I hardly ever use spotlight. It is a search tool that is “well designed” meaning it looks pretty. Pretty search tools aren’t worth much. I need to be able to go from simple dumb search to complex detailed search, drill down, change parameters. If all I needed was a list of files or directories with a string in them, I’d probably already know where the damn thing is. I want to find a file that didn’t show up that way, that I don’t remember the name of, but that I know I made last weekend and it had the word “meteor” in it but it could have been spelled wrong and I cant remember if it was a spreadsheet or a text file but it was probably on a certain external hard drive. Chances are Spotlight is not going to handle that.
But, spotlight is great at doing something else. Using system resources. Did you ever have your computer slow down and act like the processor was brain dead and it had no memory over the period of an hour or two while you were using very few apps and doing nothing complicated? Chances are that was Spotlight indexing everything on your computer. Which you will never use. Because who uses Spotlight?
Well, OK, sometimes you want Spotlight, so maybe having that index is a good thing. But when you are trying to get some work done and Spotlight is interfering and shows no sign of letting up, then the sane thing to do is to kill it. You can unkill it later.
I found this here. To kill Spotlight in Mavericks or large cat versions of OSX, you go to the command line (terminal) and type in this (or copy and paste it!), for Mavericks and Mountain Lion:
sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
To make it come back to life again, you command your computer thusly:
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
For Snow Leopard use this method.
IF Spotlight has been annoying you, one strategy is to turn it off while you don’t need it, then later, when you are planning to go do something else for a few hours, turn it back on so it does its job while you are not around.
There should be a way to give Spotlight lower level access to the CPU so it stays more in the background. And, at the same time, to give the apps you want to be always responsive a higher priority. I’ve not explored that for this operating system. There are reasons to think, though, that this would not work well for certain important tasks. Any suggestions?