What's up with Spotlight?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by hafr, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #1
    I love Spotlight, I use it every day to find files, folder and start apps. But something that bugs me more and more is how it just goes crazy and indexes several times a day, for an hour or more at a time, causing the computer to pretty much stop.

    Opening MS Excel takes a long time as it is, but with Spotlight indexing it can take, and this is no joke, up to ten minutes to open a simple spreadsheet no bigger than 300*50 cells. Opening iPhoto (around 60 GB, 20 000-ish photos and videos) is something I simply don't do anymore without first checking if it's indexing. Time Machine backups during an indexation means both indexation and backup takes absolutely forever - Activity Monitor showing disk activity of less than 1 MB/s combined write/read.

    I just can't take it anymore, it's affecting my productivity and stressing me out to the point where I simply use an old Acer Aspire One (1.6 GHz, 1 GB RAM) with Windows 7 installed - because it's just so much faster than my early 2011 13" base version with 8 GB RAM. Even scrolling on a webpage is turned into a character building test of patience. When it's not indexing, it's as blazing fast as it was when I bought it.

    I've installed ML fresh several times, I've even switched disks because I've been certain that there must have been something wrong with them, but it takes no more than a handful of days before it's back to the same way. The only way for me to be able to have a fast computer is by adding all drives to the "do not index"-list, but that kills one of my favourite features in OS X.

    Can anyone help me? Is it possible to simply block Spotlight from indexing during office hours, or is there an alternative that doesn't piggyback on Spotlight's indexing?
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    #2
    If one reinstall doesn't fix the problem (and it usually won't), then more won't help.
    Spotlight normally works well, but does occasionally go haywire (across several OS versions, even saintly Snow Leopard.)

    When you say you've "switched disks", you mean you've completely swapped your drive hardware? That would rule out any hardware faults. However, it might be worthwhile to run Disk Utility from the Recovery Partition and Repair DISK (not permissions) to check for any problems.

    Then I would force a re-index and leave it running overnight if needs be.

    You could also look at log messages left in Console utility, to see if anything there is useful at identifying the problem.
     
  3. justperry, Apr 9, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013

    macrumors 603

    justperry

    #3
    Turn off Spotlight and try LaunchBar, this one has already been there before Spotlight even existed and works well.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #4
    Oh yeah, I forgot to say - the little dot in the magnifying glass isn't there either... I've done the Disk Utility checks and repairs.

    But how does Spotlight work? Does it index the whole drive every time (or ever so often) when a file is changed? Because I have a few folders between which I move fairly large files quite often. I'm gonna try putting them in the "do not search" list and see if it works...

    ----------

    Thanks, I tried it but I just can't seem to make it work the way I want...
     
  5. macrumors 603

    justperry

    #5
    There are two processes involved, when you have the problem open Activity Monitor and see what the next 2 processes do:

    MDS
    MDworker
    They are the ones responsible for the indexing of the drive.

    Strange you could not get LaunchBar to do what you want, I used it a lot before but my spotlight is working correctly so I use that now.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #6
    Adding the handful of folders that I mentioned before seem to have done the trick... How odd and annoying that moving a few GB's worth of files a few times a day causes Spotlight to slow the computer down that much.

    Maybe it would be possible for me to make LaunchBar to work the way that I required it to, but in that case it takes more than the ten minutes I spent on tweaking it ;)
     
  7. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    #7
    Spotlight works much like Time Machine: the whole drive is indexed, and then changes are made as files are added or modified.

    If you have 5Gb of files that get changed a lot, and those files comprise indexable data (like text), then Spotlight is going to be working hard.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #8
    Thanks for the clarification. I wish I knew that like a year ago ;)
     
  9. macrumors 603

    justperry

    #9
    The best way to find out what the troubles are is to open Activity Monitor, if a process eats a lot of CPU time, Google that process.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #10
    Oh, I've always known Spotlight was the key issue, I just didn't know how to fix it.
     
  11. macrumors 603

    justperry

    #11
    Just ask here,plenty of nice and helpful people.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #12
    I did, your answer made me think and I found the solution :)
     
  13. macrumors 601

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #13
    To re-index Spotlight in OS x you just need to fire up /Applications/Utilities/Terminal app and put in the command
    Code:
    sudo mdutil -E /
    and hit the return button. This will cause Spotlight to reindex your mounted drives. It's best to do this when you ready to sleep, it will take a little while.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    #14
    sound muted and spotlight not functioning

    Hi all- I don't know much about how my MacBook runs, but noticed this afternoon that the sound icon is gone from the top menu bar and when i hit the volume hotkeys there is a mute icon on (which I did not intentionally turn on, and cannot remove). Also, the spotlight doesn't work at all- for instance, cannot find applications. I read on another thread that I can try adding and removing my hard drive from the spotlight privacy in system preferences and 're-indexing' spotlight. This did not work for me. I also looked for the com.apple.spotlight file in my library folder- and there is not one. I see where it should be, but its not there.

    So i guess these are separate issues, but since they happened simultaneously (possibly when cleaning my keyboard) then I 'd appreciate help on either :cool:
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    #15
    I use Alfred to replace the spotlight. works better for me, never had issue with spotlight though.
     
  16. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    #16
    when I put in this code the response is that there is no index (and, indeed, I could find none in my library). How do I come up with a new index?
     
  17. macrumors 601

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #17
    Did you try to see if is in your copy it in10.8? Just fire up Terminal again and type:
    Code:
    man mdutil
    Then see if is it was in your 10.8.x.

    ----------

    Plus look at the Apple Discussion 10.8.2 spotlight indexing issue because I think it has some fixes in it.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    #18
    The other ways, you could go to spotlight preference, and disable and re-enable again index of the HD.
     

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