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Disable Tiger Features

It's great stuff! OK, now let's turn it off.


Two of the most talked about features of Apple's most talked about operating system OS X 10.4 'Tiger' are also two of the features many users immediately want to turn off.

[Which is something of a 'first' in the corporate history of Apple.]

There are programs to download which can do an adequate job of turning off both Dashboard and Spotlight, but the übergeek can accomplish all this without the downloads.

Disable Dashboard

Eminently simple.

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

Either of the following to turn it back on again.

defaults delete com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled
defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO

Disable Spotlight

A bit more work.

  • Change the line in /etc/hostconfig that reads 'SPOTLIGHT=-YES-' to 'SPOTLIGHT=-NO-'. Note you should preserve the ownership and group of this file so this might take some doing. Then reboot so you have Spotlight gone and proceed as outlined below.

  • Turn the Spotlight indexing off on your main hard drive with:

    sudo mdutil -i off /

  • Remove the Spotlight indexes for your main hard drive with:

    sudo mdutil -E /

  • Completely remove the Spotlight store from your main hard drive with:

    sudo rm -fr /.Spotlight-V100

  • Do the same thing for any attached drives in /Volumes.

  • Get Spotlight off your menu bar.

    sudo mv /System/Library/CoreServices/Search.bundle ~/.Trash

  • Reboot again.

Editing hostconfig

  1. Open a Terminal window.

  2. % cd /etc
    % sudo chown 501 hostconfig
    % open -e hostconfig

  3. Change 'SPOTLIGHT=-YES-' to 'SPOTLIGHT=-NO-'.

  4. Save the file as plain text.

  5. % sudo chown 0 hostconfig

Now reboot.

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