Elements: How do I convert a Catalog from PS Album to PS Elements 14

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I recently purchased PS Elements 14 (bundled with PS Premiere Elements), and loaded it on my PC. I am attempting to convert my most recent catalog from PS Album to PS Elements 14. In Elements Organizer, I chose File -> Manage Catalog -> Convert; my PSA catalog does not show up. So I chose Browse and navigated to the PSA catalog location (c:\Program Data\Adobe\Catalogs), but my catalog (filename is My Catalog.psa, which is a ~59kb file) does not show up.

And just so I understand: If successful, this action will convert the Catalog so it is compatible with PSE14 (including tags, captions, connections to existing Adobe file structures) and put the new catalog (My Catalog.pse?) in a place where PSE14 can find it (c:\Program Data\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs), and will leave the Media files themselves "as is"....correct?

Please help!
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Krista Gunderman

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Posted 2 years ago

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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Krista Gunderman

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Thank you for giving me the link to that paper; for some reason it didn't show up on all my Internet and Photoshop help searches.

Unfortunately the document is very confusingly written. The steps aren't linear - the first steps (loading a trial version of PS Elements 13) is in the middle of the document, which then references the top portion of the document (the instructions for executing the "convert to PS13 catalog"). But I think I am figuring it out.

I have a question about the third portion of the document, "Converting catalog backups," where it says "Use Photoshop Elements to work with catalog backups for Photoshop version 5 or older." Do I necessarily have to do this? Or is this for people who are switching computers and don't have the photos on their new PC yet? Isn't just changing the catalog so it can find and appropriately link the tags/captions/dates to the media enough? I would really like to avoid restoring from a backup, because I would need to create a new backup file, and I have a _lot_ of pictures. There is not enough space on my pc or external hard drive to do a full backup, without deleting my previous full backup, which makes me nervous.
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Before answering in detail, two very important notes:
1 - Catalogs from 'Albums' or Elements older than version 6 are really very old in this digital age. They are kind of dinosaurs using a different database engine, and it's amazing you can still use them today.
2 - External drives are very affordable today. They are the best way to save your memories.

All that means that if you want to keep your memories safely in digital format for future generations, you have not only to keep backups on current storage media (that was CDs, DVDs, now external USB drives, tomorrow who knows?) and to keep the software current. You don't need to upgrade every year, but Elements 6 has been released in... September 2007. During that time, everything is changing, OS, hardware...

The conversion utility has been issued to cope with the problem of using 64-bits computers for Elements 13. That solution works, but it would be necessary to issue a new converter every year for catalogs from Album or Elements before version 6. That's now a very rare requirement, and there is a solution with an additional step to convert to version 13 with the utility before using the standard conversion process in version 14 from the 13 format.
I did not try (nor had to) restore from a catalog in the old album or Elements format, but it seems logical that the procedures only applies to people having the old library only as a backup from those old versions.
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Krista Gunderman

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Thank you for your response.

I understand that I have been using a very old version of PhotoShop. It has served me well until recently, though, so I didn't see the need to buy newer versions until now. And I do understand the difficulty of programming software to be backwardly compatible.

I do have an external hard drive that I use to back up my photos and other important files on a regular basis. I was trying to avoid buying _another_ one - the space in our fireproof safe is maxed out. And I think going forward, I will initiate a cloud storage service that backs up all my files daily. I recently had to have my hard drive reformatted, and although I could restore most files to my PC, I lost several months of photos, and many documents that I hadn't thought were important enough to back up, but now realize they were.

I have tried using the PSA conversion utility many times (20 or so), and the conversion keeps failing after it is about 20% done. Here is what I have tried between attempts to get it working:

* Reconnecting or deleting all missing files (I actually did this before I initially contacted you, but I also re-verified again that the files were all connected).
* Disabling my anti-virus software (Sophos)
* Re-opening PhotoShop Album so an updated catalog file is created
* Installing the update to PhotoShop Elements 13
* Deleting the existing catalogs and their associated cache files in PSE13 and PSE14
* Restarting my PC (several times)
* Deleting, then re-extracting the zipped files of the PSA converter utility

There is a suggestion in the instructions you linked me to Optimize the catalog if conversion fails, but in PS Album there is no menu choice to Optimize the catalog.

Any help you could provide would be much appreciated. I have over 18,000 photos that were all tagged and edited over the years (including several hundred scanned and imported historic family photos), and it is really important to me to be able to restore all those edits and tags. So thank you for helping me get my catalog up and running in PSE14 so I can access them.