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Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1153] Sun, 14 March 2021 12:55 Go to next message
stephan
Messages: 7
Registered: March 2021
Junior Member
Hi

I am struggling to understand the interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight. In my macOS Spotlight settings, no folder is excluded (see image):

/index.php?t=getfile&id=13&private=0

But in my Foxtrot settings, it shows my default user folder as excluded (I don't think I ever changed those settings):

/index.php?t=getfile&id=14&private=0

I am wondering which of the 2 states is now the effective one. I don't really want to exclude any folder from Spotlight. Does this mean that I need to enable Spotlight for my user folder under Foxtrot's settings?

Thanks for having taken the time.
Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1154 is a reply to message #1153] Sun, 14 March 2021 13:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
CTM info
Messages: 156
Registered: September 2009
Senior Member
Hello Stefan,

There are no interactions between your Spotlight privacy settings and FoxTrot - we do NOT use Spotlight for searching, to be clear !

The reason we have a setting in FoxTrot to disable Spotlight was for allowing to gain performance (this disables Spotlight's background indexing, which does take a bit of CPU although that was more of a concern in the earlier days of FoxTrot) AND save disk space, since no Spotlight index is needed if you use FoxTrot for your searches.

Finally, FoxTrot Search offers similar privacy settings allowing you to exclude certain directories from your index.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,

jean michel/ctm qa
Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1155 is a reply to message #1154] Sun, 14 March 2021 13:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
stephan
Messages: 7
Registered: March 2021
Junior Member
Thanks Michel for your answer, but it still do not understand:

1. Both settings should do the same as per my understanding, namely define specific folder to be excluded from Spotlight indexing (at least this is what I understand as per your explanations regarding Foxtrot).
2. Since the 2 settings actually contradict (per default nothing is excluded for indexing by Finder, but my user folder is being excluded by Foxtrot), I still ask which of the 2 settings is effective.
3. Is it a Foxtrot default setting that the user folder is excluded from Spotlight indexing? Does this actually mean that Spotlight e.g. does not index my mail?

Cheers

Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1156 is a reply to message #1155] Sun, 14 March 2021 13:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
CTM info
Messages: 156
Registered: September 2009
Senior Member
Hello again,

No, both settings do NOT perform the same action. What you set in FoxTrot only conditions what you exclude in FoxTrot Indexing; what you exclude in Spotlight conditions what is excluded from Spotlight indexing.

To simplify things for you, as your main volume seems to have Spotlight indexing disabled, I suggest you disable it for your other volume as well, and forget about Spotlight's exclusion setting - this way you can focus on FoxTrot's settings exclusively. Again, we do NOT use Spotlight to perform our searches, FoxTrot is based on its own technology for this.

Regards,

jean michel/ctm qa
Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1157 is a reply to message #1156] Sun, 14 March 2021 14:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
stephan
Messages: 7
Registered: March 2021
Junior Member
Hi Michel,

I do not follow your answer: "What you set in FoxTrot only conditions what you exclude in FoxTrot Indexing; what you exclude in Spotlight conditions what is excluded from Spotlight indexing." Because, the FoxTrot "Spotlight" settings clearly states in the note: "If you disable the Spotlight index, Spotlight will continue to search by file name only (from the menu bar or from the Finder's search field), and Apple Mail will only be searchable through FoxTrot."
->So this "Spotlight" setting within Foxtrot defines the scope of indexed locations by Spotlight, at least the Note in the Foxtrot settings says so.
->& this is exactly the same functionality as the one offered in the Spotlight settings of MacOS (please see in the screenshots provided) where folders can be excluded from Spotlight indexing
->In other words, there are 2 settings in which the folders excluded by Spotlight can be managed, namely the one in MacOS Spotlight, and the Spotlight settings in Foxtrot.

When you write, my main volume seems to have Spotlight indexing disabled, this is not what is shown in the screenshots. In the screenshots it shows that nothing is excluded as per the MacOS settings, while my user directory is excluded as per Foxtrot's spotlight settings (but not the entire volume).
Which other Volume do you mean? I only have one Volume.
I certainly understand that Foxtrot does not use Spotlight to perform the searches, but that was not my question.

My questions were/are:
1. With both the Finder and Foxtrot offering settings which folders being excluded by Spotlight, and since they seem to contradict by default settings, which of the 2 settings is now the effective one?
2. Since I do not want to have anything excluded from Spotlight search, what do I have to do? Most likely I will have to change the default Foxtrot Spotlight setting an enable my user folder for Spotlight indexing - is this correct?
Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1158 is a reply to message #1157] Sun, 14 March 2021 16:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
CTM info
Messages: 156
Registered: September 2009
Senior Member
Hello,

Sorry, my English may not be good enough to make myself understood.

There is ONLY ONE setting in FoxTrot that affects Spotlight: the preference to turn it on or off for a given volume. Nothing else.

Regards,

jean michel/ctm qa
Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1159 is a reply to message #1158] Sun, 14 March 2021 17:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
stephan
Messages: 7
Registered: March 2021
Junior Member
Hi Michel,

This is understood. The point Is that the finder offers exactly the same setting ( https://support.apple.com/de-ch/guide/mac-help/mchlp2811/mac) and the 2 settings were different on my computer (see also my screenshots): The setting in Spotlight shows that my main user folder was excluded from Spotlight indexing, while the setting in AppleOS did not.

As you wrote earlier, this feature was introduced to gain performance by avoiding a double-indexing. The point is, I cannot remember having excluded my user folder from indexing under this setting in Foxtrot; so this seems to be a default setting becoming effective after the Foxtrot installation, which has caused Spotlight not to index my main user folder anymore, with the result that emails were no longer properly indexed in the mail application. And since the this exclusion does not show up when checking the standard MacOS Spotlight indexing setting, it was hard to notice why Spotlight was no longer indexing everything e.g. the mails.

Hope you can follow my thoughts and now understand the confusion and issues this has caused.

Kind regards,
Stephan
Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1160 is a reply to message #1159] Mon, 15 March 2021 10:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
FoxTrot Engineering
Messages: 348
Registered: April 2020
Senior Member
Spotlight has a hidden setting (a Terminal.app command line: mdutil) to disable indexing for a whole volume (drive). We made this setting visible in FoxTrot's preferences, so you can avoid double-indexing your data, which is CPU intensive and can waste precious disk space.

Independently from that, Spotlight has a System Preference setting to disable searching some locations (folders). It is not clear to me if disabling searching there actually disables indexing (saving disk space and CPU usage) or not. This may depend whether you put folders or whole volumes in this list.

I can't tell what is Spotlight's default behavior regarding volumes; it certainly depends of their kind (internal drive, ejectable drive, network drive…) and filesystem. I don't know either how it behaves with encrypted volumes, maybe the volume itself may be unindexed, while Spotlight actually indexes the data inside the encrypted envelope?

FoxTrot does not disable Spotlight indexing without your consent (this requires your admin password).


Jérôme - FoxTrot Engineering
Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1161 is a reply to message #1160] Mon, 15 March 2021 14:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
stephan
Messages: 7
Registered: March 2021
Junior Member
Hello Jerômé,

thank you very much for your explanations. I tried to get full transparency on the Spotlight index locations with a Terminal command, but that seems to be something that is no longer available in macOS BigSur.

One thing still puzzles me: why did Foxtrot indicate that the Spotlight index is not enabled for my user directory, since you mention that this is not automatically changed by Foxtrot. The macOS was a clean install, and I don't assume macOS excludes the user folder from indexing by default. I have now changed this in Foxtrot.

Kind regards,
Stephan
Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1162 is a reply to message #1161] Mon, 15 March 2021 16:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
FoxTrot Engineering
Messages: 348
Registered: April 2020
Senior Member
FoxTrot displays the result of the mdutil -s command line, for each user-visible volume; whether this command work correctly or not on macOS 11 is beyond my knowledge.

User-writable data is now (macOS 11) stored on a distinct volume, as the boot volume is now read-only; but this is hidden to the the user, who sees a unified virtual volume containing things stored on either the system volume or the data volume. Maybe mdutil reports unexpected values because of this? Anyway, if you did not disable Spotlight indexing from FoxTrot's preferences (entering your admin password), then FoxTrot can't have altered Spotlight indices. Or, if you have successfully disabled it from FoxTrot's preference pane, then re-enabling it should also work, as far as I know.


Jérôme - FoxTrot Engineering
Re: Interaction in the settings between macOS and Foxtrot regarding folders excluded from Spotlight [message #1163 is a reply to message #1162] Mon, 15 March 2021 23:36 Go to previous message
stephan
Messages: 7
Registered: March 2021
Junior Member
Hi Jérôme,

Thanks a lot for providing full transparency on this topic. Terminal returns the following:

> sudo mdutil -sa
/:
Indexing enabled.
/System/Volumes/Data:
Indexing enabled.​

And this seems to be the proper Mac OS default setting for Spotlight - both the root and the user folder must be enabled to ensure Spotlight working properly ( see also https://silvae86.github.io/2020/12/20/fixing-spotlight-big-s ur/ ).

In my case the user folder was not enabled for some reason which I would not have noticed without Foxtrot. In this regards, thanks a lot!

Kind regards,
Stephan
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