Wednesday, 13 March 2013

How do I Reconnect Missing files in Organizer?

This problem can appear in various manifestations like:

- Yellow icon/badge is shown on top left corner of images.
- Elements Organizer shows 'Searching files' dialog in some workflows.
- Reconnect missing files dialog is shown while initiating some workflows.

Why/when this problem arises?
As we know Elements Organizer maintains a database of all files imported in it. So when you import any files in Elements Organizer, Elements Organizer creates an entry in database corresponding to that file and starts showing 'thumbnail' in grid. The thumbnails you see in Elements Organizer are just the 'shortcut' to the image. These are not your real images. 
Also as you know for all OS/applications, whenever you move/rename/delete a file, corresponding shortcut gets broken. Elements Organizer essentially does the same. Hence when you move/rename/delete media outside Organizer (from OS or via some other  application), Elements Organizer losses the track of that media. Consequently Organizer will start showing a  'missing file (yellow question mark) badge' on top left corner of image.
Another  scenario where-in this issue can occur is - when you have imported media from external drive. On Windows OS, 'External hard drive' are presented itself as an internal drive (not as a removable drive). Lets say you imported some media from external hard drive so if you detach your external hard drive then files imported from the external drive will be shown missing.

How to find which files are missing?
This functionality is only available for PSE11 or later version. To do so, click on 'Find->All missing files' option as shown in following figure:
As a result Elements Organizer grid will show all missing files.

How to resolve it?

(I). Through Elements Organizer:
This problem can be solved in following ways: 

A. Bonus tip for PSE 11 (and later versions):

You know where your media is currently on hard disk drive (you can get the last know path using 'Note' mentioned above). What all you need to do is Import the media back and Organizer will automatically do a reconnect.

B. Manual Reconnect Process: 

Please follow steps-
1. To do this, either you can turn OFF the 'Automatically Search for and Reconnect Missing Files' preferences (using step #1 mentioned above workflow) or your can click on 'Browse' button as shown in step#3 in above workflow. Once you do that, you get following dailog:
In PSE 11 (or later):

In PSE 10 (or older versions):
Thumbnail along with Name and Path (both last known) for media which is missing is shown on left bottom side of dialog.
Note:  As 'Rename/delete can also be the cause for making a file missing. In this case the location of media remains unchanged. To tackle these scenarios, before step #1 of this workflow, Open file properties <select any one file, right click it and select 'Show Properties' option>, in coming dialog, under 'General' properties, last known location of file will be shown.
2. Using the 'Locate the missing file' pane (right most panel of dialog) navigate to the location where the missing media is currently located. Once you are at that location, select the media (which is shown missing on left side) and click on 'Reconnect'. As a result all media belonging to this folder will get reconnected. Repeat this procedure if any media is still missing.

C. Automatic Reconnect Process: 

It will try to 'automatically' reconnect your media but beware it may take long time. To enable/use this feature, follow the steps:
1. Click on 'Edit->Preferences on Windows ('Adobe Elements 11 Organizer->Preferences' on Mac) to open Preferences dialog. In this dialog, turn ON 'Automatically Search for and Reconnect Missing Files' option under 'Files' tab as shown in following snapshot. Once done click on 'OK' button.

2. Click on 'File->Reconnect->Missing Files/All Missing Files'. 'Missing Files' option will try to reconnect selected missing files (need to select some missing files before this step).  'All Missing Files' option will try to reconnect all missing files present in your catalog. Select option as per your requirement.

3. A dialog will appear (as shown below). In the background of this dialog, Organizer is looking for the media on hard disk. Once found, Organizer will reconnect the files. 
As mentioned in starting, this may take longer time, so if you are in hurry, You can using 'Manual Reconnect' (mentioned above).please avoid using it.

(II). Through Windows Explorer/Mac Finder (outside Elements Organizer knowledge)
The simplest way to resolve this issue to undo the changes which you have outside Elements Organizer's knowledge. That is if you have renamed some files/folders, undo the renaming (Don't worry you can rename them again through Elements Organizer). 
If you have deleted some files/folders restore them back (if they are in Recycle bin/Trash) and then delete them from Elements Organizer. If you are unable to restore the deleted files/folders, the only way remains is to delete from Elements Organizer.

Please leave your comments if you have any queries. I will get back to you as soon as possible. Any feedback on improving the quality/content of the blog is highly appreciated.

Cheers !!


  1. Not sure what this has to do with my Tags missing. All my pictures are on organizer but the tags are missing.

    1. Reconnecting files, I have read your how to, but will this bring back my tags? I have tried to retag my photos but will not work. Nothing happens, all my tags are listed on right panel but unable to open any.

  2. This does not speak to the issue faced with tags and album information that is lost will a restore.