Add Additional Directories To Ubuntu Desktop Search Index (Tracker)


ubuntulogo.jpgI'm new to Ubuntu and just installed the latest version, Gutsy Gibbon, on an old PC. I'm trying to use the new desktop search feature but it seems like nothing can be found when I try to search for files I know exist in a particular directory. It seems like the only items that can be found is in my home directory.

How do I get the search to find other directories than what is not located in my home directory?

With the release of Ubuntu version 7.10, A.K.A. Gutsy Gibbon, is the inclusion of Tracker, a search and indexing system that makes it easy to find files and other content.

For new users of Ubuntu, Tracker may be an unknown, but you may be familiar with it's search integration points located in Nautilus, application file dialogs and the new Desktop Search applet located on the top panel (shown in below screenshot).


Tracker itself also has an search interface found in Applications \ Accessories \ Tracker Search Tool.

Tracker search index, by default includes your home directory, but can be easily customized by opening the Tracker Preference dialog box by clicking on System \ Preference \ Index Preferences from the menu on the top panel.

Next, click on the Files tab…


…then click on the Add button under Crawled Directories section and add paths to directories that you want included in the index when Ubuntu starts up. Click OK when finished.


Other settings you may want to consider modifying:

– Watch Directories – monitors for changes in directories which will be immediately added to the search index.

– Index mounted directories – with this setting checked, will automatically index any shares that are mounted. Un-check this settings if you do want auto mounts indexed that may cause performance issues during startup.

– Index file contents – this option allow the indexing of file contents. You can control the amount of content for indexing by clicking on the Performance tab and change the parameters for Maximum amount of text to index: Maximum number of unique words to index: (see below screenshot).


While adding to the index can be convenient, there will be a performance hit that may occur. Don't go overboard and only add directories that you really need. You can also take advantage by excluding directories and files located in the General tab of Tracker Preferences.

Comments on Add Additional Directories To Ubuntu Desktop Search Index (Tracker) Leave a Comment

January 17, 2008

Adam @ 9:41 am #

Just what I was looking for! Thank you.

July 16, 2008

jim @ 9:17 pm #

can tracker also index contents of pdf files?

February 20, 2009

mh2753 @ 4:47 am #

tracker doesnt seem to be working properly for me.
i have added a few directories for indexing but it does not show any result from those directories during a search.
has anyone faced this problem. I am using ubuntu intrepid.

July 4, 2009

Sigurd Mellqvist @ 12:31 pm #

Tracker read through docx, pdf and other so the answer is yes Jim 🙂

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