In the spotlight settings I added my external drive in the Spotlight blacklist because I don't want my shared drive to be indexed and try to avoid all the extra meta-files.

How can I still search for files in the folders of my external drive?

  • 1
    Pls note that excluding an external drive from Spotlight would not prevent macOS from indexing it. It would only prevent results associated with the external drive from appearing among the Spotlight results. Assuming the external drive has been connected to your Mac at least for a while, go to the Finder and search This Mac for a regular (unhidden) file that only exists on the external drive when the external drive is connected. The Finder should show that file among its search results immediately. The Finder and Spotlight uses the same indices for searches.
    – Alper
    Dec 6, 2022 at 13:44
  • @Alper no it does not (I'm on Ventura), it will search on my whole computer but not on the external disk
    – ymoreau
    Dec 6, 2022 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


Well, if you don't index the drive, then there's nothing for Spotlight to search!

One alternative is something like EasyFind, an app which has to trawl through the disk, checking each file against your search terms every time you do a search. It may have advantages over Spotlight, but it's much slower, because there's no pre-compiled index.

Or you can use the find command in the Terminal.

But really, your fear of "all the extra meta-files" is largely unfounded. The size of the data is quite small, and well worth it for the utility of instant results.

  • It is more to avoid a lot of hidden files when I use the disk on other OS systems. And yes I know the search is slower without index, but I could not even find a way to do it (that is possible on Windows), I ended up using find but it's really not practical. Thanks for the tool!
    – ymoreau
    Dec 6, 2022 at 17:04

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