12 Replies Latest reply: Dec 20, 2005 8:11 PM by Gerardo Tamez
GMO Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I past all my documents from my old PC, and I try to find them with the spotlight, even though I open a folder and see the name of the document, I put it exactly the same and doesn’t find anything. It just finds a small number of documents, mainly some pictures, but not all of them. Is there an option to refresh the spotlight with the documents, or something to make it recognize it?

Power Mac G5 Dual 2.7 Ghz, Mac OS X (10.4.3), It happens all the time, since new...
  • 1. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Will Mardis Level 2 Level 2 (160 points)
    I know Spotlight won't index Office files from a PC but it should, I believe, find then by filename. Try moving your hard drive to "privacy" under Spotlight preferences, then back again. Maybe that will help. If not, get a REAL file finder like File Buddy, FindFile, or, my favorite, Mac OS 10.3.9.

    I switched to Tiger because of Spotlight. I switched back to Panther because of Spotlight!
  • 2. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Bob_M. Level 2 Level 2 (295 points)
    Wait, so if someone sends me a Microsoft Word document they made on a Windows machine, Spotlight won't be able to find it?

    I have been racking my brain trying to figure out why I couldn't find any of my recipes using Spotlight or <Command>-F, even when typing the exact name of the file into the search window. I have moved folders in and out of the Privacy window in the Spotlight Preferences, but it didn't work - I guess this would be the reason why.

    Why would Apple set it up this way? It's rediculous. I can see maybe not being able to index the contents of the files, but Spotlight should at least be able to find them by title.

    Is there a way to get Spotlight to recognize them or do we have to wait for Apple to release a fix?

    Also, is this behavior documented anywhere in Apple's Support? I looked but couldn't find it.
  • 3. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,585 points)
    <Why would Apple set it up this way?>

    I've been wondering this too. Something to do with nerds who think it's cool?

    My theory is that these nerds who think it's cool, designed Spotlight to search NOT your Hard Drive, network, and external drives, but the INDEX it made of those drives.

    Now of course that Index can never be up to date, because you're constantly changing files, renaming them, moving them around, deleted them, creating new ones etc.

    Spotlight can't possibly keep up with it. It only re-indexes occasionally.

    Whatever it is, it's useless.
  • 4. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Andrew Claydon Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Moved my user space under "Privacy" and back out again. Every Office file pop right up. It worked like a charm. Thanks!
  • 5. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Bob_M. Level 2 Level 2 (295 points)
    I tried that too, but it didn't work.

    What did work though was opening every one of the Office documents. I didn't resave them, so the dates associated with the files were affected, but after I quite Word and Excel, Spotlight started finding them all.

    . . . . Very strange.
  • 6. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Rick Ligas Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Now of course that Index can never be up to date,
    because you're constantly changing files, renaming
    them, moving them around, deleted them, creating new
    ones etc.

    Spotlight can't possibly keep up with it. It only
    re-indexes occasionally.


    Actually it can be up to date all of the time - once the initial index is finished.
    You can prove it yourself easily.

    Open the Spotlight window with CMDOPTIONSPACEBAR in the search box.
    Type xyzzz. (You won't find anything.)
    Then create an new folder on your desktop and name it xyzzz and press RETURN.
    The folder will show up in the Spotlight window immediately.
    Even on my ancient Titaium the folder shows up in about 2 seconds - or less.
    This is how it works for everything. You receive a new email message? It's in Spotlight. You open an app, Spotlight knows exactly when...

    Try moving the xyzzz folder and checking the Spotlight window. Spotlight knows, and reports, immediately where you moved it. Move it to the Trash. Spotlight says its in the Trash. Empty the trash. It disappears from Spotlight.

    From my understanding of the Spotlight technology it is built in at the kernal level. That means that if anything happens on your Mac. Like a new file is created, something is opened, you add a Spotlight comment, it is immediately part of the Spotlight system and available for searching, organizing and using. Spotlight doesn't index again and again (after the initial index). Your mac is automatically always "the index". Whenever anything happens on your Mac it is automatically part of Spotlight.

    Here is a link to the technology brief.
    http://images.apple.com/macosx/pdf/MacOSXSpotlightTB.pdf
    on page 11 begins the slightly more technical sections...



    multi   Mac OS X (10.4.3)  
  • 7. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,585 points)
    Rick, that was only my theory as to why Spotlight can't find stuff. I admit, I was guessing.

    According to your explanation, Spotlight knows everything, all the time, instantaneously. It never fails. Indeed, it can't fail.

    In view of the hundreds of posts here, from people who say it can fail, does fail, and fails all the time, I am intrigued.

    I wonder what others have to say....
  • 8. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Rick Ligas Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
    Rick, that was only my theory as to why Spotlight
    can't find stuff. I admit, I was guessing.


    Well the Technical Brief is clear on how Spotlight works. We don't have to guess. A simple example shows it works. At least in the simple example.


    According to your explanation, Spotlight knows
    everything, all the time, instantaneously. It never
    fails. Indeed, it can't fail.


    Every technology will always sometime fail. It would be childish to think otherwise.
    But just because Spotlight is up to date it doesn't necessarily mean that we will see that up to date-ness displayed in the results. There is a chain for technology from Spotlight's up to date-ness to what we see in a result view. There is always room for failure in any technology.


    In view of the hundreds of posts here, from people
    who say it can fail, does fail, and fails all the
    time, I am intrigued.


    I'm intrigued too.
    After having used Spotlight daily for almost a year I'm really, really a big fan of it. It has never once failed me in all the time i've used it nor on any of the Macs I regularly use it on. It has been profoundly robust and almost uncannily accurate for me. I'm really surprised at how good it is - for me.

    It has profoundly changed the way I work with my Mac and I mean for the better, much better. Once I gave up my death grip on the old style CMD-F functionality I realized that Spotlight has expanded the usefulness of my Mac greatly. Now, I would not want to have to return to the old style find - it's just one possibility, and a very limited one. And without Spotlight I wouldn't have the new ways of organizing my Mac nor the new ways of using my Mac. And for me organizing and using my Mac are at least as important as finding things.

    Of course, since i've relied on CMF-F to get things done for so many years it was really frustrating to not have it as the default search method but, like I said, once over my CMD-F assumptions, I started to see the new possibilities.

    So, yes, I'm intrigued too.
    That's how I am looking at the problems reported in this group ... intriguing.
  • 9. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    John Dorsey Level 2 Level 2 (410 points)
    Without even looking, I know that the number of complaints about Spotlight failing to find items will dwarf the number of complaints about people failing to find items under the old cmd-F 'find' feature of 10.0 - 10.3. SL may be working just fine for a lot of people but the comments in this forum make it clear that it was released before it was ready.

    Of course new technologies fail, or don't work at first quite as expected - that's common knowledge. But the commonness of that knowledge makes it all the more bewildering why Apple would discard the time-tested, nearly bulletproof Find function from earlier versions of OS X in favor of the untested Spotlight.
  • 10. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,585 points)
    Power users - people with serious productive work to do, for whom their Mac is a workhorse - have no time to screw around with Spotlight, trying to find out how to make it work, even sort-of.

    Nor do we power users have any need for Dashboard, which I find utterly irrelevant and pointless.

    Spotlight and Dashboard were the ONLY significant new features that make Tiger any different from Panther, to which I would add the disastrous falling off in printer connectivity and printout quality due to the lack of proper drivers for many machines, and numerous other glitches that were not present in Panther.

    Tiger is Panther, but broken, overlaid with these two useless (and unusable) new "features".

    For non.power users they are probably great.
  • 11. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    PaperWeight Level 2 Level 2 (340 points)
    I was watching the History Channel late last night and learned that when the US military first introduced jet aircraft, they removed all conventional guns in favor of an all missile strategy. The logic being that missiles combined with jet engines made the gun obsolete. Vietnam proved them wrong and the next generation and all generations subsequent were gun equipped. Sometimes a little old mixed with the new is the best way. My point is that you can't always get it right right out of the gate. Adapt to your current situation because we all now what happens when fail to adapt.
  • 12. Re: My spotlight doesn’t find many documents, why?
    Gerardo Tamez Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    I´m having problems with spotlight too. For 6 months it worked nicely, but in the last two weeks in doesn´t find many files, including the ones it usually did, Unless I search and open the file by myself, but then I´m doing the job for Spotlight.