Shane Duffy

Spotlight indexing timemachine backups

Posted on: April 13, 2009

This is a quick follow up post to my earlier one about creating timemachine backups on a network share.

A good tip/trick for anyone who has setup backups to a network share is to disable spotlight from indexing this volume as it slows down the backup process a lot. This can easily be disabled by going to the spotlight panel in system preferences.

To avoid this slow down, as soon as the share is mounted for the backup process go to Spotlight’s Privacy panel in System Preferences. Use the ‘+’ button at the bottom, select your backup share, and Spotlight will then ignore it. If Spotlight has already started indexing it, it should immediately stop and the backup will speed up.



2 Responses to "Spotlight indexing timemachine backups"

I noticed the drive light on my backup volume being active while Time Machine was not running, so I got curious and discovered that it was Spotlight indexing the backup drive. I thought why should it be doing that and did a Google search which brought me to this page. I was just about to carry out the advice, but then thought….

Maybe it is a good idea to index the Time Machine backup volume after all. Since it keeps incremental backups, it is indexing files that may no longer be on the main drive. When looking for something with Spotlight, you may discover that what you are looking for is indeed something in a file that you’ve deleted. Not indexing the backup drive would eliminate this possibility.

My recommendation would be to turn off indexing the first time you bring a new backup drive on line, so the backup will go faster. But then turn indexing back on so you can take advantage of Spotlight remembering deleted files so you can discover and retrieve them using Time Machine.

Thank you! This solved my problem entirely – it just never occurred to me to suspect Spotlight. You saved my day(s)! 🙂

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