Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm just curious about why Spotlight on a MacBook is so fast to get results compared to Windows 7 Search?

Are there any fundamental differences between them?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Nifle, slhck, uSlackr, user495470, random Jul 16 '12 at 23:52

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Windows 7 pre- or post-indexed? – Bon Gart Jul 16 '12 at 16:34
@BonGart i think pre, so mac indexed without notify user ? – Timeless Jul 16 '12 at 16:35
why notify? I mean... what reason would there have to be to require a notification that the contents of the drive were being indexed? That, and it's a different file system. – Bon Gart Jul 16 '12 at 16:39
@BonGart windows 7 always ask me if I want to index it. – Timeless Jul 16 '12 at 16:42
Your question, as it stands, is a little unspecific. Not every MacBook searches faster than every Windows PC. Do you have any concrete specs where we can base comparisons on? Or do you generally have the impression that Spotlight is always faster than Windows Search? – slhck Jul 16 '12 at 17:17

I haven't got a Mac, so it's hard to be unbiased. What I do have is a video showing how to search between the two.

It's only speculation, but I think the speed differences between the two really come down to what they index out of the box, and the 'user experience' (what they display initially).

Out of the box, the Windows Indexing Service will only search in the user's documents. Spotlight on the other hand, will search in the user's documents and applications folder. This seems to explain why there's a speed difference between the two services in the above video when searching for applications, but slightly less when searching for the file they created.

As for user experience; when you type something initially in Windows, it seems to filter out everything irrelevant and attempts to focus its results into as few things as possible. The immediate perception is that Windows is slow because it doesn't display results immediately, instead favouring accuracy.

When Spotlight does it, it throws everything at you and filters it down as you continue searching. The instant bombardment of information, regardless if it's useful or not, gives the perception that Spotlight is faster, because it gives you results immediately.

share|improve this answer

a good portion of macs use SSD so they can access there info faster, now if you installed a SSD on your 7 pc it should be able to run just as fast

share|improve this answer
Really... all Macs use an SSD? Every one? – Bon Gart Jul 16 '12 at 16:38
indeed, i'm using ssd hard drive. – Timeless Jul 16 '12 at 16:39
@BonGart sure, not all mac using ssd. I'm not sure about the speed on normal hard drive. – Timeless Jul 16 '12 at 16:41
@Null just bringing it up because the situation is the same even on the older Macbooks and such that had actual hard drives as opposed to SSD, and Windows 7 on an SSD will still be a bit pokey in the search menu Search. – Bon Gart Jul 16 '12 at 16:46
This answer is plain incorrect. Not all Macs use SSDs. Please correct your statement, and it would be nice to back up your claims that Windows 7 search is as fast as Spotlight, if possible. – slhck Jul 16 '12 at 17:06

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.