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

Ben Stegner 16-11-2017

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 with a blank slate How to Use the Windows 10 Startup Folder: Everything You Need to Know The Windows 10 startup folder lets you manage which programs run at startup. Here's how to find the startup folder and manage its programs. Read More . 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

Related topics: Troubleshooting, Windows 10.

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  1. Yoanka
    March 23, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options > scroll down to privacy > uncheck the second option (Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting up my device and reopen my apps after an update or restart.).

    I feel that this article needs to be updated, because it's the first search result I got while looking for this option after a Windows re-install and it's also the only one in the top 3 that doesn't actually offer the right solution. Seeing your recent comment, I assume you're not aware of this option and the readers that stopped at the first article will not be aware of it either.

    • Tom
      March 28, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you this works. This article is useless

    • Superwomanaj
      July 11, 2019 at 4:25 am

      Thank you, Yoanka!

  2. Blah
    February 19, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    The only things I hate more than Microsoft's shenanigans, are articles like this.

    "How to Stop Windows 10 From Reopening Last Open Apps on Startup"
    How to: You Can't! Sorry, we're annoyed, too :)

    Thanks for making me waste my time by reading alternative shut downs that are just as annoying then.
    Also, those shut downs are also listed in every article on how to dodge forced updates. Guess what doesn't work for that, either? I know ya'll were probably paid to write x articles by Thursday, but I hate you & your job more than Microsoft. It's 100% as bad as telemarketers.

    • Ben Stegner
      February 19, 2019 at 7:58 pm

      I understand that this is a frustrating behavior, but the article does offer a way around it. Clearly a lot of people hate this behavior and are looking for a way around it, so we've provided this as a best solution for the time being. I can't help that this solution isn't convenient for you.

      Also note that this article is from November 2017, which is some time ago.

      If you hate someone on the internet you've never met who offers solutions to problems more than the company that creates those problems, I don't know what to tell you.

      • Blah
        April 7, 2019 at 7:22 pm

        The only solution here is Yoanka's comment, posted just 1 month ago.
        No one in their right mind is going to do 1000 alternate shut down steps to avoid closing a window or two after startup. That's like saying "tired of allergies? fill your nose with sand and tape it shut before leaving the house!"

        Also, I'm not hating on YOU, or even this trashy site, it's a combination of window-based frustration and having to deal with shitty articles about the issue. Every time, every issue.

        Within a week of the problem occurring, 20 articles are written with clickbaity titles that lead you to believe they're helpful & feel your pain, but they aren't. I know you get paid to write this drivel, so your sympathy is mostly insult-injury, and you're as low as cold callers. Everyone has to make a living, but don't act surprised when people despise you for your choice by default. Again, this page just got (un)lucky by being the one I was on when I needed to vent.

        "Also note that this article is from November 2017"
        ??? Problem still exists and this article is on page one of the Google results.
        "Why are people still reading my bad article, I'll never understand"

      • cuy*sol
        April 10, 2019 at 10:01 pm

        Um... But the article *didn't* offer a solution, only potential work-arounds. Only Yoanka's comment seemed to offer a solution. As for 'hating', I wouldn't take it personally... Hating a crap article is not the same as hating the writer. And is "sorry but this is an old article" really a good excuse on the internet? As it's not printed in a book you could always update it. Just a thought.

  3. Peter t Dodd
    February 15, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Typical marketing hype; if it wasn't they would have made it an option, disabled out of the box, but detailed description in the fall creator notes (anybody ever seen these), informing us that if this feature was wanted how to enable it.
    I'm a developer and I hate it when Microsoft make arbitrary decisions, that ends up with me having to spend my time and money trying to figure out a work around for a tool no less

  4. Jeff
    January 5, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Unless you are a robot, users are likely not doing the same thing every time they turn on the computer. A computer (maybe contrary to popular belief) is not a toy of convenience, but a tool that needs the user to think just as much as they did when doing long division. The feature is helpful if the computer is left on and sleeps or goes into battery saving mode. But shutdown? Shutdown means the user is finished.

  5. Judith Hadley
    November 6, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I seriously hate it that Windows opens my apps on startup. I know someone thought this would be a nice thing and/or a time saver, but I want to open my stuff or choose to have it opened. MS needed to put in an option for people to decide if they wanted this to happen or not!

  6. Gavin Hecklesburg
    September 25, 2018 at 3:54 am

    How about a simple checkbox, Microsoft? You have 15 different checkboxes to turn off AutoCorrect, after all. Why not this?

    It's like they ripped off OS X's "open last apps" feature, but poorly.

  7. rw
    June 22, 2018 at 10:51 am


    I could probably list a long set of reasons why, but I won't waste your time. Just to say this: adding this "feature" is fine, but not being able to turn it off is infuriating.

  8. Miguel Guzman
    March 15, 2018 at 12:07 am


  9. Shay
    March 13, 2018 at 2:31 am

    The biggest pain for this is if a program is crashing and has locked up/slowed down my system and I can't shutdown normally, a force crash and reboot ends up loading all the programs causing a problem. Stupid feature

  10. Ex
    February 25, 2018 at 7:39 am

    This annoying and unnecessary feature only slows down the operating system boot and brings anger to people like me. A perfect nonsense especially when you can't turn it off. I wonder what brilliant mind will have thought of such a thing.

  11. 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.

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

    Microsoft is simply THE WORST software developer on the planet.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.