Photoshop Elements: Difficult to merge old catalog with the new one

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  • Updated 5 years ago
  • (Edited)
One of the things I generally do over the break is get more experience using Adobe software. Last year, I did my first serious video editing job with Premier Elements, making a wedding video for friends. This year, one little project was moving all of our photos and PS Elements catalog from an older XP machine to a new Win7 laptop. I exported the catalog onto a USB hard drive, and then tried importing it onto the new machine and I got the following error message:

"Error encountered while restoring catalog. It is recommended that you contact your disc drive manufacturer and upgrade to the latest available firmware for your specific disc drive before trying again."

That was pretty scary, but I was sure that the error must be somewhere else – the two drives involved both seemed to work fine when I used them for anything else. Maybe PS Elements doesn’t like moving from version 9 (old laptop) to version 10 (new laptop)? So, I’ll go back to 9 on the new laptop. Nope, that has no effect (expect for taking my time)! Much hunting around later, I find this:

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/402/kb402894...

You can receive an error if your original catalog was stored under a user account (for example, on the desktop) instead of the default "All Users" folder on Windows XP and you choose to restore to Original Location. (Error: "Error encountered while restoring catalog. It is recommended that you contact your disc drive manufacturer and upgrade to the latest available firmware for your specific disc drive before trying again.") If this error occurs, make sure that you are logged in on Windows Vista with the same user account name that you used on Windows XP. You can also avoid the error if you choose to restore the catalog to a new location.

It sure does seem inappropriate to complain to a user that he needs to upgrade the firmware for his disc drive (how many people would even know how to do this?) when we know (at least the person who wrote this note knew!) that the problem really had to do with user account information moving from XP to Vista/Win7. One also has to wonder why user account information plays any role here anyhow – but that’s another issue.

What I really wanted to do was merge the old catalog with the new one (since I already had made some changes on the new laptop that I wanted to keep). I was never able to get that to work ... All in all, a pretty frustrating day spent using a piece of software that advertises its “ease of use.”
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Jim Donahue

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Posted 6 years ago

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Brett N, Official Rep

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User accounts come into play when we talk about disk permissions. Each file on your computer has tags that say who/what can edit, see, or open them. When files are attached to a specific account, rather than a shared account, moving them over to a new computer doesn't remove this information. So the files are in a sort of limbo of "Only users so-and-so can open these files. But user so-and-so doesn't exist on this computer. Something must be broken." So the OS assumes that the files on the disk are mis-stored, and that a firmware update will be the fix to this. The error message may be posted by Photoshop Elements, but that doesn't mean that the information that prompted it came from Photoshop Elements (please don't shoot the messenger).

"Ease of use" applies to supported functions within the application. Merging catalogs is an advanced feature that Photoshop Elements doesn't support (there is no command to do this). Such a function exists in the more advanced application, Lightroom. If you have made changes to images including adding keyword tags, albums, captions, etc. You can write that information to the file (File>Write Keyword Tag and Properties Info to Photos), and then import the new files into the old catalog.
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Jim Donahue

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"The OS made us do it" is a pretty weak justification for an obviously misleading and potentially disconcerting error message. And I honestly don't know any other program that won't allow me to move archive data (like catalogs) from one machine to another because of account differences on the machines -- that smells like a bug.
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Kristene Maguire

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Fortunately my computer manufacturer worked out how to get around this error by choosing restore to a new location. No thanks to Adobe support who had absolutely no answers to this problem and appeared to be completely ignorant to the problem.