Spotlight being totally stupid

Discussion in 'macOS' started by apple_iBoy, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. apple_iBoy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #1
    Spotlight seems to be partially broken for me. I have been searching for a person's name that appears in dozens of searchable PDF documents and my Address Book, with no results found.

    I repaired permissions and restarted multiple times. I tried dragging my OS X HD into the box in the Privacy tab of Spotlight preferences, but nothing at all will show up on that list (doesn't matter if I drag onto the window, or try to add the folder/file by pressing the plus button).

    I even tried a terminal command I found online to delete the Spotlight database and force it to rebuild:
    sudo mdutil -E /
    No dice.

    I also just tried deleting the hidden .Spotlight-V100 directory, which I also came across online. Still nothing! I'm sitting here with Address Book open and see a person's entry right there, but Spotlight searching her last name comes up with nothing! Also, I'm still completely unable to get anything to show up in the Spotlight Privacy tab.

    Does anyone have an experience like this? What gives?!
     
  2. apple_iBoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #2
    Additionally, it seems that my Spotlight searches are now only finding keywords that appear in file names... not within documents like PDFs or presentations, etc.

    BLECH!!!!


    EDIT I think I've finally figured out how to successfully force Spotlight to re-index, thanks to Spotlight tips. In the terminal, I made the following commands, in this order.
    • sudo mdutil -i off /
    • sudo mdutil -E /
    • sudo mdutil -i on /

    That seems to have done the trick. When I click the Spotlight menubar icon, I'm finally seeing that it's reindexing the drive. Additionally, I also seem to be able to once again add and remove things from the Spotlight Privacy tab.
     
  3. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    #3
    Are the categories being turned off somehow in system preferences? Just a thought.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. apple_iBoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #4
    Yup, all the categories were properly selected. It must have been some sort of corruption in the database.

    On a happy note, the trouble seems to be resolved now, after the rebuild. I'm getting excellent search results once again, and they're coming up much faster than before!
     
  5. VoidBoi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    Were you running OS X Server by any chance? Spotlight indexing is turned off by default in 10.4 Server.
     
  6. apple_iBoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #6
    Nope, regular old Tiger. And I was just bragging to someone yesterday how Spotlight makes it so simple and easy to search through my big collection of PDF journal papers. I thought Spotlight was gonna make a liar out of me!
     
  7. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #7
    I wish I could say Spotlight was useful, but for me, Spotlight is pretty much useless. I'm very organized with my files and folders and pretty much know where I have what. So, the only time I really need Spotlight is when I'm searching for files in OSX itself - Library, Preferences, Caches etc. Well, stupid Spotlight can almost never can find anything. I finally track down a file on my own, and stupid Spotlight still can't find it - and I'm staring right at the file. And yes, I've got all files turned to visible and nothing selected in the "privacy" tab. For me, Spotlight is useless. I hardly ever use it. I really wish Apple fixes Spotlight so that it lists every, and I mean every file - whether in System, or anywhere else.
     
  8. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #8
    Spotlight has to be one of the best tools Apple has ever added to their OS. Those of you who are complaining that it's useless are using it wrong, or for the wrong reason. I know exactly where all my files are, but if I use spotlight, I don't even have to go into any folders. I just type the file name, and it's there.

    It's not meant to allow you to be disorganised, it's there to allow you to get around quicker. If it isn't showing the file that's staring you in the face, then something's wrong, and you need to fix it (potentially with an OS X re-install).
     
  9. apple_iBoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #9
    I agree with the previous poster -- Spotlight is indispensable for me, which is why I was particularly particularly worried when it wasn't working right on my MBP.

    I'm organized too, I really don't use it as an organizational tool. I use it to search for content, particularly in the collection of scientific journal literature I keep in PDF form on my hard drive. For instance, the other day I needed to find any correlations between the polymer alginate and the metal chromium. Typing the keywords in Spotlight brought up all the papers in my collection that contained both.

    I look forward to the day when Spotlight is a bit more powerful, so that I could specify to search only for words near each other, or use and/not statements, etc. But even now, I don't know how I could work half as efficiently without it. Kinda scary!
     
  10. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #10
    apple_iBoy, if you have a ton of scientific papers and files - pdf or otherwise - there's a much better app to deal with that. It has all that you indicated you need from a more advanced Spotlight and more (such as artificial intelligence correlating capability on your database). It's DevonThink Pro - there's a free demo DTPro 1.3b3:

    http://www.devon-technologies.com/download/index.html

    Try it out, it may change the way you work :)
     
  11. slashjunior macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    #11
    I always use Spotlight.

    In my dock I have programs I use pretty much daily, like Safari, iTunes etc. Say if Safari can't display something and I need Firefox, I just type in Fire... into Spotlight and click on Firefox to open it. Saves cluttering up the dock or desktop with loads of apps I only use occassionally.

    I still wonder why so many use Quicksilver. Spotlight does the job well enough for me.
     
  12. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #12
    I would like to see some sort of option for power users like us to turn off the filter that excludes the Unix-level folders and system folders from Spotlight searches. That way, novices wouldn't be confused by search results that look totally foreign, while users like us could see everything if we really wanted to. Of course, Spotlight will have to disable indexing its own index folder, or it'll get in an endless loop :eek:
     
  13. VoidBoi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #13
    I've always found Spotlight to be too slow... Butler is instant, Spotlight takes a good several seconds to find things, especially when I'm looking for something with more than one word. It just sits there spinning for about 10 seconds sometimes. For an app launcher it's just too slow. This is on an old G4 though.

    And then I also use Butler for iTunes control and other shortcuts.
     

Share This Page