I have a 10TB external usb drive that is shared among 3 Macs. It has been indexing for a while now and I'm worried that every time I connect it to a different Mac it gets reindexed. Is the index shared between Macs? does it create an independent index per Mac? Is the index being overwritten every time I connect it to a different Mac? Should I disable Spotlight (I would prefer to use it)


Every time you connect your drive to a different computer it gets indexed on the computer. Since your drive is 10TB indexing can take quite a while regarding how much data stored on it. I would suggest to deactivate indexation in the Spotlight options (indexing slows the computer down) but I noticed that un mounting/mounting the device to your/a computer erases the parameter in Spotlight so indexation is back on for the drive! 😐 (on my system) I hope this answers your question.

==> I forgot to mention that I have to delete all the 'fancy' dirs that macOS creates on my external drives to avoid issues when I connect these external drives to my DJ equipment. I learned the hard way that if I don't remove those dirs, that it possibly will brake my ext. drive! (lost 2x 3 TB hard drives with tons and tons of music on it. The issue is known by the producer of the equipment but they aren't going to change a thing about it. For Denon, it's a macOS issue and not a Denon issue. :-( )

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  • This answer is incorrect. The .Spotlight-V100 folder is stored on the root of the drive itself. Hence it's not only possible, but common, to share an external drive amongst different macs without it re-indexing every time. – hmedia1 Apr 28 '19 at 5:20
  • Well, I just posted what happens on my system! Your comment is about the .Spotlight-V100 folder is exact, but I forgot to mention that I need to delete all the 'fancy' dirs made by macOS to avoid problems when connecting my external drives to my DJ equipment. My bad! – Dakta Moriamé Apr 28 '19 at 8:30
  • What you're observing in your personal mac could have many outside factors. The fact is, the spotlight index is portable, so your answer is incorrect – hmedia1 Apr 28 '19 at 8:36

You could try this solution by eAspenwood. He tried it on a FAT32 partition.

By putting an empty file named .metadata_never_index file at the top level directory of the volume, it has stopped searching the volume. To create the file, I just issued the command touch .metadata_never_index from Terminal (make sure you're at the top-level of the volume, obviously).


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