Time Machine + Spotlight = useless! ARGH!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by CaptSaltyJack, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. CaptSaltyJack macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2007
    This is incredibly frustrating. I think I may have found a bug in either Time Machine or Spotlight, or how they work together. Let me explain:

    First off, let me point out a very very odd behavior. Let's say I open Spotlight in the upper right corner of the screen and type in "bear". I click "Show All" and a Finder window comes up, defaulting to searching "This Mac" and searching "Contents." I switch to search "File Name" instead, and get a few results. Now, I close that Finder window. I click the Finder icon to open a fresh window, and start typing "bear" in the search box, and once again search "This Mac" and "File Name." NOTHING. No results. What the hell???

    To make matters worse, Time Machine behavior is absurd. Let's say I have the previous Finder window open that has a few "bear" related files. They're dated December 2007. I run Time Machine and start flipping back..and boom, the bear files vanish. Yet I've only jumped back to May 2008. If the files were on my hard drive the entire time since 2007, why would Time Machine not show them anymore??

    Could someone please explain if I'm doing something wrong? Is this a known bug? If it's not a bug, then this is awfully non-intuitive for Apple software.
  2. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    In terms of the search difference between Spotlight in the Menu bar and searching through from the Finder using the icon in the dock I tried what you did and got similar results. From Spotlight in the menu bar "Bear" returned 91 results from "This Mac, Contents" and from a Finder window from the dock I got 41 results. The reason for the discrepancy is due to Spotlight searching your entire Mac and searching from the Finder searches your Home folder or user account.
    In terms of Time Machine, the dates of created files are not necessarily going to equal the backup dates on TM.
    Example, say you installed Microsoft Office today, if you were to look at all the files in Office you will not see all dates of "today" because the creation/modified dates of those files were during the times Microsoft programmed Office, not all being your date of installation. So in TM it will backup Word today but Word on your Mac may say Jan 30th 2008.
  3. CaptSaltyJack thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2007
    No, because in the Finder I'm changing the search critera to search the entire Mac, too. Yet it somehow yields different results.

    System search on Mac is really wonky. Better off using "find" in the shell.
  4. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    Your not understanding, the reason Spotlight has more results is because it searches your entire Mac. After typing in your word to search such as "Bear" hit show all then highlight each one of the line items and notice the path bar at the bottom, you will get a mixture of nothing in the path bar due to embedded files, some files will have your entire Mac and some files will show the path from your home folder.

    When you open up a Finder window it only works for your user account in terms of search. Now type in "Bear" and highlight the results and notice the path bar will only show results from your home folder regardless if you choose search "This Mac", it's searching your home folder. In the case of searching through the Finder, "This Mac" is your personal user account. The process is correct.
  5. CaptSaltyJack thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2007
    Not too sure about that. I opened a new Finder window, searched for "About Xcode" on "This Mac" and it brought up a PDF in the /Developer folder, way outside my home folder.

    I think the difference is, the Spotlight will search actual email messages whereas the plain old Finder search is just searching actual files. I think.
  6. yudilks macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2006
    Have you unplug your external HD without safely remove it first? If yes, this could be the reason... You need to rebuild the spotlight database of your Time Machine drive..

    You can do it by doing the following:
    1. Turn off the Time Machine from System Preferences
    2. Connect your Time Machine backup drive
    3. Assuming your Time Machine backup drive has a name "Time Machine", launch Terminal and input the following command:

    type sudo -s and put your password.. WARNING: This will log you as the Root User... You will be able to modify anything in your system, make sure you type the command below exactly, no extra or less space, quotation marks, etc... Data loss might occur if you mistype something.. I will not be responsible for anything happened due to your error mistakes...

    then type rm -R "/Volumes/Time Machine/.Spotlight-V100"

    4. Eject your Time Machine backup drive
    5. Turn on the Time Machine from System Preferences
    6. Reconnect back the Time Machine backup drive
    7. It'll start reindexing again
  7. CaptSaltyJack thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2007
    Assuming of course the HD is an external :) My Time Machine backup drive is an internal.
  8. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    Doesn't make much difference. You can eject an internal disk just as easily, then just use Disk Utility to remount it.

  9. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    Yudilks, Spotlight does not index your TM drive.
  10. webwes macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2008
    I'm not sure as to whether the above statement is true, but thanks to Yudilks Spotlight and Time Machine now work. I think i'd unplugged my drive when the laptop was closed but in standby mode.

    Thankyou anyway! :)
  11. webwes macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2008
    @ HLdan

    It does index your drive because it's now saying "indexing 'Time Machine'".

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