Turn off Spotlight indexing in Snow Leopard

In some cases, constant indexing of files inside large compressed files (eg: Netboot images) can cause a machine to become unusable. Simply unchecking options in System Preferences >> Spotlight will not help prevent Mac OS from constantly attempting to index those files.

Instead, indexing can be turned off from the command line. From terminal, type the following command to disable indexing:

sudo mdutil -a -i off

To turn it back on:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist @sudo mdutil -a -i on

There are a few good free app launchers that mimic Spotlight’s functionality (eg: Alfred App).