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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintTo turn Spotlight Indexing off and on in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and to remove the Menu Bar Icon, follow these steps...

To turn Spotlight Indexing off in open Terminal and run this command:
sudo mdutil -a -i off
To turn Spotlight Indexing back on, repeat the above command, but change off to on. To remove the menu bar icon, run this Terminal command:
sudo chmod 600 /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle/Contents/MacOS/Search
You'll then to restart the menu bar with killall SystemUIServer to see the icon vanish.

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu | 28 comments | Create New Account
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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: Andrew J Freyer on Nov 09, '09 08:02:25AM

Note that this hint will kill all Spotlight indexing, and thus prevent searches of any kind.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: 010111 on Nov 09, '09 08:11:22PM

not true. it will prevent searches that use Spotlight indexes.

not everything uses Spotlight indexes. don't spread misinformation.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: Dynamicism on May 22, '10 01:09:00AM

Ah, finally an end to the pervasive hard drive chatter. Far too much noise and periodic slowness for something that never actually searches anything I need it to.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: incogenator on Nov 09, '09 08:11:55AM

who do people want to not use spotlight? is there a better alternative that we dont know about?



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: chabig on Nov 09, '09 08:35:50AM

They just don't understand. When OS X came out there were plenty of people who wanted to disable virtual memory.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: olivermomo on Nov 09, '09 09:19:15AM

That's a condescending attitude. There are those who understand Mac OS X well but simply do not use Spotlight's features very often. There is no reason to waste resources on indexing if you aren't going to leverage the resulting index.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: poenn on Nov 09, '09 09:29:50AM

What I would love to see is a FULL enable of Spotlight, meaning that it should be configurable to search really everywhere with the menu bar icon and not only with a self-created search in the sidebar...



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: rycardo on Nov 09, '09 07:07:40PM

Have you looked at "Find Any File"?

I use it a lot, it will search all files, including system, hidden, etc.

I believe it uses Spotlight's indexing, but I could be wrong.

HTH



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: jgc on Nov 09, '09 12:54:53PM
Spotlight searching and indexing in 10.4 proved to be an absolute dog in a NetBoot environment, making the system virtually unusable until we turned it off. I don't think the situation improved in 10.5 much.

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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: 010111 on Nov 09, '09 08:08:55PM

"Find Any File" is massively better *for my needs* than using Spotlight. i need to frequently find files that Spotlight refuses to admit even existing. it also returns results quicker the majority of the time.

i would find that Spotlight would keep my drive chirping away every 2-3 seconds reading 0.2K from the disk. nonstop. for no particular reason. i found it annoying. and unneeded since i get no use out of Spotlight.

i also can't have Spotlight decide to kick in and 'index' every single disk i plug into my machine. namely when i have a drive that has died and i am trying to recover the few files that happened after the last TM backup for that user... i don't need Spotlight to fire up and tear the already damaged disk apart 'indexing' a broken drive. causes unneeded damage.

i found Spotlight results were rarely relevant to what i was actually looking for.

the only thing i don't get is searching on the contents of files. that is rarely an issue. for me.

i'm more surprised people like using Spotlight. it was a major step backwards in usability from the original pre-Spotlight searching methods. more gimmicky? for certain. more useful? debatable.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: edified on Nov 09, '09 11:34:21PM

You're serious? I use spotlight as an app launcher, and it's so fast that I don't even look at it before hitting enter. Usually just one or two characters.

Who even drills through folders anymore? I just type anything related to the file I want and I nail the file in seconds.

The most useful things in spotlight are typing a partial query, space and another part of the query. It's a really fast "and". The other handy thing is command-enter to show in finder rather than launch.

I understand that spotlight isn't the perfect for everything but I think you're stuck in "Alta Vista" days when everyone else is using Google.

Hardly a gimmick, modern spotlight is a powertool. Still I'd disable it if I didn't use it ;)



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: Anonymous on Nov 10, '09 12:25:35PM

I drill through folders, because I know where things are. I also use docked folders and aliases. This is still quicker for me than Spotlight.

I guess Spotlight is fine if you're a light users, but when you have a perpetually 98% full 250 GB drive, the benefits become less, which I realise is counter-intuitive. At this point, organization is king.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: everkleer80 on Nov 10, '09 02:23:59PM

Ah, that's your problem there... everything (particularly any indexed search) will be a lot slower than it should be if your drive is 98% full. I realize that for whatever reason, you may not be able to get some extra storage and/or free up some space, but I'm just pointing out that that's definately slowing things down (assuming it's your system drive - I apologize for misunderstanding if it's not). And I'm sure you probably know all this, but I just wanted to mention it because I was surprised to see people had time to open a folder (even if it's in the dock) and navigate anywhere in the time that it takes Spotlight to return. As I mention below, Spotlight has never taken more than 3 seconds to find a file for me (by filename or by contents - usually < 1sec for a filename search), but then I don't think I've ever gone below about 10% (18GB) free.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: OmniDragon on Nov 10, '09 09:56:57PM

I always use command + R to reveal in Finder. Is it changed in Snow Leopard to just command + enter? Or do both still work?



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: edified on Nov 09, '09 11:39:32PM

And as far as usability, command-space from any focus is a pretty big step forward from OS9, OSX before spotlight and Windows search.

The Finder's spotlight interface, while it doesn't include OR, is hardly difficult, very capable and better than most.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: everkleer80 on Nov 10, '09 07:04:03AM

I read a post somewhere (on here I think) about doing boolean (not/or) searched in spotlight. Never tried it so I don't know if it works in Snow Leopard, but I believe the pipe (|) was an "or".



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: Anonymous on Nov 10, '09 12:29:40PM

Why is "command-space" better than "command-F"?

You speak like someone who's never even used OS 9, (or for that matter, Alta Vista).



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: everkleer80 on Nov 10, '09 02:00:13PM

Convenience. As edified says, you can do cmd-space from anywhere. For cmd-F you have to be in the Finder. ( Plus, arguably my favorite feature added in Leopard is the calculater in Spotlight! =) )



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: 010111 on Nov 10, '09 06:04:15AM

i knew someone would bring up application launching and completely ignore the other completely valid issues i have with Spotlight. (finding hidden files / finding files within packages or files within the 'magic' folders / chewing up hard drives / indexing any and all disks i ever plug into a machine / mds & mdimport polling the drives 24/7 for no good reason / etc etc etc).

not to mention Quicksilver is a massively better application launcher than Spotlight... and is generally recognized as the actual "powertool" you claim Spotlight is.

...or you could use the dock to launch applications. or right-click -> open with. or any number of other methods.

just because i don't use Spotlight to launch an application doesn't mean i am 'drilling through folders' or stuck in the "Alta Vista" days.

i'd love to hear some of your "Google-era" fixes for the other completely valid problems i have with Spotlight.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: everkleer80 on Nov 10, '09 07:40:15AM

I agree Spotlight may not be the tool for a Power User; as with most of the Mac's features though, it is a great tool and huge time saver built into the OS for the casual user/newbie. And it's awesome that there are so many little features like this built into the OS! (Can you tell I was previously a Windows user?) Let me tell you, after dealing with the non-indexed Windows file search for years, Spotlight is a dream! I know it doesn't have everything, but I finally found a hint on here explaining that you can search System folders/files by opening a search in the Finder (cmd-F I think) and selecting other - system files for the extra search criteria or something. Unfortunately you still can't do this from the menu ber AFAIK but I've saved the system files rule in a smart folder and I use it all the time - works great! I'm not sure why Spotlight is slow for you... as the last guy said, it always returns all results almost instantly (definately within 3 seconds at it's slowest) for me.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: mario_grgic on Nov 10, '09 07:59:15PM

I find Spotlight indispensable tool, and I use it all the time. I don't have the same issues you do with spotlight. The minimal initial indexing overhead is negligible, and spotlight rarely uses the CPU or hard drive after that. And you can turn off indexing for external hard drives that you often connect and disconnect.

And when I want to find system files, I fire up Terminal (with Spotlight :D), and use find/xargs/grep. I find this perfectly reasonable. If you can't use terminal and the shell, you probably shouldn't be messing with and looking for system files anyway.



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: lmjabreu on Nov 10, '09 04:30:58AM

dude wtf



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: rhoids on Nov 11, '09 03:11:28PM

Agree with WTF...wasting way too much time playing with insignificant issues...dane bramage.



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Alternate: Find Any File
Authored by: excarnate on Nov 10, '09 06:48:07AM
http://apps.tempel.org/FindAnyFile/. Fast, works, makes other alternative file finders look sick.

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Alternate: Find Any File
Authored by: cliveports on Nov 11, '09 05:18:25AM

I thoroughly agree; Find Any File is superb and I keep it in my dock, it's way better than anything else...AND FREE!!



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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: simplebeep on Nov 11, '09 09:34:31PM
I see a potential problem with this hint. It suggests that in order to disable the Spotlight menu, you should simply change its permissions to disallow its opening. Not to be rude, @wisemagic, but this seems like kind of a workaround solution, and it doesn't actually change any predefined, valid settings like most Mac OS X Hints do.
 
But hey, it works, doesn't it? We'll just have to see what happens after repairing permissions ;-)

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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: anastas on Dec 28, '09 10:48:41PM
Spotlight is great for finding search terms not only within your computer, but also within the files on your computer, but I have only had the need to do this a few times in the past several years... Because of this reason, proportionately it uses way too many system resources to index it's searches.

FOR APP LAUNCHING, SEARCHING, MAKING PHONE CALLS, EMAILS, SUBMITTING WEBSITE SEARCHES, LOOKING UP DICTIONARY WORDS, PLAYING AND RATING MUSIC, ETC., ETC. I HAVE USED THE ORIGINAL AND BEST APP OUT THERE FOR THESE PURPOSES...

Objective Developments - LAUNCHBAR Utility which is by far the best and most valuable piece of software on my computer.

It is only slightly better than QuickSilver, but far better than spotlight.

--> www.obdev.com/launchbar

--> http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=launchbar&search_type=&aq=f

Edited on Dec 28, '09 10:57:24PM by anastas


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10.6: Disable Spotlight and remove Spotlight icon from menu
Authored by: greglanegawler on Mar 24, '10 05:40:36AM

Had a problem on a newly imaged Macbook (2006 2Ghz CoreDuo) that periodically went wild with fans going flat out. Activity Monitor showed mds and mdsworker taking up to 140% processor. Temperature Monitor showed CPU temp hitting 84 degrees Celsius. Condition fluctuated over time but never went away.
Repaired disk permissions and repaired data drive but still same problem.
Followed this procedure:

http://osxdaily.com/2009/09/20/disable-spotlight-in-mac-os-x-10-6-snow-leopard/

rebooted and then re-enabled Spotlight as per procedure, rebooted and the re-indexing load dropped to about 30% and the processor temp stayed around 60 degrees Celsius. Once indexed, a quiet, cool system. Hooray!



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