Can I Spotlight/Index a FAT32 Drive?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by wheezy, May 23, 2006.

  1. wheezy macrumors 65816

    wheezy

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Alpine, UT
    #1
    My friend has a firewire drive with about 200GB of music on it, but it's formatted FAT32 and searching is slow and painful. Can I index a FAT32 drive? I'm thinking no, but thought I'd ask. Also, how do you force index a drive?
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    FAT32 doesn't have all of the metadata storing abilities of +HFS.
     
  3. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    #3
    Spotlight does not rely on the metadata maintained in the HFS+ filesystem. The Spotlight indexes are maintained in directories at the root of the filesystem. FAT32 volumes can be indexed by Spotlight.
     
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
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    Indianapolis
    #4
    Note: I said FAT32 doesn't have "all" of the metadata abilities of HFS+. You'll be able to search by filename and creation/modification data.
     
  5. dr_lha macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    #5
    Actually it is possible to turn on full Spotlight Indexing on for a FAT32, I just tried it with a USB pen drive. I used mdutil to turn on indexing and low and behold, it worked. I checked a few word documents using "mdls" and its indexed the authors and titles of the documents, which it didn't before, so I think its working fine.

    Note, it didn't create a .Spotlight-V100 directory on the pen drive, so presumably its put it in the system one.
     
  6. mrichmon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    #6
    My point was that the metadata abilities of HFS+ are not relevant to the question.

    I have just created a Disk Image, partitioned the image using MBR and formatted the image using MS-DOS (FAT16). I then added a couple of PDFs files to the disk image and used "mdutil" to turn on indexing on this file system and to erase the spotlight index and thus force a reindex of the drive.

    Subsequent spotlight searches when this disk image is mounted returns search hits based on the content of the PDFs. (The search was "The first 13 states" since the pdf documents were about US History.) When the image is not mounted, the spotlight searches do not return the files stored on the disk image.
     
  7. dr_lha macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    #7
    I.e. the guys at Apple are smarter than we think. ;)
     
  8. wheezy thread starter macrumors 65816

    wheezy

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    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Alpine, UT
    #8
    Nice! So, what is 'mdutl'? Do I do that in Terminal?
     
  9. wheezy thread starter macrumors 65816

    wheezy

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Alpine, UT
    #9
    I searched around and found mdutil terminal stuff, but it won't work for me on this drive, when I type:

    sudo mdutil -i on /VOLUME/MUSIC

    I get this error:

    Could not set indexing status for volume.


    Can it not be done with this drive? It is formatted FAT32

    EDIT: I changed it to VOLUMES with an S, now it's enabled....
     
  10. wheezy thread starter macrumors 65816

    wheezy

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Alpine, UT
    #10
    And I'm back, the process 'mds' is using up all my CPU and I read that that is the process that does the spotlight journaling or whatever, so, it must be working! It'll take a while though since it's about 200GB's, but, I'm very happy about this cause searching on it has been slow, and painful, very slow and painful.

    THANKS!!!
     

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