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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive System 10.4
After scouring the internet for several hours trying to figure out how to stop Spotlight from indexing my external 300GB FAT32 drive (which I don't even need indexed and was causing slowdowns), the one thing that worked for me was a somewhat obscure thing I found on a couple of sites.

By putting an empty file named .metadata_never_index file at the top level directory of the volume, it has stopped searching the volume. To create the file, I just issued the command touch .metadata_never_index from Terminal (make sure you're at the top-level of the volume, obviously). This worked for my FAT32 volume; an NTFS partition may require a different solution. Here are the things that did not work for me:
  1. Spotlight preferences: adding to Privacy list does not work for FAT32 volumes (or NTFS volumes).
  2. mdutil -i off /path/to/volume/: Seems like it would clear the index out, but immediately begin to reindex it.
  3. Creating an empty .Spotlight-V100 file: FAT32 volumes do not have .Spotlight-V100 directories to begin with, so this doesn't work. This may work for an NTFS volume, though.
  4. Manually modifying files in the /.Spotlight-V100 directory: In a moment of desperation, I tried manually adding my volume to the _exclusions.plist file under /.Spotlight-V100, which of course didn't work.
  5. Spotless application: This app didn't recognize my FAT32 drives. It probably only works for HFS+ drives, but I didn't look to deeply in to it.
Well, I'm very relieved to have found this fix. I was close to resorting to turning on and off the external drive as I needed it (yuck!) to avoid the system slowdowns every time I did a Spotlight seach. Hope someone else finds this useful.
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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive | 25 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: aptmunich on Aug 16, '06 08:20:32AM

Can't you just drag the harddrive to your 'Private' list under spotlight system preferences?

That's what I do with my Backup drive (although it is HFS+ formatted, not Fat32) so I'd imagine it would work here as well?



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: aptmunich on Aug 16, '06 08:22:26AM

Sorry, I just re-read your post and tried it myself.

Dragging Fat32 drives to the privacy tab does NOT work...



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: bdm on Aug 16, '06 08:30:55AM

Can you exclude spotlight from just part of the volume by putting .metadata_never_index in a different place?



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: Coumerelli on Aug 16, '06 08:34:21AM
Maybe I'm missing somethe (specific to FAT32 or NTFS) but when I want to stop the indexing and delete it, I go to the terminal and type:
sudo mdutil -i off /Volumes/"drive name"/
(quotes around drive name if there are special characters or spaces)

then
sudo mdutil -E /Volumes/"drive name"/
These two commands together seem to work like a champ for me.

---
"The best way to accelerate a PC is 9.8 m/s2"

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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: jpgetty on Aug 16, '06 09:05:05AM

What I want to know is how can I get OS X to stop looking at my backup disk for alternative applications. If I right click on a document to get to the "Open With" menu, I have to wait for the spinning beach ball and the Firewire disk to spin up so it can give me access to all the applications on the backup disk (which of course are just duplicates of the ones in the /Applications folder). How do I make OS X ignore those?



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Backup applications and "Open With"
Authored by: makip on Aug 25, '06 08:05:12PM
One simple way (and the way I use) is to place back-up applications in an archive. Select an archive format that preserves unix permissions such as tar.gz or sitx. Also, before I upgrade apps that impact opening all files of a certain type, I take the precaution of archiving the older version of that app.

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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: greed on Aug 16, '06 10:47:48AM

That's a great hint, for other reasons too--I have a number of external drives, and I don't want them indexed just because I plugged them into something with Spotlight turned on.

So they're all getting that file created. Now, if only I can figure out why Disk Utility always wants to set "Ignore ownership on this volume" for new volumes.



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: rhowell on Aug 16, '06 12:15:26PM

"I have a number of external drives ... I plugged them into something. Now, if only I can figure out why Disk Utility always wants to set 'Ignore ownership on this volume' for new volumes."

Because Disk Utility assumes that your UID is different between those various somethings. With ownership turned on, you may not have full access to the documents you "own" on the external drives.



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: greed on Aug 17, '06 02:56:14PM

DiskUtility can assume all it wants; I want to change the default of Ignore Ownership (really, it is the vsdb that I want changed) to "No". I'd rather change it to "Yes" for the rare cases, rather than "No" in the common cases. Anyone with synchronized password files can do the same sort of thing--FireWire beats WiFI for large transfers.



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: JohnITG on Aug 16, '06 04:03:35PM
You might want to try Spotless $9.95 shareware...

http://www.fixamacsoftware.com/software/spot/index.php

Does everything and then some. Gives you control over all aspects of indexing.

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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: eAspenwood on Aug 17, '06 09:01:30AM
As, mentioned above I did tryusing mdutil (with various options, including -E and -i) but it did not work for my fat32 drive. It would clear out the index, but immediately start rebuilding it again. My guess is that since the drive has no .Spotlight-V100 directory, it can't really set the indexing status for that drive.
Also, as mentioned above, I tried "Spotless", but it would not recognize my FAT32 volumes in its list of volumes.

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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: johnNothegiant on Aug 19, '06 04:19:06PM

This is exactly what I'm looking for for my external MyBook.

Could you post instructions on how exactly to create this file I need.

Cheers !



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: skab on Aug 22, '06 08:07:14AM

Don't you wonder, too, how people who are obviously unable to read manage to write a reply nonetheless?

People, would you mind reading that post first? Nearly all questions and suggestions are already being dealt with, just read it again till you find it.

Oh, and thanks for that great tip.



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: johnNothegiant on Aug 25, '06 05:27:32AM

Dont be an arse .. I was just wondering what to do . And still am ...

Go on .

Thanks



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: mstoops on Aug 25, '06 07:54:48AM

Nothing personal, but he's right: second graph, second sentence:

...To create the file, I just issued the command touch .metadata_never_index from Terminal (make sure you're at the top-level of the volume, obviously).

If you're using an external drive, make sure to "cd" the the correct location before issuing the "touch" command.

cd /Volume/<volumename>

Use quotes around the path if there are any funky characters or spaces.



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive | RFTT
Authored by: zahadum on Aug 28, '06 12:20:40PM

skab is not an arse; he is correct!

you are either lazy or dumb!

your question was alreday dealt with in the tipster's post!

don't take umberage when someone else (skab) critisizes you for an elementary & obvious mistake; apologize & move on.

there should be a better mod-ing system ... it should not cause dumb comments to disappear - just the opposite: one's which are clearly assinine should be preserved so they can be held up to shame & ridicule -- these are very effctive deterents against acting like like a goof in public!

i find it extremely aggrevating when people cant follow the most basic instructions; will not listen or read the information that is provided; dont make any effort to understand the explanation - just want the answer spoon-fed to them.

it is an insult to the people who spend alot of time to diligently sort out the apalling mess that is the technical documentation / help system from apple (which is hardly the ONLY culprit in this regard).

'RTFT' ... is an amendment to the injunction 'RTFM' to include THREADS on the messegboards/blogs (in this case: hints & comments) when there is no f^#@ing manual ;-)

In fairness, this reader's dolt-ish behavior does underscore the need for a 'instruction mark-up language' as a general-purpose way to describe (and implement) a procedure. I intend to create such an XML schema -- and i herewith happily solicit suggestions (ontologies; rdf issues; xquery logics; etc) as well potential beta testers.

i would submit this idea to MyDreamApp.com but i dont like the prospect of surrendering ownership of the intellectual property.

cheers: DLF

---
mailto:osxinfo _at_ yahoo.ca



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: geirisk8 on Aug 27, '06 02:58:25PM

How do you create an empty file ? I really want to use this hint



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: chyna4xena on Aug 27, '06 06:14:47PM
By using the 'touch' command. When you use touch on an existing file, it will change the modification date and access time of that file to the current time.

Using the touch command on a file that does not exist creates an empty file with that name.

So to use this hint, go into Terminal, change the current directory to the top level of the FAT32 drive:

cd /Volumes/(volumename)

(OR you can type 'cd' in the Terminal, then enter a space, and then drag the FAT32 volume from the Finder into Terminal's window. This will format the command for you. Switch back to Terminal and hit enter.)

Then use:

touch .metadata_never_index

to create the empty file.

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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: mijobee on Oct 02, '06 08:12:01PM

On my system I had to reboot after creating the .metadata_never_index for it to take effect. 10.4.8



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: tpressman on Dec 01, '06 03:04:32PM

As a test I added the .metadata_never_index file to a FAT32-formatted ipod shuffle 1GB and then manually deleted the .spotlight-v100 folder from the drive. Non-indexing only took effect after rebooting my machine. But it worked.

Then I rebooted into my NTFS BootCamp drive and copied the .metadata_never_index file from my ipod shuffle into the root of my C: drive and rebooted back to OSX.

Finally! No more indexing of my NTFS windows disk and no more slow results when searching using apple-space! Thank God for that.



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: carlyslethomas on Apr 17, '07 10:30:01AM

This looks like just what I need, but I'm not able to figure out how to change directories to get to the top of volume for my Seagate firewire drive. Any hints?

Thanks,
CJT - Colorado Springs



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: raymondlewisjone on Apr 18, '07 08:34:10AM

in terminal:

cd /Volumes/'name of drive'

However, if it is named the same as your startup disk you will want to use:

"Finder:Go:Go to Folder..." menu in the finder, then type in /Volumes. Find the name of the volume there and use use that in the terminal.

Or you could:

touch /Volumes/'name of drive'/.metadata_never_index



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: nikster on Oct 18, '07 08:30:58PM

Yes!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! Thank you! Thank you!

This has been driving me crazy ever since Spotlight became part of OS X. All my external drives are backup drives and indexing them is nonsensical. Not only does it waste precious space, these drives are also rather big and I don't use them often so every time I plug them in the "mds" process appeared and started to eat away CPU cycles.

This has worked perfectly.

Here is how to do it:
Open up Terminal, and type in the following commands in sequence:
cd /Volumes
cd your_volume_name_here
touch .metadata_never_index

Repeat for all drives you want to do this for.

Note on the other comments: Adding external drives to the "private" section in the Spotlight preferences simply doesn't work. I don't know why - it's worked for me on occasion, but the setting got lost as soon as I disconnected the external drive. For FAT32 volumes, it never worked for me.

The touch .metadata_never_index method works for all drives, all the time. It's exactly what I was looking for.



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10.4: Disable Spotlight on a FAT32 external drive
Authored by: blinde on Jul 31, '10 11:21:24AM
i have an applescript that moves my external drives up and to the left of my main drives. while it's doing that, it creates to 'don't index this drive' file automatically.
tell application "Finder"
	set x_offset to -146
	set y_offset to 44
	set i to 1
	try
		set {currX, currY} to desktop position of startup disk
		set sortedFiles to (selection as list)
		sort sortedFiles by creation date
		repeat until i > (count of sortedFiles)
			set thisItem to item i of (selection as list)
			set desktop position of thisItem to {currX + x_offset, currY + y_offset}
			set y_offset to y_offset + 44
			set i to i + 1
		end repeat
		tell application "Finder"
			activate
			ignoring application responses
				tell application "Finder" to set selection to {}
			end ignoring
		end tell
	end try
end tell


tell application "Finder"
	try
		set {currX, currY} to desktop position of startup disk
		set desktop position of disk "lizard_bax_1" to {currX + -73, currY + 2}
		try
			make new file at disk "lizard_bax_1" with properties {name:".metadata_never_index"}
		on error -- couldn't make spotlight prevention file on lizard_bax_1
		end try
		try
			set desktop position of disk "sparrow_bax_1" to {currX + -73, currY + 46}
			make new file at disk "sparrow_bax_1" with properties {name:".metadata_never_index"}
		on error -- couldn't make spotlight prevention file on sparrow_bax_1
		end try
		set desktop position of disk "misc_bax_1" to {currX + -73, currY + 92}
		set desktop position of disk "_stuff" to {currX + -146, currY + 2}
		set desktop position of folder "desktop_misc" to {currX, currY + 92}
	end try
	try
		set {currX, currY} to desktop position of startup disk
		set desktop position of disk "lizard_bax_2" to {currX + -73, currY + 2}
		try
			make new file at disk "lizard_bax_2" with properties {name:".metadata_never_index"}
		on error -- couldn't make spotlight prevention file on lizard_bax_2
		end try
		set desktop position of disk "sparrow_bax_2" to {currX + -73, currY + 46}
		try
			make new file at disk "sparrow_bax_2" with properties {name:".metadata_never_index"}
		on error -- couldn't make spotlight prevention file on sparrow_bax_2
		end try
		set desktop position of disk "misc_bax_2" to {currX + -73, currY + 92}
		set desktop position of disk "_stuff" to {currX + -146, currY + 2}
		set desktop position of folder "desktop_misc" to {currX, currY + 92}
	end try
	activate
end tell


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.metadata_never_index
Authored by: ravendawson on Nov 09, '10 03:09:16AM

Yeah right..this file extension is being used to prevent certain files, folders or pages from getting indexed. Sometimes this command becomes misplaced in a directory, a folder or on a page---and that's what happened to me. It kept me from seeing on my iPod 160GB Classic.

First it froze during a routine sync, so I had to reset it. Tried to sync again but couldn't get it to go beyond 3 podcasts in any of my USB ports. Rolled back the software to 1.0.3 and tried to sync in disc mode but it got to 12000 songs (out of 18000ish- took over 24 hours) and crashed leaving me with 90-odd GB filled up but no files visible on the iPod.

Just going into the iPod in Windows Explorer to delete the junk files to start again, and I see the file "metadata_never_index" at root level - googling this reveal that it's a Mac specific file. First I tried resetting and restoring to 1.1.1 and 1.0.3 but it didn't work. I felt like I'm about to panic until I've read this guide on http://www.pcperformancetools.com/file_extension_metadata_never_index.html
I was able to solve the problem by doing some fix in the registry. I've read that it's associated with mac OS, but I didn't realize it can also affect iPods. Oh well, I guess because iPods are a product of apple and so is mac.



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