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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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