I have an external drive connected to my computer, as well as a home server.

I'm trying to search for a file that is on the server, but when I do a finder search, it only looks into the internal drive. I've tried it with my external drive, and same thing happens -- it does not look there.


You can add the Volume to your Spotlight index.

Go to System Preferences then to Spotlight.

  • Click on the Privacy tab Click the + button and browse to your
    external drive to add it
  • Now, remove the drive you just added by selecting it and clicking the minus "-" button. (Yes, I know, crazy right! But this tells Spotlight that the Volume exists.)
  • Close Spotlight Preferences.

Source: Apple Support - Spotlight: How to re-index folders or volumes.

Spotlight Preferences

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  • Looks like it's currently indexing (I'd assume it takes a bit of time), however, I have a follow-up problem regarding the server. It seems like I have to do your procedure for every group, and I can't just do the whole server. – Fine Man Aug 12 '15 at 2:35
  • Check out the command line link in the other answer. But yes, it appears you are correct. – bjbk Aug 12 '15 at 2:37

Sometimes you might need to have Spotlight reindex the target location.

You can add and then remove the target location to the Privacy pane of Spotlight under System Preferences. The action of adding and removing the target will force Spotlight to reindex that location. You can add either by drag and drop or the [+] button and then remove with the [-] button after selecting the target location.

You can also use mdutil in a Terminal. See the man page for mdutil. Also have a look at: Reindex Spotlight from the Command Line

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  • Looks like were were working to answer at the same time! ;) Thanks for adding the Terminal tip too. – bjbk Aug 12 '15 at 2:04

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