I have photos from older versions of Photoshop Elements saved on various external drives, currently using 2020 Mac version. I've also gone from Windows to Mac OS over the years. I want to organize all these saved photos, delete duplicates, etc., and in doing so, I've run across an Adobe backup file that has XML, as well as PNG and JPEG. In this one file, I have over 2K XML files, and I have no idea what they once referred to. In another file, I have only XML files. Can I delete the XML as I go through these folders? Thanks for the help.
1 - Do you really mean .xml or .xmp files in the backup folder? Do you shoot raw files?
2 - A backup folder is not a simple copy of your media files and it can't be used otherwise than after a restore has been created. You are not supposed to change or delete anything within the folder (or you do it at your risks if you know what you are doing).
3 - Does your catalogfolder contain many .xml files? If so, where do you find them in the subfolders of the catalog folder? You find the location of the catalog folder from the menu Help >> System Info of the Organizer. Also please state your PSE version and if you are using: face recognition, automatic features like auto creations, smart tagging.
1. I do not shoot RAW. Yes, these are .xml files. Example: B00000001.xml
2. These are in a file in a backup folder from 2010. I backed up all the photos I had in Adobe Elements at that time onto an external hard drive, and this folder was created. I have no idea which version I was using at that time, but I think it was a Windows computer, There is no subfolder. Every file is listed separately going from the above to B0002516.xml, then then B0002517.pref, then B20002518.png. These png files have little thumbnail images next to them. The files listed continue from B20002518.png to B0004671.jpg, which goes to B0005010.jpg. There is a Backup.tly and catalog.buc after that. I can't open up either of those because a window pops open that says there is no app to open them with.
3. I am now using a Macbook Pro laptop and have Photoshop Elements 2020 on it. I am not importing these photos into the Photoshop now because I want to organize them first and get rid of duplicates. I think I had some tags on photos in this file, but I do not use face recognition, smart tags, auto creations on the photos I take or in Photoshop.
In recent versions of Elements, I only get a few of them in the catalog folder and in the backup folders since they are also saved there. That may be because I don't use face recognition at all. I don't know the purpose of the many xml files you are getting, and we need the help of other members using face recognition to be sure. On relatively recent versions I remember that I found new databases in the catalog which I suppose did replace individual xml files.
Since xml or xmp files are only text files, you can open them in notepad to see if you find something telling the purpose.
There is another discussion going here about huge quantities of xmp files which appear to be related to automatic analysis and creations processes. They are found in the catalog folder in a subfolder named CAXMPFiles. They are very small but they slow down the backups.
Until the purpose of the xml files is made clear, my advice is not to delete anything from the backup folder, but once it has been restored, search for where they are in the restored catalog. There it may be possible to test deleting them in a test catalog folder copy.