Seeking software for searching network drives on Mac OS X
October 22, 2008 9:32 PM   Subscribe

In Mac OS 10.5.4, I have a shared disk (on a Time Capsule) with a lot of files, and I would like to be able to search for files on it quickly. Spotlight will not do the job because it won't index network shares. Can anyone recommend third-party software (like Copernic on the PC) that will index a network share?

It would be sufficient to search only filenames. I don't even care much about freshness of the index since I rarely change or add the contents of the drive. There are probably close to 100,000 files.
posted by jewzilla to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used Time Machine (is that what you mean?) with my iMac, but discovered the same problem. I just started using SuperDuper! and it works great for me.
posted by zardoz at 9:56 PM on October 22, 2008

This assumes general familiarity with Unix. Try this command in the terminal:

sudo mdutil -i on /Volume/yorusharedvolume/

That forces Spotlight to index whatever volume (or path, really) you tell it to. No guarantees on indexing speed of the network. You might want to connect your time capsule via ethernet until the index is done.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:06 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: SuperDuper looks like a backup program--am I missing something on their site? I want to quickly search a network share. In case my post was ambiguous, I enabled the filesharing feature of Time Capsule so that it works like a NAS.
posted by jewzilla at 10:06 PM on October 22, 2008

As long as your Time Capsule volume is showing up in the Finder, you can use EasyFind [download]. You can set it to search filenames or contents.
posted by al_fresco at 11:30 PM on October 22, 2008

I totally agree with al_fresco; EasyFind is the bomb. You might also want to give LaunchBar or QuickSilver a try if you need searching and application launching (among other things). Note: QuickSilver has gone open source and the latest builds can be found here.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 6:54 AM on October 23, 2008

Don't let Nathan's disclaimer scare you. That's not too hard. Just find the name and path of the drive in the unix system, which is probably /Volumes/(Drive name here, No parenthesis). Put it in quotes if there is a space. Copy his command exactly into the terminal. That can be found in Applications/Utilities. It's a sudo command, which tells the computer you want to do something as root, an account which has more permissions than your regular account. OSX will ask for your password to make sure you meant to type that command in and have the right to do that. After that, just wait for it to finish and that's it.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:42 AM on October 23, 2008

PS: Nthing Quicksilver. It's a great launcher which can be even more versatile as you learn more about it ( has some great articles on it). Spotlight gets better with every release, but Quicksilver seems to be faster and better at predicting what you want. It's a learning launcher, and it predicts the application you want as you type. It's a bit like the address bar in Firefox 3.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:44 AM on October 23, 2008

I believe you can make locate (already present on your system) index such a drive. Try man locate and man locate.updatedb from a shell prompt.
posted by harmfulray at 9:18 AM on October 23, 2008

Oops, to amend my previous post - the path should be:
sudo mdutil -i on /Volumes/yoursharedvolume/
I was tired!
posted by nathan_teske at 9:18 AM on October 23, 2008

Best answer: CDFinder is great for this sort of thing. You can update your catalog as needed and can search the drive when it is offline.

It is shareware, but it allows you to index 25 disks for free.
posted by the biscuit man at 9:21 AM on October 23, 2008

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