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Restartable apps


Steerpike

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I just recently became aware of this, and assumed it was a new win 11 feature, but it is actually in win 10 also. I find it really useful! Mentioning it here in case anyone hasn't heard of it. 

 

Basically, windows now restarts any app that was running previously, across a restart (if you enable the feature for that app).  The app has to be capable of it, and I don't know how many apps do or don't support it, but I've been pleasantly surprised to find that notepad supports it, as well as IrfanView, Excel, and more.  Excel and notepad will re-launch after a restart with the same files it had open previously (that's what makes it useful!).  I used to dread system restarts, as I would have to close all my files then re-open them afterwards. Now, I can just leave everything 'as is' and all my files will be there after a restart.  

 

To turn this on, go to settings / Accounts / Sign-in Options, and enable 'Automatically save my restartable apps and restart them when I sign back in'.  Then, for each app you want to have this behavior, right click the app's executable and choose 'properties', then the 'compatibility' tab, and check 'Register this program for restart'.  Oddly, you cannot control this behavior in the more obvious location - Settings / Apps / Apps & Features ... (which is where I was initially looking). Also, you have to locate the executable itself, which means, right-clicking the entry in the start menu, and choosing more / open file location, which is annoying. 

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I can say that you don't have to go to Properties / Compatibility and check that box, at least not for all apps.  I know because I've never touched that setting and I've had Office 365 apps automatically popping back open after a restart.

 

I don't know the "ins and outs" of this...  I actually prefer to decide which programs open after restart and when, so I have turned the "automatically reopen apps after restart" feature off in Windows Settings.

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I have mixed feelings about this feature - sometimes it would be handy, but often I want a fresh start with nothing running after a reboot.  Though I can see why it would be beneficial in 10/11 with their proclivity to reboot when they feel like it after installing updates.

 

It seems that the new feature is Windows keeping track of which applications were running.  Some applications, such as Notepad++ and OneNote, have long supported restarting without losing track of which files they had open.  Perhaps Microsoft also added an API to make it slightly easier for applications to add that behavior.

 

Program Manager would do the same thing with restarting exactly as it had been in Windows 3.1, but sometime in the Windows 9x line that stopped being the default in its successor, Windows Explorer (though I believe it remained an option for a while).  I often found it annoying that Program Manager would restart exactly as it had been, meaning I'd have to manually close each window.

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