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Extensions Conflicts - System 7.6 (and newer)

Diagnosing Extensions Conflicts: Plan A

Remember if you need to sleuth out an Extensions conflict — take a strong dose of patience — and go directly to your handy-dandy Extensions Manager via the Control Panels menu in the Apple Menu.

Extension Manager window - System 7.6

If the Extensions conflict is so severe that your computer cannot start up ("will not boot"), then you need to restart the computer while holding down the Shift key. This will force the computer to start up with "Extensions off", thereby temporarily sidestepping the conflict while you hunt it down. Then go to the Extensions Manager Control Panel.

Selected set: My Settings

At the top of the Extensions Manager window, there is a pull-down menu that is labeled Selected Set:. Your current set of Extensions is most likely called My Settings. Whatever its called, let's preserve this set of Extensions so we can save it for later reference.

Extensions Manager - Duplicate set

What we will do is make a copy of these settings so we can make changes to the duplicate set and still have the original to refer back to. Choose the Duplicate Set button on the lower right of the Extensions Manager window and name this set of Extensions something meaningful to you like "Test". This new "Test" set is where we will turn extensions on and off to find the conflicting culprit.

Extensions Manager - Duplicate set
Extensions Manager - turning on and off extensions

Extensions are turned on in the Extensions Manager window by clicking on the box to the left of each Extension name so that a small X appears in the box. Extensions are turned off in the same manner — clicking on them in the Extensions Manager so that the X in the box disappears.

Now you will begin a systematic game of "Whodunit?". Most Extensions conflicts occur after you have installed a new piece of software, because one of the Extensions (or Control Panels) already on your system is not coexisting peacefully with the new arrival.

To first test this theory — turn off the newest Extension (or Control Panel), restart your computer — see, at the bottom of the Extensions Manager, it says "changes take effect at restart" & System 7.6 gives you that easy "Restart" button right in the Extensions Manager — now see if the Extensions conflict goes away. If it doesn't, then try Plan B. If it does, continue on with the following process to ferret out which of your older Extensions is conflicting with the new one.

Extensions Manager - Changes take effect on restart

Return to the Extensions Manager. Turn the newest Extension back on. Then you are going to begin a systematic process of turning off each of the older Extensions — one by one — then testing to see if the symptom of the conflict reoccurs.

To offer you some shortcuts in this process — a few Extensions which are often involved in conflicts are RAMDoubler, SpeedDoubler, Now Utilities, and any file compression software.

Diagnosing Extensions Conflicts: Plan B

So you're unable to figure out what's causing the Extensions conflict? How about a different approach...

Go down the list in the Extensions Manager. Turn off one Extension. Restart your computer. Test for the Extensions conflict. If the conflict still occurs, return to the Extensions Manager. Turn the first Extension back on, turn the next one off. Restart your computer. Again, test for the Extensions conflict. And then keep going — turning each Extension off and then on again until you have isolated the culprit. Don't forget to test the Control Panels listed in the Extensions Manager window, too.

Select set: Mac OS 7.6 base

From the Selected Sets pull-down menu at the top of the Extensions Manager window, select the set of Extensions called Mac OS 7.6 base — this set includes only those Extensions that were installed with your operating system. Now restart your computer. If the symptoms of the Extensions Conflict do not disappear at this point, then something else is likely wrong with your computer...try Plan C — Clean Install

Once your machine is running with the default System set of Extensions, open the Extensions Manager Control Panel again. You will now use the Extensions Manager to turn on additional Extensions one at a time — adding them back to this System set.

Restart your computer after each additional Extension is added back into the set and test whether your computer exhibits the same Extensions conflict symptom.

Once you have identified an Extension that when turned on causes the Extensions conflict to reoccur, you should find its partner in the conflict. To do this, you will keep this problem Extension on and systematically turn off others — one by one — as described above in Plan A.

Fixing Extensions conflicts

Once you have found the troublemakers, what do you do? Contact the companies that produce both Extensions to discuss the problem with them. Often there is an updated version for one of the Extensions or another remedy for the conflict. If you are in the unfortunate position, of being one of the first users to discover this particular conflict then you at least have alerted the company to the problem.

Extensions Manager - Custom sets If there is no known fix for the Extensions conflict and you still want to use the software or hardware on your machine, you do have recourse — through the Extensions Manager. Create two (or more) different Extension sets so that you can turn on and off conflicting Extensions when you need to. For example, we have a CD-ROM Extensions set to avert problems when our children play their games...for a while we had a Scanner Extensions set while we were working the bugs out of Kim's new scanner set up. Just go into the Extensions Manager choose the Extensions you need for that function and rename that new set CD-ROM or Scanner or whatever. Then you only need to select that set and restart — a minor inconvenience compared to not being able to use that software or hardware at all.

By the way, there is a very popular program called Conflict Catcher (Casady and Greene, Inc.) that automates this process of testing Extensions — and in some cases prevents conflicts before they occur.





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