Troubleshooting Mac extensions

Last Updated on September 30, 2010 by Dave Farquhar

Troubleshooting Macintosh extensions. An extensions conflict is where you lose your innocence with fixing a Mac. Not all extensions and control panels get along, and certain combinations can have disastrous results.

Here’s my method. Create a folder on the desktop. Drag exactly half the extensions out of System Folder:Extensions and drop them in the folder. Select all the extensions in that new folder and give them a label, so they stand out (it makes them a different color). Now reboot and see if the problem goes away. If it doesn’t, create another folder, move the remaining extensions into it and give them a label. Move the first batch back into the extensions folder and reboot.

Now, add half your extensions back from the folder on the desktop to the extensions folder. If the problem comes back, move that half back into the second folder on the desktop and move the now-known good half into the extensions folder. After each test, remove the labels from the extensions in the extensions folder. Just keep swapping halves until you narrow it down to one bad extension, using labels to keep yourself from getting lost.

I don’t recommend Conflict Catcher because all it does is move the extensions around for you–it’s no easier than this method, and this method doesn’t cost $50.

This is how we build ’em in St. Louis. Neither Gatermann nor I are really in the habit of naming our PCs unless a name is just painfully obvious. In the case of his Linux gateway, the name was painfully obvious. One name and one name only fits: Mir.

This is how we build computers in St. Louis. This is Tom Gatermann’s Linux gateway: a Micronics P75 board with a Cirrus Logic PCI SVGA card, a Kingston PCI NE2000 clone connecting to the Internet, and a Bay Netgear 310TX PCI 10/100 (DEC Tulip chipset) connecting to the local LAN. Yes, that AT case was as cheap as it looks. Maybe cheaper.

Inside the case, there’s an IMES 8X IDE CD-ROM, an ancient 1.44 MB floppy drive of unknown origin, and a 1.2 GB Quantum Bigfoot HD, of which about 1.5 MB is used (booting’s much faster off the HD than off the floppy).


Mir is made from, well, a pile of junk. A Micronics P75 board. A Cirrus Logic PCI SVGA card. Whatever 72-pin SIMMs we had laying around. A Quantum Bigfoot 1.2-gig HD. A really trashed 3.5″ floppy drive. The cheapest-looking AT case ever. But we did skip the Linksys NICs. The NICs are a Kingston PCI NE2000 clone and a Bay Netgear 10/100 based on the DEC Tulip chipset.

We assembled it outside the case because we had so much trouble getting it going correctly–it’s much easier to swap components when they’re accessible. Once we got it going, we never bothered to put everything back inside the case. Maybe we’re trend-setters and this is the next fad in computing. After all, what’s the logical next step after translucency?

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