Whenever I log in to my Mac, the following programs automatically open up: Firefox, Excel, Word, PPT, and VLC Media Player. I went into System Preferences, Users & Groups, and Login Items, and the only thing in there was the iTunesHelper application. Any idea on how I can or where I need to go on the Mac to stop these programs from automatically opening up after I log in?



  • 6
    Are these the programs that you leave open when you shutdown? If so, there's a checkbox that you can deselect when shutting down to prevent them from reopening. – Hippo Mar 28 '12 at 18:09

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.

Terminal Solution

Scott Nash wrote:

  1. Open up your ~/Library/Preferencese/ByHost folder and delete the com.apple.loginwindow.<long alpha-numeric string>
  2. Copy and 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 Look for the line with TALLogoutSavesState. It should be 0, now.

The 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.

Script Solution

Vic07 wrote:

By using a simple AppleScript application, you can achieve this in a consistent way.

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.

This new 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 button.

CleanShutDown 2.0
CleanReboot 2.0

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.

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