PSE 12 and Mavericks Updated

When I posted about PSE and OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) the other day:

I was having trouble inserting images into posts. So for the benefit of those who’ve asked me just which preferences to delete, tt depends on which version(s) you have, but you want to look for files and folders beginning Adobe Photoshop Elements, Elements Organizer,  and com.adobe. Here’s the trash on my Mac after doing this, if it helps (remember I have a lot of different versions on my computer–you probably won’t have more than three files if you only have a single version of PSE installed):

deleted preferences


(I’ve since updated the main post, but I don’t think updates get sent out to subscribers, so here’s the list for those of you who get this blog via email.)

If you still have problems with PSE crashing when opening or saving a file after deleting the preferences, adobe recommends switching your finder windows out of coverflow view:

The Elements 12 Auto Analyzer–Adobe’s Evil Undead

EDIT 3-13-14: I’m pleased to say that there’s a better fix now than what is described on this page. If the  PSE 12 Auto Analyzer is giving you problems, in the Editor go to Help>Updates and update to 12.1. You can read more about 12.1 and the Auto Analyzer here. If you did put the space in the Auto Analyzer’s name be sure to remove it before running the update. And Adobe has asked me to point out that they DO NOT RECOMMEND renaming it.


Since it’s Halloween, this is a good day to discuss Adobe’s own vampire zombie: the Photoshop Elements 12 Auto Analyzer.

If you’ve used a recent version of Photoshop Elements, you may be aware that one of the Organizer “features” is something called the Auto Analyzer. Its function is to evaluate your photos for you and add what Adobe calls Smart Tags, to your photos. “Smart” in this case meaning “really-hard-to-get-rid-of”. So the Auto Analyzer may tag your photos as “high quality, in focus” or it may judge your photo to be blurry and low quality and add helpful tags to that effect.

Now if you’re a fan of the Auto Analyzer, everything is fine, but since most people don’t see this as exactly a desirable feature, the first thing they do is to turn it off, since it runs constantly in the background (even when Elements isn’t running), and it’s a real memory hog on top of everything else and can really slow things down. In previous versions of Elements, all you had to do was to go to the Organizer preferences->Media Analysis and turn it off there and it obligingly went away.

Alas, in PSE 12 that does as much good as shooting Dracula or the Wolfman with a regular ol’ bullet. It just comes back again and again. I have no idea what it’s doing when you’ve stopped it from tagging things, but if you really want to kill it, it’s not so simple now. For Windows folks, it’s not usually so much of an issue, but on a Mac it can bring your whole system to its knees. If you have a Mac that has suddenly slowed down enormously, the first thing to seek out is the Auto Analyzer.  I’ll also include how to stop it in Windows, since even if it’s not making trouble you may be as uneasy as I am about processes that insist on running when you don’t know what they’re doing.

Before going through all the steps, I will say that you may be able to get away with just doing Step 4 and restarting your computer on either platform, but if that doesn’t do it, you’ll need to do everything in the list.

EDIT I’m advised by Adobe that doing this will also kill your ability to upload video to Revel from within PSE. So if that’s important to you, you probably don’t want to do this.

It also turns out that the Auto Analyzer can cause big problems with stacks and version sets in Windows. If you’ve upgraded to PSE 12 and you can’t stack and your photos aren’t saving in version sets anymore, try turning off the Auto Analyzer in Task Manager. If that fixes it, follow the steps to shut it down completely.

2nd EDIT As of March 6,  2014 Adobe has released PSE 12.1. If you removed the space from the Auto Analyzer’s name, be sure to put it back before running the update (available via Editor>Help Menu>Updates). Note that the update will reset everything pertaining to the Auto Analyzer back to where it was initially, so if you don’t want it running all the time, you will need to go back and remove it from your startup/login items and put the space back in. EDIT 3-13-14: The Auto Analyzer behaves so much better since the update that I would recommend just leaving it alone after the update unless you have a serious problem with it.


If you never once open the Organizer,  you won’t need to do any of this, but just looking around in the Organizer one time is enough to start things going.

1. Go to Elements Organizer->Preferences->Media Analysis and turn off everything circled here.

Auto Analyzer Prefs


That should be enough to stop it, but it isn’t.

2. Go to Applications->Utilities->Activity Monitor and select ElementsAutoAnalyzer in the list of running processes, and kill it by clicking the red Quit Process button at the top of the window:

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 11.29.06 AM


Now you would think that should do it, wouldn’t you? And it’s true that as long as you don’t open the Organizer, log out of your OS X account and back in, or restart your Mac, it’s okay. But do any of those things, and back it comes again. So how do you really kill it dead?

3. First of all, Adobe has been really sneaky about this. It put the Auto Analyzer into your Login Items (really unconscionable, in my opinion). So go to System Preferences-> Users & Groups, and click on your name in the list on the left side of the window, then on Login Items and you’ll see this:

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 11.29.46 AM


Select ElementsAutoAnalyzer in the list and click the Minus button at the bottom of the window.

Now you would think that would do it for sure, wouldn’t you? But nooo. You’re good to go as long as you never open the Organizer again, but as soon as you do, the Auto Analyzer, like the true Undead that it is, comes right back and puts itself back into your Login items again. So how can you drive a stake through its evil heart? Here’s the trick:

4. Go to your Applications folder and right-click (control-click if you have your mouse set up for one button) Adobe Elements 12 Organizer and choose Show Package Contents from the popout menu. You will see a folder called Contents. Open that and you’ll see ElementsAutoAnalyzer in the list of contents. Click its name and insert a space in it somewhere:

organizer contents


That’s all you need to do to keep the rest of the program from finding it and starting it up again. Remember that you did this, and go back and delete that space before you try to uninstall PSE, though, to make sure the uninstaller can find everything. So far I haven’t heard of anyone having problems as a result of doing this–Organizer works just fine without it, but if you do have trouble, the answer is just to delete the space.


The process is similar in Windows.

1. Go to Edit->Preferences->Media Analysis and uncheck everything:

Auto Analyzer Prefs


2. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and open Task Manager and stop the Auto Analyzer there.

3. Go to Run and enter MSCONFIG and run that. In the Startup tab, turn off the Auto Analyzer:

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 12.04.39 PM


4. Go to C:\Program Files [Program Files (x86) for 64-bit systems]\Adobe\Elements 12 Organizer\CAHeadless and insert a space into the name of the ElementsAutoAnalyzer:

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 12.13.11 PM


You will need to have hidden file viewing enabled to see the entire path.

The same caution applies here: If you’re going to uninstall PSE, or if you have any trouble after doing this, just go back and remove that space.

Photoshop Elements and OS X Mavericks

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about PSE and the latest OS X update, 10.9 (Mavericks). The news is mostly good: all versions of PSE that I’ve tried (6 through 12) work just fine, with one exception. If you have PSE 11, the Comic and Graphics Novel filters will crash PSE. So far I don’t know a solution for this. Also, I haven’t tried installing or uninstalling, and that could be a problem with the oldest versions.

If you upgrade to Mavericks, it is very important to delete all existing PSE, Organizer, and Bridge (for PSE 6 and 8) preferences.  To do this, you need to go to your username->Library->Preferences and delete everything relevant there.

Mavericks is a bit different than the past couple of versions of OS X, thankfully, for how you get to that library. Open a Finder window and click your user account in the list on the left side of the window. Now go up to the top of the window and and click the button with the gear icon on it. Choose Show View Options from  the popout menu. If you look down the list of checkboxes, you’ll see the library at the bottom of the list. Turn this on and from now on it will show up in the top level of results when you click on your name in any Finder window:


If you don’t delete all the preferences, you are likely to have problems. If you do, things should go fairly smoothly, although some people find that older versions of PSE tend to run more slowly in 10.9 than in earlier versions of OS X. Which preferences? It depends on which version you have, but you want to look for files and folders beginning Adobe Photoshop Elements, Elements Organizer,  and com.adobe. Here’s the trash on my mac after doing this, if it helps:

deleted preferences

EDIT A reminder to PSE 6 users who are upgrading from 10.6: you must make sure you don’t have PSE 6 set to run in Rosetta before you upgrade OS X. This is about Lion, but it still pertains:

Oh, incidentally, if you have PSE 11 and your menus are grayed out after updating, that usually means you need to update the driver for your Wacom tablet.



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  in 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.