Macs in Chemistry

Insanely Great Science

Changes to Spotlight indexing

It seems that with the Snow Leopard update there have been some changes to the way that Spotlight detects and indexes text files.

The problem turns out to be a change in how mdimporter detects file types. In earlier versions of OS X, the file type was determined largely by the extension or file attribute. So, a simple text file with an unknown/missing extension and no attribute was not indexed by spotlight,.. in 10.6.x mdimport 'magically' determines that the file is ASCII and uses RichText.mdimporter to parse it

Not a problem unless as a computational chemist you have many very large files containing molecular descriptors.

There is a “fix” on

You can pretty effectively (and permanently) get Spotlight to ignore any particular folder hierarchy by adding a '.noindex' extension onto a folder's name”. E.g.,


If you have large data text files that you do not want Spotlight to index it might be worth taking a look.
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