In Mac OS X Lion, when I do Apple > Shut Down, there is a checkbox that says "Reopen windows when logging back in".

Even though I constantly UNCHECK the box, it seems OS X doesn't care - and still opens some Finder windows and sometimes Chrome...

How can I turn this feature off?

  • 2
    In System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items, is Chrome set to open at login? In Snow Leopard, I know Finder windows were restored at launch, but Chrome windows are a mystery. – Nathan Walker Aug 7 '11 at 15:03
  • You were right about Chrome, it was in the login items, I don't know how it got there... – nute Aug 10 '11 at 7:16
  • I added that as an answer so you can mark your question as successfully answered. – Nathan Walker Aug 10 '11 at 14:12
  • Perhaps is our old friend GoogleSoftwareUpdate ? I bet Chromium does not do that .... :\ – chiggsy Aug 12 '11 at 3:15
  • Unchecking "Reopen windows when logging back in" really just disables reopening applications. When applications are reopened either manually or as login items, their state is still restored. (Even if Resume was disabled in the General preferences and application state wouldn't normally be restored.) – Lri May 10 '12 at 18:25

Be sure that Google Chrome isn't included in System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items.

Also, Finder windows restore by default regardless, as they did in Snow Leopard.


This bug has been fixed with the Lion update 10.7.4:

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.

enter image description here

(click here for more information)


For the record, we’re talking about this:


The problem is that OS X doesn’t remember if you uncheck the checkbox on the last shutdown — it will always keep the checkbox checked by default on subsequent shutdowns.

I found two different solutions for this problem, that seem to do the trick, although they aren’t ideal.

Open Terminal.app and enter the following commands:

defaults write com.apple.loginwindow TALLogoutSavesState -bool false
defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LoginwindowLaunchesRelaunchApps -bool false

This effectively disables the “reopen windows when logging back in” option, although the checkbox will still appear to be checked. You can just ignore it.

I’m afraid there’s no better solution, at least not at the moment.

Update: OS X 10.7.4 fixed this — it now remembers your selection:

  • 1
    It seems Mountain Lion fixed the issue – nute Mar 22 '12 at 10:57
  • @nute So does Mountain Lion remember your selection, or does it respect and remember the TALLogoutSavesState setting? It’s a neat improvement either way! – Mathias Bynens Mar 22 '12 at 11:01
  • 2
    It remembers my checkbox selection. – nute Mar 25 '12 at 11:13
  • This hack resulted in some graphical glitches on my MBP 8-2 every time I logged in! This other solution on the other hand was fine. – gentmatt May 15 '12 at 11:00

Do you ever want applications to restore to their closed state, or just at startup? If you want something resembling pre-Lion behavior (i.e. not picking up where you left off), try this.

Back up your system before trying this, in case it messes anything up, but I'd recommend this procedure: In the Finder, press Command-shift-G for "Go to the folder:" then type "~/Library/Saved Application State/" (without the quotes). Delete all the folders in Saved Application State, then press Command-I to Get File Info. In the Get File Info window, check the "locked" box. This should keep applications from restoring their state.

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