How do I get Spotlight to reindex my hard disk?
I've been running Mac OS X Tiger for quite a while now and have only recently begun to explore the capabilities of the Spotlight feature in the OS. It's pretty cool, but sometimes I find that its index of my drive is out of date and I need to have it reindexed. How do I get Spotlight to index or reindex my drive?
This is a great example of where Apple is too smart for its own good. Thinking about it, you would expect that option clicking on a hard drive or disk would produce a context menu that included "Index with Spotlight" or, if it had already been indexed, "Re-Index with Spotlight" as a choice. But it ain't so.
Instead, Apple recommends a fairly clunky solution:
Open Apple --> System Preferences --> Spotlight, then click on the "Privacy" tab. It'll look like this:
Now you need to drag your hard disk icon into the main area so that you indicate to Spotlight that you don't want it indexed.
Wait a few seconds and drag the disk icon back out or select it and use the "-" button to remove it.
That's all you have to do. According to Apple, that's enough that the old index will be trashed and a new one will be built. Now, to be fair, it's going to take a while to build the index so don't be surprised if the results aren't instantly available.
Hope that helps clear up one of the bigger mysteries surrounding Spotlight.
If you're getting into Spotlight, by the way, you might well want to check out a couple of cool Mac OS X extensions that make Spotlight more useful: Spotless makes it considerably easier to enable and disable Spotlight indexing, and Google Importer integrates Google search results into Spotlight results. Cool!
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