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ACDSee 15 Help - I have a mess

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  • ACDSee 15 Help - I have a mess

    If someone could direct me to any kind of training or with advice I would so appreciate it and be forever in debt to you

    I have had several versions of this program.I originally tagged most of my original 40,000 photos in a version long, long ago. It was awesome. I could find everything I was looking for. In upgrading versions somehow I seem to have lost almost everything. Please if anyone else reads this - I'm sure it wasn't the program. The program rocks. Which is why I am here. I wan to use this again. My son got really sick and in the last couple years while he was getting sicker I really messed things up. I now have over 100,000 photos and a mess. I think I moved a bunch - which I know I did through the program because I knew enough to do it through ACDSee but I must have done something wrong. Now I have duplicates and triplicates of lots of stuff. I'm not sure where to start. My son passed away a year ago and I was so disappointed because I could NOT put my fingers on the pictures I wanted like I used to be able to do. I feel like all those hours of tagging were for nothing. But I'm hoping I can salvage something and not have to start over. I'm willing to upgrade if I know I can clean this up.

    Like I said if anyone can direct me as to where to begin I would really appreciate it. I promise to share it forward. I can't really get other folks on board right now like I used to because I have such a mess myself.

    If there are video tutorials somewhere I would love to hear about it. Thanks to anyone who can help! Blessings to you!

  • #2
    Hello Gina - Very sorry to hear about the loss of your son. Your post made it clear that you have a photos 'mess' on your hands. However, in order for your fellow ACDSee users to help you, it's going to be necessary for you to provide a lot more information about your computer and these multiple ACDSee versions that you described.

    As a start, you need to indicate exactly which versions of ACDSee that you are talking about. In particular, the old version that you did all the tagging with. And, back when you did this tagging, did you backup your database, or did you embed your metadata in the images?

    You say that you "lost" your tagging at some point with your various upgrades. Do you still have the old versions installed on your PC? Do they still function? Is there any chance that the database that was associated with the previous version is still available?

    Do you have any idea how your "image duplication" problem occurred? Are these duplicates of entire folders? Or, are they scattered individual images?

    In summary, your fellow ACDSee users will be happy to try and help sort out your mess. However, it's going to require that you accurately describe your computer environment. Post back when you are able to describe the situation in more detail.


    • #3
      Thank you so much for responding Bill! Yes, I will need to give a lot more data. I knew this is going to take several posts for someone to help me so I didn't want to blah, blah, and assume someone would be so generous as to offer to help me with such a monumental mess. I was totally prepared to start over and just watch a bunch of videos if I had to. This is very kind of you to offer your assistance. Can't believe I have brain zapped this badly by walking away from it all for a couple of years. So thank you again in advance.

      After reading a couple of posts I'm wondering if I would be able to embed the metadata at this point to at least capture what is currently there. I have 15 on my current computer and I just looked and it appears that I uninstalled 14 on my other computer. On yet another computer it looks like I uninstalled 2009 and possibly 2010. Ugh.

      At some point (in 15) I tried to move a bunch of photos to an external hard drive and wound up with many duplicates. Could I just embed what I have and then recreate the database on the external hard drive and delete what I have on my hard drive? The duplicates are scattered individual images I think but I guess they might be folders as well.

      I'm not sure what I did in those original versions. Now that I'm thinking about it if I did embed the metadata could I just try and install what I have on that external hard drive that is now housing all of my photos and see what I come up with?

      Thank you for what ever direction you can give me at this point and I will totally understand if you don't have time. Blessings to you!


      • #4
        Gina - I'm going begin by explaining some mechanical things that you may already be aware of. But, I'm thinking that it's probably best to be overly thorough in your case because you said you were a bit out of practice in using ACDSee. So, what follows will give you a sort of overview as to how to begin to approach your 'mess'.

        Strategy. The first goal should be to try and recover the Metadata (database info) that you created when you tagged those original 40,000 images. I would not spend too much time worrying about the duplicates at this point. It will be much easier to get rid of the extra images, than to have to completely redo all that tagging effort. Which leads me to some technical explanations and definitions:

        Definitions. The word "tagging" is sometimes used by photographers to describe the process of adding extra information to their images such as: captions, keywords, categories, etc. However, In the ACDSee help files, this process is officially referred to as "Organizing". And, in ACDSee speak, "tagging" is a different function altogether -- allowing you to quickly go through a large volume of images and "tag" the best shots as keepers. This kind of "tagging" allows you to literally put a checkmark on selected images, then display the tagged images separately from the others. For example, imagine quickly picking the keepers out of a wedding shoot consisting of several thousand images.

        ACDSee Metadata. Returning to the subject of Organizing (adding captions, keywords, categories, etc.), the next explanation deals with "where is this data stored?". There are two options and two completely different answers.

        (1.) ACDSee maintains a database (actually, a whole folder full of index files) somewhere on your computer. A database is associated with one specific version of the ACDSee program. So, if you have multiple versions of ACDSee installed, each one will have it's own unique database. This is where all your organizing data is stored, in addition to the little thumbnail images you see in Manage Mode. I'm hoping that one or more of your old databases may still exist on one of your old computers. More about that later.

        (2.) ACDSee offers another ability in addition to the normal database. Users can optionally copy their database information (captions, keywords, categories, etc.), into the images themselves. This is what is meant by the expression "embedding". The huge advantage of embedding is that where ever your images go (even in multiple computers) all of your Organizing data moves with the images themselves, because it is contained inside the images. It was not clear from your earlier posts if you really understood what embedding was, or if you had actually embedded some of that 40,000 images worth of organizing information into your images.

        Rebuilding an ACDSee database from embedded metadata. I am literally doing exactly that as I am typing this post. I have all my Organizing data embedded in my images. I just installed a new larger hard drive in my PC. I have copied all my images on to the new hard drive. Now I want to recreate the ACDSee database from the metadata stored inside my images. It's as easy as clicking Tools > Database >< Catalog Files. It runs for a long time, but only for the first time. Thereafter, running Catalog Files only has to process new information (incremental update). As you can now imagine, my big question for you is: "did you ever actually run an embedding operation to store your previous organizing data inside your images?" If you did, it will still be there.

        Even if you didn't embed, that data may be lurking around somewhere on one of your systems in an old ACDSee database. And, even if you uninstalled an older version of the ACDSee software, an old database may still exist. If this sounds like it's going to be a witch hunt, you're right.

        So, as a next step, why don't you take some time to digest all this. Then, go to your computers and start to take an inventory of exactly which versions do you have? Still installed and running? Uninstalled, but you still have the original installation software? And critically, do you have your software license numbers saved somewhere? Okay, that's enough for now. Post back when you've begun to get your arms around your software inventory, and we'll take this the next step.
        Last edited by LV_Bill; 10-02-2015, 05:53 PM.


        • #5
          You are a saint Bill! I have a CD with 14 on it and I must have bought 15 online because I don't have a CD. I do have license info.

          Thanks for all the info. That is helping it all come back. I took a class and I remember the instructor talking about embedding the tagging so I'm hoping I did and it will be there.

          Should I embed what I have for 15?

          Bless you!


          • #6
            Originally posted by ginathies View Post
            Should I embed what I have for 15?
            No, not yet. The next step is to determine which, if any, of your images have Metadata (your tagging) associated with them. Or, if you previously did embed some Metadata into the images.

            First, keep in mind that you can have multiple versions of ACDSee installed and running at the same time on the same PC. They do not interfere with each other at all. Each version will have it's own unique database. Furthermore, if you previously uninstalled an older version, you can reinstall it -- AND -- the reinstalled version may find its old database (maybe).

            Later on, we may chose to reinstall your older ACDSee versions. Just in case you have your old license numbers, but no longer have the actual software, the link below will take you to ACD's web page of download links. All of the old ACDSee software versions are available for you to download.

            Next steps.

            1. Time to start searching for metadata (your old tagging). Using your most current version, start slowly navigating around all of your images -- everything, including the duplicates. Go slow -- you are searching for any evidence of Metadata. As you move from folder to folder, ACDSee will try to Catalog the images -- including any metadata they may contain from previous embedding. In the lower right corner of the screen in Manage Mode, there is a progress indicator showing ACDSee's percent completion at Cataloging the images. If images are already cataloged, this will be nearly instant. You are looking for your metadata -- captions, keywords, categories, etc.

            2. The next steps really depend upon what you discover in your metadata search (above). If, after a thorough search, you determine that your old metadata (tagging) is really no longer visible, then we may undertake the reinstallation of some of your older ACDSee versions. These reinstalls may find their old database data. And, they may allow you to find the missing metadata and embed into the images. But, don't do any embedding until we discuss it.

            Any way you look at it, this is going to be a long, drawn-out process. But, a slow and thorough investigation is a lot better than just giving up and starting over on creating metadata for 40,000 images. To summarize, your next step is to use your current ACDSee version and slowly review your images looking for old metadata. If that search fails to turn up anything, then we can discuss re-installing your older ACDSee versions.

            Take your time. I will keep an eye out for your next progress report in this thread.


            • #7
              Thanks, Bill. I have gone through all the pictures so everything should be cataloged. Question: It looks like I have around 80,000 pics. Can ACDsee handle that many? I noticed it seemed to get slower and slower and even froze up a few times. Could have been me. Can it work with over 100,000 photos? I mostly want it for the tagging. I want to rate things 1-5 and tag them with categories. Let me know what you think I should do next. I appreciate your help and your patience very much. I've always loved the ease of finding things using ACDsee. Looking forward to being up and running again

              Thanks again.


              • #8
                Hi Gina - I have about 85,000 pictures myself. That's absolutely no problem for ACDSee. If you are ready to start rating and tagging, then have at it.

                If I recall, you are on ACDSee 15. If that's still correct, then my only recommendation would be to make sure that you embed your metadata in the images themselves. That way if you chose to upgrade to ACDSee 19, recreating your Catalog will be a snap. Every so often, just run: Tools > Embed ACDSee Metadata > In All Files. Good luck, and feel free to post back any time if you have any more questions.


                • #9
                  I'm tagging away. I don't want to create duplicates again so I am wondering how I backup my photos. Is there a tutorial somewhere on this?

                  Thank you!


                  • #10
                    Hi Gina - Glad to hear that you are making progress. The first form of backup is to embed your tagging. That backs up your metadata inside your images. Every so often, remember to run Tools > Embed ACDSee Metadata > In All Files. You literally can't do this too often.
                    Here's a link to an ACDSee Embedding tutorial:

                    Although most of the ACDSee Help files are focused on database backup, there is some information that might be of interest in a Help article entitled: Backing Up Your Files To Another Computer. Just launch Help, click on the Search tab, then run a search on Backup. There are several articles to read.

                    The bigger question is a technique for doing master image file backups. There are a lot of software programs available for this critical function. Obviously, they are aimed at all files, not just image files. I use a program called AllwaySync. I've been using it for years and I have found it to be a very efficient. I have a number of external hard drives which I use a backups. This software is free and it is quite powerful. If you want to give it a try, here's the link to the AllwaySync site.

                    If you do decide to use this software, post back so I can give you a couple of tips and warnings. You do have to be careful with backups. Good luck.
                    Last edited by LV_Bill; 10-25-2015, 08:22 AM.


                    • #11
                      So I want to be sure I understand the backup process in th?

                      When ACDSee asks you if you want to bake a backup it is only making thumbnails of what is out there. Correct? I still need to backup my actual image files.

                      I can do this through whatever program like the one you mentioned above and all my images will be secure. If my computer crashes I would be able to buy a new one load ACDsee and then automatically recreate my tagging through ACDSee. Correct?

                      So to say it another way ACDSee's backup does not create another image of all of your files.

                      Do I have this right?

                      And thank you so much for your help. I'm at least somewhat techy but I want to make sure I don't take any more backwards steps. I appreciate your patience.


                      • #12
                        When ACDSee asks you if you want to make a backup, it is only making thumbnails of what is out there. Correct? I still need to backup my actual image files?

                        Yes. You are responsible for backing up your own hard drive. ACDSee only offers to help you back up your database (keywords, captions, and thumbnails, etc.).

                        I can do this [hard drive backups] through whatever program like the one you mentioned above and all my images will be secure. If my computer crashes I would be able to buy a new one load ACDsee and then automatically recreate my tagging through ACDSee. Correct?

                        Yes. And, if you have embedded your metadata (tagging), that will also be secure.

                        So to say it another way ACDSee's backup does NOT create another image of all of your files. Do I have this right?

                        Yes. You've got it now. As a reminder, backup software can be tricky. When you're ready to start running backups to protect your files, post back for some tips and warnings.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LV_Bill View Post
                          When ACDSee asks you if you want to make a backup, it is only making thumbnails of what is out there. Correct? I still need to backup my actual image files?

                          Yes. You are responsible for backing up your own hard drive. ACDSee only offers to help you back up your database (keywords, captions, and thumbnails, etc.).
                          The AC backup dialogue also offers to backup your original images. But I wouldn't recommend to go this way.

                          I can do this [hard drive backups] through whatever program like the one you mentioned above and all my images will be secure. If my computer crashes I would be able to buy a new one load ACDsee and then automatically recreate my tagging through ACDSee. Correct?

                          Yes. And, if you have embedded your metadata (tagging), that will also be secure.
                          A backup of the database + the original images does not cover valuable settings, that are stored in the registry. The Backup routine of AC also doesn't cover the short cuts. Also embedding does not cover certain info like user defined sorting of directories.

                          Imho a complete backup of the whole AC environment including all original images and all meta data is very tricky; if not impossible for an average user. Even if you manage to backup everything, it still is tricky to restore it, because of the volume ids of the hard drives and the registry.

                          You don't have a mess. Regarding to the backups, it's AC that has a mess!
                          Last edited by Emil; 10-27-2015, 03:16 AM.