folder). No need to delete the original,  except later when you want to recover disk space. The catalog manager lets you choose the catalogs: they have the same name, but the original is on C, the other is in the external drive, and shown in 'custom' location.

 

Step 5 and 6: yes, you close the organizer, eject and plug the catalog in the second computer. The normal way is then to use the catalog manager to 'open' the new catalog. You select the radio button 'custom location' and browse to the catalog location.

 

I prefer to simply double click on the 'catalog.pse18db' database file. That opens the organizer with the newly created catalog. The catalog manager will remember the catalog location next time.

 

You test and verify that everything works as expected. Then you can think about removing the old catalogs and libraries from your computers.

 

 

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Jan 01, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Jan 01, 2020

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Yay!  I have done all the steps on my laptop to restore the backup and open the new library on my E: drive. Everything seems normal.... except I cannot eject the external drive because windows says it is in use.  I see the Elements Auto Creations 2020 is running (using 40% of my memory and 21% of my cpu) so I googled to learn about it.  I have now turned off the "Generate auto creations" under Edit -> preferences -> media-analysis ... leaving the rest of the options as they were in the defaults.  I suppose since I just restored that it is still doing it's facial recognition or whatever it does for a new catalog.  So I am just going to exit the organizer on the laptop and leave the laptop alone for a while..... to see if it will finish whateve it is doing so I can get to a point where I can eject the external HD. Please let me know if I need to do otherwise.  And thanks again for all your help....

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Jan 01, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 01, 2020

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If you can't have Windows to eject the external drive, just close Windows, unplug and reboot.

I think it's wise, at least for the initial test period, to turn off  'Generate auto creations'.

 

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Jan 01, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Jan 01, 2020

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Powered off laptop.  Removed external drive.  Powered up laptop... and that background process still tried to run!  It finally stopped with the external drive removed on my laptop. So weird. And when I plugged the external back in and restarted Organizer the Auto Creations process started again.... even though the "Generate auto creations" setting is OFF. That sucks.  And according to the Task Manager it really uses a lot of power.  So you are managing your library like this on 2 machines?  Do you have to power off each of your Win10 machine when you want to remove the removable HD? What a pain. (I have my HD configured to require me to eject it manually .... so no "quick removal".... Wonder if that makes a difference?)

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Jan 01, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 01, 2020

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As far as I know, when you turn off the 'Generate auto creations', the process still runs for a limited time (a few minutes max.) Both my computers are set with that feature turned off and I have nothing special to do except plugin the external drive and opening the catalog from the catalog manager. I have been sharing on an external drive since PSE6 without any issue. I am used to unplug the drive after shutting Windows but I have no problem unplugging if there is no Elements process running in the task manager.

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Jan 01, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Jan 01, 2020

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So all is now good with 1 catalog on the ext HD accessed from both machines!  Thanks for all the "hand holding" today. Apparently there is something that happens initially with a new catalog... (that causes that Auto Creation process to run for an extended time and draw a lot of power)... it happened when I first setup the catalog when the ext HD was plugged into the laptop AND happened again on the desktop when I first opened the catalog located on the ext HD. After I left it alone for a bit, then powered off the machine to remove the HD (a couple of times).... it finally got to a point that once I exited the organizer it would complete whatever it was doing.  I could still see the process in the Task Manager but it must not have been hitting the HD because Windows would let me eject the drive normally. I have also done a backup from each machine to make sure all is working normally.  The only other odd thing I noticed is that the Preference settings must be set on EACH machine, they do not go with the catalog.... So that's all for today.  And again - thank you very, very much.

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