How to do a REAL file search in OS X??

Discussion in 'macOS' started by jkozlow3, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. jkozlow3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    #1
    In Windows, I can easily search for a file that ends in any file extension such as .ipsw (iPhone software) by searching my C:\ drive for files named *.ipsw

    So how on earth would one search the contents of a Mac's hard drive for the same file? I've only been using OS X for a few months but this seems like it should be fairly straightforward and yet I can't seem to figure it out for the life of me. This works fine for items such as documents/pics/music inside my user folder (.doc, .pdf, .jpg, .m4a, etc) but not for anything outside of it.

    So how do you do a REAL search in OS X - preferably not from the terminal if possible?

    Thanks!
     
  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #2
    Umm... Spotlight? I guess to help more I'd need to know exactly what sort of search stuff isn't working for you. Anything in your applications folder is not in your User folder, do your searches not find any apps?

    Sounds like you don't have your hard drive indexed or something, cause I have no idea why you're having the problem you are. Search for me is fast, reliable, and finds anything anywhere.
     
  3. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    Sarcasmville.
    #3
    Spotlight doesn't search inside system folders (that includes the /Library and ~/Library). Mostly because most users will never need anything from in there, and they'd prob mess it all up.

    All you need to know is in here. Don't think you can enable system file search from the shortcut (top right) spotlight menu.
    http://forums.macosxhints.com/archive/index.php/t-99470.html

    Picture tells a thousand words:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    For what ever reason spotlight ignores Library and system folders unless you're in there explicitly and then you tell spotlight to search Library. Short of that issue, there's been no problem searching in OSX.
     
  5. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #5
    Use Terminal:

    Code:
    sudo find / -name "*.ipsw"
     
  6. marvin*1*2 macrumors member

    marvin*1*2

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Yrp!
    #6
    spotlaser

    well, I think spotlight is a real dummy user p.o.s., one of the very few but very weak points in osx... it's plain useless and annoying for anything else but most simple searches - if u got real work to do, try spotlaser, a free app that allows for specific searches with the functionality that comes with any decent filesystem or database, it too is based on the file-indexing that osx does occasionally in the background, so don't switch the spotlight search off by putting your entire hardisk into the privacy section (system prefs - spotlight - privacy).
    that is a way to reset your indexing though, just in case your problems persist (put entire HD in privacy, leave for a lil while and take it out again and indexing restarts).

    there is one bug in spotlaser, i can't remember what it was, but under certain settings the filtering process does not work and it gives you the complete filelist instead, but it's nothing you can easily work around... as far as I remember you ought to choose the directory you want to search by pressing the 'open' button instead of clicking the three square buttons next to the 'open'...
    http://frovil.com/
    else it does the job well.

    hope that helps :)
     
  7. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    Sarcasmville.
    #7
    Care to elaborate on how spotlight fails? I can find anything I want in mere seconds (if that). All I have to do is think of the words.

    The shortcoming (which really isn't one) being discussed here is that it Spotlight doesn't list results from System folders, FOR VERY OBVIOUS REASONS. I guess the only shortcoming is not having an easy way to turn it on.
     
  8. marvin*1*2 macrumors member

    marvin*1*2

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Yrp!
    #8
    only if u send me one of those sandwiches :)

    but like I said, I am talking about the functionality that comes with any decent filesystem or database, wildcards, phrase search, search options, &&, ||, just anything that helps to get more specific and narrow down my search. spotlight's fine if you got a few dozen files or something to search through, but I got major data libraries that I want decent access to and spotlight is just bull for that.

    now, that sandwich... :eek:
     
  9. kate-willbury macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    #9
    macs were meant for people inept at using computers in general. so its pretty obvious why things like spotlight are dumbed down.
     
  10. spatry macrumors newbie

    spatry

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    #10
    Or try "locate". You may have to run "sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.locate.plist" (used to be udpatedb on Linux?..)
     
  11. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #11
    I wasn't sure if/how that existed on OS X, that's why I didn't offer that as a potential solution. It would certainly be faster.

    In Linux, updatedb and locate are definitely there.
     
  12. jkozlow3 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    #12
    Thanks for the help guys. I didn't realize that OS X didn't search system folders by default. I will give your suggestions a try tonight when I'm at home with my MacBook.
     
  13. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #13
    If I am working with system files, I am typically in terminal with sudo anyway. So I use the tools available there.
     
  14. Jelite macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    I was wondering why my search for some files wouldnt show in spotlight, this is the solution, thanks. Here's a pic to back up the info.

    [​IMG]

    Make sure you click the folder as This Mac wont return any results.
     
  15. madog macrumors 65816

    madog

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Location:
    Korova Milkbar
    #15
    A search feature that doesn't let you search everything is worthless to me. I know where my files are, I don't know where some system files are when I'm searching. The Mac OS search became useless since 10.5, slightly worthless in 10.4, and was only good in 10.3 and below.

    If you want to search system or library folders, be in that folder, otherwise it won't search it by default. If you are in the System folder, or in the Preferences folder and you perform a search, you can specify that folder. (edit: Just like Jelite said). Sometimes, it kind of defeats the purpose.

    Otherwise, if you are really looking for where iTunes stores its device firmware, it's a hidden folder that wouldn't show up anyway.

    You could try searching MR. That still works.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=551797&highlight=itunes+save+firmware

     

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