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Stop Auto Reopen of Programs after Restart in Windows 10

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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 (e.g., Chrome browser, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word) 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?

A Support Engineer at Microsoft posted the following info at Microsoft Answers.

This is actually a change in the core functionality of Windows in this development cycle.

Old behavior:

  • 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

New behavior:

  • 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.

Why?

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).

Updated (2/20/18)

There is a change with the Fall Creator’s Update where applications that have registered via RegisterApplicationRestart will re-open after a shutdown or reboot.

What changed? The advanced Windows Update feature which restores running applications after an update has been extended to regular shutdowns and restarts initiated through power options available on the Start Menu and various other locations. This is to create a seamless experience wherein, if you have to reboot your PC, you can pick back up from where you left off and resume being productive.

We’ve heard the feedback that some of you would like to have a switch for turning on and off this feature, and have now added the ability to do this.

Once you have installed the January 31st update (KB4058258 (OS Build 16299.214)), you will be able to turn off this feature by going to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options > Scroll down to Privacy > Toggle off Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting up my device after an update or restart.

Note: Not all apps are relaunched after a reboot. When I tested, Task Manager, Microsoft Excel, Word, and Internet Explorer have always reopened automatically, but Microsoft Edge and Notepad didn’t. Disabling Fast Startup feature does not change this behavior. Also, the Restore previous folder windows at logon Folder Options setting has nothing to do with this.

Stop Auto Reopen of Programs after Restart

There is a way to prevent Windows 10 from restoring previously opened programs after a restart.

  1. Open Settings → Accounts → Sign-in options → Scroll down to Privacy
  2. Turn off the option Use my sign in info to automatically finish setting up my device after an update or restart.

If that doesn’t help, manually exit programs before the shutdown, so that they won’t be relaunched after reboot. 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:

Other options

Use the Classic Shut Down Dialog to Shutdown or Restart

  1. Minimize all programs by pressing WinKey + M.
  2. Click on the Desktop to set the focus on it.
  3. Press Alt + F4 to display the classic “Shut Down Windows” dialog
  4. Select shut down or restart option from the drop-down menu.
Classic Shut Down Dialog (Alt + F4) in Windows

Use Shutdown.exe to Shutdown or Restart

Use the Shutdown.exe command-line to shut down or restart Windows.

Create a desktop shortcut with the following command-line:

shutdown.exe /s /t 0

The above shortcut is to shut down the system immediately, after 0-second timeout.

To restart the system, create another shortcut with the following command-line:

shutdown.exe /r /t 0
Shutdown and Restart –
Desktop shortcuts

Shutdown with Fast Startup

Fast Startup won’t work when you use the above two shutdown.exe shortcuts. But if you want Fast Startup to still work, use the following command-line for shutdown:

shutdown.exe /s /hybrid /t 0

That’s it! This prevents Microsoft Excel, Word or any other programs from reopening at startup. Hope Microsoft adds an option to disable this “automatic reopen of apps” feature in a future update or feature upgrade.

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