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Unchecking "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps" under System Preferences -> General doesn't work - for example, when I re-open an app (e.g. Preview) it restores a window (call it 'PDF 1') I had open before quitting that app. (At least when I quit it by logging out, even with 'Reopen windows when logging back in' unchecked.) Any pointers?

I've found people describing similar problems, around the web and on StackExchange (in answers/comments, but not dedicated questions). But no answers that work for me. I've tried the solutions suggested at Disable resume for all apps in Daniel's answer (after which ~/Library/Saved Application State/ has stayed empty) and joelseph's comment on his answer.

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Lri, I have now with no luck. – tog22 Feb 8 '12 at 14:59
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The following Terminal command (found it here) will disable Resume for applications that ignore the "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps" settings (for Preview in this example):

defaults write ApplePersistenceIgnoreState -bool yes

Swap 'Preview' in the above command with 'TextEdit', 'Safari', 'Xcode' etc.

Also, check out this Terminal command that not only disables Resume, but also Auto Save and Versions.

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This does actually seem to disable restoring state after logging out and back in. defaults write -g ApplePersistenceIgnoreState -bool true also works. – user495470 May 30 '12 at 12:05
Wouldn't set it globally, though, because it causes saved application state data to be moved out of the user's home folder (somewhere in /private/var iirc (check Console)). It's also only needed for a few misbehaving Apple applications (iirc). – user23369 May 30 '12 at 12:47
The behavior described in my answer applied to all Apple's apps and third party apps I tested. – user495470 May 30 '12 at 12:58
Sorry, what I meant to say, was that only certain Apple applications didn't respect the "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps" setting. – user23369 May 30 '12 at 13:01

It's a bug. According to the release notes, it was fixed by 10.7.4 which came out a few days ago:

The OS X Lion v10.7.4 Update includes fixes that:

  • Resolve an issue in which the "Reopen windows when logging back in" setting is always enabled.
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It's not necessarily even a bug even if the release notes call it an issue. And 10.7.4 didn't seem to affect the behavior described in this question. Even if Resume was disabled and restoring windows was unchecked, application state is still restored when apps are reopened manually after logging out and back in. – user495470 May 15 '12 at 4:28

I think it's more or less the intended behavior. Even if Resume was disabled

and reopening windows was unchecked

the state of applications is still restored after you log out and back in and open them manually (or they are opened as login items). The checkbox should be called something like "Reopen applications when logging back in" instead.

The behavior changed on Mountain Lion. It no longer keeps the state of applications if both types of resume are disabled:

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Try TinkerTool: Its Resume tab has a global "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps" option, maybe that will help.

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Thanks, but this doesn't work. It appears to just check/uncheck "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps" under System Preferences -> General – tog22 Feb 8 '12 at 15:01
I was afraid of that, sorry. – svec Feb 9 '12 at 13:34

RestoreMeNot, a free preference pane

The window restoration feature of Mac OS X Lion is one of the coolest features of Apple's new OS. Sometimes however, one might not want the windows of a certain application to be restored when launching it. Unfortunately window restoration can only be disabled system-wide and not on a per-application basis.

This is where RestoreMeNot comes in and provides a simple preference pane for disabling window restoration for individual applications.

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Why is this good? What does it do? A simple link isn't good enough. – CajunLuke Aug 29 '12 at 22:14
While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – CajunLuke Aug 29 '12 at 22:15

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