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10.4: Create an all-encompassing Spotlight index Apps
Tiger only hintMy Spotlight days were painful. I could never get Spotlight to find things the way I wanted. Until now. I recently ran across the free SpotlightIndexer utility. I used this nifty little program to index my entire hard drive, including all hidden directories.

My searching days are now here to be enjoyed with Spotlight.
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10.4: Create an all-encompassing Spotlight index | 9 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Create an all-encompassing Spotlight index
Authored by: hamarkus on Feb 22, '06 11:07:06AM

Installed it, added /, enabled force import, clicked Import, mdimport runs.

Still cannot find anything in /usr.

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10.4: Create an all-encompassing Spotlight index
Authored by: sjonke on Feb 23, '06 07:19:13AM

Same for me. In fact, as a test I added /usr specifically, but Spotlight still doesn't find anything in that directory. Is the indexing not working?

--- What?

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10.4: Create an all-encompassing Spotlight index
Authored by: sjonke on Feb 23, '06 08:12:22AM

FYI, I used the "mdimport -f /usr" command in the Terminal, and that does seem to work, *mostly*. The first binary executable I tried it did *not* find. However, it does find other ones. See below for more on this!

I am now using this command (in terminal) to index my entire drive:

mdimport -f /

It's running as I type. The "-f" makes it index directories normally not indexed. It takes a very long time to run and you get a lot of warnings about zip files when it runs into them, but that doesn't seem to matter. I can't figure out any way to suppress those messages - even redirecting standard output and standard error to /dev/null doesn't seem to stop it.

Regarding that binary executable that didn't get found, I found out why it didn't get found. I have an executable called "catmovie" which is in /usr/local/bin. In the Finder, and at the Terminal the file is called that, "catmovie". But when I do an mdls on the file, for some reason it is indexed as having a "Display Name" of "muxmovie"! What? I take it this must be a bug in the indexer, but I don't know. I also do have a "muxmovie" executable in the same directory, and it's "Display Name" is, correctly, "muxmovie". The spotlight menu and window search on the "Display name" and that's why they weren't finding "catmovie". Or were they?

It gets weirder - I tried doing a search on "muxmovie" and it found something it listed as "muxmovie", but the icon was not showing correctly and hovering over it (in the spotlight menu) didn't do the usual thing of showing the path to the file. When I command-clicked on it to reveal it in the Finder, it revealed "catmovie"! It didn't list both "catmovie" and "muxmovie", instead it just seemed to be thoroughly confused by the weird indexing of the "catmovie" file and list only one "muxmovie", but it was really "catmovie". When I get done with the full hard drive index, I'll try re-indexing the /usr/local/bin directory, but I'm not sure if that will really replace the existing info or not.

--- What?

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10.4: Create an all-encompassing Spotlight index
Authored by: nickvisic on Feb 23, '06 10:43:02AM

i just looked for something in /usr, and i found it. when indexing with SpotlightIndexer, make sure you go into preferences and check on: Force import (Ignore Apple Restrictions).

I do believe that it is unchecked as a default. Turn it on!!!


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Another Useful Front End for Spotlight Searches
Authored by: simbalala on Feb 22, '06 03:35:07PM

I've been using MoRU for a while now and find it a better alternative to the Finder/Spotlight search. It has the power of Spotlight's engine but a friendlier front end.

I've been in contact with the developer and he's made some changes at my suggestion. The newer versions support the unloading of search sets to free up memory and the very latest pre-release version shows, finds and sorts by file size.

Here's a link to the latest pre-release version which supports the file size feature. (He approved the posting of this link.)

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10.4: Create an all-encompassing Spotlight index
Authored by: whoadoggy on Feb 23, '06 07:55:25AM
Anohter alternative people may want to check out to tame Spotlight is the simple, barebones, Notlight by Matt Neuburg.
More info available here

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SpotlightIndexer doesn't work, but this does...
Authored by: sjonke on Feb 23, '06 08:20:02AM

SpotlightIndexer does not actually appear to work, at least for the moment (version 0.2.1b). It churns away, but at least on my Mac it doesn't actually end up indexing anything! I suspect the author had temporarily put the -n argument into the "mdimport" command, which makes it go through the motions but not actually do anything, and they forgot to take it back out. Just a guess. Anyway, the following command at the terminal will index your entire hard drive:

mdimport -f /

Note, however, that I don't think this will be able to index anything for which you don't have read access to. I guess you could put "sudo" in front of that command if you do want to index absolutely everything. Note also that you will get a lot of warnings about .zip files, but it still seems to work (though I didn't try searching for any of those .zip files - perhaps they didn't get added to the index.)

Actually, I only tried this so far with /usr, but it did work for that directory. I'm currently indexing /, but it isn't complete as I write this. Also, you might want to see my other messages in this discussion for info on an apparent indexing bug I ran into that prevent a certain file from being found.

--- What?

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10.4: Create an all-encompassing Spotlight index
Authored by: encro on Feb 24, '06 07:05:30PM

Alternatively, just remove the index:

mdutil -E /

Spotlight will then re-create a fresh database.

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A tool to edit spotlight rules
Authored by: trangised on Feb 28, '06 10:50:35AM

Spotlight has a set of rules for what it indexes. The set of rules starts with a hard coded list of things to include and ignore. On top of that, a second layer of things to include and ignore can be added. The application called Tiger Tamer lets you edit the second set of rules. The rules are specific to each hard drive.

Tiger Tamer does some other things, most of which are useless. I wrote it, and I use it, but I would not recommend it unless you know what you are doing.

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