Manage Your Startup And Login Items Easily With Exhaust [OS X Tips]

Exhaust OS X

Remember the days pre-OS X, when you could hit the Spacebar on your keyboard as your Mac started up, giving you access to the Extensions Manager? Man, I surely do not miss those days. Startup items are now called Login Items, and they just happen, right?

OS X really doesn’t give us much choice in how these apps and features that we blissfully add to our Macs launch on startup, though, does it. If you want to have some control over the Login Items, check out this free little app, Exhaust.

Exhaust lets you control the items that you have set up as Login Items, giving you the power to add delays, start in a specific sequence, or start with special conditions or arguments. You can even use it to run terminal commands at login, making fun things like having your Mac say hello to you on start up possible.

First of all, go and download Exhaust from developer Mr. Gecko’s website. You can run Exhaust from anywhere you like, but I put it into the Applications folder, because I like to keep things tidy on my Mac.

Double click on the Exhaust app icon when ready to launch, and read the warning:

Exhaust can be complicated at times, please be sure you read the documentation even if your the type of person who thinks he/she doesn’t need to read documentation. If you haven’t read the documentation, please quit now and read it.

Ignore this at your own risk, of course. I totally ignored it, and nothing has totally broken. Yet. Your mileage may vary, but please don’t blame me if things get borked. Read the manual.

Once Exhaust is launched, though, you’ll see a list of current Login Items on the left. You can click on each one, and set parameters like the delay in seconds, when to quit, and whether to wait for the previous Login Item or not. You can add various arguments to the Login Item here, too. I’m guessing that got covered in the manual.

I went through the list of items, clicked the ones I wanted to get out of there, and clicked Remove. Want to have your Mac say hello to you once everything is started up? Click on the Add button there, and choose Add Command. Replace the location in the top field from /bin/bash to /usr/bin/say. Replace the -C argument with what you want your Mac to say. I typed in, “Hello, lord and master!” If you want a different voice, add another argument with the Add button under the Arguments section, and type in -v Ralph (for the Ralph voice), or any other voice on your Mac.

Now, when your Mac is done starting all the Login Items, it’ll say whatever you typed in there. Slick, huh?

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About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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