One of the most annoying features I have found in OS X Lion is that when an application is restarted, by default, it tries to reload all of the previous windows that had been open. For example, if I have several Safari windows open, all with multiple tabs active, if I “Quit” Safari normally through the menu, it will attempt to reopen all of my windows and tabs the next time it is launched. For all but the most casual user of the system, I contend that this is not the desired behavior.
I tend to leave my main computing machinery “up” all the time and only shut down or restart for specific maintenance events, like software upgrades or hardware problems. If I “quit” an application, it isn’t because I want it to resume where it left off, but rather, I want a fresh and clean environment to work in. I don’t want any pages loaded. I don’t want any scripts running. I surely don’t want to wait while it “helps me” by doing all this. Reloading 20-30 tabs within Safari can easily take several minutes and grind the system to a halt in the process. Many browser tabs also fail to load if they require authentication. Not helpful.
One of the easiest ways to quit most applications on the Mac is to use Commnad-Q with the appropriate window active.
In order to make the application “forget” the previous windows that it had open, include the Option key in the sequence– Command-Option-Q. You may also hold the Option key down when you select “Quit” from the application menu.
If, like me, you often forget to terminate the application that way, you can set this behavior globally in the Settings -> General area as indicated in the screen capture below:
Keep in mind that changing this setting in the preferences will impact all system applications. You will no longer have the option to restore previous windows within any application which abides by this setting.
Several other methods of modifying this setting for specific applications have been discussed elsewhere on the internet. As my need to completely disable this “feature” are satisfied through the setting, I stopped my investigation here. Your mileage may vary.
Now, if there was only an easy and sane way for me to turn off the default behavior of reopening windows when I log back in, I would be a happy camper. I always forget to uncheck the box and I have to wait while my system fully loads everything again. Fortunately, I don’t restart that often. Apple, please stop helping me this much. Can we fix this, please?
Update 5/10/12: With the release of 10.7.4, the “Reopen windows when logging back in” bug has been fixed. It now properly stores the last selection when the menu is displayed. We all need to celebrate the little victories in life…