I just upgraded to Lion on my work computer and it seems like Spotlight doesn't index SMB volumes. This used to work for me perfectly under Snow Leopard. I've talked with Apple and they said it was never a supported feature, and just worked by coincidence on 10.6. Now it's not working at all. When I run the mdutil command in the terminal it says "indexing and searching disabled."

Can indexing be enabled for SMB data on Lion?

  • Even if it's not supported, the first step I'd take is to run mddiagnose and pour over the information. If it was removed, you might be out of luck, but perhaps you might uncover some hints or ideas. Sorry I don't have a better answer.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 23:21

5 Answers 5


I was able to get this working by adding the volume to Privacy section of Spotlight System Preferences, then removing said share from the same location.

I think this is how I got it working in previous versions as well.


Until Apple makes Spotlight available for network drives, the best solution is Devon technologies EasyFind. We have it installed on all our campus Macs for just this purpose. It is fast, can save search parameters, and best of all - free.

Screenshot of EasyFind window searching SMB volume over-laid with Get Info window showing SMB volume itself


Check your System Prefs>Spotlight when the volume is mounted. The SMB volume may be in the Privacy tab of the Spotlight prefs.

  • I've checked that pane, and there's nothing in there. Thanks for your response!
    – Jared
    Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 22:54
  • You are very welcome!
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 1:39

In the Terminal, try

cd /   
rm -R .Spotlight-V100/
rm .metadata_never_index
mdutil -i on /
  • 5
    Wouldn't you want to cd to /Volumes/SMB_problem_child to remove the stores assuming that was the issue? (or does the root volume contain stub information for all mounted volumes)?
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 23:20

You can always try to manually work with spotlight in the volume. Take a look at this AskDifferent answer: How to remove/recreate a spotlight index.

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