Spotlight misses files!

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Mork, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. Mork macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    Spotlight in Leopard does not apper to work all that well....

    I re-indexed my spotlight database two ways:

    1. Command prompt,

    2. Dragging the Mac HD to the privacy portion of spotlight, removing it, and waited for spotlight to re-index.

    Spotlight is good as far as it goes, but it simply doesn't find things.

    For example, in my Thunderbird history file (a "text" file), spotlight refuses to find anything I type in as the search phrase that is in this file.

    I'm sure that I'm searching "This Mac", but despite my re-indexes and multiple attempts, spotlight appears to be blind.

    What else does spotlight miss?

    Are there any workarounds for these missing files that Spotlight refuses to search or is there a good Mac search tool that supports boolean searches (preferably also with a RegEx option) that ... works?

    In the PC world, there's File Locator Pro, the best search tool I've ever used (and it finds EVERYTHING, though it doesn't have the cool index that Spotlight does. Hmmm, but File Locator Pro finds EVERYTHING...)

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Salmar macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2007
  3. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    Very slow!

    Thanks very much for your reply.

    Unfortunately, this tool is incredibly slow. I typed in a search term from my Thunderbird History Mailbox and 5 minutes later, still nothing. I tried clicking "SEARCH FOR ALL" and even eliminating some of the file options.

    The lack of a great file search tool like File Locator Pro is a big deal.

    I was so happy when I saw Spotlight (initially, but no longer...)

    Yikes!!!! (where are those XP Pro CDs? :( )
  4. dirt farmer macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2005
    I, too, use EasyFind.

    But two new apps have recently come out which you may want to try.

    Find Any File

    Find File
  5. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    Easy Find Misses PDFs

    I tried Easy Find again, and this time, I just waited until it finished.

    It too missed files!

    I opened a PDF in a folder I told it to search in to get a couple of words to search by, then checked "Search all files", but Easy Find's results didn't list the PDF in the search results window.

    Also, I don't like the fact I have to decide between searching for a file name and file contents (as well as the other mutually-exclusive choices). What if I want to search by both? Why is this a radio button and not a check box so I can search by multiple criteria?!

    Spotlight? Well, that's about as good as, unfortunately, Windows "Find", which misses about the same number of files.

  6. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    Getting rid of Macbook Pro

    OK, I get it. Some of the (most important, to me) tools I use in Windows just aren't available at the same level for the mac -- or really, at all.

    Being able to run these tools in a Windows VM isn't the solution since I want to do development on the Mac (why buy a Mac just to run Windows?).

    I didn't understand that switching to the Mac would involve so many compromises.

    On the one hand, (with the Mac) I'm getting stability and a wonderful computer and user interface, but, on the other hand, I'm giving up too many useful programs whose authors have written me saying "I know nothing about the Mac platform and have no plans to migrate my software."

    I'm therefore going to sell my MacBook Pro and head back to Windows XP Professional for software development and for accounting (Even using the native QuickBooks Pro (2009 version) for the mac means you have to sign up for Web-based payroll, which is twice as expensive for the same payroll as in QB for Windows -- which is built in to QB).

    Hopefully, I can get most of my money back since the MacBook is only two weeks old....


  7. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
  8. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    Still doesn't show Thunderbird history folder

    This is a good tip and is a definite improvement.

    However, the Thunderbird history folder never shows up in a search, even using command+option+space.

    Yes, the Thunderbird profiles are in the ~username/Library

    Any other suggestions? Seems like this is getting closer!


  9. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    Still missing PDFs

    Even opening up Spotlight with COMMAND+OPTION+SPACE

    it misses strings (example: single account) within a PDF inside my user folder (~) and in a subdirectory:

    The FDICInfo.pdf (inside directory ~username/files/) never shows up eventhough it has a string in it that has "single account".

    I entered "single account" into Spotlight's search term (with no quotes as adding quotes just gives me two non-related entries). I picked the option to search inside files (thought I'd like the option to search by file name and file contents as the default).

    Spotlight doesn't find it.

    It also, as I said in my posting above, does not find any text in the Thunderbird history file (which is a large text file).

  10. Ramashalanka macrumors regular

    Dec 26, 2008
    Lanka Ravi Shanka
    [My post edited]

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I had thought that EasyFind would find in pdfs. However, it is based on a text search, but the contents of a text pdf are binary. Only some text is in there: captions etc. However, spotlight finds these files fine for me.

    No, both of these apps only search for the file name, not the contents.

    I agree. I too have had problems with it (for me specifically not looking in matlab .m files; it interprets them as something else).

    If most of the software you use is not as available or as good, eg QuickBooks, then yes, maybe the mac isn't for you. Personally I find the bought mac software I use to be excellent (eg Mathematica, Matlab, Microsfoft Office, iWork) and the free software better than what I find on the PC (e.g. TexShop vs TexNicCenter, BibDesk vs JabRef, Xcode vs Microsoft Visual ...), I find the free software gives me the best of mac/pc worlds (e.g. Rage Macintosh Explorer), and (perhaps most of all) I love the unix based terminal (better and more integrated than cygwin and other options). But this will not be the case for everyone: for some people PCs will be a much better option (sorry you didn't find out before you bought).
  11. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    Mostly just File Search

    I'd agree that most of the software on the Mac side is just as good or in some cases better than on the PC side.

    File search is an obvious exception. And, it's unfortunately, a very important one.

    How many times has a customer called you with a question about when something was discussed or perhaps coded? You don't want to miss any crucial conversations embedded in (now) PDFs or in other documentation, right?

    I've tried I think 5 search tools including "File Buddy" yesterday with no utility finding a simple string in a PDF in my home directory. You'd have to admit this is a big problem, right?

    How could Apple have missed this HUGE hole in Spotlight during testing? Why can't I configure Spotlight down to the nit? The huge list of options don't include any options that make Spotlight find files its missing. COMMAND+OPTION+SPACE is the only thing that supposedly helps, but it doesn't find the simple PDF file or my Thunderbird History file either.

    I'm a bit dumbstruck that this $30 utility (File Locator Pro) would be what made me give up the Mac. Such an awesome program. Never misses a file!

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply! :)

  12. argos4000 macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2009
  13. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    Why isn't this fixed now?

    Why aren't these bugs fixed in tomorrow's service pack download into the Mac?

    It seems that these Spotlight issues have been around and been discussed for a long time.

    Why hasn't this problem been fixed immediately?

    M$ is quicker about fixing issues like this.

  14. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
  15. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009

    Now that's a terrific piece of info!!!!

    THANK YOU!!!!!

    I think there may be something wrong with that PDF file I've been using as a benchmark test. Although it came right off the FDIC website, File Locator Pro doesn't find stuff in it either!

    I've submitted a bug report to the FLP folks and will post a response when I get it.

    The Mac is looking better!!!!

  16. Ramashalanka macrumors regular

    Dec 26, 2008
    Lanka Ravi Shanka
    Actually, having just checked, spotlight is searching in my matlab .m files fine now too: it wasn't working a few months ago which is why I switched to EasyFind.

    Still, it would be good to have a non-indexed (but then inevitably slow) searching option that included pdfs.
  17. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
  18. Ramashalanka macrumors regular

    Dec 26, 2008
    Lanka Ravi Shanka
    Yes, I've tried it, but like EasyFind I couldn't get it to search in pdfs, could you?

    It's interface is better than EasyFind, particularly choosing directories to search in that you've searched in before, but EasyFind is great for free.
  19. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    Problem with PDF

    Turns out my problem with the PDF was that the "PDF" I was given was actually a scanned image so it wasn't searchable! I had no idea.

    Me and the mac are doing well again, for the moment.

  20. Ramashalanka macrumors regular

    Dec 26, 2008
    Lanka Ravi Shanka
    Good, yes I think spotlight works. But have you tried to search in a text containing pdf with File Buddy (real text, not pictures, but text that you cannot search for within TextEdit)?
  21. Mork thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009

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