Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Good OS X Spotlight management summary (macintouch)

Spotlight is far better than the five different drive indexing software packages I've tested on my XP boxes. It is, however, still one or two revs away from really working. (Apparently, this is a harder technical challenge than one might think.)

This Macintouch reader report is a concise summary on how to manage Spotlight -- until it's fixed. One other tidbit. I was having a problem with OS X always mounting my iPod -- even though I'd set auto-mount off. Spotlight was the culprit. I dragged the iPod disk icon to Spotlight and OS X stopped mounting it. (PS. Interesting UI glitch. If you try to drag the icon off the Finder bar it simply vanishes. This is a "feature" -- it allows one to cull images displayed on the Finder bar. It's not all that intuitive as to how one restores them! Use the finder preferences to remove all instances of the icon class (ex. all network drives) then save prefs then add all back in.)
Mac OS X 10.4.2 (Part 31)Jeff Mincey

Regarding Spotlight and its supposed incomplete indexing of drive volumes, there is a procedure one can follow which will force Spotlight to re-index a volume and thus spare the user from having to open and close each individual Microsoft Word document he (she) wants indexed.

Chris Breen offers this: 'Open the Spotlight system preference, click the Privacy tab, click the plus button, and add the volume you want to reindex. Wait five minutes, select the volume in the privacy area, and click the minus button to remove it. Spotlight will index the volume again from the ground up.'

Chris goes on to say... 'Before reindexing the drive, repair permissions. Also, if the drive has just recently been indexed, give it another day or so before reindexing. It‚s possible that Spotlight hasn‚t completely finished indexing the drive even though you‚re allowed to use it.'

Once an entire volume is indexed for Spotlight, then individual new files or files newly revised and saved, will be indexed on a case by case basis thereafter. One can also perform this operation (and others) from the command line, as this tip (from Mac OS X Hints) illustrates:

To turn off indexing;

sudo mdutil -i off /Volumes/hard_drive_name

To remove the index;

sudo mdutil -E /Volumes/hard_drive_name

Physically remove the .Spotlight directories from the root of each drive.

cd /
sudo rm -fr .Spotlight-V100

To turn it back on;

sudo mdutil -i on /Volumes/hard_drive_name
ThinkSecret reports 10.4.3 has over 500 fixes. I'm expecting Spotlight will get much better in a few weeks. It is overly aggressive about deciding what it's going to index.

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