The Ultimate Guide for switching from a PC to a Mac
(Part 2 - coming soon)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Adjusting Spotlight for your Time Machine backup!

If there is one thing Apple forgot when creating Time Machine is that when you enable Time Machine, OS X should disable Spotlight search for the specific backup folder. The problem is that when I search for a file or an application, I sometimes end up with both results. The worse is for instance when I want to launch iTunes, I spotlight it, choose the wrong one, and it launches another one in the Dock, the one from the backup. It is possible to get around this. Here is how you can disable Spotlight searches on your Time Machine backup:

1. Open System Preferences.
2. Choose Spotlight.
3. Click on the Privacy tab.
4. Click on the "+".
5. Navigate to your backup disk and find the folder called "Backups.backupdb".
6. Click "Choose".
7. That's it. The backup should now be excluded from Spotlight searches.


Blogger Dominic P. Tremblay said...

Great! It solves my problem...

February 5, 2008 at 11:46 PM  
Blogger David said...

Huh...mine doesn't do that and I don't have it set to exclude the Time Machine drive or folder. Maybe it has something to do with storing other files on the drive? I don't have anything on my Time Machine drive but the TM backup.

February 6, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger grunwin said...


February 6, 2008 at 1:24 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Like David, mine doesn't do that either. When you turn off spotlight on your backup drive, can you still do spotlight searches from within time machine itself?

February 6, 2008 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Zeviet said...

Yes, you can still use Time Machine, when you disable spotlight from searching external hard drives.
I sometimes disable spotlight from searching my external because it slows down my mac, when I reconnect the external drive, (it has to research all of the files).

February 6, 2008 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It doesn't work for me because when I disable the search in Backups.backupdb, then I can't spotlight anything in TM!

February 8, 2008 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger TomaszStasiuk said...

Good tip!

As a bit of synergy, after finding your site for this particular tip, your site was also mentioned on the Macs in Law Offices (MILO) group which I frequent. So, I also chimed in with my good experience.

So, if you see a bump, you should know that there are several people saying good things about this site.

February 18, 2008 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger NaN said...

Why would one Spotlight iTunes to start it? Put it in your Dock!

August 23, 2009 at 12:53 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

I would imagine they want to start apps with keystrokes, not a mouse gesture. I make dedicated shortcuts for apps I use often. Spotlight for those I don't (iTunes in someone's case). I grew up in the days of green screen unix monitors though and worked with mainframes. What's this newfangled GUI and mouse thingy?

March 13, 2010 at 8:18 PM  

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