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REVIEW: WBStartup+ V2.5
By: Katherine Nelson
WBStartup+ by John Hughes is an easy-to-use utility that lets you enable
and disable the execution of the different programs in your WBStartup
drawer more quickly and easily than before. It also allows you to use your
Workbench while it loads your boot-time programs, which is great for those
of us in a hurry.
It is somewhat hard to classify this type of utility. Some people
would have no use for it at all, if they consistantly wish to load
everything they put in their WBStartup drawer. For others, like myself,
who may need to make sure one or two programs are not loaded because they
may conflict with something that is to be run, it can be quite time-saving
and well worth using.
The utility comes with its own installer, so starting to use it is
hassle-free. It places the main program and two new drawers inside the
WBStartup drawer. One of the drawers is for the programs that should be
enabled at boot time, and the other drawer is for those that are not to be
loaded for the next boot/reboot.
The only drawback to this setup is that when you install another program
that you wish to run at boot time, you must place it in the "Enabled"
drawer, rather than the main WBStartup drawer. (It will still run if it is
in the main drawer, but WBStartup+ will then not have any control over it).
If a program comes with an installer, you most likely have to take that
extra step on your own.
To use the program once it is installed, you open up your
Prefs drawer, and run WBStartup+ Prefs. This reveals a window that lists
everything in both the enabled and disabled startup drawers, with a check
in front of the enabled ones. To the right of the name of the program is a
column which lists its STARTPRI value, found also in the tooltype area of
the program's icon. This value can be changed by clicking on it in the
WBStartup+ Prefs program, or just by changing the tooltype value in the
Note that the STARTPRI only determines the order in which the programs are
to be executed -- it has nothing to do with the running priority.
The program list can be sorted either alphabetically or by priority,
whichever you prefer. This is a nice touch in case you're tired and want
to know the order in which your programs will be run and you don't want to
figure it out for yourself.
A nice ability is to be able to create several different defaults, with
different combinations of startups. To do so, you select the items for the
group you wish to create, then choose "Create Group" from a menu option,
and you have it. Then, if you need to use that configuration for your next
boot, you just choose "Select Group" from the menu in WBStartup+Prefs, and
it sets it up for you with less hassle.
I have settings for "Minimum", "Normal", and "Extra". The minimum is so
that just about everything I have is guaranteed to run. The "Normal" is
for everyday use, and "Extra" is for a more flashy Workbench. The
downside, is that in order to use one of these groups, you have to save the
configuration. So if you're going to be using the "Minimum" group that you
created (if you have done so). then that group will always be loaded at
boot until you change it back to "Normal". I personally am somewhat
forgetful, so it would be nice to be able to choose to only use settings
for the next boot only, rather than for all following.
Another nice feature is that you can select one of the programs in the
WBStartup+Prefs list, and then choose the "Icon Window" from the menu.
This brings up the Information in the .info file for the selected program,
allowing you to make your changes more quickly and with less trouble. It
is somewhat interesting that you can not bring up the icon window for
WBStartup+ itself, especially because there are one or two features of the
program itself that can only be changed in the tooltypes, rather than from
the Prefs program.
The tooltypes for WBStartup+ include options for the paths of the enabled
and disabled drawers (allowing you to place them anywhere if you choose),
whether or not to show a progress window when loading the individual
programs (see more about the progress window below.), whether or not the
progress window should have a background picture (for WB 3.X only), and the
name of the public screen on which to open.
There are also tooltypes in the Prefs program, which include the paths to
the enabled and disabled drawers. I think that this repetition, while no
doubt making the programming much easier, is kind of... silly. But it's a
small point. There is also an option for the default listing of the
programs to be alphabetic or in STARTPRI order.
Anyway, about the progress window. I, personally, like it. It does lend
somewhat of a "Mac" type feel to your boot, with the icon of the program
currently being loaded shown next to a progress bar. Others may say that
it just adds fluff, and has no real purpose. It can be disabled, so either
way, it's not a problem. Contributing to the Mac feel, but of even greater
use, I think, is the fact that if you hold down shift during boot,
WBStartup+ stops any of the boot programs from running. I have used this
feature more than a couple times, and I think that it is actually one of
the more important aspects of the program itself.
One feature that I would really like to see added to this useful utility,
is the ability to have a boot-menu as well if desired. Personally, I don't
wish to have a boot-menu each time I start the computer, because more often
then not, I'd be choosing the same configuration, and would just get
irritated at the delay. However, if it were implemented in such a way that
the left shift key, instead of disabling all the programs, brought up a
list of the user-defined "Groups", allowing you to choose one, I would be a
very very happy camper. This would also eliminate the problem of reseting
your preferences each time you wanted to boot with a different config, and
the fact that you have to boot up your machine to change what happens when
you boot up your machine.
WBStartup+ is Postcardware, so it's well worth the price. This is a good
utility to have if you have use for it. It also has the potential to be an
even greater one.
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East Peoria, IL 61611