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I have quite a lot of startup items, because when I open up my mac, I want everything to be ready to go. In my preferences, I've put them in the order I need them, so for example, the first thing I do, is browse to arstechnica and stackoverflow, so chrome starts first. next up are iTunes and spotify. iTunes to make sure that all my podcasts are downloaded, and spotify for my music, and then, my text editor of choice, and some other stuff.

The problem is, that all of these take quite some time and processing power to start up. They all get started up at about the same time, so that when I start typing in the chrome omnibar, it's slow and laggy, because of all the other stuff starting up in the background.

Is there a way to make them start up one after another? Or is this impossible? I really don't know wether apps send some kind of event to the OS to tell that they are completely ready.

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If you do not use the "reopen all windows" on next login when you shut down, all menu extras will open in the exact order as specified in the system preferences. They will also load faster. This appears to be a bug in Lion. –  gentmatt Jun 25 '12 at 16:52
    
+1 for that final part: "tell that they are completely ready". I wish there was an app or script to sequence login items loading based on when items' processes uses less than a designated amount of CPU, there's green light for consecutive items to load, and so on … Effectively loading them one after another instead of all at the same time. Adding hard coded delay using e.g. AppleScript isn't very elegant, since it may vary how long a login item will take until its process goes down to 'normal'. –  hced Sep 21 '12 at 11:20
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You could make an automator action that starts each item serially, with staggered delays, or sleeps to ensure a delay between each start, and then simply place that single script as your startup item :)

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