Elements 13: Error writing Organizer catalog (Win 7)

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  • Updated 2 years ago
  • (Edited)

PSE 13 on W7 (all MS updates).  I have 30+ catalogs backed up from an iMac on an external drive.  I have restored those catalogs many times onto the W7 machine.  (In fact, that's how they got there in the first place.)  Today when I tried to restore I got an error message that began "Elements Organizer found an error writing the catalog" and went on to suggest that I update my disk to the latest firmware.  Not helpful because (a) it didn't say which disk, the external drive where the backup resides or the internal drive where I am restoring, and (b) all my drives work fine and one catalog did restore without the error.

Anyone know what this error message really means?  Why have I been able to restore backups to my W7 machine for almost 2 years and suddenly they don't work?

Details: I get this error whether I am restoring a catalog that exists on the W7 machine or a new one to that machine.  One serious annoyance (separate from the annoyance of not being able to restore) is that if I'm restoring a catalog with some photos already on the W7 machine it correctly identifies that some files already exist and asks if I want to overwrite them.  If I click "No to All" then it leaves the originals where they are and creates new files (in the same folders) with "-1", "-2", etc. appended to the filename (depending on how many times I have restored that catalog).  If I click "Yes to All" and expect that all the files will be written over and so retain their names -- that works for the first folder of files.  Every other folder is treated the same as if I had clicked "No to All", which means most of my files are written again with the "-1" appendage and Adobe has wasted a lot of my disk space.

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Randy Levine

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Posted 2 years ago

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Steve Lehman

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Randy, I can only give a few guesses to your error message because I do not save catalogs, but I do understand Windows error messages.  It is telling you that the pageframe where the file was originally is now (re)occupied with another file.  It's asking you if you want to save the file to another file or disc as you seem to already know.  And then, asking if you want to replace data or to save data, this is pretty easy to understand.  As for overwriting your catalogs, that's a Windows thing not an Adobe thing.  Maybe Adobe is adding to it but it could be a poor or overused program. Also, it could be a dead sector on your drive giving the error messages.  I will not fix your computer.  Try reinstalling, using a newer version or check your hard drive for problems. Also, you could segments on the drive from the earlier catalog loss.  Do a defrag on the system and begin again.  Could be some dead catalog segments are messing you up, returning errors from the drive.  Killing processes or losing data is a sign that sectors on the drive has segments of data.    
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Randy,
You may wonder why organizer users (or Lightroom or any other catalog based software users) only use a single catalog. I am absolutely amazed at your using 30+ catalogs !!!
http://www.johnrellis.com/psedbtool/photoshop-elements-faq.htm#_Splitting_and_rearranging

If you have 30 'points of interest', use keywords or categories in a single catalog. You can also create many 'albums' (kinds of 'playlists') stored in the catalog. Those albums can point to the same file without creating duplicates.
It's only safe to use different catalogs if they don't point to the same media files. For instance a professional and a personal catalog.
Using backups with multiple catalog is a sure way to get headaches.
About the error message: it does appear sometime and is always misleading. The organizer uses Windows routines to manage files in your computer; if there is some sort of conflict, the source of the problem may not be clearly identified and the organizer returns a generic or inadequate message.
Difficult to know in your case.
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Randy Levine

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Thanks to both of you for responding to my dilemma.

To Steve's points first: I want to clarify that the error message I get is not from Windows; it's from PSE (though PSE might be reporting a Windows error; I don't know and it doesn't say).  In addition, my internal disk on the W7 machine checks out fine and the external disk also checks out fine and also will reliably restore back to the Mac that it was written from.  So I don't think either disk has a problem.  The strange thing is that two of four catalogs did restore correctly to the W7 machine, though one of them gave me that same error a couple of times first.


To Michel's point: I've heard before that some PSE users are surprised that I would have 30+ catalogs.  Others aren't.  I'm just not willing to risk 200,000 photos (400GB of them) to one catalog.  Plus, Adobe provided the functionality and I don't see why I can't take advantage of it because I find it extremely convenient for my needs.  (If it shouldn't be used in this way then Adobe should tell us that, but don't get me started on Adobe's non-support of its buggy products.)  It hardly makes a difference to PSE: when one catalog is open the program doesn't access the others.

Thanks again.  I always appreciate people who take the time to respond to user problems.

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Steve Lehman

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Randy, apparently you know all the answers already as you apparently have argued with two of us.  So the main question is this: Why did you come here?  Don't answer that.  Like your previous reply, you beg for arguments.  I will not come back to read or talk.  This issue is dead to me.