Spotlight Indexing question, and Time Machine...

Discussion in 'macOS' started by RoboCop001, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. RoboCop001 macrumors 65816

    Oct 4, 2005
    Toronto, Canada

    I notice that Spotlight only says "indexing" after I restart the computer, which isn't that often.

    But that's not the only time it indexes, right? Does it index a file whenever it's created or moved?

    And what about Time Machine? Again, after restarting the computer, my external backup drive that I use with Time Machine is indexed. But I never notice it being indexed when I don't restart.

    Does Spotlight have to index it, or does TM handle that somehow? I mean, can I put my backup disk on Spotlight's ignore list, and still have Spotlight in Time Machine work fine?
  2. theman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2007
    i've been noticing the same thing... it's puzzled me. hopefully somebody knows.
  3. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Spotlight indexes files immediately when they are created or changed, but if your computer is very busy then it will fall behind (most likely whatever keeps the computer busy is more important at the moment than spotlight). Spotlight will then catch up as quick as possible. When you turn the Mac in, Spotlight will check if there is anything that it hasn't done yet; that check might take some time. Always takes a bit longer because Spotlight doesn't want to get both CPUs up to 100 percent.

    I did put my Time Machine backup on the spotlight "Ignore" list, because I use it purely for backup and never wanted to find anything on it.
  4. RoboCop001 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 4, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Ah I see. But does putting Time Machine on the ignore list hinder searching when you're in Time Machine mode in any way? I mean does Spotlight indexing have anything to do with the Search bar when you're in Time Machine mode?

    The thing is, the only times the computer has to boot up is after I install updates or if the battery goes dead, and neither happen very frequently. I always just put it to sleep.

    For example... if the computer is busy for a night, like doing BOINC work, and Spotlight doesn't index because the computer is so busy, will files that were created during that time not get indexed until I restart, or will they index after the computer isn't so busy?
  5. creator2456 macrumors 68000


    Jul 10, 2007

    I haven't noticed any changes by keeping my TM drive on the Spotlight exclude list. Also, Spotlight will index when there is nothing deemed 'more important' to be done. If you restart, or the battery dies before Spotlight catches up it will index after booting up again.
  6. biffcliff macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2008
    Duesseldorf, Germany
    Time Machine uses the functionality of Spotlight to find changes you made in the directory. Otherwise TM couldn't do the job so nicely as its been done. Your setting "Don't index TM-Drive" will be ignored by the system, how could TM work without Spotlight ? ?
    So, relax and let your mac do its job. :eek:

    ( I got these infos from Apple Dev. TechTalk Leopard )
  7. RoboCop001 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 4, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Haha, ok. Thanks :)
  8. snverhallen macrumors 6502a

    Oct 17, 2007
    biffcliff, you are partly right and wrong. You are right that Time Machine would be useless without Spotlight technology; but what you said about the System ignoring the command to ignore your Time Machine backup in Spotlight is wrong. When you exclude your TM backup from Spotlight, it means that Spotlight excludes the contents of your TM backup from your Spotlight searches, so that when you search using Spotlight it will not include all the old copies of your App's etc. Hope this makes it more clear.

  9. stuepfnick macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2002
    And how does TM work fine, while Spotlight still takes hours for the index?

    Hi out there!

    I moved my Timemachine Backups to a new Disk (from USB2.0 to FW800), both partitions about the same size.

    I used the Recovery mode in Disk Utility to do so.

    And after that, I renamed the old Backup-Disk to OldBackup, went to Timemachine-Prefs to see, if everything is fine, and it had the right disk already selected (the new one), and switched TM back on.

    But then Time Machine startet to make an index, it says some hours left. But I still started a backup. Yes, it takes pretty long, but the Backup seems to be normal in Size (581 MB), after about 1 day.

    So how can this work, if there is no Spotlight-Index? I hope it does everything fine, if not, I need to redo all the copying. My guess: everything works fine, but takes a lot longer, because the Spotlight-Index is not ready yet. Is this right? Or does it work somehow else? The Index will take a few hours still. Please tell me, if I did something wrong!! But I guess, if TM could not work without Spotlight-Index it would say that it can't start now, right?

    Thanks in advance!

Share This Page