Note - in more recent versions, I think Spotlight is great - and would NOT suggest disabling it.
I feel sorry for the Apple developers who worked on Spotlight. I'm sure they put a lot of effort into it, and likely think it's a great feature. I suppose it must be disappointing that so many of us don't use it and don't want it even running. It can really bog down your machine when you are doing things like copying down a lot of files or moving things around; if you aren't going to use it anyway, why waste those cpu cycles and the disk space for the index?
Indeed. So let's get rid of it, shall we?
The first step is to become root. You can do everything with "sudo", but we have a few steps here, so it's easiest to start with "sudo su -". Give your ordinary password, and you have a root prompt.
To disable Spotlight from starting up at boot, edit /etc/hostconfig and change the Spotlight line:
For each disk drive, turn off Spotlight indexing:
mdutil -i off / mdutil -i off /myotherdrive
Note that you'll see errors if the disk is very busy when you do that. Wait till the disk activity stops and try again.
mdutil -E / mdutil -E /myotherdrive
If there's any "mdimport" running in Activity Monitor or ps, kill it.
This gets rid of the index, but doesn't remove the .Spotlight directory, so:
cd / rm -rf .Spotlight* cd /myotherdrive rm -rf .Spotlight*
Reboot after all this and you shouldn't be bothered by Spotlight again.
Some web sites have suggested using the System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy tab but apparently that can cause other problems.
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2010-03-31 Tony Lawrence