turn off Resume – the definitive solution!

Finally, someone’s come up with the definitive – and as far as I know only – successful solution to turning of the OS X Lion Resume feature. This little trick from poster billearl will stop your Mac opening all the apps that were still running when you shutdown/restart.

1. Close all windows and quit all apps.

2. In Finder, hold down the Option key and click ‘Go’ in the menu bar at the top.

3. Choose ‘Library’ (you have to have the Option key held down to see Library in the menu).

4. Navigate to Library > Preferences > ByHost > com.apple.loginwindow.[xxxxxxxxx].plist

The [xxxxxxxx] represent some interminable string of numbers and letters. Don’t mistake it for the similarly entitled Unix executable file. What you need to check is that its ‘loginwindow’ and ‘.plist’ at the end.

5. When you’re sure you’ve identified the right file, select it and press Cmd-i to show the ‘Get Info’ window. Click the ‘Locked’ option.

6. Now, test that it works. Close the ‘Get info’ window and the finder window. Open up Safari, Preview and a couple of windows. Do a restart and behold — if you followed the instructions correctly — a clean desktop!

Now, a small word of caution. One thing this trick won’t do is stop your apps like Safari and Preview from re-opening the last page/file when you manually fire them up after restart. In order to get them to forget your last opened page/file, you also need to do this:

7. Go to the ~/Library/ Saved Application State folder.

8. Select all the contents inside and send them to Trash.

9. Right-click on the Saved Application State folder’s icon and choose ‘Get Info’ (or press cmd-i).

10. Click the ‘Locked’ option. If it’s greyed out, go down to the padlock at the bottom, click on that and enter your password. You should now be able to check the ‘Locked’ option.

And finally, after those ten (phew…) steps…no more Resume!


About philastokes

Independent Software Developer, Technical Writer and Researcher at SentinelOne. Explaining the unexplainable with images, video and text. Scripting anything imaginable in AppleScript, Bash, Python and Swift.

Posted on September 13, 2011, in OS X Lion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. This had the unfortunate side effect of preventing the Utilities group in the Applications dock icon from opening. All other subfolders would open, but not Utilities.

    Also, after restarting, Finder would get throw an error saying it had a problem trying to reopen its windows.

    When I unlocked the plist file, these problems went away.

    This is on Lion 10.7.4.

  2. I’ve been dealing with closing multiple windows every time I launched Safari for months since upgrading to Lion, it was so annoying. I had unchecked all the appropriate boxes yet, still had the problem. The second half of this article was SO helpful, thank you! It’s so nice to FINALLY see one window pop up as opposed to three when I open Safari.

  3. Your method seems to work well. I sometimes have my desktop on for weeks, with many programs open at times. When it crashed (rarely) it was a nightmare getting it back up and operational. If I had 20 programs open, it would try to open all of them at once. The same group that crashed the system, opening with all the files.

    I have seen everyone everywhere else suggest that unclicking
    Restore windows when quiting and re-opening apps” was going to do it all. In a crash, that option is ignored and everything opened.

    Thanks for this!

  4. Nice tips. Both worked lika a charm!

  5. It’s OK for me, it stopped launching apps at startup, but it still open the last windows in Pages or in Textedit…

  6. Thank you so much! I’ve been searching for weeks to find this. Why it’s not a check box in the General settings pane completely mystifies me.

  7. The first thing I’d do is check these programs aren’t in your login items list. To do that, go

    1.  > System Preferences > Users & Groups (or ‘Accounts’ in Snow Leopard)

    2. Click ‘Login Items’ tab near the top (not ‘Login options’ at the bottom).

    3. If Mail and Firefox are listed in there, remove them by selecting them and clicking the ‘-‘ button next to the ‘+’). Restart. You should get a clean desktop. If you remove them, but you don’t get a clean desktop on restart, go to step 5 below.

    4. If Mail and Firefox are NOT in your login items list, then they may have been running when you locked the plist file in step four above, or perhaps the file was corrupted before you locked it. In any case:

    5. Unlock and delete the plist file, restart your computer, then do the whole procedure in the main post again from step 1.

  8. Mail and firefox still reappear. I want the default to be a clean start.

  9. It Works, but I had to manualy edit the com.apple.loginwindow.[xxxxxxxxx].plist file. Because it still said to open Photoshop, VLC, Safari and DVD Player.

    Weirdly enough: if you go to System Preferences, and then to general: Restore windows when quiting and re-opening apps can’t be changed. I can change it, but on the next logon,it’s checked again…

    Weird, Maybe do a clean install of Lion afterall.

    • Yes, I think this fix may have some unintended consequences. Be good if you could let us know if you notice any other strange things that start to happen.

  10. I just wish it remembered which windows were hidden and which were live. My restart brings up:
    Terminal, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reeder, Safari – and all the open tabs at the time reload, EyeTV, which then starts a live TV playback, iTunes, LibreOffice, VLC, iSoftPhone and finally Skype, I then have to go through an rehire everything I’m not using. Argh. It remembers what desktop, why not window state??

  11. Also, it seems this isn’t really a good work around if you want to be still able to resume applications etc on restarting.

    Yes, you’re right about that. The procedure above means Resume is completely disabled, and you shouldn’t use it unless that’s exactly what you want to achieve.

  12. It seems you no longer have to keep unhiding the Library folder since the 10.7.1 update. Not sure if it shows by default, but if you select to unhide the folder it should remains visible.

    I see what you mean now. Certainly, in 10.7.1 your hidden/no hidden prefs will survive a restart. You can also use

    defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES
    (press ‘Return’)
    killall Finder
    (press ‘Return’)

    to show all your hidden files and folders (change that to NO if you want to hide them again). They’ll be greyed out when you view them in Finder, but you can still click on them and explore. Restart won’t change this pref unless there’s something wrong with your system.

  13. Also, it seems this isn’t really a good work around if you want to be still able to resume applications etc on restarting. It merely stops the preferences file from being written to, so checking or unchecked the box on exit will result in nothing being resumed on log-in.

    What’s needed is it the ability to change the checkbox to unchecked by default, not disabling the option completely. Seems to be yet another example of Apple not being thorough in giving the user all options. It makes no sense to force a new option onto users irrespective if they want it or not. If your working quickly (or in a rush to shut-down) unchecking this box is both an irritation and also something that 9 times out of 10 gets missed before you click continue. The normal and most logical way of working seems to keep getting ignored by Apple these days, the software has the option to remember what you were last doing and reopen everything, but it doesn’t use the same logic to remembering weather you chose to check or uncheck this little box last time you logged out. On logging/switching off a record should be kept of the previously selected option for this box. It’s so simple and should be applied in 99.9% of cases (I believe it’s referred to as a logical and consistent workflow, is this not what the whole sleek and simplistic look and design of Apple products is continually alluding to?).

  14. It seems you no longer have to keep unhiding the Library folder since the 10.7.1 update. Not sure if it shows by default, but if you select to unhide the folder it should remains visible.

    If you have trouble getting this to work then download the app “Lion Tweaks”, either use a search engine to find it or try this link:


    From here there is an option to reveal the Library folder, this use to be temporary fix until you logged out, now it’s a permanent change.

    • John, there are two Libraries. One at the root folder level (first level of your hard disk) and one in your user/home folder.

      In 10.7.1, the root level Library is not hidden. However, the user Library is still a hidden folder. You can, however, make it unhidden without resorting to third-party software.

      Open up the Terminal.app (Applications > Utilities > Terminal.app), and then paste in this command:

      chflags nohidden ~/Library

      If you want to undo this, just change ‘no hidden’ to ‘hidden’.

      • Yes I am aware of this, and I am talking about the one Apple hides by default in the users home folder. In addition I have used all of the terminal commands that exist for this operation and none of them work permanently, whenever you restart OS X the folder is just rehidden once again. Though this was under 10.7 not 10.7.1.

        I would assume the terminal commands do work permanently now under 10.7.1, however I have not tested them since the OS X update so I include the option of this third party software as it’s a more convenient method and I know it definitely works with permanent effect. It also has a number of other functions included that is far simpler to access than having to remember and or find code to paste into terminal.

%d bloggers like this: