Why won’t Spot­light in­dex my drive any more?

Mac Format - - GENIUS TIPS - Edited by howard oak­ley by Si­mon Simp­son

QSpot­light in­dex­ing has stopped work­ing on my Mac’s in­ter­nal drive. If I re­move that drive from un­der Pri­vacy in Spot­light’s pref­er­ences, in­dex­ing never com­pletes, and my Mac’s logs are full of re­peated er­rors about md­worker fail­ing. I’ve tried forc­ing the in­dex to be re­built, but the prob­lem re­curs. How can I fix this?

AThis usu­ally hap­pens be­cause md­worker, the back­ground ser­vice which builds the meta­data in­dexes used by Spot­light, is chok­ing on files or fold­ers that it can’t cope with. Some­times mes­sages in OS X’s logs re­veal which files are caus­ing the prob­lems, so help you work out what to do to elim­i­nate them. They’re usu­ally pref­er­ence lists (plists) or sim­i­lar, which can be trashed to al­low in­dex­ing to work nor­mally.

When there’s no help from your Mac’s logs, use the ex­clude list in the Pri­vacy tab to work out where of­fend­ing items are. Re­move your in­ter­nal drive from that list, but add back its top-level fold­ers. Take them out of the list one by one un­til in­dex­ing breaks, and re­peat this process to nar­row the is­sue down to one or more in­di­vid­ual files.

If you don’t use Spot­light much, you could leave the drive or in­di­vid­ual fold­ers that are trou­ble­some ex­cluded. Note, though, that you can’t turn off in­dex­ing of your Time Ma­chine back­ups, as Time Ma­chine re­lies on Spot­light’s in­dexes to func­tion.

Clever de­tec­tive work in Spot­light’s ex­clu­sions list can pin­point items that are get­ting in the way of in­dex­ing.

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