The installation went smoothly – simply a matter of copying the appropriate files to the system folder. That’s when the fun began, in part because the manual never talks about disabling shareware versions of the various utilities, a number of which I used. I realized that I only had 85K free on my System partition, so I went searching for files to compress with DiskDoubler before I went further. Luckily I found a folder of fonts and desk accessories I seldom use, so they were the prime candidates for compression. OK, good, there’s about 500K free. Time to restart. One somewhat irritating but reasonable feature of the Now Utilities is that each one must be personalized separately. You’ll get good at typing your name after the third or fourth time.
All of my INITs loaded fine (no small accomplishment!) and Now’s Startup Manager did an excellent job of keeping QuickMail’s QMServer from erasing everything with its dialogs. Startup Manager made the SUM Shield line up properly instead of forcing itself into the first position on the second row. That’s been bothering me for years. I decided to check out all the cdev-based interfaces alphabetically which made the Startup Manager first because of the spaces at the start of its name. Creating a group of just the Now Utilities went fine and I assigned the control key to allow me to invoke the Startup Manager at startup, and then I rebooted, holding down the control key. Boom, dropped in MacsBug with a User break message. Oops, that’s a feature of MacsBug, not a Startup Manager bug. Rebooted again and when everything came up, I switched the Startup Manager from the control key to the space bar.
After using the Startup Manager for some time, I’ve decided that I like it. It’s a little cleaner than init cdev and IconWrap (the main HappiWare/freeware competition) and a bit more powerful, what with the ability to force INITs into nice rows and prevent them from erasing each other. Startup Manager has identified an INIT as causing my machine to crash (and shut it off for me) a few times, which is helpful. The grouping abilities are nice, though not unique, and I’ve used them on occasion to make groups for programs that hog memory or have specific conflicts. The only problem I’ve heard is that Startup Manager sometimes triggers virus alarms from programs like Gatekeeper and SAM if it runs before them. I don’t use either of them (and the Disinfectant INIT doesn’t have these problems), but you might want to keep this in mind if you do use them.