Spotlight Weirdness

I’ve had the uneasy feeling for some time that spotlight was not quite the full deal. I’d search for something, and not really be satisfied with the results.

Anyway, today, I needed to find a phone number that I’d mentioned in an Adium chat last week. Something to do with Anthony, and it had two 8s in it. But spotlight denied any knowledge of such a file. :-/ In the end, I browsed my Adium logs manually and found it, but it annoyed me enough that spotlight couldn’t even perform this simple task, that I started looking into it.

The file (that I found manually) was definitely being indexed, since mdls returned all its metadata. But neither the GUI spotlight nor mdfind found it. A bit of googling around turned up no better suggestion than “blow it away”. That is, apparently the spotlight index can become corrupt, and forcing it to rebuild is the only way to fix it.

This is accomplished with the command:

sudo mdutil -E /

(which erases the index for the startup volume).

Of course, OS X will then go and rebuild the index, which in my case took less than a couple of hours.

And now I can find that Adium transcript!