spotlight woes

ungar

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 11, 2006
62
0
Paris
I've had my iMac intel for three months, and spotlight has a tendency to spontaneously rebuild its index, unprovoked by me (it's done this three times), which means I can't use it for a few hours. Even worse, after the latest rebuild yestereday, it can't find anything at all. I type in a file name, and get zero results. If I do something to the file, however (open it or move it), then spotlight picks it up. Any ideas?
 

Erendiox

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2004
706
12
Brooklyn NY
Thats rather odd. I've never heard of spotlight spontaniously reindexing. Not sure of how to fix it, but it wouldn't hurt to repair permissions and run a hardware test just to be sure. As far as your current problem where spotlight doesn't find anything, do a manual re-index. The reason spotlight will find files that you've modified is because spotlight is constantly updating. Every time you mess with a file, spotlight re-indexes that file. What you probably have is a bad index database or something, so re-indexing the harddrive should fix that. I believe this can be done by dragging your HD into the privacy window in the spotlight preferences and then dragging it out. Personally, I use Onyx, which is a great piece of free software for managing and customizing OSX. You can do a direct spotlight re-index from the onyx maintenance tab.
 

ungar

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 11, 2006
62
0
Paris
I ran a hardware test last time that happened, and repair permissions on a regular basis. I'm not so worried about spontaneous reindexing, but what's strange is that spotlight worked fine before yesterday's reindexing. Oh well, I guess I'll just try reindexing again. It's a drag. I wonder if anyone else is having this problem.
 

ungar

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 11, 2006
62
0
Paris
Thanks. I'm reindexing now, but if the result is less than satisfactory, I'll try that.
 

ungar

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 11, 2006
62
0
Paris
By the way, mj, why is spotlight.plist in my home directory, since it pertains to the entire computer? (Stupid question, maybe, but I don't know much about macs yet.)
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
6
Adelaide, Australia
The preference file holds the different settings for Spotlight that you choose as a user, it doesn't have much to do with the actual database, which is in a separate location. Other users may want it set up slightly differently. They may want to change the keyboard shortcut or not search certain files or something. :)
 

ungar

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 11, 2006
62
0
Paris
That makes sense. Anyway, I've tried everything I could. Spotlight has been reindexing for the last 12 hours or so, and shows no signs of stopping. I'm getting fed up. Does anyone have any ideas? Do you think I should reinstall Mac Os?
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,199
6
Adelaide, Australia
It shouldn't take that long to reindex your drive. My 250GB iMac's drive (almost full) takes less than half an hour. I guess a reinstall would remedy your problem, although it may be overkill. Did you try removing the PLIST already? :)