Disable Apps Auto Reopening in Windows 10

Starting with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the operating system is able to automatically reopen apps which were running before shutdown or restart. This behavior is totally unexpected for most Windows users who upgraded to the recent release of the OS. Here is what you can do to change the situation and stop Windows 10 from restoring previously open apps after a reboot.


If you are following Windows 10 development and articles on this blog, you might be familiar with all the changes done to Windows 10. One of them was the ability to re-launch the apps after installing updates, i.e. after restarting once updates were installed. When one of our readers, Kenzo‏, asked me about apps auto restarting in Fall Creators Update, I suggested him to change the appropriate option. See this article "How To Auto Sign In After Restarting Windows 10". However, this didn't help.

Update: If you are running Windows 10 build 17040 and above, you CAN use the option Use my sign in info to automatically finish setting up my device after an update or restart under Privacy in Settings to disable apps auto restarting. Sign In Automatically After Windows 10 RestartMicrosoft said the following:

Based on your feedback, the feature to restore applications that have registered for application restart after you reboot or shutdown (through power options available on the Start Menu and various other locations) has been set to only occur for users that have enabled “Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting my device after an update or restart” in the Privacy section under Sign-in Options Settings.

If you are running an older build, read on. Tip: To find the build you have installed, refer to the article How to find the Windows 10 build number you are running.

As I have figured out lately, the option in the Settings app is half baked. While it prevents a number of apps from automatically starting after a reboot, it affects Store apps mostly!

Folks on Neowin have found the answer. They discovered the official Microsoft solution for the situation. It is as follows.

Previously, Windows was not supposed to restart any app which was running before the restart. This behavior changed with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Now, Windows 10 will automatically start apps you have been running before the shutdown or restart. Even disabling the Fast Boot feature does not change the situation.

Microsoft's official suggestion comes with two solutions. Let's review them.

To disable apps auto reopening in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Open a new command prompt window.
  2. When you want to shut down, use the following command shut down the OS instead:
    shutdown -t 0 -s

    Shutdown Command Windows 10

  3. When you want to restart, use the following command to reboot the OS instead:
    shutdown -t 0 -r

The commands above will now restart or turn off Windows 10 in a special way, so it won't be able to reopen previously running apps.

You can create the appropriate shortcuts to save your time. Refer to the following article:

Create Shutdown, Restart, Hibernate and Sleep Shortcuts in Windows 10

Windows 10 power shortcut banner

If you want, you can add a Shut Down context menu to the Desktop.

Windows 10 Shut Down Context Menu

Here is how it can be done:

Add Shut Down Context Menu in Windows 10

There is an alternative solution. It is simple but annoying. Before you power off or restart Windows 10, close all the running apps. Look at your notification area (system tray) and close any apps which run in the background which you don't want automatically restored.

OneDrive System Tray Icon

This way, you will have no apps which Windows 10 would restart.

Regardless of the method you use, I suggest you to disable two options mentioned in the articles

From what I read on Neowin and Reddit, I see many people are frustrated by this change. Actually, it's not clear why we need this feature if we already have the Startup folder.

What about you? Do you find this change useful or not? Share your opinion in the comments.

7 thoughts on “Disable Apps Auto Reopening in Windows 10

  1. Sabbir

    I understand the matter with the previous opened apps, but i don’t understand why the “Touch Keyboard” pops up after every start though it was not opened, it is just just pinned in the taskbar.

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    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      do you have a touch screen?

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      1. Sabbir

        No. I use the touch keyboard for night time chatting because my physical keyboard is not backlit.

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      2. Sargon

        I don’t have a touch screen, but I’m having the same issue. Every time I log in, a touch keyboard pops up on its own. I do have it manually pinned to the task bar though (For Emojis, since that new Win+. panel appears to be US-Only™.

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  2. Alcide Cloridrix

    Hello,

    I have no problem whatsoever with apps reopening themselves after every reboot. As a long-time Xubuntu user, I’ve known this for ever, even before being born, Xfce or Gnome2 (I think Mate does it too) behaved this way.

    Only problem, is why did Microsoft not talk about it and make the option to disable it easy to find? In Xfce, it’s as easy as it can get, you just uncheck the “restore previously opened applications” tickbox upon rebooting and there it goes, no mucking around in the terminal or whatever.

    The official way to do the trick in Win 10 looks like an evil flashback from the olden days of MSDOS 6 / ye olde Linux 2.6 where everything interesting you had to do had to be McGyvered through xterm or command prompt.

    Nowadays, choice is up to you. Go simple and do medium-power (or even advanced stuff) through the graphic utilities, but if you’re thus inclined, you can still do it the macho way at the command line.

    Except in this case. Please MS, please, fix this quick!!!

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  3. Johnny Kirmse

    I had this happen to me with the touch keyboard in one of the Insider builds on a laptop with no touch. I have stayed clear from the touch keyboard ever since. I was hoping this matter would have been cleared up with FCU, but it looks like it has apparently not.

    Reported this issue in Feedback Hub several months ago and apparently there were plenty of users with the same issue.

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  4. Jimmi Gruen

    This is a totally annoying and pointless feature that causes UAC prompts to appear for some programs that are set to auto-start via the Task Scheduler (since they are now started twice on every reboot). I can only imagine the kinds of problems this will cause if it gets rolled out to Windows Server 2016 also.

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