LoginControl 2.0 review

Although Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) offers many improvements over Tiger, it also takes a few small steps backwards. One of those is that you can no longer choose the order in which login items open. (Login items are programs and other items that automatically open when you log in to your account; each user has his or her own list of login items in the Accounts pane of System Preferences.) At the same time, a much-requested feature that’s never been included in OS X is the ability to create different sets of login items. You can prevent all login items from opening by holding down the shift key when you log in, but you can’t create subsets of your full list—or completely different sets—and choose to load a different one at each login.

Thoughtful Tree Software’s LoginControl 2.0 offers both features in an easy-to-use package, although one with a few limitations. When you first launch LoginControl, its Live List displays the current list of login items—the same list found in Accounts preferences. To customize the sequence in which items launch or open, you simply drag them up and down the list. (Keep in mind that OS X doesn't add any delay between items as they launch; it simply launches them one after another. So if you have two items that must actually launch in sequence, you should place the first at the beginning of your list and the other at the end.) Your changes are automatically reflected in the actual Login Items list in System Preferences; similarly, if you make a change to the Login Items list in System Preferences, that change will immediately be reflected in LoginControl’s Live List.

You can also remove an item from the list by selecting it and clicking on the minus (-) button below the list, or add an item to the list by dragging it into the LoginControl window or clicking on the plus (+) button and navigating to the item. Again, your changes automatically sync with System Preferences.

But the more useful feature, in my opinion, is the ability to switch between multiple login-item lists. To create a new list, you click on the plus (+) button under Saved Lists; give the new list a name and it appears in the Saved Lists section. (If you want to create a new list based on an existing list—Saved or Live—you select the source list and then choose File: Duplicate List.) You manage these lists just as you do the Live List; the difference is that changes to Saved Lists aren’t reflected in Accounts preferences.

Reordering items in LoginControl

NEXT: Switching between lists in LoginControl 2.0


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