How to Stop Windows 10 From Reopening Last Open Apps on Startup
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The Fall Creators Update brought some considerable changes. These updates don’t radically change Windows 10, but they do make modifications around the operating system that you’ll notice.

One of these is Windows’s new ability to re-open programs after you reboot. In prior versions, Windows would start you with a blank slate (aside from startup programs). Now, Windows tries to open the apps you had running when you last shut down.

If you don’t like this, Microsoft’s solution is that you should simply close all programs before you shut down. But that’s not really a solution, is it? We can do better.

How to Stop Windows 10 From Reopening Last Open Apps on Startup Windows 10 Shut Down Dialog

The way around this behavior is to shut down Windows 10 with an alternate method. Instead of using the Shut down command on the Start Menu, use one of the following two methods.

How to Stop Windows 10 From Reopening Last Open Apps on Startup

  1. Press Windows key + D to hide all windows and show the desktop.
    1. Then, press Alt + F4 to show the shutdown dialog.
    2. Select Shut down from the list and click OK to confirm.
  2. Alternatively, use the Command Prompt or the Run dialogue to shut down or restart Windows. Use the first command below to shut down, and the second to restart:
    shutdown /s /t 0
    shutdown /r /t 0

Note that this new behavior is independent of the option for Windows to sign in to your account to finish installing updates (located at Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options).

It’s also different from Cortana’s Pick up where I left off feature. You can access this by clicking in Cortana’s search bar, then selecting the Notebook tab on the left side. Scroll down to the Pick up option and click it, then disable the slider.

How to Stop Windows 10 From Reopening Last Open Apps on Startup Cortana Pick Up Where I Left Off

Do you like Windows bookmarking apps you’re using and opening them at startup? Or would you rather decide what to use? Tell us down in the comments!

Image Credit: okubax/Flickr

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  1. lyo
    February 15, 2018 at 9:11 am

    I still don't understand how to disable definitively that f****ing windows 10 feature.
    I disabled everything I could and Chrome still opens at startup without being in startup apps and with the last visited pages.

    I want some CONTROL and Microsoft removed that with the last version.

  2. had enough
    January 26, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Microsoft is simply THE WORST software developer on the planet.

  3. JDGriffin
    January 17, 2018 at 12:25 am

    This is possibly the most obscenely stupid and intrusive change to an operating system that Microsoft has ever made. As others have noted, the whole point of a restart is to start the machine clean. Does this change mean that if the machine has become unstable or unresponsive, we'll restart it back to the unresponsive state?

    Most of my users don't even know how to close browser windows, so restarting is the only way we can get them to clean up.

  4. Greg K
    January 11, 2018 at 3:00 am

    I hate this feature. I often shut down my computer to kill everything that is running and get a fresh start. No more "fresh starts" anymore.

  5. Garrett N.
    December 20, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for this article. I cant believe how many articles that are still being written tell me that I need to "Turn off Fast Startup" which has nothing to do with this fall creators change.

    • Ben Stegner
      December 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      You're quite welcome!

  6. qxsnap
    November 26, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    It took me about 6 hours of using the fall creators update to realize that I needed to disable this feature. Now we wait until something is done about it. Until then, the workarounds are doable.

  7. Ms. Di
    November 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I detest "programmers" and any and all others making decision for how I want to use MY computer.

    I detest the changes that are made in every, stupid Windows update that I have to WASTE MY TIME to:

    (1) research how to reset/set MY computer to the way I want it;

    (2) change MY folder options (e.g., default views) so that I have to change them EVERY TIME AN UPDATE IS MADE to what serves ME ON MY COMPUTER; and

    (3) have to go through convoluted ways to personalize and re-personalize MY COMPUTER when MICROSOFT CAN AND SHOULD ASK ME IF I WANT TO USE THE NEW OPTIONS. That same window that opes after updates to show us what they're excited about with links to more info SHOULD PERMIT US TO CHOOSE TO TRY THESE OPTIONS BEFORE FORCING US TO ENDURE THE AGGRAVATION OF USELESS CRAP - LIKE 3D PROGRAMS THAT SO MANY OF US DO NOT AND WILL NOT USE.

    The reason I don't have a MAC is because I don't like people I PAY to own products they make for MY USE to make decisions for me.

    I hope that someone crowdfunds a "cross-platformable" operating system that users can control and customize. I will most certainly give them money to make it happen!

    • JR
      November 22, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Yes, could not agree more.

      How could they even think that, 'yea it would be good to open all previous open browser and stuff even if the user select "shutdown"'

      If I want to continue where I left of I would select Suspend the system, have been working fine for a very long time (even if I don't use it)

      Thank you for for the simple "fix" and not thank you MS to force me to find an solution for the this new "feature"

      • MR
        January 19, 2018 at 3:22 am

        Opening Cortana then the notebook, there is not the menu described but only the option to sign in and then speaking a question. So for me the question remains, How to Stop Windows 10 From Reopening Last Open Apps on Startup

      • MR
        January 19, 2018 at 3:37 am

        After rethinking this question, I intentionally closed all the apps I was using, and then shut down the computer normally. Then restarting windows reopened previous closed apps that I had specifically closed. Anybody else see this?

        • had enough
          January 26, 2018 at 7:05 pm

          yes, that's why this "solution" does not work.