As @Hippo noted, you're probably talking about the OS X Lion feature where programs that are open at shutdown are automatically re-opened at startup unless you uncheck a checkbox when shutting down. Currently, there's no way to unselect that choice via the default UI.
However, a few posters in an Apple Discussion forum have provided some Terminal commands and created AppleScript scripts that can perform this task.
Scott Nash wrote:
- Open up your
~/Library/Preferencese/ByHost folder and delete
com.apple.loginwindow.<long alpha-numeric string>
paste this command into Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.loginwindow TALLogoutSavesState 0
The file you deleted is the one that stores
which apps and windows are open. The command directly writes the
preference for saving the logout state.
You can read the setting by
using this command, although it should reflect the setting in the
General System Prefs, now.
defaults read com.apple.loginwindow
for the line with
TALLogoutSavesState. It should be
checkbox in the shutdown dialog will remain checked, but you won't
need to change it. It should ignore that since the main preference is
set to not save state.
By using a simple AppleScript application, you can achieve this in a
I've compiled an application that after clicking its
icon, it will shut down your Mac with "save state" disabled. You can
use this app on a daily basis instead of turning the Mac off in the
traditional way. A good idea could be putting it on your Dock so you
always have it handy.
You can download the app from here
Later in the discussion, he posts updated versions:
CleanReboot and CleanShutDown have been updated to 2.0.
version is /MUCH/ cleaner than the previous one, since instead of
modifying the defaults it makes Finder act like if the user unchecked
the save state checkbox and then clicked the Shut Down or Restart
You may want to check out those scripts to see if they address your issue.
One of these two methods may address your issue - I'll have to test it on my Mac after I head home.