Where does Search search?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Patty Winter, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. Patty Winter

    Patty Winter Guest

    I was just trying to find the plist for a widget on my iMac, which
    is running 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard). Searching in user folder "patty"
    by File Name, only three files with "widget" in the name came up,
    none of them plist files. And in fact, all of them were in a folder
    of backup files from an old external drive.

    When I switched the search folder from "patty" to "patty/Library,"
    I finally got the results I wanted.

    When you search a folder, isn't it supposed to automatically search
    subfolders as well? I couldn't find any settings for Search that
    controlled how many levels of search would be performed, just settings
    for searching by name, created date, file extension, etc.

    I thought maybe Search only searches user-created folders, but I
    tried a different search and got results from patty/Documents,
    which, like Library, is a system-created folder, so that theory
    doesn't seem to hold water. I can't figure out why it didn't search
    Library until I actually went into the Library folder.

    Patty Winter, Feb 4, 2013
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  2. Patty Winter

    Guest Guest

    spotlight doesn't search the entire drive, and it doesn't always find
    stuff in the folders it does search either.

    your library folder, the system folder and other folders you aren't
    supposed to be looking at are excluded from its search. apple calls
    that a feature.

    if you want a search utility that searches the entire drive and will
    always find files if they exist, regardless of the state of any index,
    try find any file:
    Guest, Feb 4, 2013
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  3. Patty Winter

    Lewis Guest

    "System Files" are not searched by default. Anything in Library is
    considered a System file.
    Lewis, Feb 4, 2013
  4. As Lewis said, all system files are automatically excluded from searches.
    For me the easiest way to include system files in a search (using a search
    window, not the Spotlight menu) is to click on the popup menu that defaults
    to "Kind" and choose "System files", then choose "are included" from the
    popup to its right.

    If "System files" isn't available in the first popup, choose "Other" and
    then check the "In Menu" checkbox for "System files". This is a one-time
    thing; "System files" will then appear in the popup every time until you
    uncheck that check box.
    Michelle Steiner, Feb 5, 2013
  5. Patty Winter

    Patty Winter Guest

    Thanks, Michelle. In Snow Leopard, I did indeed have to choose "Other"
    rather than "Kind" in order to find the System Files checkbox. And for
    some weird reason, the System Files option in the pop-up menu keeps
    defaulting to "aren't included," so I have to change it to "are included"
    every time I run a search. You'd think that once someone had intentionally
    checked System Files, the Search software would realize that you probably
    do want to search for them. :)

    Patty Winter, Feb 5, 2013
  6. Yup; it's been that way all along, even through Mtn. Lion. And I share the
    same puzzlement you have about that.
    Michelle Steiner, Feb 5, 2013
  7. Patty Winter

    Lewis Guest

    In message <51115ed7$0$80185$>
    Yes. The default is always "aren't" and yes, you have to change it every
    time you want to search system files. HOWEVER, the times you need to
    search for system files should be rare/.
    No, as annoying as I find the behavior, it is definitely the right decision.
    Lewis, Feb 6, 2013
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