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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely System 10.5
I disabled Spotlight and its Metadata Framework in OS X 10.5 by moving two files to a safe location that they can be restored from if necessary. The files are:
  • /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist
  • /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
You then need to reboot so that launchd will no longer start them. Since these are in /System/Library, you will need to check after every update to insure that Apple has not added them back in. I am not positive of all the implications of this, but it does stop the indexing of every volume that I mount, and Spotlight does not show up in the menu bar.

In 10.5, there is no spotlight entry in /etc/hostconfig, and there is a note there that states that this file will be going away in the future.

[robg adds: This hint supersedes the info found in this one, which listed the 10.4 method of disabling Spotlight, which doesn't actually work in 10.5]
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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely | 13 comments | Create New Account
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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: rflorence on Nov 16, '07 08:24:39AM

Removing launchd .plist files is not a good idea: it requires a reboot to take effect, and then a reinstallation of the file and another reboot. The proper way to do this is to use the terminal to do:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemon/FILENAME.plist

where FILENAME is the full name.



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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: SkiingOnMars on Nov 16, '07 11:54:35AM

Specifically, this adds to following key to the plist:

<key>Disabled</key>
<true/>



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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: jwigdahl on Nov 16, '07 02:06:50PM
10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: kikjou on Nov 16, '07 11:41:37PM

Or, for the technologically less inclined, simply drop your entire hard drive onto the Privacy area in the Spotlight System Preferences. This immediately halts indexing. You don't get rid of the magnifying glass in the menu bar though.



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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: BjarneDM on Nov 28, '07 12:03:20PM
I still don't like Spotlight - never have and don't suppose I ever will.
 
So: This is how to disable Spotlight completely in 10.5:
 
0) Start Terminal and enter the following commands
 
1) stop and disable the spotlight application itself:
cd /System/Library/LaunchAgents
launchctl unload com.apple.Spotlight.plist
sudo launchctl unload -w com.apple.Spotlight.plist
Just ignore the errormessage from the last command.
The first command stops the application for the current user. The second command disables for every user. The reason you get the error is that you are effectively executing the command as root, but the root user hasn't any running instance of Spotlight. On the other hand, only the root user is able to disable the automatic start of Spotlight. Thus the need for the sudo command.
 
2) stop and disable the background server:
cd /System/Library/LaunchDaemons
sudo launchctl unload -w com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

 
3) remove the .Spotlight-V100 directories
sudo find / -iname '.Spotlight-V100' -type d -maxdepth 3 -print0 
| xargs -0 -t -n1 sudo rm -rf
The find part searches for the Spotlight directories and will find the one at the system root as well as on any partitions and attached drives in /Volumes. The -print0 part is there to guard against any spaces and other special characters in filenames when executing the following rm command. The .Spotlight-V100 folders are actually empty. Stopping the mds server does this, so if you aren't bothered by these vestiges of the process, you can ignore this step.
 
4) there's no need to reboot your computer after following these steps.
The reason the original poster had to recommend this is because his approach is - I'm sorry to say so - faulty. As one of the previous posters noted, it's bad practise to remove any of the files that Apple has installed. It's much better to modify their settings.
 
5) If only some of your accounts need/want to have Spotlight enabled, you can copy the /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist to the users own ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder and enable/start Spotligth:
cp /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents/
launchctl -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist


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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: zbender on Mar 26, '08 04:26:19PM
5) If only some of your accounts need/want to have Spotlight enabled, you can copy the /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist to the users own ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder and enable/start Spotligth:
cp /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents/
launchctl -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist
Actually, I think your steps are wrong at sequence 5. To re-enable, you must:
launchctl load -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

I wanted to totally disable Spotlight and the mds indexer, so I could use Google Desktop instead. Of course, then I realised that Google Desktop *requires* mds indexer to be active, and probably needs Spotlight fully enabled.
...this is why I had to re-enable, and how I found your typo.

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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: booshtukka on Jun 30, '08 11:57:14AM

Just so you know, following these instructions completely killed my Time Capsule. Thanks for that. If you want go on about best practises, how about you try knowing what you're talking about?



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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: amcan12 on Jun 10, '08 12:14:38AM

I can't re-enable Spotlight - I disabled it successfully using instructions by BjarneDM.

I tried his instruction from section 5 as well as instruction by zbender posted last March - nothing works.

How to get Spotlight back?



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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: stoneme on Sep 03, '08 06:49:33AM

go to system/library/coreservices and click on spotlight!

Anybody know if there is a way to disable spotlight on networked imacs? the terminal command works fine for me but i don't want to have to go around 200 imacs! or create a new netinstall image.





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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: TheDashboard on Jul 02, '08 04:32:53PM

Yeees, it work's - Thx ;-)



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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: TheDashboard on Jul 03, '08 02:00:30AM

No, don't work on 10.5.4, when i re-boot, Spotlight is back and do the index Aaarg....I don't like that Spotlight !!! Any better ideas out there ??? Thx



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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: sgurley on Oct 29, '08 06:50:29AM

IMPORTANT NOTE TO EVERYONE!

I too HATE the way spotlight works. In the old OS9 days (man I sound old!), you did a search for a file named "Budget" and your budget would show up in seconds. Now, you do a search for budget and about 10,000 files show up including emails, images, pdfs... grrrrr.

On top of that, once I upgraded to 10.5 on my MBP(Intel), my computer was crashing constantly - I felt it had something to do with the indexing that never completed.

On top of that, how many times do you hit command-space accidently and get stuck in that stupid magnifying glass window! GRRRRR. Can't get rid of that!

So, I visited this page and disabled spotlight and sure enough, the crashing stopped. YEY!

However, the important thing to note is that disabling spotlight DISABLES ALL SEARCHING on your computer. For some reason, I thought hitting Command-F was different than spotlight but they are all the same.

What a bummer! Sure the search function sucked but being without it for months now, I'm tired of having files I just can't find due to poor organization.

So, to re-enable Spotlight, nothing was working until I did these two commands in terminal:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.Spotlight.plist

Now, previously, in an attempt to get spotlight working, I changed:

SPOTLIGHT=-NO-
to
SPOTLIGHT=-YES-

in /etc/hostconfig (for confused, the command is just "pico /etc/hostconfig" - the control commands to save/close etc are at the bottom of pico)

I'm not 100% sure if that is necessary or if doing the other two command would update hostconfig but Spotlight is back! Yey!... I mean... well... fabulous [SARCASM]

Enjoy!
-scott



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10.5: Disable Spotlight completely
Authored by: mattthew on Apr 07, '09 09:23:43PM

Though I don't like spotlight and I don't want it in my menu bar, I had to re-enable it because Microsoft Entourage's search function is build on spotlight and I need to be able to search my emails.

I found that the above commands worked to re-enable it, however when I first tried to run them, I go the error message "dubious ownership". After some search around, I figured that when I moved the file from the original directories, the ownership got changed. To fix it, I had to enter the command:

sudo chown root:wheel [file path]



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