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Extensions Conflicts

As the MacOS has grown increasingly powerful and complex, the number of independent software components that must interact for your computer to function properly has increased tremendously. It is particularly difficult to insure that the Extensions and Control Panels installed by applications or that are required to operate external devices (printers, scanners, external hard drives, etc.) all cooperate smoothly. This problem is exacerbated when Extensions are added that modify basic functions of the operating system such as modifying the use of RAM or adding new menus or icons on your screen.

Symptoms of Extensions conflicts

How do you know you have an Extensions conflict?
Often it is obvious: after installing a new piece of software — your computer inexplicably locks up on startup...or the computer bombs when a particular application is launched...or the computer freezes when you select a certain menu command. All of these situations are a signal that you have an Extensions conflict.

Bomb! Sorry, a system error occured - Restart

Your computer is getting conflicting messages/commands and it is "throwing a fit" because it can't resolve the conflict — so it shuts down in protest. One simple example is if you install a custom CD-ROM driver (such as the CD-ROM Toolkit by FWB), this will conflict with the Apple CD-ROM driver already installed by your operating system — the two extensions are fighting for control of the same piece of hardware. In this straightforward case, you simply must turn off the old Extension (the Apple CD-ROM driver) in order to use your new one.

Unfortunately, Extensions conflicts are not usually that easy to diagnose. They take time and patience and A LOT of restarts!! Make yourself a cup o' java, pump up the volume, get into a rhythm — but stay calm, you'll get through it.

Diagnosing Extensions Conflicts

These problems are best resolved in a patient, systematic manner — you need to become Sherlock Holmes for the moment and sleuth out the dastardly culprit in your computer.

Extensions Manager - Control Panel menu

Apple has provided a handy tool — the Extensions Manager — to help you resolve Extensions conflicts. It is a Control Panel and can be accessed either through the Apple Menu or by going to the Control Panel folder in the System folder. [screen shot]

Although the procedures for resolving Extension conflicts are conceptually the same for all Mac systems, the details of using the Extensions Manager are slighlty different for System 7.5 and System 7.6 (and higher). So we will discuss the procedures for each System separately.



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