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Moving PSE 10 to new computer with no catalog backup

Jan 21, 2013 5:17 PM

Tags: #new #to #computer #photoshop_elements_10 #computer_failure #recovering_old_catalogs #moving_pse_10

My computer died but I have access to the old hard drive and I also have a backup of the photos but not their catalogs.  Can I import the catalog files from the old computer?

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 21, 2013 9:49 PM   in reply to Photoquestion

    If you install PSE10 on this new computer, you surely can start afresh and import those photos into your PSE10 catalog.


    However, what's worth trying first is a search for ".pse10db" files on your old hard drive.

    - Check for it in  %appdata%\adobe\elements organizer\10.0\organizer\catalogs folder

    - Check for it in C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Elements Organizer\10.0

    - A generic search for ".pse10db" on entire hard drive




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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 22, 2013 7:48 AM   in reply to Photoquestion

    I understand that you are able to find the catalogs in the old drive and that you have already copied the media files with the same subdirectory structure on the new computer.

    That means that you can copy your catalogs to the new computer : each catalog is the whole folder containing the catalog.pse10db, with all files and subfolders.
    It also means that using those catalogs can be done by double clicking on the catalog.pse10db files.

    But... all your files will be shown as missing. It's a good thing that you have the same directory structure, but the link to the actual location of each media file in the catalog is recorded in two parts : the folder path and the drive serial number, which has changed.

    Several possibilities to correct the database:

    - use the reconnect feature in the organizer. With pse10, that can be very long and tricky. If you consider upgrading to PSE11, it's much easier.

    - it may be possible to reassign the old drive serial number to the new one via the operating system.


    scroll down to :

    "Change a Drive's Volume Serial Number"

    - you can use an external sqlite database management tool to update the drive serial number in the database. To give you an idea see :

    That may be the shortest way... but not for beginners.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 22, 2013 9:06 AM   in reply to Photoquestion

    If you choose the solution to reconnect, the fact that the 'master' directory is slightly different does not matter.

    I want first to run a test to compare the reconnecting ease of  PSE11 compared to PSE10 in your situation.

    In the meantime, you could select one of your smaller catalogs and copy the catalog folder somewhere on your new computer and try to reconnect with PSE10 (either automatically or manually choosing the new location , folder by folder if necessary).

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 22, 2013 10:53 PM   in reply to Photoquestion

    While taking full backup of each catalog, you must have selected a different folder in E:\ ?


    If not, then Backup.tly of the previous backup would have been overwritten by the next backup, I suspect.




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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 22, 2013 11:44 PM   in reply to andaleebfatima1

    Andaleeb is right.

    You should never store several different backups (whether full or incremental) into the same directory. The reason is that in PSE a catalog backup is a whole folder just like a catalog is a whole folder. In a normal catalog, the folder contains the database -- catalog.psexxdb -- and its associated files and subfolders, thumbnail cache, people recognition, visual similarity, autoanalyser...

    In a backup, the folder contains renamed copies of your image files as well as a copy of the database, plus a very important file : catalog.tly which is the cross list between the renamed copies and the original files with their full path.

    So, you must absolutely create a new folder to accomodate a new backup.

    Don't worry with the files count : there is often a number of files which are not image files which are created by your OS, for instance 'thumbs.db' which are used only by Windows.


    "This is NOT a user friendly program."


    I understand your frustration. The Organizer, just like other database management tools (Lightroom...) requires some learning efforts. The backup process is not 'intuitive' and needs to be explained especially when something goes wrong or in special situations like migrating to new computer, drive, OS or PSE version.

    If you compare the Organizer with its big (and newer) brother Lightroom, it is targeted at a different category. Lightroom only provides catalog backups, not images backups. That's up to you to be responsible for the image backups. The Organizer provides both backups, in a smart but not intuitive way. Adobe could have 'masked' the implementation of the backup in a folder by wrapping all its contents into a single 'black box' archive like a zip file. That would have avoided the trap you (and many others) fell into. On the other hand, having access to the contents of the backup may be useful in some cases...

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 23, 2013 11:39 PM   in reply to Photoquestion

    The 'mess' is in the folder structure.

    While this is not important for those who, like me, practically never use the 'folder view', it ispuzzling (to say the least) for those who use the folder organization as well as the database one.


    I would do two things :


    - first, I would move the catalog folders to the 'default' location on the C: drive. That is done in the catalog manager. Moving catalogs is one of the options on the right. Simply select a catalog and select the top choice 'catalog accessible to all users'. Be patient, PSE10 will move the catalog folder to the C: drive. The folder tree will be 'cleaner'. That only moves the catalogs (database and auxiliary files), not the pictures files.

    - Then I would deal with the unwanted intermediate subfolders. The restore has recreated the original folder structure of the C: drive with users and so on. You know you can move a folder and its subfolders by drag and drop when you are in folder view (left panel). It's a simple drag and drop action. You can move a real, populated folder up in the folder tree to 'shorcut' unwanted steps. Since that will move the files both in the explorer and in the database for thousands of pictures, be patient !

    If you are satisfied with your new organization, you can delete the now empty intermediate folders (from PSE or in your case there is no risk to check and delete them from the explorer.)

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 24, 2013 11:16 AM   in reply to Photoquestion

    I'am happy to see that I could help to solve the confusion I had created...

    You know enough now to get the folder structure you want using the Organizer .

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