Photoshop Elements

A Better Fix for the PSE 12 Auto Analyzer

I’m pleased to report that the PSE 12.1 update seems to have taken care of most of the performance issues with the Photoshop Elements 12 Auto Analyzer, at least on Macs. Since the update the auto analyzer does pop up again when you restart or log out and then back in to your account, but it only runs briefly and then disappears from Activity Monitor if the PSE Organizer isn’t running. More importantly, it doesn’t seem to be gobbling up resources even when it does run. I’ve kept it going for two days now and the most ram it ever used was about 46MB of real memory, less than, say, Dropbox uses when it’s idle. With the Organizer closed, it only got up to about 20 MB before it stopped.

So I would definitely say that while I don’t think Adobe specifically addressed this problem as part of the 12.1 update, something about the update does make a huge difference in performance. In its idle state, the whole Organizer now uses less memory than OS X Mail does when it’s not fetching or sending, so I would strongly encourage everyone to download the update and just forget about disabling the auto analyzer other than by the checkboxes in the Organizer preferences>Media Analysis.. That still doesn’t stop it completely, but it’s not running constantly the way it did before.

(For Windows, I never had the catalog/version set problem that some people had with converted catalogs, so no way to test there. If you use Windows and the update helped, I’d like to hear about it–you can contact me via the link at the upper right of this page.)

EDIT 3-15-14: I’m told by several people that the update does fix the version set problem in Windows, so that’s another good reason to go for it.

Once again, if you did rename the auto analyzer or put a space in its name, be sure to remove the space or rename it back before running the update, or it will fail. In Windows the update may run, but it may be overlooking anything to do with Auto Analyzer.

On either platform, if the update still fails, if you’ve installed the Adobe TWAIN plugin, put it back into Optional Plugins and try again. If the update succeeds, you can reinstall it.

If you’ve never installed TWAIN and never renamed the auto analyzer, or if the update still fails after fixing both of those, just uninstall/reinstall and it should work.

Adobe Updates PSE 12–Auto Analyzer Disablers, A Reminder

Today Adobe released Photoshop Elements 12.1, which PSE 12 users can get by going to the Editor’s Help Menu>Updates.

A reminder to those who’ve disabled the Auto Analyzer by adding a space to the name: Go back and delete the space before running the update to be sure it can run properly. I don’t yet know if the update fixes the undead Auto Analyzer problem, but if it doesn’t, you can put the space back in again after updating.

EDIT In Windows, the update will usually run without doing this, but it’s probably skipping the auto analyzer when updating. While the space doesn’t prevent the rest of PSE from updating, it’s a good practice to put the space back, then turn the Auto Analyzer back off again afterwards.

On a Mac you’re likely to see Error U44M1P7  if you forget to remove the space and try to run the update. Put the Auto Analyzer’s name back to its original form, and the update should run.

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.

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.

PSE 8, 9, 10 Can’t Sign In, Error 404

If you’ve been using Photoshop Elements 8, 9, or 10 and suddenly you’re finding that you’re stuck in an endless loop for signing in when you start PSE, or getting some kind of error message (usually Error 404 or 400), or it’s just impossibly slow, the problem is your account. is gone. Well, the URL is still active, but it’s just a promo page for Photoshop now. (Just clarify, since a few people don’t seem to understand, you can’t log in anymore. There is nothing to log in to now.) If you had photos stored at you should have gotten a bunch of emails from Adobe over the last several months about how Adobe Revel was replacing and your photos were going to get moved.

Most people got the emails, but Adobe evidently didn’t make it very clear that Revel is not a direct substitute for Elements doesn’t understand anything about Revel (except for PSE 11, which always had links to Revel rather than, and you can’t use Revel from within PSE 8, 9, or 10.

So the problem is that Elements is trying to contact and that isn’t there anymore. Here’s what you need to do get PSE working right again. When you see the sign-in screen, click Cancel. Then:

1. Disable backup/syncing.

Do this from the Organizer’s preferences>Backup/Sync if you can. If not, go to the System Tray/Notifications area at the bottom right of your screen in Windows or the icon in the menubar at the very top of your screen on a Mac and disable everything you can.

2. Stop using the Welcome Screen.

The Welcome Screen is programmed always to try to phone home, even if you had it set to automatically take you straight to the Editor or Organizer, and it will keep trying, bringing PSE to a crawl. So you don’t want to use it anymore.

  • Windows: Go to C:\Program Files or Program Files(x86) for 64-bit systems\Adobe, and find the actual .exe file for the Editor and/or Organizer. (In Windows 7 and 8 its Type is called Application and doesn’t display the .exe. extension.) Right click that and make a desktop shortcut. From now on, use that to start PSE.


  • Mac:  For PSE 8, skip this step. For PSE 9 or 10, go to the Applications folder and find your version of PSE. The Organizer will be Adobe Elements  < Version number > Organizer. The Editor for PSE 9 is the top file in Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Editor. In PSE 10, it’s in Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Editor->Support Files. Make a Dock icon. The easiest way is to just launch PSE from there and then go over to your Dock, click-hold on the icon for the running program, and choose “Keep in Dock” from the flyout menu.

3. Go into the Organizer and check your Albums.

For any that show the Sharing symbol, turn off sharing by right-clicking (control-clicking on a Mac if your mouse is set up for one button) the Sharing symbol and stopping it there.

These steps should make PSE usable again, but there’s some bad news, too. Adobe chose to store all online content for these versions at, so none of it is there anymore. That means that anything in your Content panel with a blue or gold banner, or any album templates with banners aren’t there anymore. If you haven’t downloaded those yet, it’s too late now, and you’ll lose them if you ever have to reinstall PSE. Also, if you signed up for, your Organizer contact book was stored there, too, so you can’t use the contact book anymore.

If you’re confused about what happened to, there’s more about the move here:

If you need help with Revel, the basics are covered here:

(Note: None of this pertains to the Mac App Store versions of PSE 9 or 10, but you can’t reinstall those at all now, since they’ve been replaced by PSE 11 in the store and Adobe’s way of making older versions available for re-downloading requires the 24-digit serial number and won’t accept your Apple ID instead.)

Adobe updates Camera Raw for PSE 11

If you use Photoshop Elements with a newer model camera, you’ll be pleased to know that Adobe has released Adobe Camera Raw 7.3 for PSE. To install it, launch the Editor and go to Help->Updates, then follow the onscreen instructions. You need to have PSE 11 to install this update. It won’t work with earlier versions of Elements.

Here’s a list of the twenty new cameras whose raw files now work with the raw converter in Elements:

1.Canon EOS 6D

2.Canon PowerShot S110

3.Canon PowerShot G15

4.Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

5.Casio Exilim EX-ZR1000

6.Casio Exilim EX-FC300S

7.Leica M-E

8.Nikon 1 V2

9.Nikon D5200

10.Nikon D600

11.Olympus PEN E-PL5

12.Olympus PEN E-PM2

13.Olympus STYLUS XZ-2 iHS

14.Panasonic DMC-GH3

15.Pentax K-5 II

16.Pentax K-5 IIs

17.Pentax Q10

18.Sony DSC-RX1

19.Sony NEX-VG30

20.Sony NEX-VG900


You don’t have to Move

If you’ve used the Type tools in Photoshop Elements 11, you’ve probably noticed that as soon as you commit your text (by clicking the green checkmark or pressing Enter/Return), suddenly the Type tool is gone and the Move tool is active instead. If you want to edit your type, you have to go back over to the Tools panel and click it again.

Adobe reasons that most people will want to position their text once they’ve created it, which is why they made this change from older versions where you had the Type tool till you yourself clicked on a different tool. If you don’t like the new behavior, it’s very easy to change it, although it’s not obvious how to do it.

Just go to the Editor preferences->General, and turn off this checkbox:

turn off Select Move tool after commiting text

From now on, the Type tool stays active until you change to another tool.


Photoshop Elements 6 and Lion

As everyone knows by now, in Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) you can’t run applications written for the old power pc (PPC) architecture anymore, since there’s no more Rosetta. This isn’t a problem for Photoshop Elements 8 and 9, but if you have PSE 6, there’s a big potential gotcha.

As long as you don’t have PSE 6 set to run in Rosetta (so that you can use older plugins) when you upgrade to Lion, life is fine.  But if you do, the first time you try to open it, you’ll see a snarky message that you can’t run PPC applications anymore. What? Elements 6 is an intel-native program, not a PPC application. It doesn’t matter. If you have set  a a program to open in Rosetta when you first install Lion, it doesn’t forget, and that program is marked for the scrap heap. Uninstall and reinstall? Lion’s too smart for that. You’ll still see the message on a fresh install of PSE.

So what to do? Well, if you know ahead of time, it’s as easy as it can be to avoid the whole problem. Before you upgrade to Lion, go to your Applications folder->Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, click once on the actual application’s icon to select it, and press Command+i for the Get Info window. Then just turn off the Open In Rosetta checkbox:


If you do that before upgrading, you shouldn’t have any trouble. But what if you’ve already upgraded and you can’t get past the error message?

Here are two ways to fix it.

The Easy Way

Go to  < your username > ->Library->Preferences and delete In Lion Apple has hidden your  user Library folder. To get to it, Option-click the Go Menu and you’ll see it appear just below your Home folder:

library menu option

While you’re in that folder, you may as well do a bit of tidying up and delete these files, too, so that you’ll have fresh ones for Lion:


Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 Paths

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 Settings

Restart the computer  (important!) and Elements should behave itself. If for some reason that fails, here’s an alternative way.

The More Complicated Way

1. Go into the Applications folder and move the entire Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 folder, the one shown here, to the Desktop:

the PSE 6 application folder

Now, you can’t just drag it out of Applications. That only makes an alias, and I’ve found the keystroke combos that should let you do this aren’t very reliable, either. Lion knows that applications belong in the Applications folder and it isn’t willing to let you put them elsewhere.

So what to do? Well, you can still delete an application. So click on the folder, press Command+delete to send it to the trash, and then you can drag it from the trash to your desktop.

2. Go into the folder and double-click the PSE 6 application to launch it.

You’ll see this window:

repair window

It doesn’t matter which button you click. Elements will open, although it may take a minute for all the pieces of the interface to appear. When it’s running create or open a file and do something. You don’t have to save your work. Then quit Elements.

3. Put Elements back into the Applications folder, and launch it there.

Just drop it back in. When you start PSE this time, click Repair Now.

Elements should be fine from now on, but it’s a good idea to go into your username->Library->Preferences and delete the Adobe preferences mentioned above.

Either method should get you up and running, but there’s some risk of damaging Elements by moving it all over the place, as in the second method. So do try the simple way first and save this as a last resort.