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#19272 - 11/19/11 03:53 AM Spotlight
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Perhaps.

I'm only just into Pogue's discussion of Spotlight, which appears to be an elegant albeit convoluted successor to Find File (in OS 9). Given its power and reach, I'm likely going to have to revise my opinion of Spotlight (after my initial abortive attempts to use it when I first got my iMac).


Edit: This post was originally a reply to Re: How to create bootable back-up disk for OS X Lion?


Edited by cyn (11/21/11 11:43 PM)
Edit Reason: Moved branch of posts to new thread with new subject line.

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#19273 - 11/19/11 05:03 AM Re: Spotlight [Re: grelber]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
As I recall, OS 9's Find File could only search by file name. Spotlight not only does that but searches within the text of files as well. I have found it very useful when I'm looking for a particular phrase or subject that is not in the actual file name.
_________________________
Jon

OS 10.14.3, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#19274 - 11/19/11 05:54 AM Re: Spotlight [Re: grelber]
Pendragon Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Georgetown, Texas, USA
FWIW: I most always use EasyFind (freeware) ILO Spotlight and find it is all it’s cracked up to be. Indeed it’s a very nice adjunct to Spotlight.

The propaganda:

Think Mac OS X's Spotlight could use some help, especially when searching for text files? Download EasyFind, an alternative to (or supplement of) Spotlight and find files, folders, or contents in any file without indexing. EasyFind is especially useful for those tired of slow or impossible indexing, outdated or corrupted indices, or those just looking for features missing in the Finder or Spotlight.

Highlights:
▪ Boolean operators, wildcards, phrases
▪ Extended Boolean operators, similar to DEVONthink and DEVONagent
▪ Immediate searches, no indexing required
▪ Finds invisible files and files inside packages (something Spotlight doesn't do)
▪ Displays the location of each file in a separate column
▪ Previews files using Quick Look (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
▪ Provides contextual menus and services
▪ Supports drag-and-drop
▪ Very responsive, thanks to multithreading
▪ Uses very little memory

Enjoy!
_________________________
Harv
27" i7 iMac (10.13.6), iPhone Xs Max (12.1)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#19276 - 11/19/11 08:38 AM Re: Spotlight [Re: Pendragon]
macnerd10 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Harv, I think, Spotlight still rules. Made a simple check today. Searched for a word "installer". EasyFind had everything checked, like package contents and invisible files. Spotlight was run with system files included. So, Spotlight found tons of plists and other files that EasyFind missed. Check for yourself. If I missed some feature in EasyFind, would be happy to learn.
_________________________
Alex
3.1 GHz 13" MacBook Pro 2015, 8 GB RAM, OS 10.11.2, Office 2011, TimeWarner Cable
2.8 GHz Xeon Mac Pro 2010, 16 GB RAM, OS 10.11.2, Office 2011, LAN

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#19280 - 11/19/11 10:59 AM Re: Spotlight [Re: macnerd10]
Pendragon Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Georgetown, Texas, USA
Humm…

In my case, with all Spotlight options enabled, Spotlight got 66 hits on "installer", EasyFind located 67 items.

What I like about EasyFind is the "Reveal In Finder" feature which allows one to easily locate and delete deeply buried or invisible files. Also, I am partial to the ability to sort the results in alphabetical, where, or created date order.

To me, EasyFind is indeed an adjunct, not a replacement (though I do use more frequently).
_________________________
Harv
27" i7 iMac (10.13.6), iPhone Xs Max (12.1)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#19281 - 11/19/11 11:10 AM Re: Spotlight [Re: Pendragon]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
I've been using EasyFind since it was first suggested as a replacement for / adjunct to Spotlight. EasyFind produced results far more relevant, but now that I'm beginning to understand the functioning of Spotlight better, I will likely use both.

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#19283 - 11/19/11 03:04 PM Re: Spotlight [Re: grelber]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
No wonder this thread has 8 pages.

Hang on, i'll prepare a dissertation on using the find command in Unix (plus there's a Spotlight version called mdfind). Advantage being: the results can be piped to other commands for further processing (moving, or renaming, or changing permissions & ownership, etc.).

crazy

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#19285 - 11/19/11 03:39 PM Re: Spotlight [Re: Pendragon]
macnerd10 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Interesting… On my MBP EasyFind got 12 items, most of them folders, whereas Spotlight got both files and folders (a total of 476 items). So, in my case, I would prefer the latter. However, relevance is another story...
_________________________
Alex
3.1 GHz 13" MacBook Pro 2015, 8 GB RAM, OS 10.11.2, Office 2011, TimeWarner Cable
2.8 GHz Xeon Mac Pro 2010, 16 GB RAM, OS 10.11.2, Office 2011, LAN

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#19296 - 11/21/11 05:09 AM Re: Spotlight [Re: jchuzi]
dkmarsh Online

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
As I recall, OS 9's Find File could only search by file name. Spotlight not only does that but searches within the text of files as well.

That's not quite right. "Find by content" indexing was actually introduced in OS 8.5 and expanded to include PDF and HTML files in OS 8.6.

In pre-Tiger (i.e. pre-Spotlight) versions of OS X, search functionality was bifurcated between Toolbar searches (filename only) and Finder's File -> Find (Command-F) searches (filename and/or content). See Finding files and folders in Mac OS X.

In OS X 10.4 and later, those two "forks" are merged; Toolbar searches and Command-F implement the same interface, which allows toggling between filename and content searches at the click of a button. The Spotlight interface is a quicker and less customizable front-end to the same search engine, and Terminal's mdfind command mentioned by Hal is a more cumbersome but much more powerful front-end to that same search engine.

Additionally, Spotlight searches include far more than simply the text content of files. Also included are a long list of metadata attributes, such as shutter speed, aperture and focal length of photos, bit rate, sample rate and encoder of audio files, and much more. For the exhaustive rundown of all attributes available for searching on your Mac, use the

mdimport -X

command. Note that most attributes are not applicable to any given file, and that many of them appear to have been included for potential future use; attributes will serve as search filters only if the OS or the software which created the file supplies a value for them at the time of creation (or modification).
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dkmarsh • member, FineTunedMac Co-op Board of Directors

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#19297 - 11/21/11 08:43 AM Re: Spotlight [Re: dkmarsh]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
In theory, Spotlight finding is awesome.

In practice, it never quite works for me.

I have several external hard drives: one that's a work drive (it contains nothing but client files), one that's my primary backup drive (partitioned and contains clones of my system and work drives), one that's a secondary backup drive (a clone of my system and work files that is several weeks behind my primary clone, as insurance against accidentally deleting a file and not realizing it), and so on.

I have consistently noticed, in both 10.5 and 10.6, that Spotlight won't find files on the external drives reliably. Not even by name. I've tried removing and rebuilding the Spotlight indexes (which shouldn't matter for a search by name), I've tried erasing and re-creating the backups, nada.

For example, I have work files which are photographs of the product line that one of my clients has, which have names like "ThunderBolt Utility" and "ThunderBolt StormChaser". Each product may have anywhere from three to a dozen or more shots, which might be named things like "ThunderBolt StormChaser Kit," "ThunderBolt StormChaser All Accessories," and so on.

If I do a Spotlight search for all filenames containing the word "storm," I'll get 3 or 4 results...even though when I open the images folder, I'll see, say, 27 files that contain the word "storm." If I copy the image folder to my internal hard drive and do the search, I'll get all 27 results...but never, and I mean *never*, if they are located on an external drive.

My external drives are all formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled), so it's not a formatting issue. They are partitioned GUID. I've ALWAYS had this problem since OS X 10.5, and like I said, it's survived rebuilding the Spotlight index and it's survived repeated reformatting. I now use EasyFind to search my external drives; for whatever mysterious reason, Spotlight simply doesn't work.
_________________________
Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

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#19305 - 11/21/11 10:20 PM Re: Spotlight [Re: tacit]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: tacit
...but never, and I mean *never*, if they are located on an external drive.

My external drives are all formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled), so it's not a formatting issue. They are partitioned GUID. I've ALWAYS had this problem since OS X 10.5, and like I said, it's survived rebuilding the Spotlight index and it's survived repeated reformatting. I now use EasyFind to search my external drives; for whatever mysterious reason, Spotlight simply doesn't work.

We can intentionally block Spotlight by creating an empty file named .metadata_never_index at the root level of a volume. Is it possible that you once tested out that technique, and then left those hidden files sitting there all this time?

You can quickly test for that by trying to list any matches:

ls -l /Volumes/*/.metadata_never_index

^ run that command 'as is' (no need to edit). You should get this response:
ls: /Volumes/*/.metadata_never_index: No such file or directory

--

For those who may *want* such behavior, it's difficult to create a "dot" file using Finder. So the easy-peasy terminal method is:

touch /Volumes/"name of disk"/.metadata_never_index

[where "name of disk" is the name of the desired disk to hide from Spotlight (use quotes to manage spaces in the name if need be).]

EDIT: i would not advise doing that to a Time Machine backup volume (though, it might probably be ignored anyway... but, better safe than sorry).

EDIT#2: oh wow, TextEdit just let me save a dot file... i don't think that worked in regular Leopard. [but Finder still refuses to rename something by adding a leading dot.]


Edited by Hal Itosis (11/21/11 10:42 PM)

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#19308 - 11/22/11 02:36 AM Re: Spotlight [Re: Hal Itosis]
dkmarsh Online

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
oh wow, TextEdit just let me save a dot file... i don't think that worked in regular Leopard.

It does, once you click your acceptance of a dialog which states:

Quote:
Names that begin with a dot "." are
reserved for the system.


If you decide to go ahead and use a name which
begins with a dot the file will be hidden.
_________________________

dkmarsh • member, FineTunedMac Co-op Board of Directors

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#19313 - 11/22/11 09:33 AM Re: Spotlight [Re: Hal Itosis]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Nope, no "never index" file. It's my understanding, though, that searching by name doesn't use the index, so I'm not sure that'd matter anyway.
_________________________
Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

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#19319 - 11/22/11 01:45 PM Re: Spotlight [Re: tacit]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: tacit
Nope, no "never index" file. It's my understanding, though, that searching by name doesn't use the index, so I'm not sure that'd matter anyway.

Well that must be wrong, because then the never index trick wouldn't work. We can also blind Spotlight on the individual folder level, by adding the extension .noindex to a folder's name.

And it makes sense from a "metadata" point of view that —for a rigid program like Spotlight —searching its index for file names is much faster than scanning directory trees (as all other utilities must do). But i agree —from a practical use point of view —it would be nice if Spotlight didn't require an index for name searches... but i don't believe that's the case.

Can anyone link to conclusive proof one way or the other?

Furthermore — even assuming that Spotlight does fallback to doing a "regular" filename search when no index is available (e.g., a CD/ROM or something), i think that the mere presence of an index (which you said your drives definitely have) would preempt that fallback behavior.


Edited by Hal Itosis (11/22/11 01:56 PM)

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