I have read on https://help.ubuntu.com/community/FindingFiles the following sentence:

Thankfully my computer indexes all my files every night while I sleep and I can search just the index, which will take only a few seconds, even on as an expansive a filesystem as mine.

And I was just wondering how does it work on a virtual machine? Does it occur even though the VM is powered off?

  • Just a guess: Most Linuxes know if they're in a VM or not, and disable auto indexing if so. Also, nothing happens to your computer or VM while powered off.
    – cat
    Feb 24, 2016 at 16:15
  • I think auto indexing is enable as you can use the locate command from the terminal (at least on Ubuntu using VirtualBox to virtualize it). I was thinking about something coming from VirtualBox to tell windows to sort of wake the VM up and tell it to index files on its virtual hard disk, but this is just my guess...
    – DRz
    Feb 24, 2016 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


A virtual machine is just like an ordinary physical machine in most ways. If it's not running, nothing is happening.

Therefore, if you power the virtual machine off (regardless of the state of the VirtualBox application or the host operating system), it will not perform any operation such as indexing files or doing anything else.

  • Then when does it happen?
    – DRz
    Apr 15, 2017 at 13:28
  • @DRz When the virtual machine is up and running.
    – Kusalananda
    Apr 15, 2017 at 13:36
  • So the quote is wrong, even for a physical machine?
    – DRz
    Apr 16, 2017 at 2:44
  • @DRz No, your computer may be running even if you are asleep. The quote doesn't say anything about the computer sleeping.
    – Kusalananda
    Apr 16, 2017 at 5:11

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