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I have set my Mac to switch off on late evening, and switch on on early morning. I didn't use any third-party utilities to do this.

When it starts up, the Mac loads all the applications that were open when the computer shut off. In the dialog box that appears when I manually shut down the Mac, I de-selected the check box to reopen the running applications.

Why does the Mac reopen the previously running applications? How can I avoid it does that?

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No, I have not. I thought that unchecking that check box was enough to avoid Mac re-launches the applications at start up. With OS X 10.8, that check box is unselected by default, and I have never changed it to checked. –  kiamlaluno Apr 27 '13 at 9:40
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