Skip navigation

how to trick search/spotlight to search everything (no exclusions)?

424 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Sep 25, 2013 10:54 AM by Timerider4 RSS
mkoza Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 18, 2013 3:15 PM


I'm having problem understanding mac's search behaviour.

Lets say I'm looking for ~/Library/Preferences/ file.

I'm in ~/Library/Preferences folder but I look on "My Mac" search results, bucuse I pretend I don't know where my file is.

I hit command+f and specify "name:screensaver.pfile" - no luck

I follow a common advice regarding search and specify to include system files - still no luck.


Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 12.11.18 AM.jpg

and a proof that the file is there


Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 12.11.44 AM.jpg


What am I doing wrong are there any more exclusions? can I get rid of them?

MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4)
  • leroydouglas Level 6 Level 6 (13,370 points)

    >System Preferences>Spotlight


    Be sure to include System Preference in search results for example.


    Check your Privacy tab (same location) for excluded files and folders


    re-indexing :

  • Barney-15E Level 7 Level 7 (33,395 points)

    There is also a File Visibility criteria, but that wouldn't prevent you from finding the plist you are referencing because it is not invisible. The enclosing folder, ~/Library is, though.

    Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 8.42.18 PM.png

    My guess is that your Spotligh Index is incomplete or corrupt. You can reindex the hard drive by adding it to the Privacy list, then removing it. You should see it start indexing.

  • FatMac\>MacPro Level 4 Level 4 (2,070 points)

    mkoza wrote:

    ...What am I doing wrong are there any more exclusions? can I get rid of them?

    An easier way is to use EasyFInd from the App Store. It searches everywhere, including Resources in Packages in applications and in Frameworks. What it finds you can reveal in Finder. It does it in real time and is very fast, especially with an SSD. And you don't have to create inclusions and exclusions. It just won't search within files. It doesn't use an index, so it doesn't start indexing things at inconvenient times and doesn't get corrupted.


    If you remember FastFind from Classic Mac days, it's like that.

  • Jeffrey Jones2 Level 6 Level 6 (8,425 points)

    Items in the Library are considered "System" files. Add the criterion System files - are included.

  • lkrupp Level 4 Level 4 (3,085 points)

    My personal solution was to use the free untilty EasyFind for tracking down system files and such. Spotlight is what it is and is useful for what it was designed for. Why try to force it to do something it wasn't designed to do?

  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,235 points)

    Try Find Any File.  It can search areas that Spotlight can't: system files, packages, invisible folders, etc.  It just can't search for content of files like Spotlight can.



  • Timerider4 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry for bumping a month old topic but I was wondering if there's any way to get the "System files are included" rule to be on by default instead of having to add it every time I open a new search window.

    And if there was any way of getting those results in the Spotlight drop-down menu as well.


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • 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.