Spotlight is a database and databases get broken

I think I should start a new blog category for things breaking on my mac. I’m probably the most unlucky mac user known to man. If it’s breakable, it’s probably broken on me, if it’s not breakable it has probably broken on me. I’m not your typical mac user, I just break things that shouldn’t really break. In this weeks edition of my mac life spotlight had a major bowel movement and left my searches smelling worse than Steve Ballmer’s breath after talking about Vista. Now there’s something that smells like bullshit.

Anyway, like all other types of databases, spotlight, can become corrupted. Nothing’s worse than spotlight becoming corrupted for me. It’s an addiction that fulfills most of my needs, it’s even become my calculator since my dashboard stopped working for so long. Anyway, many applications claim to fix the problem and rebuild the database from scratch, but its a simple process. Here are some easy steps to fix spotlight if it is not producing proper results.

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Spotlight
  3. Click the Privacy Tab
  4. Click the +
  5. Add your main drive to the privacy setting (i know it sounds crazy)
  6. This forces your database to be rebuilt.
  7. Close the System Preferences
  8. Reopen the System Preferences.
  9. Go back to the Spotlight Icon.
  10. Privacy Settings, and highlight the main drive.
  11. Click the (-) minus button.
  12. Spotlight will now go file by file re indexing your hard drive. It might take some time… so relax.

I know it sounds crazy using the privacy settings in this way, but it’s a heck of a lot better than paying for a crappy application that does this for you. This should work in both Leopard and Tiger.

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio