"searches.indexes" is in use

All right, this has been driving me nuts, so I’m going to just ask. I frequently get a copy/paste error when I’m overwriting a project file with a newer copy downloaded and unzipped from Dropbox: “The operation can’t be completed because the item “search.indexes” is in use.”

The operation partly happens, so the overwritten file is now corrupt (attempting to open it gets the “it’s not a valid Scrivener project” message–the one you get when Scrivener thinks the file is in an older format, but can’t find binder.scrivproj). Trying to just copy and overwrite the file again, it works fine–gives me a warning about replacing a newer version with an older, unsurprisingly, but after clicking through that the project itself open as normal and appears to be complete and as I left it.

This started out of the blue back in mid-February, just for this one project. For a while it happened all the time, but then of course it magically stopped and after playing around trying to figure out what had caused it I gave up. But now it’s started again and I just don’t know what the error means, so it’s irritating me.

The backups are all created using Scrivener’s auto-backup feature on close; I store them on Dropbox and then copy them off to my desktop on the other computer, unzip them, and move the .scriv file to my “projects” location to overwrite the older version. (Eh, it works for me.)

So…any idea what’s going on? Is it just an unzipping error? Am I doing something silly? It’s not really a big deal, it’s just irking me that I don’t know why it happens. :confused: Thanks for any tips!

My guess is that Spotlight is the culprit here. The search.indexes file is used by Spotlight to search .scriv files, so maybe Spotlight is holding on to it, just as occasionally when you try to overwrite or delete an application you get told that the spotlight .mdi file is in use (that’s the only time I’ve ever seen this message myself, when trying to delete or overwrite applications and seeing this message about the Spotlight importer file, so this would make sense).

All the best,

Ah, thank you.

Ahhh … that explains it. Often, when trying to install an update by dragging it to the Applications folder, I have been told I can’t do it as the app in question is “in use” — nothing about .mdi files, though — of which Scrivener has been a regular example! Since I had recently quit the application in order to be able to update it, this is irritating to say the least, as I then have had to delete the app from the Applications folder manually, entering an administrator name and password, followed by dragging the app and having to enter the administrator name and password a second time. Now I get it … it has always happened with an app that has been recently quit, and it’s Spotlight that is getting in the way! Forewarned is forearmed!

Thanks Keith.


Ha, me too. “Scrivener MetaDataImporter is in use”! I don’t even know what a MetaDataImporter is. I thought it was perhaps a case of having recently quit the app, though then it happened one morning when I’d quit the application the previous night, so bah. Perhaps I put the computer to sleep before Spotlight was ready to uncurl its greedy fingers and let my app go.

Anyway, I’ve found that I just dragging it over again into the Applications folder works fine, no need to delete and type passwords and all that. But I may just have fewer password-prompted actions. (Livin’ dangerously!)

Sometimes re-dragging works, sometimes it doesn’t, for me. I have an administrator’s account which I don’t normally open except in difficult situations and when trying to register some software, like TurboCad; otherwise I always operate from a personal, non-administrator user account … sort of belt-and-braces approach to security. So whenever I install or update anything, I have to enter the administrator name and password.

My form of paranoia :unamused:


Yes, it’s weird - I don’t know for how long Spotlight hangs on to the importer, or why. In theory, you’d think it only ever used the importer while doing a Spotlight search. But maybe Spotlight is re-indexing in the background during these times, especially if Scrivener has only recently been closed?