Photoshop Elements: How do I move photos to External Drive

I am using Photoshop Elements 6 and plan to move my older photos from my nearly full C drive to a new external drive (currently empty) that I have connected to the computer. My research has uncovered three different recommended ways to accomplish this. One method is to use the File>Move command in PSE 6, setting up a file hierarchy in the new external drive that is the same as what is now on my C drive. A second method is to go to the Display>Folder Location view and simply drag and drop the appropriate folders to my new external drive. The third method is to back up the photos on the new external drive using the File>Backup Catalog and then delete the photos from the C drive. Which of these two do you recommend (or is there a third way that you would recommend)?

Also, I have read that it is best to keep the Catalog on the C drive and move the photos only to the external drive. Finally, I have read that it is best to move my older photos to the external drive and to keep the more recent photos on the C drive to the extent that I intend to access them more frequently, since accessing photos on the external drive will take longer. I would appreciate your comments on all of these questions. Thank you very much for your help.
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m confident
    I would recommend option 2, use the Folder Location view and simply drag and drop. It's simple and direct. Option 1 works, but I find it less straight forward. Option 3 doesn't really work as your files will be disconnected in the catalog.

    As for putting your catalog on the secondary drive, it really depends on free space and performance. How does the drive connect to the computer? If USB, then it's probably not a good idea. Firewire would be better, and external Sata would be the best (it would be no different than having the drive internal).

    Keeping your recent images on the internal drive may be a good idea, just keeping the external as an archive could help performance all around. Of course there is the extra step of moving them at some point in the future.
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  • I'm confused.

    The "copy/move to removable drive" option found under file in the organizer in PSE9 seems to be the obvious choice to move older photos from my laptop to my external hard drive. However, when I read the manual, it keeps referencing burning to media like CDs and DVDs making me wonder if this is really the correct procedure to use with an EHD.

    Conversely, the "move" option, also found under file, seems to be designed to move files to a different location on an existing computer. But most of the advice I see on these forums suggests that this is the way to go to move photos to an external hard drive.

    I want to protect my version sets and other settings. So tell me, which move utility is the right for me?

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    Photoshop Elements: Which move command is right to move photos in PSE9 to a external hard drive?.
    • Copy/Move, as the command states, sends your images to a removable drive. That could be a USB Flash drive, a removable CD/DVD, or an external hard drive. It's just a very versatile command.

      The Move command is not so versatile, it just moves files to other folders. As I state above, I find that the Folder Location view is a more efficient way of moving files to other folders.

      Either option should maintain all of your version sets, metadata, tags, etc.
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  • Thank you for the quick reply. I'll follow your advice and follow Option 2.
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  • Brett

    I followed your instructions using Option 2 (Drag & Drop) to move photos from my C drive to an external drive. It seems to work with two exceptions. First, while it always moves the files to the external drive, it does not always maintain the link to the PSE catalog. This has forced me to link the moved files to my catalog by using File>Add Unmanaged Files to Catalog, and then delete the original links to the catalog that were left in the old C drive folder. Is there a way to avoid this from happening?

    Second, PSE is dropping virtually all of my keyword tags (even when it asks me if I wish to transfer the keyword tags). How can avoid this from happening also?

    Thank you.
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  • EMPLOYEE
    I’m confident
    Hello Michael,

    That's extremely odd behavior. The whole point of using the drag and drop method (option 2, Folder Location view) is that you are using the Organizer to make the move. That way the Organizer knows where the file was and where it is going, thus it knows how to maintain the link. Using the Folder Location view to move your images and loosing any information (whether the connection or the keywords) is counter to what this function is supposed to accomplish.

    I just tested on my side and everything worked fine for me. But you indicate that this behavior is not consistent, that only some files loose the connection and that only some keywords are lost. Is there any sort of common traits here? Is it only certain file types that exhibit this behavior? Only files from a certain location? Did you verify that the files were connected before attempting to move them? Were the keywords lost/kept the same each time this occurred?

    Just to make sure we're on the same page, here is an illustration of how this method of moving files works:

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  • Thank you for your illustration as it is helpful. It indicates that you are dragging and dropping one photo at a time from one location to another. I have organized my photos in Organizer in the following hierarchy on my C drive: Year Folder > Specific Date Subfolder > Photos. (In some cases I have a second tier subfolder below the Specific Date Subfolder where I may store files to be printed, etc.)

    Before I moved any photos, I set up a new Year Folder in my external drive and then clicked on the Specific Date Subfolder in my C drive and dragged it to the respective Year Folder in my external drive, where I dropped it. The two problems I mentioned occurred, though without any consistent pattern that I can determine.

    Should I be following your method and click on and drag and drop each Photo (rather than Subfolder)? If I do, to save time could I click on all photos within each Specific Date Subfolder and drag them as a group to the respective Specific Date Subfolder (which I would need to have first established) in my external drive? This seems rather tedious but if it's the only way to do it without losing data I will have to do it.

    Thank you for your help.
    .
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