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Spotlight doesn't find files

1066 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Jul 29, 2013 6:04 PM by baltwo RSS
snowshed Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
May 11, 2011 9:14 AM

I know there are two files on my hard drive called prefs.js.  They are in my users library.


Why can't Spotlight find them?

iMac - Intel based, Mac OS X (10.6.5), 4 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive
  • Francine Schwieder Level 6 Level 6 (19,000 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 11, 2011 10:58 AM (in response to snowshed)

    Because a default Spotlight search does not display results from locations considered to contain "system files"--and that includes your home ~/Library. You need to bring up the full search window with Command-F, then use the drop down menus to tell it to include system files. More detailed instructions are here:



    The differences between Leopard and Snow Leopard are noted in bold.


  • mamanogabriel Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 10, 2013 9:56 AM (in response to snowshed)

    It might be really late to answers this, but is better late than never. I am also frustrated with this (dis)hability to search in Mac. Apple prefers to do money selling songs and games rather to fix something that all the people asume works from the start.


    Searching for your file names that YOU know they exists is quiet a problem.

    Option A) Re index your hard drive. Look for the spotlight preferences and click on the "Privacy" tab. Then drag in your entire hard drive. Then, remove your hard disk clicking on the minus sign. Close your preferences. This will reindex your files into spotlight. After finishing reindexing, do your search again.


    Option B) Do a simple search doing cmd+F. By default you will see little tabs below the Search title. Mine shows KIND is ANY. Click on the KIND tab and choose OTHER at the bottom, there it will appear a huge range of criteria to add for your searches. You might be able to look even into sysntem files.


    Option D) (Recommended) Forget about Apple at all! Download this free app called EasyFind It is in the Freeware section ( This app looks EVERYWHERE. I been using this for years. It can even look for invisible files. Hope this helps.

  • seventy one Level 6 Level 6 (8,525 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2013 10:31 AM (in response to snowshed)

    To sort out your notifications, read and follow Frank's suggestions. 


    Stopping emails from ASC: Apple Support Communities


    To find files use 'Easy Find' as mentioned above.  Excellent App.    Find any File is a good alternative that carries a small cost but can be bought from the App store.

  • mamanogabriel Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jul 20, 2013 1:05 PM (in response to snowshed)

    I forgot!!!! lol

  • dlraff56 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 29, 2013 9:27 AM (in response to snowshed)

    I have never had satisfactory results with the find feature of any version of Mac OS.

    I also downloaded EasyFind - it's the only thing I use now. It's simple, straightforward, and always finds what I'm searching for.

  • baltwo Level 9 Level 9 (59,180 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 29, 2013 6:04 PM (in response to dlraff56)

    So does this savedSearch, which still might not find all system files.


    Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 18.03.03 PM.png

    27" i7 iMac SL, Lion, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4), G4 450 MP w/Leopard, 9.2.2


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