If you’re a devotee of Login Items, you may have begun to feel a certain heaviness in your Mac’s startup. Login Items tells OS X what it should launch when you turn your computer on, and I’ve been known to throw just about everything I’m going to need for the day in there. Too much, though, and you may begin to notice a lag.
Holding off on launching all of those applications would go a long way to helping, but I’m the impatient type. It seems Delay Start, a tiny app with one function, will do the waiting for me, though, so I can stagger how my apps are opened and stop bogging down my Login Items quite so much. We’ll see how much of a difference this uni-tasker can make.
Hold Your Horses
Delay Start has a pretty simple job to do, but it could really make a difference for those of us with older Macs. If you have a lot of apps you like to open on startup, you may have already added all of them to your Login Items in System Preferences, and they launch whenever you log in to your Mac. It seems like a great way to save some time, because everything you need to start the day is already open for you without you having to do a thing. The problem is that if your Mac has to load a bunch of extra stuff all at once when you log in, it can really slow the whole process down, especially if your computer is less than new.
The solution would be to stagger how OS X launches your apps, but Login Items doesn’t let you set priorities or time delays. Delay Start does, though, and it’s really simple to set up. Open up the app, and you’ll see a list box where you can add all the applications you want Delay Start to launch. Add anything you want Delay Start to manage when you log in here. Set how many seconds Delay Start should take to complete the launch, and remember, the more stuff you have going on at startup, the longer your should let Delay Start take.
So far, so good, but you’ll want to talk a stroll over to your Login Items in System Preferences and remove anything Delay Start is going to control. No need to launch it twice. You probably won’t want to remove everything, though. Look out for “helper” apps that make another app function correctly. Those helper apps can be a pain to find for yourself, and you may have trouble getting them into Delay Start. Of course, if it’s something you’re not really using, feel free to remove it from your Login Items altogether.
Before you’re done, you’re going to need to add Delay Start itself to your Login Items. That way, you’ll still have all of your apps open and ready for you when you turn on your computer. Everything will just be a bit less strained, and despite the inherent delay, you may find your computer’s up and running even more quickly than before.
Things to Think About
Delay Start probably works best if you have a lot of resource hogging apps you need to have open as soon as you launch OS X. You may absolutely need the Adobe CS range of apps the moment you turn on your computer, but forcing your Mac to open all of that while it’s still trying to figure out what day it is and if it’s got a clean pair of pants to wear is a bit much for it to bear. If you’ve got to have all of that, pop those apps into Delay Start and let them chill thirty seconds until everything else is up and moving.
Something I immediately wished had been included, though, was multiple app lists. For instance, I often find that I launch a lot of the same apps together, like Word, Excel and TextEdit, so it would be great to put them all together in Delay Start. If I later want to launch a second group of apps, though, I have to dig them out one by one. Delay Start would make a great app for setting up mini workflows, if only you could create multiple lists of apps.
Unfortunately, Delay Start doesn’t open your apps up in the background. This is an option I depend on in Login Items, because while there’s a lot of stuff I like to have running all of the time, I don’t necessarily like to always see all of it. So while Delay Start may save you some memory at launch, what it won’t save you is any screen real estate. If you don’t actually want all of those windows open, you’re going to have to go around minimizing them all.
Delay Start is perfect if you have a bunch of apps you jump right into when you turn on your computer. Add all of those to Delay Start’s launch list, and you’re ready to go. Even if you don’t want everything open right when you get going for the day, you can still hit Delay Start and launch everything you’re going to use together.
What you can’t do, what Delay Start wasn’t built for, was creating separate lists of apps to launch throughout the day. I think just that extra feature would make Delay Start vastly more useful and get it out of the category of uni-taskers. That’s okay, because Delay Start is still pretty useful, especially for those of use with older machines that can’t take the strain of launching a million and one apps all at one time. Get the apps that can wait a minute into Delay Start, and save a bit of frustration every time you turn on your computer.