I have found that I need to run both Quicksilver and Spotlight. I consider this to be a waste of CPU and memory and would like to eliminate one of them probably Spotlight. The reason I would like to retain Quicksilver is because it is a tiny bit faster and much more flexible.

The main thing that I current use Spotlight for is searching within Mail. I use that all the time. For all the rest of opening applications and files, I use Quicksilver.

Is there a way to eliminate Spotlight without losing the searching within Mail? Or alternatively, to reduce the overhead of Spotlight but still keeping it available for searches within Mail?

An additional Quicksilver annoyance is that on Mountain Lion, Quicksilver crashes fairly frequently.

1 Answer 1


Alfred uses the Spotlight index by default, and LaunchBar also has an option to use it. The Spotlight index includes almost all files, so you don't have to adjust what files to index manually.

By default, Alfred is conservative in what types of files it searches for, to avoid muddying your search results. You can tick the boxes for what parts you want to be included in the results by default. If you want to search among all files on the system, you just need to press the spacebar before you begin typing the search term, and it will then search the full Spotlight index rather than just a subsection of it. You also have the open/find keywords, which likewise search the full Spotlight index.

If you always want it to search the full index, then you can enable that option in the preferences. Despite the warning, Alfred is pretty usable (and very fast) even if you enable searching for all files.

(It still excludes the system files that are hidden from normal Spotlight results. But you can search for those by creating a search filter.)

  • This way, you still have to keep running spotlight, because it has to keep index stuff so Alfred can use the index.
    – HenningJ
    Dec 4, 2012 at 18:41
  • 1
    I liked the idea of getting rid of Quicksilver and just relying on Spotlight via Alfred. So I tried Alfred for a bit over a month. While Alfred has a lot going for it, I find that I have switched back to Quicksilver for the following reasons: (1) Alfred does not find files and folders, even though Spotlight does. This "should not happen" and reduces the usefulness of Alfred; (2) Alfred does not find at all certain very commonly accessed items, which Quicksilver not only finds but puts in the #1 position. Many tests with settings around this issue shows the Alfred is just not very "accurate". Jan 15, 2013 at 13:52

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