PSE 12 and Older Operating Systems

Time moves on, and Adobe is gradually moving away from support for older operating systems. For Photoshop Elements, if you use Windows, so far there’s only one concern, but Mac folks may have noticed that PSE 12 lists 10.7 as the lowest version of OS X that will run it. Is that really true?

Here’s what you need to know if you’re contemplating purchasing PSE 12:


If you’re running Windows 7 or 8, no problems at all. If you’re running XP or Vista, though, you need to be aware that Adobe has cut off updates for the Camera Raw plug-in at version 8.0, the version that comes with PSE 12 when you first install it. The current version is 8.2. If your computer has Win 7 or 8, no problem. Just go to Help->Updates in the Editor and it should install for you. But XP and Vista users won’t even see this update. (This is true for all Adobe programs, incidentally, not just PSE.)

If you only shoot JPEG files, this doesn’t matter at all. But if you like to shoot raw, you need to understand that every camera model has its own raw format and when new cameras come out, the Camera Raw plug-in has to be updated to understand their raw files. So theoretically you won’t be able to open raw files from new cameras in Elements 12 on older versions of windows. There are two workarounds for this, so you aren’t totally out of luck.

The official workaround is to download the free Adobe DNG converter, which you can use to convert your raw files to a format that your version of the raw converter can understand. You can download it here:

Just install it, make a desktop shortcut and you can drop a single raw file or a folder of files onto the shortcut to make DNG files for yourself.

If you’re braver, you may want to read through this thread at the Elements Village website. Be sure to read the whole thing, since it begins with discussing 8.1 in Elements 11. (Be aware, though, that Adobe says that 8.2 includes features that rely on system components that aren’t ┬áin older operating systems.)

If you decide to try it, just make sure to save the older version of the raw plug-in in case you need to put it back again if you do find a problem with 8.2.


Adobe says that you need OS X 10.7 to run PSE 12, and that’s true if you use the Organizer. However, if you’re running 10.6.8, the Editor seems to work just fine, according to the reports I’ve gotten from people who’ve tried it (I don’t have 10.6 anymore to try this myself, so I can’t say from personal experience). If you’re contemplating trying PSE 12 in 10.6, be sure to download the trial and give it a good hard workout for the full 30 days before buying, just to be sure. (Note that you won’t get any support from Adobe if you install PSE 12 in 10.6, but since official support for PSE is pretty limited anyway, this may or may not matter to you.) And you may have trouble updating the raw converter in the future, if that’s a concern.

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