Doing Incremental Backups in Photoshop Elements Saves Disk Space But Not Time

I have been a long time user  of  the Backup/Restore commands in the Organizer of Photoshop Elements. My general practice has been to use the Full Backup option. However, as my photo/video collection has grown (about 600 Gb and 46K items) over the years, the time to do the backup and storage space it requires have grown tremendously.

More recently, I have begun to use the Incremental Backup option more and more.

PSE 13 Bkup OPtion

The Incremental Backup builds on the last Full Backup done and only adds those files and Catalog changes since it was done. Obviously, the storage space is significantly reduced, and initially I thought the time to do an incremental backup would also be significantly reduced.

That is definitely not the case. Generally speaking, on my PC, an incremental backup takes just about as long to do as does a full backup.

Here is an example for my most recent incremental backup.

  • The first two three steps take only two or three minutes.
  • After calculating the media size, there is message with no progress bar that says that PSE is loading the previous backup. This message stayed on the screen  for about an hour and half with no other indication that PSE is even running. In fact, if you bring up the Task Manager, it shows that the PSE Organizer is not responding.
  • At this point it is very tempting to abort the process, thinking PSE has basically crashed. Don’t. It is still hard at work.
  • Eventually a dialog box appears where you click on the Save Backup button. A message appears stating that PSE is identifying incremental files and soon after, a progress bar appears.
  • In this example, it took one and a half hours or so for the Successfully Completed the Backup message to appear.

In this example the backup was about 17 Gb and took about two hours and forty minutes. I basically did not use the computer during this period. Also of note, is that I was backing up to a portable USB 3.0 external drive, but it was plugged into a USB 2.0 port on my PC. Also, I was using PSE 13.

So, using the Incremental Backup saves tons of disk space but still takes a significant amount of time. It would be nice if Adobe would add some type  of status or progress report during the time period when no real helpful information is being displayed.

I generally do two or three incremental backups before doing a full backup. To find out more about my use of the Backup/Restore commands, you can check out the link below or use the Search bar on this page to view a list of all of the posts on this and related  subjects.



One thought on “Doing Incremental Backups in Photoshop Elements Saves Disk Space But Not Time

  1. I’ve used / tried PSE backup a couple of times and decided that for me it took too much time to be worth it. It felt like a very long and agonizing procedure where you never had a real clue whether it was stuck – or still running. And if I was still to wait for a few minutes, hours or days more for completion… Including that it only told that backup media was insufficient in the very end of the long backup process.. Not in the beginning.. Even though I think it should have ben able to figure that out earlier… (Yes, I could have figured it out earlier as well by reading the instructons properly.. ;)..)

    Anway, my strategy has been to have the photos on a RAID 1+1 disk on home LAN so the failure of one single physical disk should not be a catastrophy. And then have a regular unattended backup of the files (including catalog) with an external tool to a separate physical backup disk. That way the process has been a lot more transparent for me.

    Currently I am actually ponderingn about having the setup changed so that I’ll have the photos on OneDrive folder so that I would have them accessible from esentially any device I use. That would naturally allow “raw” access to jpgs files only, but in my setup that would be a nice thing anyways. Perhaps more importantly I would have off site backup of the files in cloud that way even though I certainly will keep on making backups on my local backup disk as before (who knows what happens to the cloud one day..?).

    OneDrive “method” should help in switching to a new laptop as well.. Naturally requiring some network badwidth in the process. And there could be some caveats that may not make that path palatable to all. Like that it probably is not officially supported by Adobe..

    But, comparing the speed of accessig files in the home LAN file server to accessing files on OneDrive (they are local to the laptop but synched in the background to the cloud) I am getting more and more serious into moving to OneDrive. I guess there are other similar technologies as well, but this is most familiar to me.

    I have been on “PSE ride” on various versions of Windows (currently Windws 10) ever since PSE 2 or 3 version and my catalog has at the moment 53k items..

    I would sincerely appreciate any reflections / comments you may have on the above.


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