How To Reindex Your Folders Or Rebuild The Spotlight Index

Spotlight is without a doubt, one of my favorite technologies in Mac OS X. I’ve been a fan every since it was first introduced with Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger”. Spotlight, at it’s core, is essentially a database or an index of all the files on your hard drive.

The user facing part of spotlight lets a user query this index and get results almost instantaneously. In fact, I’ve gotten so used to spotlight, I’ve almost forgotten those days when we used to meticulously keep our important files in various folders and maintain the folder structures religiously, lest we save a file in some folder and can’t find it later. With spotlight, I never have to worry about folders. I just type a few letters of the filename or even it’s content, and spotlight will invariably get me the correct file.

This is amazing, when it works. But, sometimes, as with all software, spotlight gets a bit iffy and bugs show up which prevent spotlight from indexing files properly in a particular folder or on the complete drive. If you’re facing such an issue, This post today will help you fix spotlight easily.

First of all, launch the Spotlight pane from System Preferences.


Click on the Privacy tab. This is the place where you add folders or volumes that you don’t want spotlight to index. We’re going to use this feature of Spotlight to delete the existing index.

Click the ‘+’ button and add the folder or complete volume to the list. OS X will give a warning which says that your existing index will be deleted. Press Confirm.

Spotlight Privacy

Deleting the index, doesn’t take long but wait for 30 seconds or so and then select the volume or folder that you just added, and click the ‘-‘ button to remove your selection from the list.

Spotlight Reindex

What this will do is that Spotlight will now start re-indexing the volume or folder that it earlier deleted, and hopefully that will fix any problem that you were having with the index. It has definitely fixed all my problems so far.