Spotlight not searching entire drive?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by MacMan123, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. MacMan123 macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    Spotlight doesn't seem to be searching my library folder. I want it to though, is there any way to make it search the entire drive? Does it do this for other people, is my install bad I have had not problems except this.
  2. macguysoft macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2007
    I was gonna ask a similar question...because it's just not searching for plist files unless I search the Preferences file in the Library. This is the case even if I specify what kind of file or name it should have. I'm beginning to wonder whether this is a Leopard bug or something. Maybe I'll have to reindex my files in spotlight if there is no solution.
  3. Kaptajn Haddock macrumors regular

    Kaptajn Haddock

    May 10, 2007
    I have the exact same experience. Spotlight does not search the entire drive. That would explain why its so much faster now :( That kinda sucks!
  4. MacMan123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    Well for me that kinda makes spotlight useless. How am I supposed to find something buried into my drive now?
  5. macguysoft macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2007
    What surprises me is that many aren't really talking about this as far as I'm aware. Guess only us "pro" users would really be concerned with searching on those directories. Unless of course no one has that problem. I completely agree with you there.
  6. MacMan123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    There has to be a way to get it to search the entire drive.
  7. macguysoft macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2007
    Yup there is but it's still pretty annoying. Apple should have it on by default.

    Step 1: Go to the Finder Search (Command + F or File > Find)

    Step 2: Click on the "Kind" drop-down menu and click on other.
    Note: If you don't see this pop up button, then make click on the "+" button right after Save.

    Step 3: You'll see a dialog pop up and find System files. Once there, select the checkbox. Now go back to the search Window by clicking on the OK button.

    Step 4 Make sure that the System files is selected in the first drop down menu. Now proceed to the Second drop down menu and select "include".

    Now you can search for all your system files but don't expect for this to work with spotlight. Furthermore, you'll have to manually do this every time (only step 4 actually) you wish to search for something in your system. Hope this helps!
  8. Miss Mandy Mac macrumors newbie

    Apr 30, 2007
    WOW, that really sucks. I was noticing last night when I was uninstalling a program that I couldn't find the plist by searching for it. Now not only does Mac not uninstall programs completely, it makes it 10 times harder to search for all those annoying files left behind to manually delete yourself. Ugh, what a pain.
  9. bubba9er macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2007
    Cleaning Apps suggestion

    Sigh... Went through the same headache as everyone us looking for system type files trying to debug through a busted install of inquisitor :(

    That being said, if you're looking for a really good 'uninstall' program I'd highly recommend appcleaner to do the dirty work of scanning your drive to clean up any 'waste'.
  10. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    There have been a good number of threads on this already, including one started by myself. With my upgrade i couldn't do the mentioned "solution" because system files wasn't there. An erase and install gave me back that feature but this is so annoying. Everytime i want to search for system files i have to start a whole new search in finder as (for me at least) you can't edit a saved search i.e. put another search string in. Why do i have to jump through hoops to do what i could in Tigers in about 2 seconds. Also it is one of Leopards features.

    I don,'t see how this could be a feature as it was in Tiger and implemented in a better way.

    I have been leaving feedback everyday on this matter over at the feedback pages
  11. l33r0y macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2007
    I'm sure it would be inconvenient for users who spend a lot of time searching for system files, but for the majority of users who are only interested in data or content, then spotlight would be a great deal quicker as it won't need to search through 5Gb+ of OS X files.

    Having said that, is there a way you can trick spotlight for searching system folders, like creating a soft or hard link in a spotlight searchable folder (i.e. your home folder) to a system folder?
  12. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    So whats wrong with a simple preference, perhaps off by default.

    I've tried having alias in my home directory but spotlight doesn't search through it or even recognise it.
  13. l33r0y macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2007
    Agreed, that is the best solution. Come on Apple, what is the point of a preference if the preference isn't remembered?

    Worth a shot, eh? :(
  14. TabulaRasa macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2007
    Yes there is a way. You can use "mdimport" command to force Spotlight to index the folders you want.

    The command manual for "mdimport"

    From a MacWorld article:

    Two things worth mentioning. From the command manual for mdimport:

    If I understand correctly, -w option hints that spotlight does continue to index files automatically. If true, then it contrasts the above mentioned MacWorld article statement.

    Perhaps -w is a new feature.
  15. TabulaRasa macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2007
    The other option could be to use Spotlight from the command line. "mdfind" is the command for searching Spotlight metadata.

    The command "mdfind" does search inside the Systems folder whereas the search using the Spotlight search (GUI) doesn't. I don't understand. :confused:

    For example, a GUI search for "zfs" (without quotes) didn't produce any hits.
    Where as searching for "zfs" using "mdfind" command gave the following results:


    The command manual for "mdfind"
  16. koobcamuk macrumors 68040


    Oct 23, 2006
  17. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    It does already index the system files and when you access it through a finder window search the results are instant. The mdfind trick is good and i use it but it'd be very nice to have this feature in the GUI menubar back where it was and should be.
  18. TabulaRasa macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2007
    I tried to search for the same word "zfs" inside a Finder window. But it didn't give me any results. I chose to search "This Mac" and tried both "Contents" and "File Name" options. But it didn't give me any results.

    Am I missing something?

    EDIT: Ok, I tried the way how macguysoft described in one of the above posts and it works.
  19. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop

    basically enter the search term then press the plus button then in the selection box choose "other".

    Picture 7.png

    A window then pops up search for "system files" then press the "in menu" box (for later use).

    Picture 8.png

    This gives you the option to search for system files.

    Picture 6.png
  20. TabulaRasa macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2007
  21. dr_lha macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Links are definitely not searched. I found this to my dismay when I tried to find the location of the "Applet Launcher" app in Leopard. For those not familiar its in:


    However it turns out that this is just a soft link to /usr/share/java/Tools/Applet which of course doesn't get indexed, so Spotlight won't find "Applet Launcher" but it will find, for example, which resides (for real) in /Developer/Applications/Utilities.

    The Finder "trick" at least does find it.

    The main reason I'm not happy is that I used to use Spotlight to remove packages. You know, look for "Garageband" and it comes up with all the folders, applications and Package Reciept for Garageband which you can then just drag to the trash (not that I hate Garageband, but it takes up many Gigs and I'm not musical!).
  22. firesoflife macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2007
    Library Searches

    Leopard no longer makes it possible to EASILY search the LIBRARY. Everyone who has a problem with this (and I see it is a hot topic in these forums) should send apple a a note and tell them that we don't all stick to iLife and some of us go into the LIBRARY. Leopard is great, but Tiger let me efficiently find stuff in the library and I was always confident I'd find all I needed.
    Send your comments here to apple feedback.
  23. MacMan123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    I'm just going to bump this. It seems to be the most posted in topic about the issue. I want more people to submit feedback so it maked it into 10.5.1
  24. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    Yep. This is a big deal.

    I wouldn't mind category headers again too. Then you could collapse the silly Safari history item returns. That is something I dont need to search.
  25. Mac OS X Ocelot macrumors 6502a

    Mac OS X Ocelot

    Sep 7, 2005
    So i'm not the only one who can't find plist files in Spotlight but instead get fifty million Safari recent history files? And what happened to the succinct Show All window?

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