Skip navigation

spotlight constantly indexing

11867 Views 20 Replies Latest reply: Jan 30, 2014 12:25 AM by DavidfromChiangmai RSS
1 2 Previous Next
EJW Tas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Apr 17, 2011 4:50 PM

Help please. On my MacBook 13" aluminum with 4GB RAM and 250GB HD, spotlight is constantly indexing my drive. NO external HDs connected. I have wiped the Spotlight file and still Spotlight takes up 100% of Memory and the fans are running at 6000rpm (max) for hours. When completed, I restart my machine and Spotlight re-starts indexing my Mac. I need spotlight to find my files, so permamently turning it off is not an option.

I have scoured the web, I have re-installed 10.6 Snow Leopard and various updaters, I have zeroed my drive and restored from TM and all to no avail.

This laptop is one inch away from becoming e-waste!

Does anyone have any NEW ideas about Spotlight soaking up all RAM and CPU constantly? While this is happening, nothing else can run (Word, Firefox etc) all hang due to a lack of resources. I bought the mac to work, not watch it work without me.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,825 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2011 5:32 PM (in response to EJW Tas)

    First, launch the Console application and select system.log from the list of logs. In the filtering text box, enter "mdworker" (without the quotes.) Do you see any error messages?


    Open the Spotlight preference pane and click on the Privacy tab. Add your startup volume to the list of locations that are excluded from searching. Does the indexing stop? Remove the volume from the list. Does it start again?


    Assuming the answer to the last two questions is "yes," the next step is to make more selective additions to the exclusion list until the indexing activity is tolerable.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,825 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2011 5:55 PM (in response to EJW Tas)

    Spotlight relies on plugins to index files that it doesn't natively support, including Word files. It sounds like you have an outdated plugin. First, look in the folder /Library/Spotlight for a file called "Microsoft Office.mdimporter". It should be version 12.1.0. I don't use Office myself, so I don't know what it installs, but you might have something in that folder, or in /System/Library/Spotlight, that conflicts with it.

  • esagustin013 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 17, 2011 11:05 PM (in response to EJW Tas)

    Sometimes Spotlight metadata stores can become corrupted. The simplest fix is to launch Terminal and type the following command:


    sudo mdutil -E /


    Typing the above command will reset the data cache for your hard drive. Also note you will need to type login password to perform the above command.


    * I suggest typing the above command toward the end of the day as this will force Spotlight to re-index your entire hard drive from scratch.


    If you want to know more about what mdutil is before running the command, type the following for a semi-detailed-cryptic explanation:


    man mdutil


    (type Q to escape back out to terminal command).

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,825 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2011 3:14 PM (in response to EJW Tas)

    What are the error messages in the log now?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,825 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 1, 2011 4:31 PM (in response to EJW Tas)

    Please post the most recent mds crash log.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,825 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 2, 2011 6:15 AM (in response to EJW Tas)

    The Spotlight index on the startup volume is corrupt.


    Spotlight: How to re-index folders or volumes

1 2 Previous Next


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (1)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.