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#51249 - 03/03/19 10:45 AM Spotlight never find anything.
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
I'd say 50% time I use Spotlight, it finds nothing. This was supposed to be the revolutionary OS tool

I just moved an important folder called FINANCE to a new subfolder, a week ago, and spotlight, nothing.

I found it manually. There it is, unblocked, plain site, why cannot Apple get it's search right? Thanks.

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#51252 - 03/03/19 02:00 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
jchuzi Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
Did you try to reset Spotlight with OnyX? As I said in a previous post, that worked for me.
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#51255 - 03/03/19 04:27 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: kevs
.....why cannot Apple get it's search right?

It's always worked fine for me. I just did a search using the same word, Finance (because it's fairly common), and Spotlight found:

5 PDFs
5 documents
5 mail messages
1 event
2 folders
3 other
3 Siri suggested websites
3 news outfits
4 map documents
1 movie
1 definition
2 bookmarks

Maybe the suggested reset is in order.


Edited by ryck (03/03/19 04:28 PM)
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#51260 - 03/03/19 08:37 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: ryck]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks guys, J yes, downloaded Onyx, did not help.
In fact after doing it -- the verification --clicking the magnifier, nothing said it was going on.No progress bar. No sure sure Onyx works.

Now, my finace folder is showing up. It seems after I found it, and used it is showing up. But when I wanted to find it, it was not showing up.

I did move it from it's long time place to a new folder las week. Boom, could not find it this week.

Of course that's exactly why I needed spotlight. I could not remember quickly the new folder I moved it to. I really needed Spotlight. It failed as it so often does. Spotlight just seems to be pathetic, yet tauted by Apple as revolutionary.

Easy find did not do any better.

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#51264 - 03/04/19 09:22 AM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs
Now, my finace folder is showing up. It seems after I found it, and used it is showing up. But when I wanted to find it, it was not showing up.

Easy find did not do any better.

I don't know about OnyX but all of the other "tricks" and utilities rely on MacOS to automatically rebuild the Spotlight index, which occurs the next time the OS is re-booted. AFIK, MacOS provides no indication the index is being rebuilt or when the rebuild is completed, therefore OnyX et. al. have no way of reporting the rebuild is complete. Rebuilding the Spotlight index is NOT instantaneous and can a long time depending on the speed of your processor, the I/O speed of your drive(s), the number of files and the size of the files, and other activity on the system.

Easy Find uses its own linear file by file search algorithm which is totally independent of Spotlight and of anything Apple other than the underlying volume and file system.

Given Spotlight and Easy Find were/are equally ineffective in locating your database is a strong indicator that something else is going on. It might not show anything, but Etrecheck can sometimes be helpful in identifying unusual situations, especially in the case of third party software that causes interference.
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#51267 - 03/04/19 01:29 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe.

And f I move a file or folder to a completely different are, 3 levels in, it shroud still find that?
It never does.

Do you use Spotlight or Easyfind that much.

Will do the Etracheck. Thanks.

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#51268 - 03/04/19 05:52 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
There are multiple answers to your questions…
  • I deleted Easy Find because it was an app I had used once or twice in the last two years.
  • I use Spotlight constantly in "Smart" folders and functions in iTunes, Photos, Mail, DEVONThink Pro, and a variety of other Apple and non-Apple apps.
  • I very seldom use Spotlight by clicking on the Spotlight icon on the toolbar because I have much better results using it in Finder (⌘F on the desktop or enter the search argument in the search box of a Finder window).

There are a lot of restrictions on which files and folders the Spotlight icon search will find including visibility, ownership, file type, etc. When you go into a Finder Spotlight search, there are lots of file characteristics that can be enabled or disabled such as the volume you want to search, file visibility )visible, invisible, either), system files (system, non-system, both), kind of file (any, application, archive, document, executable, and so on), Name (matches, contains, begins with, ends with, is, is not), and dozens more characteristics that can be used to either expand or focus the search. Typically files that are not found will be revealed by setting visibility to both, System files to both, and Kind to any or by changing from Name is to Name contains. If it still is not found don't forget space is a character and I have sometimes found a file by adding a space as the first letter of the file name in the search argument.
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#51269 - 03/04/19 08:05 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe, good info

1- I've been using always the command spacebar way. It brings up a thin long rectangle on the finder desktop. Command F brings a a normal old fashioned style finder window. The results can be more accurate with command F? or just more choices.

2- When I do the privacy add subtract, thing, I assume the Mac is being pinged or rebooted to get new results now... Or are you saying doing that destroys all the old and it starts over from scratch? That would be insane, but I have to ask.

3- Many people swear by Easy Find, I too have seen it find things that Spotlight did not. But not lately at all. Have you experienced this? Maybe it went downhill?

4- What are smart folders and why are they better? Does that help with normal hardrive searches for text files?

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#51270 - 03/05/19 01:01 AM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: kevs
And if I move a file or folder to a completely different are, 3 levels in, it shroud still find that?
It never does.

Do you use Spotlight or Easyfind that much.

Spotlight won't know you're moving stuff around, unless you rebuild the index. You can use OnyX, but you can also use the Spotlight preference pane:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201716
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#51271 - 03/05/19 10:02 AM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs
1- I've been using always the command spacebar way. It brings up a thin long rectangle on the finder desktop. Command F brings a a normal old fashioned style finder window. The results can be more accurate with command F? or just more choices.

⌘-Space is the same as using the Spotlight icon. It has a lot of restrictions on where and what it can find.

Originally Posted By: kevs
2- When I do the privacy add subtract, thing, I assume the Mac is being pinged or rebooted to get new results now... Or are you saying doing that destroys all the old and it starts over from scratch? That would be insane, but I have to ask.

Your "trick" deletes the existing Spotlight index. The next time the System is rebooted it looks for the Spotlight index and when it does not find one MacOS automatically creates a new Spotlight index — from scratch. You are not using a "feature" of MacOS, you are tricking it.

Originally Posted By: kevs
3- Many people swear by Easy Find, I too have seen it find things that Spotlight did not. But not lately at all. Have you experienced this? Maybe it went downhill?

Easy Find has not changed or gone downhill it has always been painfully slow because it opens and scans each and every file in the system for each search. I seldom used it once I discovered the Finder search option because Spotlight is infinitely faster (instantaneous) and using Spotlight in Finder has always been successful in finding what I was looking for. NOTE: I almost always use the Finder Spotlight search option because the ⌘-Space (tool bar icon) is far less successful in my experience. Mainly because of the restrictions on that search and additionally with Finder search I not only find the file but also the path to that file.

Originally Posted By: kevs
4- What are smart folders and why are they better? Does that help with normal hardrive searches for text files?

Smart folders are essentially saved Finder searches that appear in the system as a folder. Any time a file is created matching the criteria of the search it is automatically listed in the smart folder. In iTunes the "Smart" Playlists are an application specific implementation of Smart Folders. In Photos albums are an implementation of "Smart" folders.

Click on the "Save" option near the top right of the Finder Search window to save the search and thereby create a "Smart" folder.

I would not say "Smart" folders are better, but they can be VERY useful in automatically providing multiple ways of organizing files without creating duplicates or aliases. HINT: If you are disciplined in tagging data files Smart folders can do a credible job of creating a file database structure using only basic functionality provided by Finder. There is a tremendous amount of power available to you, but it takes some thought and discipline to take advantage of it.
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#51274 - 03/05/19 11:01 AM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe, I thought I was supposed to the the spotlight trick every few months as maintenance to update push hew material to spotlight. So you never do this?

You trust Spotlight will find everything on your drive month in month out?

Ok I'll do command F, all things being equal, not even doing any filtering it might find stuff better than magnifier icon.

"providing multiple ways of organizing files without creating duplicates or aliases." What is an example of this, hard to get ones head around that... Don't get the database thing at all!

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#51275 - 03/05/19 11:06 AM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: freelance]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Freelance, just saw your post.

Wow, hot could this revolutionary thing not see and then find and index quickly the new location?

I move files and folders all the time.

So then I am correct to be rebuilding the index every couple of months? How long does that index take to rebuild, I thought it was quick like day.. How Long?

Why does not it just continuously rebuild and just know and location where everything is.

OK EXAMPLE: I have file call shoes. It's in folder in documents called Household. Spotlight finds it. I move the shoes file to a different folder called Stores. The file now wont come up in a spotlight search ever again, until I manually do a new index?

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#51276 - 03/05/19 12:05 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: kevs
I move files and folders all the time.

Why?! Why not file the document/file definitively to begin with? Not only does this seem to be a "make work" behavior but it also may be the root of the problem.
The "shoes" example is a case in point: Why not just put duplicate files in each folder (as an alternative)?

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#51277 - 03/05/19 05:19 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: grelber]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
What does this mean? "Why not just put duplicate files in each folder (as an alternative)? "

I love tips like this, but I don't get it. Things change, you are always coming up with better titles for folders, better organization technique, always de-cluttering and trimming.

And.. Spotlight cannot follow this? It's index is static?? It does not pickup new changes..? And it does not know where new files and folders are after the index is made? I thought it was dynamic, it's not?

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#51278 - 03/05/19 06:02 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
If you're interested, Find Any File is considerably faster than EasyFind (which hasn't been updated in almost 5 years) in at least High Sierra and Mojave; its searches are fully configurable.


Edited by artie505 (03/05/19 06:14 PM)
Edit Reason: Deleted extraneous stuff
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#51280 - 03/06/19 06:00 AM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: grelber]
joemikeb Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: grelber
Why not just put duplicate files in each folder (as an alternative)?

Rather than put duplicate files in each folder I would put aliases of the file in the alternate folders. That way if you change anything in any folder it would change in all of the folders.
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#51281 - 03/06/19 07:21 AM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs
Thanks Joe, I thought I was supposed to the the spotlight trick every few months as maintenance to update push hew material to spotlight. So you never do this?

I have not rebuilt the Spotlight index on my system in several years and I update or upgrade my OS on the average about once a month so there are a LOT of changes for it to track. Rebuilding the Spotlight Index like may other prophylactic procedures we used to perform religiously are seldom necessary any longer because of stability improvements in MacOS.

Originally Posted By: kevs
You trust Spotlight will find everything on your drive month in month out?

I never thought about it, I just use it and it works year in and year out. In fact the Database system I use constantly, DEVONThink Pro, uses the Spotlight index extensively.

Originally Posted By: kevs
"providing multiple ways of organizing files without creating duplicates or aliases." What is an example of this, hard to get ones head around that... Don't get the database thing at all!

Volumes can and have been written on database and it has been the subject of many PhD dissertations. So I am not about to attempt a full description of the subject here. In general a database is a tool for organizing and accessing data in multiple ways or even from multiple viewpoints but any given element of that data occurs only once in the database. The element of data may be anything from a single word up to an entire book depending on how the database designer/user wants to access it. When I mentioned "Smart" folders as a database surrogate I was thinking in terms a larger chunks of data.

iTunes provides a good example of the use of "Smart" Folders to organize data. In iTunes the 'Smart" Playlists are nothing more than an implementation of "Smart" folders. Since I am a fan of symphonic music there are several ways I find the Tunes I want to play by composer, by performer, by orchestra, by conductor, etc. So for example I have a "Smart" playlist (folder) for Bach, another for Beethoven, a third for Maller, and so on. I have another series of Smart Playlists for performances by my favorite orchestras and a third set for favorite soloists. Then I add a new recording to iTunes of a piece by Beethoven played by the Fort Worth Symphony orchestra under the baton of Miguel Harth Bedoya and the soloist is Anne-Sophie Mutter. The new "tune" is stored once in the system but automatically and dynamically it appears in the Smart Playlists for Beethoven, the FWSO, Miguel Harth Bedoya, and Anne-Sophie Mutter.

NOTE: While iTunes provides a unique user interface to create Smart Playlists that same list can be created in Finder using all the various Spotight search options.

You have talked about re-organizing your data. With thoughtful tagging of files and Smart folders you could do all sorts of re-organizing without moving a file. It just takes some imagination and discipline.
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#51282 - 03/06/19 07:50 AM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs
And.. Spotlight cannot follow this?

Spotlight can and does follow this

Originally Posted By: kevs
It's index is static??

The index is NOT static it is highly dynamic

Originally Posted By: kevs
It does not pickup new changes..?

It picks up new changes as they occur and virtually instantly

Originally Posted By: kevs
And it does not know where new files and folders are after the index is made?

It knows where files and folders are after the index is made and as changes are made to the location of those files and folders. NOTE: When you Move a file or folder the files and folders the PHYSICAL location on the drive remains unchanged, rather the pointers in the directory structure are adjusted to the new LOGICAL location in the directory structure.

Originally Posted By: kevs
I thought it was dynamic, it's not?

It is real time dynamic
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#51283 - 03/06/19 09:34 AM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: joemikeb]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Originally Posted By: grelber
Why not just put duplicate files in each folder (as an alternative)?

Rather than put duplicate files in each folder I would put aliases of the file in the alternate folders. That way if you change anything in any folder it would change in all of the folders.

Good idea. Something I never thought of, having never personally created an alias (other than such generated by the system for whatever reason).

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#51284 - 03/06/19 02:11 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: joemikeb]
joemikeb Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I don't know why I didn't think of this before but when OS X was new, one of the most common pieces of advice on FineTunedMac and its predecessor was to refer them to the current version of David Pogue's missing manual to gain a more complete understanding of what they were attempting to accomplish.

An entire chapter in macOS Mojave: The Missing Manual is devoted to Spotlight and all of its options, variations, uses, etc. I urge you to purchase and spend a few evenings with David Pogue. I suspect you will have far fewer questions and far fewer issues if you do.


Edited by joemikeb (03/06/19 02:17 PM)
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#51285 - 03/06/19 03:20 PM Re: Spotlight never find anything. [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe, this helps. So just index and forget it? All these people who say, oh, Spotlight issues, then reindex! All BS, thanks.

If it can't find a file or folder I moved, just be patient then?..

Is there a tool to know if your index is broken or corrupted? Either it works or does not?

Don't understand the alias discussion here. Seems ludicrous I'd be dragging lost of alias around.. I only use alias occasionally to put on the desktop.

Love Pogue's book. I think I read his last OS book 5 years ago. You still the his Mojave book would be worth getting? I'll upgrade to Mojave in a few months..

"With thoughtful tagging of files and Smart folders you could do all sorts of re-organizing without moving a file. It just takes some imagination and discipline."

Don't understand that at all but sounds intriguing, maybe some video on it? I just move and rename stuff on the fly.


Edited by kevs (03/06/19 03:24 PM)

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