Stop Windows 10 from opening programs after restart

Windows 10 v1709 added a feature to Windows that automatically reopened the programs, which were open when you shut down or restarted your computer. While some just love the feature, others are looking for a way to disable it. If you are one who wants to stop Windows 10 from reopening programs & applications after a restart, then this post will interest you.

What changed

What has changed in this scenario is that Windows preserves the state of your open applications before it shuts down or restarts. Once the computer has started again, all these applications are reloaded in the interest of productivity and continuity. This is because of the Winlogon Automatic Restart Sign-On (ARSO) feature.

But if you liked it the old way, a computer starting fresh and fast after a restart then you might be a little disappointed by this feature. But this can be tackled with a few approaches, make note that Windows does not provide any control or switch for this feature as of now, but you can work around a bit to achieve it.

Some people do confuse this feature with a setting called Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting up my devices after an update or restart’, but this setting has nothing do with this feature till Windows 10 v1709. But starting with Windows 1803, Microsoft changed a few things. Read on to find out.

Stop Windows 10 from reopening programs after restart

The most simple and best solution to this problem is ‘Close your applications before a shutdown.’ Yes, that seems one additional step before shutting down your computer, but that is a habit you can maintain over time. But if this does not work for you, consider the following approaches to this issue.

1] Use Alt+F4. Don’t use Start > Shutdown. Instead of the start menu, you can use the classic ‘Shut Down Windows’ dialog to perform a shutdown or restart. Go to desktop and hit ‘Alt+F4’, now choose the desired option and hit ‘OK’.

Stop Windows 10 from reopening applications after restart

Another way of doing this quickly would be pressing ‘Win+M’ to minimize all the windows and then hitting ‘Alt+F4’ to bring up the classic shut down dialog.

2] This method is a little tricky one but is easier to access later and use. You will have to create a desktop shortcut that will full shut down your computer without preserving the state of the applications.

Right-click your desktop and then select ‘New > Shortcut’.

Now type in ‘shutdown /s /t 0’ and hit Next. Name your shortcut and also choose an appropriate icon for it.

This command will shutdown your computer without preserving the application state.

The commands for restart are ‘shutdown /r /t 0’ and if you want Windows to use fast-boot, then the command will be ‘shutdown /s /hybrid /t 0’.

You can create as many shortcuts you want, and you can also pin this shortcut to the taskbar. Alternatively, you can pin this shortcut to start menu so that you can have dedicated control to shut down your computer from the start menu itself. If you do not want to deal with the shortcuts, you can directly run the above commands from a CMD window. This post talks about the Shutdown command line options available to you.

3] In Windows 10 v1803 and later, use shutdown -g in the Run box or CMD. You may create and use the desktop shortcut.

4] Open Settings > Accounts > Sign-in Options and turn off Use my sign-in info to automatically. This will stop Windows 10 from reopening the programs in  Windows 10 v1803 and later.

5] In Windows 10 v1803 you can also open the Group Policy Editor and navigate to the following setting:

Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Logon Option

Double-click on Sign-in last interactive user automatically after a system-initiated restart and set it to “Disabled”.

So, these were two workarounds to stop Windows 10 from reopening applications after a shutdown or a restart. You can use any one of these methods.

Read next: Disable This app is preventing shutdown message in Windows 10.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Lavish loves to follow up on the latest happenings in technology. He loves to try out new Windows-based software and gadgets and is currently learning JAVA. He loves to develop new software for Windows. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software is always recommended, he feels.


  1. moonman

    Just uncheck “Use my sign in info to automatically finish setting up my device after an update or restart” under sign-in options. No need to fuss with batch files.

  2. What a terrible feature vastly compounded by not giving the user a choice in the matter.

  3. The feature makes sense as an OPTION, but there needs to be a choice. Come on Microsoft.

  4. Los2000

    Stupid Microsoft.

  5. Slaggggg

    I agree. No one asked for this feature and it’s a huge pain. Shutdown used to be a way to get a “clean start”. Now it reopens all the garbage I had open before… totally unacceptable. Whomever came up with this feature should be publicly scorned.

  6. Joe Greene

    Horrible, simply horrible. If there were ever a reason for a development team to face a firing squad, it’s “features” like restarting programs open at shutdown to automatically open upon boot-up.

  7. Basic

    ARSO… What an appropriate name for a truly pointless feature.

    I suspect the reality if that this is Microsoft’s desperate attempt to patch over the fact their OS is so unstable it forces a reboot every few weeks for patching.

    I’ve got linux servers with uptime measured in years.

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