Spotlight refuses to search ~/Library/Preferences in 10.8.4?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by ScottishCaptain, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    Greetings to all.

    I have recently noticed that Spotlight seems to refuse to search ~/Library/Preferences in 10.8.4 when I have the search rule "System files" set to "are included".

    Has anyone else noticed this? Does anyone know how I can re-enable the 10.8.3 behaviour where ~/Library/Preferences was indexed and included in these search results? It also appears as though the command line utility `mdfind` refuses to look in ~/Library/Preferences as well.

    Oddly enough, all this stuff works fine for stuff in /Library/Preferences, just not the local version in my home directory.

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Spotlight never provides search results from system or library folders. To search those, use Finder and add the option to include system files. If that isn't producing results, try re-indexing your drive: If that fails to index, enter the following command in Terminal:
    sudo mdutil -i on "/Volumes/your drive name"​
  3. ScottishCaptain thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    Sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear enough.

    I am already adding the option to include system files.

    The difference is that under 10.8.3, ~/Library/Preferences was formerly searched when the option to include system files was enabled.

    Under 10.8.4, this no longer occurs. I get results from everywhere else in the various system folders as expected, but not in ~/Library/Preferences anymore. It is extremely annoying as I have to go in there manually to trash files now (I'm a developer, I often need to go trash my own app's prefs).

    I have tried re-indexing. I have blown away /.Spotlight-V100 (and /.fseventsd). I've reset the Spotlight preferences. Nothing seems to change this new behaviour, both Spotlight and mdfind now act as if ~/Library/Preferences doesn't exist and/or is off limits.

  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    That's strange. Have you checked/repaired permissions?
  5. ScottishCaptain thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    Yes. Nothing was awry that would affect Spotlight, or the backend services (mds, mdsworker, mdsimporter, etc).

    I've confirmed the same behaviour on several freshly installed virtual machines. Works fine under 10.8.3, doesn't under 10.8.4. I've also tested this on two other physical computers, and it's the same thing.

    I've noticed that if your system was indexed under 10.8.3 before you went to 10.8.4, then results still show up at random from the affected folder. However, if you re-index under 10.8.4, then ~/Library/Preferences doesn't get indexed at all. So this appears to be an issue with the indexing service, and not the user interface (Finder).

    I've also been digging around in the 10.8.4 delta update to see what was changed- there's a few things relating to Spotlight, but nothing in plaintext that I can see. So it doesn't look like a configuration change, it appears to be a bug inside one of the system frameworks or binaries.

    Oddly enough, this works in 10.9. It's just 10.8.4 that seems affected.

  6. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    In that case
    Find Any File

    can help.

    Or you can write an AppleScript, which moves the preferences file to the trash.

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