Any documentation of el cap boot process?

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by Philocetes, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Philocetes macrumors regular


    Sep 23, 2016
    I can't find this on the interweb or on this site using search terms like boot or startup, so...

    I am looking for documentation of the el cap boot process. I have a general interest in the technical aspects of it, and am specifically wanting to learn where to look for all the startup items to make sure my box does not have anything running on it that I don't want.

    I have a mac internals book from some years ago, but I understand that newer releases of osx are changing the way automatically started items/device drivers are loaded.

    A variation of this question is what would be a good utility to identify and maintain startup items--preferably free. I am familiar with such utilities for windows, but not aware of the mac equivalent.

    Any information along these lines is much appreciated.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    You can basically find this in System Preferences. Go to the user account and you'll see "Login Items". It's as simple as that, really -- anything there is what starts up.

    I understand your concern coming from a Windows background, as Windows is a mess of HKCU/HKLM registry entries for startup and Scheduled Tasks; luckily, you won't have to worry about that any more! :D
  3. Philocetes thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 23, 2016
    Thanks. I will check that. As I think about your response, I am interested in device drivers as well. I know there are lists of kext files that are processed on boot.
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    The good utility EtreCheck will show you a lot about the boot setup on your Mac, plus a lot of information about your system configuration.
  5. Philocetes, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016

    Philocetes thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 23, 2016
  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005

    I think what you are after is "verbose mode". Boot in verbose mode and it will show what is going on line by line. But honestly I think it will just make your head spin. :)

    The Etrecheck suggestion is spot on. Run that and it will show all login and hidden startup/launch items.

    Those items can be found in the following folders.

    ~/Library/LaunchAgents (~ is your users folder)
  7. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Yes. Get your smartphone out and record a video of the screen during verbose mode!
  8. Philocetes, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016

    Philocetes thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 23, 2016
    I wonder if those startup messages are put into a log file somewhere... Thanks, great info! I have watched many a unix startup console, so no stranger to that, but if there are 1,500 lines and 4 relevant lines, it can be drudgery. I think I did find the log in a linux system and used edit/find commands to see what devices were loaded--back in the day.

    PS. I am reading the singh history of osx--very interesting. I lived through most of it, so its kind of a trip down memory lane.

    @Weaselboy just what I was looking for. I am a programmer from way back, so no problem reviewing those lists for things that don't seem right, and it looks like that etracheck tool already knows which entries are from apple and which are not. Can't wait to get home to check it out.

    Also, thinking a bout about what might be involved in doing a fresh install and adding in all my stuff. Need to migrate personal data and install lots of programs, most of which are from the apple store. Its a big production, but I have done it plenty in the last 30 years.

    on terminal, looked at the dmesg output, and sent it to a text file, but it didn't look quite like the startup--but then until I do a verbose, I can't be sure. One suggestion was to look in /var/log/kernel.log, but that file does not exist on my box.

    Also, the console app is a great way to look at all sorts of logs--the trick is, I guess, knowing which ones are interesting to look at.

    PS: Getting psyched up--got my w3680 in the mail today, the mac pro 2012 it will be installed in is arriving on friday. Already did this to my 2010, so no concerns about that. This chip was only $105 on ebay, so hope it works as well as the $170 one I got last week. I am really warming up to the idea of doing a fresh install of el capitan and migrating my stuff over. The osx disk I had now came with a mac pro 2006 and it has been updated over the years--no knowing how much junk is still on it from the original owner.

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7 October 5, 2016