Notepad Keeps Opening Old Files, Why?

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

If you’ve just switched to Windows 11 or have the latest Windows 10, you might notice something funny with Notepad. It tends to open the last thing you worked on or the old note you had open before, in a new window or tab. This happens whether you’re starting fresh or opening something specific.

It’s pretty annoying if you like to start with a blank page or need to get to a particular file fast. Don’t worry, though. We’re here to help you fix this so Notepad will start up with a new window instead.

Notepad Keeps Opening Old Files

Notepad’s “Continue where you left off” feature

The thing where Notepad reopens your last documents is actually a feature meant to be helpful. It saves where you left off so you can easily pick back up. But, if you’re someone who likes a clean start, this might be more of a hassle.

Also see: How to Restore Old Legacy Notepad in Windows 11
Open Notepad in Windows 11

Adjusting the Notepad start settings

Here’s how you can tweak Notepad’s setting so it doesn’t keep opening up old stuff:

  1. Open Notepad on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 computer.
  2. Click on the ‘Settings’ gear icon, which is usually at the top right corner.Open Notepad Settings
  3. Look for the section called “When Notepad starts” in the Settings menu.
    • Open content from the previous session: This default setting is why Notepad keeps opening old files.
    • Open a new window: Pick this option to have Notepad open a blank document each time.

    Make Notepad to open only a new window

  4. After choosing “Open a new window,” shut Notepad and try opening it again. It should now start with just one blank note.

Related resource: How to Recover Unsaved Notepad in Windows 11

Resetting Notepad to default settings

If tweaking the start-up doesn’t cut it, or if Notepad’s acting up in other ways, you might need to reset it. Here’s how:

  1. Hit Win + i to open Windows Settings.
  2. Go to ‘Apps‘ then ‘Installed Apps‘.Settings Installed Apps Windows 11
  3. Find Notepad in the list or quickly search for it.
  4. Click the three dots next to Notepad, then select ‘Advanced Options‘.
  5. Scroll to ‘Reset‘ and hit ‘Reset‘.Reset Notepad app Windows 11 10

Resetting wipes your settings and any unsaved data, so think twice before doing it.

Might be useful: How to Add Notepad to Desktop in Windows 11

Ensuring complete closure of Notepad via Task Manager

Notepad might not close right if your computer’s been on too long, and keeps bringing back old files. Here’s how to make sure it’s totally closed:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc for Task Manager.
  2. Look for Notepad under ‘Processes‘.
  3. If you see it, select and click ‘End Task‘.Force close notepad entirely

This stops any Notepad stuff running in the background.

Linked issue: Notepad Chinese Characters Bug in Windows 11

Creating a shortcut for a fresh notepad session

If Notepad keeps reopening old files and you want a quick fix, you can make a desktop shortcut that always opens a new blank document. Here’s how:

  1. Right-click on your desktop or inside a folder for the shortcut.
  2. Choose ‘New’, then ‘Shortcut’.
  3. Type notepad.exe in the location field.
  4. Finish the setup and name your shortcut, like ‘New Notepad’.
  5. Right-click your new shortcut and go to ‘Properties’.
  6. Under the ‘Shortcut’ tab, add “/A” after notepad.exe in the ‘Target’ field. It should be notepad.exe /A.Force Notepad to open new blank note in new window

The “/A” makes sure Notepad opens a blank page, skipping the autosave load.

When all else fails, try a third-party alternative

Still seeing old files in Notepad? Maybe give another text editor a try. There are plenty out there like Notepad++, packed with features and more customization.

Concluding thoughts

Notepad’s habit of bringing back old files can be handy or a pain, depending on your needs. Luckily, you’ve got options to tweak its behavior, whether you want to start fresh or keep things rolling from where you left off. From adjusting settings to making shortcuts, these tips should help keep Notepad from opening up things you don’t want on Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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