Review – Conflict Catcher 8.0.4

Conflict Catcher Picture

Conflict Catcher 8.0.4
Casady & Greene
Estimated Price: $79.00

How many of you reading this article have been plagued by problems caused by conflicts amongst extensions or control panels? I don’t think that there is one of us that hasn’t had that problem at least once during our relationship with the Mac. And being great Mac devotees, we have a tendency to add more extensions or control panels in an attempt to make computing even easier or more fun.

My first contact with Conflict Catcher began back in version 3 when I first used it to assist me in tracking down some problems I was having with trying to print. The 3-day demo version I downloaded helped me find the culprit extension and straighten the problem out. When version 4 came out, I made sure I upgraded to that version to make sure I could deal with Mac OS 8. And with the advent of OS 8.5, my upgrade to version 8 of Conflict Catcher wasn’t far behind.

Now my upgrade to Conflict Catcher 8 occurred before my upgrade to Mac OS 8.5. I held off installing 8.5 until December when I finally had the time to sit down, go through my hard drive, delete the items I didn’t need and prepare for the upgrade. I also wanted the time to get used to Conflict Catcher 8 due to an extra item that Casady & Greene had added to their product, the Clean-Install Merge Feature (more on that later).

I had made some changes to my system and had removed Conflict Catcher 4 before I did the install of version 8. (I also like to check and see how easy the install is for those not using the product before.) To start off with, Casady & Greene has included a great user manual–written by David Pogue–to make sure that users will have no problems understanding the product. Installation is simple, quick and easy. The Main window has been redesigned to permit users to add more columns of information to be displayed, such as: memory use, file type and creator codes, software company name, location, etc. Conflict Catcher displays Group Link info (startup files that you can switch on and off), Sets (predefined lists of extensions and control panels) and the Inspection Panel. When you utilize the capabilities of the Inspection Panel to examine a file, you are able to find the version of the extension or control panel, the kind of file (extension, control panel, shared library, application program) the size (amount of disk space the file uses), where the file is actually located (what folder), the Type/Creator (type-what kind of data is in the file – TEXT, PICT, APPL – creator-the parent program), System memory (how much memory is actually used as compared to how much is requested by the Mac during startup), plus several other useful items.

If you’ve been using Apple’s Extension Manager prior to switching over to Conflict Catcher, don’t worry that the sets you’ve been using and are familiar with are now lost and you’ll have to start from scratch with CC. Conflict Catcher allows you to import your sets from the Extensions Manager into Conflict Catcher. Follow the simple, easy instructions and within a couple of minutes you’re on your way, with everything the way you were used to. Conflict Catcher also permits you to manage other kinds of files, such as: Apple menu items, Contextual menu items, Control Strip modules, fonts, web browser plug-ins, graphics programs, to name a few. Not a bad feature considering how many of these items may be floating around in our systems. And let’s not forget the primary feature of Conflict Catcher… the ability to assist us in testing our System for those problem files that are causing us crashes, freezes, error messages, etc. The only problem with Conflict Catcher is that the problem has to be a regular, recurring problem… it cannot find or fix intermittent problems. But, when you have those regular problems, Conflict Catcher is what you need.

Earlier I mentioned the Clean-Install Merge Feature that Conflict Catcher now has. When I read through the manual prior to installing Conflict Catcher, that capability really stood out for me. What it all boils down to is that you must have Conflict Catcher 8 installed on your present System Folder, do a clean install of the new (read NEWER OS) System, (as in upgrading from OS 8.1 to OS 8.5) and then install Conflict Catcher on the new System folder. Once you’ve done this, you restart your Mac holding down the space bar until the CC window opens and you can choose Clean-Install System Merge from the Special menu. You follow the dialog boxes and verify the previous System Folder, check to have CC scan the previous System Folder for any damaged items, and then click on “Compare Folders.” Conflict Catcher then compares the contents of the two System Folders, making sure that it doesn’t move earlier versions or duplicate copies of items into the new System Folder. It will also ask you if you wish to apply a label to the items that are in the new System Folder and also to the items that you’re moving over. I let the process mark all the items in the new System Folder in orange and all items being transferred over in red, so that I could know which was which. You then scroll through the list of System Folder items from the previous System Folder, checking the items that you don’t want moved over (if you’re not sure, click on the item’s name and CC will show you the item’s description to help you along). When you’re ready, click on the Merge Systems button and all the files that you selected are copied over to the new System Folder. No muss, no fuss. You will also have the previous System Folder available to switch back over to (using Conflict Catcher) in case there’s a problem with the new OS.

Why do I sound so enthusiastic about this feature? The last time I did a clean System install, going from Mac OS 7.5.5 to OS 8, the preparation, install and then the moving over of extensions, control panels, etc. to be part of the new System Folder, took me almost 10 hours to get everything in and up and running. This time, the preparation, install of the new OS and the move over, plus the time spent in getting everything up and running, with me being back online and fully operational was less then 2 hours. Yes, I know I could have used Clean-Install Assistant or a similar item, but to combine that ability along with the ability to test and evaluate for problems makes Conflict Catcher a must-have item, as far as I’m concerned.

System Requirements
Macintosh with a CD-ROM drive, running Mac OS 7.5 or greater. (Doesn’t work on Mac Plus, SE series, Classic series, or PowerBook 100.)

Is Conflict Catcher the absolute utility that can solve and correct all of your problems? No, but it really comes darn close. If you’re having problems, go to the Casady & Greene website and download the demo version of Conflict Catcher. It’s good for 3 days of use and may help you solve your problems. Once you’ve tried it, I know that you’ll run out and get the full version. Conflict Catcher 8 is a keeper!

MacMice Rating: 4

Russ Walkowich


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