OS X tip – Use Spotlight to search in the system folder
One of the things that really drives me nuts about OS X is how Apple sometimes seems to be a bit overprotective with their UI (User Interface). Have you ever tried to search for something in the System Folder? Oy! At one point I was using the UNIX command line to search for things. Turns out though, there’s a lot of functionality in Apple’s search tool that often goes overlooked.
Step 1 – First you want to go to the Finder (your desktop) and press command-F which will bring up the “find” Window.
Step 2 – Click the plus sign indicated by the red arrow below to add a new row of search attributes.
Step 3 – You should now have a new row of search attributes. The default attribute will be set to “kind”.
Step 4 – Click on “kind” (as indicated by the red arrow above) and you will get a pull down menu (as indicated below). From that pull down menu you want to select “other…” (yep, follow the red arrow in the image below).
Step 5 – After you click on other…, a new window will appear. It will initially show you lots of search attributes but we want the one that says “System Files”. You can either scroll down to find it, or simply type “system” in the text field (indicated by the first red arrow below). After you type the search term, “System Files” should be the only attribute available. Click on the check box (indicated by the second red arrow) so that this option is available in the search attributes menu. Click OK.
Step 6 – After clicking OK, you will go back to the find window and “System Files” will be selected as your search attribute but the default will be set to “aren’t included”. Click on “aren’t included” to get a pull down menu and select “are included” (as indicated by the arrow).
Step 7 – Your find window should now look like the image below. You can now type in your search term in the text entry field (follow the red arrow!).
Additional tips: If you’re only looking for a specific file, be sure to click on “file name”, otherwise OS X will search the contents of every single file for the search term you entered, instead of just searching for the file names. I’m not sure why Apply chose “contents” as the default as I rarely need to search inside files. Typically I’m just looking for a particular file. Your mileage may vary!
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