Searching Network Drives

I’m currently demoing Devonsphere Express as an improvement over Spotlight for searching our main network drive (folders, PDF’s, Illustrator and Photoshop files)… Currently about two Terabytes of data. (Approximately a million files, but I’m narrowing down the search categories to documents, PDF documents and images…)

My questions are about the indexing.

I’m assuming I will install this app on everyone’s Mac who needs to search the network drive.

So, does it create an index locally for each user? (The Devonbot log? I’m not finding this file in my library, but maybe it’s not there until the indexing first completes?)

How long should the initial index take?

How long should this index generally take after it does the initial pass?

If the index is a local file, and the network drive is not attached (say, the user is at home, but would like to see if a file exists, etc…), does it return cached search results?

That’s right.

That depends heavily on the amount and kind of data, the speed of the network drive and the speed of your computer. Probably at least hours, maybe even days in your case.

Usually seconds up to minutes.

Yes but the files can’t be previewed.

excellent, thanks for the response.

Does the indexing tax the network drive’s memory or processing? Or is all the processing happening on the local machine?


will there be search results once the initial index finds a match? or does it have to wait until the initial index finishes before it posts results? (I suppose the question is, does it search while it’s indexing?)

Thanks in advance!


The primary load will be on the local machine, but of course that also involves network activity and read operations on files on remote storage devices.

You can initiate a search before indexing is complete. Why?

Suggestion: Download a copy from our site and experiment.


yeah, i’ve downloaded the app, and am currently testing.

I was confused because i was searching for a string that would be in a folder name, and it was coming up with NO results. So I thought it was still indexing.

But I tried another search, and it came up with documents aplenty.

But, this begs the question: Does it not find FOLDERS? (Please say it does, and I’m just not seeing the setting.)

There is no category for folders.

Well, that’s unfortunate.

If it’s trying to be a Spotlight replacement, and Spotlight searches for folder names, it seems like there should be a category for folders in your app. (Our projects are in folders with the project ID in the folder name. These are inside client folders, so we need to be able to easily drill down to the folder. This is 75% of our Spotlight searches.)

Is it difficult to add “Folders” as a category? (Please consider it a feature request!)

Until then, it won’t work for our needs.


DEVONsphere Express is not intended to replace Spotlight. It focusses on textual information and on contextual relationships among documents. The results when one uses it, whether for a search or for suggestions of similar documents, will usually report items that would not be reported by Spotlight–and will ignore folders that would be reported by Spotlight or EasyFind.

Folders, as objects, lack interesting textual information and there’s nothing much to differentiate one from another. Files–whether inside a folder or not–are more interesting, especially when they contain textual information.

However, information about the location of a file listed by DEVONsphere Express is available. Hover the cursor over a listed item and information about its path is displayed. Or Control-click on the item and choose Command-R to show its Finder location.

It’s might not be intended to “replace” it, but if you say

Use its search function with wildcards and advanced operators also as a more sophisticated alternative to Spotlight.


Search like Spotlight on steroids

I think you should at least add folders to the search functionality.

Is it “difficult” to include folders in the algorithm?

It might not be interesting to you (or DEVONsphere express), but I would think it is interesting to your users. Folders do have meaning. We give them meaningful names so we can sort, search, categorize and organize, no?

It seems like FOLDERS could be a category that your users could check or uncheck. If it’s an easy piece to add to the functionality, it kinda seems like a no brainer.

Anyway, no worries. We’ll keep looking for an alternative.

I do appreciate the replies.

Definitely not. One of the next releases will probably support this.

Excellent, thanks!

Hey, quick question: Is it possible to copy the index log and use it on another machine? (rather than have each machine take hours to create the index?)

if so, where is the index? Is it a log/txt file?

(Not seeing it in Application Support anywhere.)


That’s possible. The index is stored in the folder ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONsphere Express of your user account. However, you might have to disable updating of the index on the other machines. And the path of the indexed network drive has to be identical on all machines.