One of the many small changes in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is that the operating system can now automatically reopen programs that were running before shutdown or restart. If you shut down Windows 10 with some apps open, some of them are relaunched at next startup, which is undesirable; to put it fairly, it can be annoying for many. How to disable this feature?
Jason, a Support Engineer at Microsoft, posted the following info in the Microsoft community forum.
This is actually a change in the core functionality of Windows in this development cycle.
- When you shut down your PC, all apps are closed
- After reboot/restart, you have to re-open any app you’d like to use
- When shutting down your PC, any open apps are “bookmarked” (for lack of a better word)
- After reboot/restart, these apps will re-open automatically
If you want to start with no apps open (other than those set to auto-start via Task Manager/Start), you’ll need to ensure all apps are closed before shutting down or restarting the PC.
The desire is to create a seamless experience wherein, if you have to reboot a PC, you can pick back up quickly from where you left off and resume being productive. This has far-ranging impacts across the OS (in a good way).
Note: There is no further information about this new feature. Not all apps are relaunched after a reboot. When I tested, Task Manager and Internet Explorer were always reopened automatically, but Microsoft Edge and Notepad weren’t. Likewise there may be other “eligible” apps that we don’t know. Disabling Fast Startup feature does not change this behavior.
The option “Use my sign in info to automatically finish setting up my device after an update” in Settings > Sign-in options is unconnected with this feature. Also, the Restore previous folder windows at logon” setting in Folder Options has nothing to do with this. And lastly, the startup folders or the Run registry keys aren’t used to relaunch programs after reboot.
Stop Auto Reopen of Programs after Restart
Though there is no way to turn the feature off in the user interface, there is a way to prevent Windows 10 from restoring previously opened programs after a restart.
Microsoft suggests exiting programs manually before shutdown, so that they won’t be be relaunched after reboot. That’s the best practice. However, if you don’t want to (or can’t always) do that before shutting down the system, here are the other options you have:
Option 1: Use the Classic Shut Down Dialog to Shutdown or Restart
- Minimize all programs by pressing WinKey + M.
- Click on the Desktop to set the focus on it.
- Press Alt + F4 to display the classic “Shut Down Windows” dialog
- Select shut down or restart option from the drop-down menu.
Option 2(a): Use Shutdown.exe to Shutdown or Restart
Shutdown.exe command-line to shutdown or restart Windows.
Create a desktop shortcut with the following command-line:
shutdown.exe /s /t 0
The above shortcut is to shutdown the system immediately, after 0 second timeout.
To restart the system, create another shortcut with the following command-line:
shutdown.exe /r /t 0
Option 2(b): Shutdown with Fast Startup
shutdown.exe /s /hybrid /t 0
That’s it! Hope Microsoft adds an option to disable this “automatic reopen of apps” feature in a future update or feature upgrade.
About the author
Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in Windows — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP (2003-2012) who contributes to various Windows support forums.