How to Back Up Your Photoshop Elements Organizer Catalog

Regularly back up your photos for safe keeping

What to Know

  • Select File > Backup > Backup the Catalog > Reconnect > choose Full/Incremental > choose save location.
  • USB/Hard Drive/Network Drive: When choosing save location, select Browse > choose a backup path.
  • Incremental: Choose former backup file to pick up process where previously left off.

This article explains how to backup your photo collection and catalog in Photoshop Elements. You've put a lot of hard work into organizing your photos, and you'll want to keep everything safe by making regular backups.

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Backup the Catalog

To initiate a Backup, go to File > Backup and choose the Backup the Catalog option.

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Reconnect Missing Files

When you click Next, Elements will prompt you to check for any missing files, since disconnected files would not be backed up.

Go ahead and click Reconnect. If there are no missing files, it only takes an extra second, and if there are missing files, you'll need to reconnect them anyway.

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After the reconnect step, you will see a progress bar and the message "Recovering." Elements automatically does a recovery on your catalog file before performing a backup to make sure there are no database errors.

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Choose Full Backup or Incremental

Next, you must choose between a Full Backup or an Incremental Backup. If this is the first time you've backed up, or you just want to start with a clean slate, choose the Full Backup option.

For future backups, you can save time by doing an incremental backup. However, if you ever lose or misplace your backup media, you can start with a new Full Backup any time.

If you are backing up to a network or removable drive, make sure it is connected and available before moving on to the next step. If you are using CD or DVD media, insert a blank disk into the CD or DVD burner.

In the next step, you are asked for the destination. When you choose a drive letter, Elements will estimate the size of the backup, and the time required, and show it to you at the bottom of the backup dialog.

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Backing Up to CD or DVD

If you choose the drive letter of a CD or DVD burner, there is nothing more to do but click done. Elements performs the backup, prompting you for additional discs as needed, and then asks if you would like to verify the disk. This checks for any errors and is highly recommended.

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Backing Up to a USB Drive, Hard Drive or Network Drive

If you choose a USB drive, hard drive or network drive, you'll need to choose a backup path.

Click Browse and navigate to the folder where you want the files to go. You can create a new folder if necessary. Click Done when you are ready, then wait for Elements to complete the backup.

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Incremental Backups

If this is an incremental backup, you will also need to navigate to the previous backup file (Backup.tly), so Elements can pick up where it left off. Your computer may appear to be stalled after selecting the previous backup file, but you just need to give it a few minutes. Click Done when you are ready, then wait for Elements to complete the backup.

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Writing and Success!

Elements will display a status bar as the backup is being written, then it will alert you when the backup has completed successfully.


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