Backup or restore catalogs

Backup catalogs to create free space on your computer by moving rarely used media files to a CD, DVD, another drive on your computer, or a shared network.

If you are backing up to a CD or DVD, ensure that you have a CD or DVD drive with writable media connected to your computer. For incremental back ups, ensure that you have the media that contains the last complete back up.

Tips and pointers for backing up catalogs

Before you proceed to back up a catalog, ensure that you have noted the following information.

  • It’s best to back up to a CD, DVD, or external hard drive.

    While taking the catalog backup, Elements Organizer renames the files with alphanumeric codes. This renaming prevents multiple files with the same name in the same backup folder. However, Elements Organizer restores the names when you restore the files.

  • Backup/restore using CD/DVD is not supported on Mac OS. Also, on Mac OS, you cannot access files on a shared network.

  • To burn selected photos onto a CD or DVD for playback on computers or multiple DVD players, see Publish a slide show (Windows only).

  • (Windows only) To use all the available space on CDs and DVDs, Elements Organizer lets you burn multiple sessions on a disc. Choose Edit > Preferences > Files, and select the Enable Multisession Burning To CD/DVD.

  • When you finish, it’s a good idea to label any removable media, such as a CD with the name and date of the backup sessions. To label a disc, create a CD and DVD label by using Elements Organizer, or use a pen specially designed for safely writing on discs

Back up a catalog

  1. If you have multiple catalogs, open the catalog you want to back up.

  2. Select File > Backup Catalog.

  3. If a dialog box appears asking if you want to reconnect missing files, do one of the following:

    • Click Reconnect to check for missing files. If you clicked Reconnect, and missing files are found, the Reconnect Missing Files dialog box appears and prompts you to reconnect the missing files.

    • Click Continue to proceed with backing up files. Elements Organizer automatically performs a recover procedure.


    If you choose to continue with the backup despite disconnected items,restoring this backup set yields a catalog with the items disconnected.

  4. In step 1 of the Backup wizard, select one of the following options, and click Next:

    Full Backup

    Creates a copy of the entire catalog and all the photo files, video files, audio clips, PDFs, projects, and other related files. Choose this option at least the first time you back up your files.

    Incremental Backup

    Creates a copy of the catalog, all new or modified media files, PDFs, projects, and other related files since the last full or incremental backup.

  5. In step 2 of the Backup wizard, set the following options, and then click Save Backup:

    • From the Select Destination Drive list, select the CD, DVD, or hard drive to which you want to burn the items.

    • Type a name for the backup session in the Name textbox, or accept the default name.

    • If you select a CD or DVD drive, choose a speed for burning the items. The highest possible speed for your drive and CD/DVD media is chosen by default. If that speed doesn’t work, try progressively lower speeds until you find one that works.

    • If you select a hard drive, Backup Path specifies where the files are backed up on an internal hard drive or network hard drive. To change the location, click Browse, and select another location.

    • If you’re making an incremental backup, Previous Backup File is used to determine what has changed since the last backup, if any. To browse to another previous backup file, click Browse, and select another file.

  6. After Elements Organizer calculates the size and estimated time needed for the backup, click Save Backup. If you selected a CD or DVD drive, you are prompted to insert writable CDs or DVDs as needed.

  7. If you’re making an incremental backup, locate or insert the media containing the last full backup, or incremental backup, and follow the on‑screen directions.

    As each CD or DVD is burned, Elements Organizer lets you verify the disc. Although verifying is time-consuming, ensure that the discs are created correctly.

Restore a catalog

When you restore a catalog that has been backed up, the contents of the backup catalog are recreated on your computer. Among other uses, restoring from a catalog helps you retrieve lost files, or move files around computers.

For example, use the Backup command to copy everything onto a writable CD or DVD. Then use the Restore command to place the files from the CD or DVD onto the other computer.


Backup/Restore using CD/DVD is not supported on Mac OS.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • If you backed up to removable media, such as a CD or DVD, insert it into your computer.

    • If you backed up to an external hard drive, make sure that it’s connected to your computer.

  2. Select File > Restore Catalog.

  3. In Restore From, specify where the files to restore are located:

    • Select CD/DVD if your backup files are on either of these media. If necessary, use the Select Drive menu to choose the drive with the CD or DVD.


    If you are restoring files from a CD or DVD with multisession backup files, use the Select Drive list to select your most recent backup.

    • Select Hard Drive/Other Volume if your backup files are on your hard disk or other removable media, such as a flash drive. Click the Browse button to locate the backup file to restore.
  4. Specify a location for the restored catalog and files:

    • Select Original Location to restore your catalog, photos, video files, PDFs, projects, and audio clips to their original locations.


    The Original Location Option is not available in the Windows Application Store version of Photoshop Elements.

    • Select New Location to restore the catalog and images to a new drive or folder. Click Browse to select a location. Select Restore Original Folder Structure to preserve the hierarchy of the folders and subfolders that contain your catalog, photos, video files, PDFs, projects, and audio clips.


    If you selected Restore From CD/DVD, Elements Organizer prompts you if more than one disc is required to restore a catalog. Follow the onscreen instructions, which differ depending on whether you’re restoring a single backup set or a single backup set plus one or more incremental back ups.

  5. Click Restore.

Restore a catalog from a previous Windows version on Mac OS

  • Restore the catalog from the previous Windows version in the current Windows version of Elements Organizer. The catalog is converted to a format compatible with the current version, and a conversion complete message is displayed.

  • In the current Windows version, back up the catalog that you restored.

  • In Mac OS, restore the backup file (.tly) in Elements Organizer.