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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep System 10.4
Tiger only hint Lately I have been noticing a slowdown when I activate Spotlight. My searches would not begin for a few moments, and then would take a moment to complete.

I thought it was because of my two 500GB internal hard drives, but I found something while browsing my Energy Saver Preferences, a 'Put the hard disk(s) when possible' checkbox.

After unchecking the box, I've have a noticeable speed increase on my searches. Startup searches as well as complete indexes take a fraction of the time they used to.

Seems like a rather simple fix, but it was driving me crazy for the past few months.

[kirkmc adds: If one of the drives is asleep, then Spotlight searches will certainly take longer as the drive has to start spinning before Spotlight can access its index. As to why this would speed up indexing, however, I don't know. If you write to the drive, Spotlight indexes new files immediately, and the drive will be spinning when you write files.]
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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep | 10 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep
Authored by: Mikey-San on Apr 25, '06 08:24:14AM

This seems specious and woefully unsubstantiated. Now people are going to turn off spin-down potentially erroneously.

Why was this posted without some real data on the matter?



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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep
Authored by: kirkmc on Apr 25, '06 08:35:42AM

Well, if a drive is spun down, and Spotlight (or anything else) accesses it, the drive will take a few seconds to spin up. What is unsubstantiated about that?

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Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep
Authored by: Mikey-San on Apr 25, '06 08:55:04AM

Because it doesn't seem to make sense that this should magically speed up /indexing./



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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep
Authored by: kirkmc on Apr 25, '06 11:53:30AM

As I pointed out in my comments on the hint, I don't see how this will speed up indexing. If anyone has a theory... :-)

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Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep
Authored by: Mikey-San on Apr 25, '06 12:27:41PM

My point is that the hint suggests that it does, when all you really know is that some guy experienced weird system behaviour and took a leap.

It just comes off as more of an unsubstantiated troubleshooting post than an actual hint, that's all.



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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep
Authored by: pub3abn on Apr 25, '06 09:06:11AM

I agree with Mikey re: the indexing part. But otherwise the original hint makes a good point. The same issue also affects other applications, such as LaunchBar.



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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep
Authored by: danceswithtrees on Apr 25, '06 11:26:04AM

It would be intertesting to see if the faster indexing persisted even after turning drive sleep back on. Perhaps the two observations were true, true but unrelated.



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not good general advice
Authored by: Krioni on Apr 25, '06 09:56:52AM

This is true of almost anything you do - if the drive need to spin up you'll get a minor slow-down of some functions while it does.

It's WORTH it though - your drives will last longer, use less power, etc. Don't wear out your drives just to save a second here or there.

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http://www.danshockley.com



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not good general advice
Authored by: chych on Apr 25, '06 08:45:53PM

One can argue that due to the spin up/spin down, you are substantially increasing mechanical cycling which leads to cycle fatigue, implying increased failure rates. Whether the drive is designed to endurance limits is a question. Power consumption would definitely decrease though.



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10.4: Resolve Spotlight pause on hard disk sleep
Authored by: sjk on Apr 25, '06 11:47:01AM
Disk spindown time can be adjusted using the pmset command; see the disksleep (10.4) and spindown (pre-10.4) arguments in the man page. There are GUI tools (e.g. TinkerTool System) to change values if you don't want to fuss with the command line.

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