Disable Spotlight in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

On occasion I need to process large volumes of text locally. Spotlight dutifully attempts to index this data, bringing my system to a crawl.

Proactively disabling Spotlight is a sure way to avoid such issues and here is how to do it:

Disabling Spotlight in Snow Leopard is pretty easy, launch the Terminal and type the following command:

sudo mdutil -a -i off

This tells the Spotlight manager to disable all indexing on all volumes, the command will require your administrative password to execute.

Re-enabling Spotlight in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is just as easy, just reverse the command to:

sudo mdutil -a -i on

Now Spotlight indexing will be back on and work as usual.

mds and mdsworker will persist in the process table; this is normal.