techxplore blog
10Apr

USB Thumb Drive Unusual Spotlight-V100 Hidden Folder


On one occasion, a computer user encountered a problem while transferring files using a USB thumb drive from Mac OS X to Windows XP. Usually, Windows XP detects the USB thumb drive automatically and list the file contents. On this rare occasion there’s no listing of the files inside, but a single .Spotlight-V100 hidden folder. I’ve got suspicious of the unusual presence of a .Spotlight-V100 hidden folder in a 1 GB USB Thumb drive.

The user have noted that the hidden .Spotlight-V100 folder appeared in the USB thumb drive after being used in an Apple Mac OS X Computer. I was speculating that this .Spotlight-V100 seems to be a worm replicated folder which infects USB flash drives. In the beginning when I received this complaint, I have no idea of what is this .Spotlight-V100 which the user talked about. It’s only later that I learned that Spotlight is a software that indexes the files on any volume mounted on a Mac OS X operating system running computer.

The user have used the 1 GB USB Flash Drive in swapping documents, spread sheet and power point files between Windows XP and Mac OS X machine which explains of the presence of the unusual .Spotlight-V100 hidden folder. The folder actually stores the indexed files found on the USB thumb drive. The ones exempted from indexing are CD’s, DVD’s, shared volumes or network-attached files.

.Spotlight-V100 Hidden Folder
It was just a coincidence maybe that the access to the USB thumb drive did not list the content of the USB drive. The user have some fears that maybe .Spotlight-V100 is a worm generated folder which infected the USB Thumb Drive which was used with a Mac OS X running Apple Machine. I got hold of the said USB thumb drive and it is negative of any virus or worm.

When I plugged the USB Thumb Drive on a Windows XP machine it was detected and it showed all the files that the user said to be “missing”. I don’t want to think much about it, but I guess the incompatibility of the operating system running have affected the way how the USB thumb drive worked which caused it to malfunction. If you find one of these on your USB thumb drive don’t be scared of it and don’t delete it. Spotlight-V100 folder is somehow a valid program folder.

31 Responses to “USB Thumb Drive Unusual Spotlight-V100 Hidden Folder”

  1. Max Says:

    This is also on my USB thumb drive. Apparently it’s
    indexing format for iTunes /MAC OS.
    Scanned clean with AVAST and MALWARE / TROJAN programs.

    Trashes is the recycle bin for SPOTLIGHT.
    All files are HIDDEN on your thumb drive.

    The errors could be A: File transfer incomplete [maybe
    drive full/ drive unplugged during proccess]
    B: Corrupt files /couldn’t be copied.

  2. Zoey Says:

    My daughter has an LG Shine with memory card. She took her card and downloaded the contents onto a new macbook. She now has the Spotlight-V100 folder on her memory card and her phone will no longer able to play the music or access files. When she tries to play music, her phone restarts. She is unable to delete the folder and every time she does, her phone restarts also. Is there something that can be done to make the memory card work with her phone again?

  3. Joey Says:

    I have an iRiver H320, and now have a Spotlight folder on it. I have a Windows computer, and my mum has a mac. Does this mean that she has used my H320 and connected it to her Mac? Could she have seen all the files on it? What is this spotlight thing anyway?

  4. Siuwing Says:

    Spotlight is a Mac thing. It is for indexing and exclusion related to Spotlight. It’s not a security issue, you can delete it if you like. If it’s plugged into a Mac, it will create these automatically. Nothing to worry about.

  5. Julia Says:

    Zoey,
    I am having the same problem with my phone.
    I found that if you rename the spotlight file on the lg shine and then delete it, it will delete without restarting, though it will come back once you add more music/accessories.
    Is there any way to get rid of it?

  6. Frank Says:

    I had plugged my USB flash drive into a new MacBook Pro (when the flash drive had always been used on a PC) and now these hidden folders (.Spotlight-V100 and .Trashes) are there. I guess it is in fact a Mac thing. No worries.

  7. raff Says:

    the solution:

    Do NOT use mac machines for any kind of gadgets… as they were almost all designed for PC, so there may be problems when trying to use them with macs, like this spotlight issue (wich only causes problems with phones and some mp3 players tho)

  8. Kraiden Says:

    0_o ok, now I’m really confused! I’m running Ubuntu 8.04, and my PSP memory stick is suddenly missing all my music and video’s! I went to the root, and I have this .spotlight thing, and all my folders show empty. how the hell does this spotlight thing work? is there a way to save my files?

  9. oskar Says:

    I think, not sure though, that songbird might add these. Don’t think I’ve ever had my ipod connected to a mac and still got the file.

  10. Jerich Says:

    I highly doubt that it would be a mac. My USB drive has it and it hasn’t even been within a foot of a mac.

  11. Dale Says:

    I have used my USB in both pc & mac & I also fount the Spotlight thing – Only question I have is can I delete this

  12. Shaun Says:

    I finally was able to delete the “.Spotlight-V100″. You have to change your USB Connection Mode (under Settings) from Music Sync to Mass Storage. Then connect your phone to the usb cable. You should be able to browse the phone’s folder under My Computer and then delete the .Spotlight-V100 file. Every time I tried to delete it on the phone, it would just reboot. I also tried to change the name, but it would not allow me to do that. This method worked for me and I wanted to share it.

  13. Roisin Says:

    It is completely a Mac thing. I’m on Leopard (OS X 10.5.6) and Spotlight comes from it (and previous Macs). Like in the article, Spotlight is an application that indexes your files, and uses a searchfield in the top menu bar to locate files. When I was still using Windows only, I did get a Spotlight ghost folder (note – some PCs don’t show them as Explorer preferences could be the hide hidden/ghost folders) on my USB. Turned out that my brother’s friend’s sister had used my USB (don’t know how on earth she got it) to copy pictures or something onto her Mac. It’s not a non-compatibility thing – only external hard-drives and 100+GB generally are formatted exclusively for Mac or Windows (and can always be formatted for half and half like I do). So yes, your USB MUST have gone into a Mac – whether you knew it or not. Sorry about the phone problem (it’s one of the reasons Apple made – and overpriced – the iPhone), but Shaun’s solution has worked for all my friends with this problem. (sorry this post was so long)

  14. Kelly Says:

    I had the exact same problem with my LG Shine phone, but i just plugged it into my computer on mass storage mode or whatever that mode is, and i deleted the hidden files. If you do it on your phone it’ll restart.

  15. Miko Says:

    Mine also restarts, but I didn’t even think about the fact that I had connected it to a mac. You can transfer files with the mac but I’ll make sure to delete all of the mac crap off. It also annoys me that mac throws stuff into other files like zips.

  16. Matt Says:

    Not a mac thing. I have a 2GB SanDisk memory card that has never been used on a mac. Recently I noticed both the .Spotlight v-100 folder and the .Trashes folder on there.

    I don’t know where it came from, but it’s not hindering the card’s performance.

    And it’s not a mac thing, because this card has never been used with a mac.

  17. Jim Pennington Says:

    Wow – this is good site. There i was wondering what this .spotlight-v100 was doing on my stick and now i know… well i know not to worry about it…and no need to delete

  18. Kelly Says:

    Spotlight is a mac thing. However, you can prevent your mac from adding these files to your flashdrive/phone by going to system preferences, then to the spotlight pane, then to the privacy tab, and adding your device to the list. This prevents it from being searched by spotlight (and therefore prevents the addition of those hidden files).

  19. William TJ Says:

    Yes the same..spotligt problem occur to my 32 GB pendrive..and all my thing is hidden…14GB of file is hiddent including my presentation …..can anybody help? ….>how to retrive back the hidden file

  20. wguru Says:

    No issues deleting that Mac crap, but the memorex travel flash drive oddly autoruns, opening it’s directory window regardless that I’ve opted to “do nothing”. After deleting the Mac crap, I even formatted the drive, but it still opens every time I plug it in. Not sure if this’s a result of the Mac crap or something else. Of note at one time long ago, the flash drive had been infected w/bar_311, a varient of win123 which places a seudonym named file “autorun.exe” on the falsh drive, which really was the bar_311 executable and runs despite user preference to not autorun anything, thereafter your pc boots and immediatley shuts down (with the only way to do a system recovery is to F8 during boot, open the BIOS, disable boot from disk), and finding only Norton capable of cleaning it, never had issues again w/the drive (except it seems it’s propensity to always opened its directory window every time its plugged in, and on every pc I use). Weird.

  21. Jonathan Says:

    I have had similar problems with forgetting to empty the trash before ejecting a removable drive. If you forget to, then the files are still there in the .Trashes folder. I came up with a solution for intermediate to advanced users.

    http://fhujray.blogspot.com/2009/10/automatically-empty-trash-when-ejecting.html

  22. Old_Hat Says:

    wguru –

    Part of the problem you’r experiencing lies with confusion between the terms “AutoPlay” and AutoRun”, which Microsoft has used interchangeably over the years.

    The real root of the problem lies in the fact that anytime you see removable media with an “autorun.inf” file present in the root directory, it’s possible to run programs without user intervention.

    Go here for more details, a discussion on what all of this means, as well as a fix for this dangerous behavior:

    http://nick.brown.free.fr/blog/2007/10/memory-stick-worms

  23. raimong Says:

    hi all,

    i’m using a lacie external hard drive. i plugged it in my machine in the office and our av said my hard drive has malware pointing the malware in .Trashes and .Spotlight-V100 folders.

    i checked it and these two folders are hidden. again, can we delete these? will it not affect the performance of our hard drives? or is it essential for the hard drive to run?

    are there any experts in malware here? please help. the site’s called techxplore yet none of us can answer our questions. frustrating.

  24. raimong Says:

    hi all,

    i found this site. it says we can delete these two folders. according to the author, mac automatically creates these folders once you use your usb/hard drive in a mac os. but it’s safe to delete. see:

    http://www.ghacks.net/2009/08/19/spotlight-v100-and-trashes-folders-on-usb-flash-drives/

  25. Jade Says:

    Hey, for anyone who ehas the same problem I did where the .spotlight file was stoping you from accessing the music player. If you rename it then try deleteing it it should work.

  26. Mama Steff Says:

    This is bizarre. When I open up this .Spotlight-V100 directory, there are more directories…there is a file called master-change-id, one called master-change-0000001, a directory called mds-lock-dir, and very cute, one called slave-work-dir and Store-V1. What is seriously going on with this? Slave work? Needs a directory? I’m going to do the government pass on this directory and see if that helps. I don’t like thinking about worms and prying eyes whether it’s “just a mac thing” or not.

  27. Mama Steff Says:

    okay, so check out http://hostilefork.com
    They have useful info

  28. James Scott Says:

    Hi All, I have also been chasing this Spotlight thing… One thing I have worked out is that it arives after I plug the flash into a mac… I could not access my folders when plugged back into my pc running Windows Vista Business, but some of the files were available in the root of the flash drive. I then put the flash into my Machine running Windows 7 Ultimate and could read all the folders and was able to back them up to my hard drive. What does the MAC os do to the FAT?

  29. Damien Says:

    Wow, what the hell? Does Apple think that most users are too dumb to know whats happening to their own accessories? Is there any way to turn this off because every time my brother uses my Flash Drive it puts 2 hidden folders in there and a bunch of files! I would go as far as saying that this is like malicious behaviour, putting hidden folders on a persons external drive without their knowledge!

  30. Sarah Says:

    Ive had the same problem the files on my flash drive have disappeared and i now have weird file extensions like the .Spotlight-V100, f.seventsd, .Trashes, exe.app and a file called RECYCLE. Really all i want are my files back! Does anybody know how i can retrieve my files? Does this mean that i shouldn’t attempt to use my flash between the MAC and the Windows Vista environment or what?

    Very frustrating!

  31. mark mcfarland Says:

    .spotlight-v100 is a mac file. It’s used for the indexing of mac computers and is found in the users directory of all mac computers.

    Whether you have used a mac or not is immaterial. It’s a mac file.

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