The other day I helped a client move all of her pictures, as well as her catalog from her C drive to a new external drive. The number of pictures in her catalog had grown to about 5,000, and she was concerned that she was running out of disk space. There are a number of ways this can be done, but I chose to do a backup/restore. The added advantage for her of doing it this way was it forced her to back up her catalog, which she had not done recently.
She has PSE 5, but these same steps can be used with any version. She bought two USB 2.0 external hard drives, one for her catalog and images and the second one for her backup files. Before starting, we checked to make sure that the new external drives were formatted using NTFS, and not FAT32. Often external drives come formatted as FAT32 drives to increase their compatibility across various platforms. The problem with this is a FAT32 drive cannot store a file greater than 4 Gb. PSE backup files are generally much larger than this. I believe her backup ended up being about 12-13 Gb.
Here are the steps we followed to move her catalog.
- Reconnect or delete any missing files. Click on File > Reconnect > All Missing Files. If you delete missing files, delete them from the catalog but not the hard drive.
- Click File > Backup. Select Full Backup and click Next.
- Select the external drive where you intend to backup up your catalog and images, eg G:. The default name should be the same name as your catalog. For most people, this will be My Catalog.
- Click on the Browse button and make a new folder. Here is how I name backup folders:
FB My Catalog 5-4-08
This tells me the name of the catalog, the fact that it is a full backup in contrast to an incremental backup, and the date it was created. This new folder should now be in the backup path field.
- Click Done to begin the backup.
- Once the backup is complete, click on File > Restore (The wording after Restore varies depending PSE version you are using).
- In the Restore From section of the dialog box, select the drive containing the backup files (G: in our example), click on the Browse button and then navigate to and select the .tly file in the folder you used for your backup.
- In the Restore Files and Catalog to section of the dialog box, select New Location.
- Click on the Browse button and navigate to the External drive on which you are going house your catalog and images, eg F:.
- Make sure you select Restore Original Folder Structure.
- Click Restore.
At the completion of the restore process, your images and tags should all be as you left them. You can quickly verify that they are now on the external drive by checking the properties for a selected image. To complete the relocation, you should change the preferences where images uploaded from your camera are stored, where scanned images will be stored, and where files automatically saved by PSE are saved. Do this by clicking on the following and entering the appropriate location:
Edit > Preferences > Files
Edit > Preferences > Camera or Card Reader
Edit > Preferences > Scanner
Remember, from now on, the My Pictures folder on your C drive will not be where PSE is going to be saving images in the future. As you edit your pictures you will also want to navigate to an appropriate folder on your new external hard drive (again F: in our example) when you do your File Save As… command. Other programs that use the My Pictures folder will continue to look and store images there.
As of right now, your pictures are still located wherever they were on your C drive. Later when you are comfortable that everything got transferred correctly, these can be deleted.
The performance of PSE should not go down much or at all with having your images contained on an external drive. But if you are concerned about that, you could move your images and catalog to a second internal hard drive. The steps above would remain the same.
That’s all for now. Please comment if you have any questions, thoughts or experiences to share.
Until next time,