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What happens behind the scenes when backing up catalogs?

Community Beginner ,
Sep 06, 2020

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As a new user, we are trying to identify which actions in the Adobe Elements Organizer backup can be helpful and which actions might be potentially destructive.  Here are a few questions:

 

  1. It appears the backup is backing up the Adobe Elements Organizer catalogs and the actual original media files from the hard disk into one backup file, is that correct?
  2. Is there a way to only backup the Organizer catalogs and not the actual media files?
  3. When we restore a backup, we assume it will overwrite existing files in the same destination, so could be potentially destructive?
  4. When Organizer recognizes people, is the information appended to the original file on disk or just saved in a catalog?  In other words, does the face recognition information, such as names, attach as metadata and transfer with copies of the actual media files on the hard disk?
  5. When reconnecting folders, moved outside of Organizer, can we reconnect to a folder and will Organizer recognize the same underlying hierarchy, just in a new location?

 

Excuse our novice questions, but we are most thankful for any enlightenment on this subject.

 

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by MichelBParis | Adobe Community Professional

 

It appears the backup is backing up the Adobe Elements Organizer catalogs and the actual original media files from the hard disk into one backup file, is that correct?

Correct.

Is there a way to only backup the Organizer catalogs and not the actual media files?

Yes, the catalogs are folders which you can copy or move from the Explorer or Finder. Their contents are not changed.

When we restore a backup, we assume it will overwrite existing files in the same destination, so could be potentially destructive?

Well, it works like other backup solutions and it will overwrite if you choose so.

When Organizer recognizes people, is the information appended to the original file on disk or just saved in a catalog?  In other words, does the face recognition information, such as names, attach as metadata and transfer with copies of the actual media files on the hard disk?

The general rule is that the information like tags, captions and other metadata is stored in the catalog by default and it can be 'written' to files manually if you choose so. Some information like stacks, version sets and albums can't be written to files and are lost if you have to re-import the files; the solution is to restore from a backup.

When reconnecting folders, moved outside of Organizer, can we reconnect to a folder and will Organizer recognize the same underlying hierarchy, just in a new location?

Sometimes it will... but you can't rely on reconnection, even guided manually to reconnect a whole library when you have changed the drive or computer. That's why only backing up the catalog folder is not enough. If you have to restore or simply to move to another computer, you probably won't be able to relink all your library. The only solution is the backup and restore process which insures that everything is restored correctly.

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What happens behind the scenes when backing up catalogs?

Community Beginner ,
Sep 06, 2020

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As a new user, we are trying to identify which actions in the Adobe Elements Organizer backup can be helpful and which actions might be potentially destructive.  Here are a few questions:

 

  1. It appears the backup is backing up the Adobe Elements Organizer catalogs and the actual original media files from the hard disk into one backup file, is that correct?
  2. Is there a way to only backup the Organizer catalogs and not the actual media files?
  3. When we restore a backup, we assume it will overwrite existing files in the same destination, so could be potentially destructive?
  4. When Organizer recognizes people, is the information appended to the original file on disk or just saved in a catalog?  In other words, does the face recognition information, such as names, attach as metadata and transfer with copies of the actual media files on the hard disk?
  5. When reconnecting folders, moved outside of Organizer, can we reconnect to a folder and will Organizer recognize the same underlying hierarchy, just in a new location?

 

Excuse our novice questions, but we are most thankful for any enlightenment on this subject.

 

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by MichelBParis | Adobe Community Professional

 

It appears the backup is backing up the Adobe Elements Organizer catalogs and the actual original media files from the hard disk into one backup file, is that correct?

Correct.

Is there a way to only backup the Organizer catalogs and not the actual media files?

Yes, the catalogs are folders which you can copy or move from the Explorer or Finder. Their contents are not changed.

When we restore a backup, we assume it will overwrite existing files in the same destination, so could be potentially destructive?

Well, it works like other backup solutions and it will overwrite if you choose so.

When Organizer recognizes people, is the information appended to the original file on disk or just saved in a catalog?  In other words, does the face recognition information, such as names, attach as metadata and transfer with copies of the actual media files on the hard disk?

The general rule is that the information like tags, captions and other metadata is stored in the catalog by default and it can be 'written' to files manually if you choose so. Some information like stacks, version sets and albums can't be written to files and are lost if you have to re-import the files; the solution is to restore from a backup.

When reconnecting folders, moved outside of Organizer, can we reconnect to a folder and will Organizer recognize the same underlying hierarchy, just in a new location?

Sometimes it will... but you can't rely on reconnection, even guided manually to reconnect a whole library when you have changed the drive or computer. That's why only backing up the catalog folder is not enough. If you have to restore or simply to move to another computer, you probably won't be able to relink all your library. The only solution is the backup and restore process which insures that everything is restored correctly.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 06, 2020

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It appears the backup is backing up the Adobe Elements Organizer catalogs and the actual original media files from the hard disk into one backup file, is that correct?

Correct.

Is there a way to only backup the Organizer catalogs and not the actual media files?

Yes, the catalogs are folders which you can copy or move from the Explorer or Finder. Their contents are not changed.

When we restore a backup, we assume it will overwrite existing files in the same destination, so could be potentially destructive?

Well, it works like other backup solutions and it will overwrite if you choose so.

When Organizer recognizes people, is the information appended to the original file on disk or just saved in a catalog?  In other words, does the face recognition information, such as names, attach as metadata and transfer with copies of the actual media files on the hard disk?

The general rule is that the information like tags, captions and other metadata is stored in the catalog by default and it can be 'written' to files manually if you choose so. Some information like stacks, version sets and albums can't be written to files and are lost if you have to re-import the files; the solution is to restore from a backup.

When reconnecting folders, moved outside of Organizer, can we reconnect to a folder and will Organizer recognize the same underlying hierarchy, just in a new location?

Sometimes it will... but you can't rely on reconnection, even guided manually to reconnect a whole library when you have changed the drive or computer. That's why only backing up the catalog folder is not enough. If you have to restore or simply to move to another computer, you probably won't be able to relink all your library. The only solution is the backup and restore process which insures that everything is restored correctly.

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 06, 2020

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Thank you for the reply, it was very helpful.  Just a few follow up questions, if we may:

 

  1. Where are the catalog files stored and what are their extensions?  If possible, we would like to change the Adobe Organizer default storage location to a drive where we know the files are being backed up on a regular basis.
  2. How do we manually write some of the catalog information, such as names, to the actual file properties?  It would be nice if we could append the name(s) of the persons associated with the media, in the catalog, to the actual file.
  3. Sound like re-linking files is a little squirrelly, we'll try to avoid those situations, if possible.

 

Thank you so much for your assistance.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 06, 2020

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In PSE/PRE a catalog is a folder which you can name as you like, the catalog name is the folder name.

This folder contains the main database file (sqlite) which is named 'catalog.pseXXdb, XX being the version number, for instance 'catalog.pse18db for PSE2020, version 18.0.

The folder contains many other accesory components such as the thumnbail cache and small xml  text files if you use face recognition.

You find the default (hidden) location of that folder from the menu Help >> System Information. You can move it where you want; it appears in the 'custom' location of the catalog manager. You can include it in the scope of your backup software. Note for Mac users (I am on Win only): there is incompatibility between organizer and TM backups.

 

You don't write directly into the catalog; even if you are proficient with sqlite and queries you can at most do minor changes and searches. So you have to use the 'write metadata to files' command which writes the tags from your catalog to the files. I am using the organizer with Photoshop Elements and I don't use Premiere Elements myself. The problem with many video files is that their format does not allow writing those metadata to the file itself. Even if I don't use face recognition, I have always organized my people pictures with normal keywords and they are written ok in the files which support writing metadata just like my captions and ratings. Everything is transferred when you use the backup and restore method for restore or transfer to another computer or drive.

 

The reconnect missing files feature works fine for a given master folder and its subfolders but it can't simply reconnect a full library restored on another drive (which is something Lightroom is able to do). It works fine even for finding renamed files and there is no issue for instance to rename a folder from the explorer and just after reconnecting in the catalog. My warning is just not to rely only on a backup of the catalog folder and all media files with an external software; that's an excellent choice for automatic backups, but if you want to migrate to another computer or restore to a new one after the original drive is not available, you need a full organizer backup. I have both systems and I do periodical organizer backups.

 

 

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