One important feature that we always wanted is the ability to resume what we’ve left opened in our PC after a restart or a full shutdown. Normally, we would just do this by putting the computer to sleep, and wake it up with everything intact. But, sleep mode doesn’t actually shut down the computer and have many flaws such as losing your progresses if power failures occur.
This tutorial will show you other better options to set Windows 11 or Windows 10 to reopen applications and windows after a restart (or shut down).
Reopen apps after restart or shutdown in Windows 11/10
Hibernate your PC
Among all the methods to reopen apps and windows after a full power off, the best method to resume your work exactly the states they were before you left them is to put your computer into hibernation mode. Hibernate is still by far the best way to conserve your works if you want to fully “turn off” your computer.
Unlike sleep mode, hibernate mode won’t be interrupted even when there is no power supplying the computer. When you wake your PC from hibernate, Windows 11/10 will be able to reopen your applications and windows exactly when they were left off.
Hibernate is a state where all your opened applications and windows sessions are saved onto your hard disk, and the computer is then put into a sleep state that don’t use power at all. See: Sleep vs. Hibernate in Windows 10/11.
You may want to learn about How to Add Hibernate Option in Windows 11 if you don’t see hibernate option in the shutdown option in Windows 11 or 10. If hibernate is not an option you are looking for, use the method below instead.
Use sign-in info to reopen apps after restart
Since Windows 10 1709 update – the Falls creator update, Microsoft introduced this feature under Privacy setting which allows Windows to use your sign-in information to configure your account after a PC has been restarted, or an update applied. This feature has also been brought forward to Windows 11 as well and enabled by default.
This will make all previously opened applications and windows to reopen automatically upon restart. Microsoft has since further released multiple improvements to the feature and allows more apps to reopen this way after restart.
This method will only reopen applications that have the Register Application Restart capability, which is enabled by default in Windows apps, after restart. Apps such as Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox, opened folder windows and most of the new apps can be reopened this way.
Certain old apps, however, cannot be reopen if they don’t have the ability to register itself to the application restart process in Windows 11 or 10. Here’s how to enable the feature.
- In Windows 11/10, go to Start menu.
- Search for and open Settings, or click directly the Settings app which looks like a gear icon.
- Select Accounts. In Windows 11, the Accounts can be selected from the left pane.
- From the left pane, select Sign-in options.
- Under Privacy, toggle on the option that says Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting up my device and reopen my apps after an update or restart.
When it’s enabled, try to open some folders, edge or chrome browser windows, calculators or any of your favorite applications, and then restart your computer. They should be reopened in the next restart.
Reopen windows after restart in Windows 10/11
If you want Windows to restore and reopen only your previous Windows Explorer sessions (folder windows), there is an not so well-known option hidden in the file explorer options which can do exactly this. To enable the feature, follow the instruction below.
- Go to This PC or anywhere in File Explorer.
- Press Ctrl + F1 to expand the options panel.
- Click on the View tab.
- At the right, click Options then select Change folder and search options.
- Go to View Tab.
- Under Advanced settings, scroll down and enable the option that reads Restore previous folder windows at logon.
However, this method will only reopen folder windows / Windows Explorer you’ve left opened after restart.
Use the Windows startup programs folder
If you don’t mind to resume your app as they start afresh, you can make Windows to launch this applications automatically every time you start your computer.
Check this post to learn how to configure startup folders in Windows 11/10 for all users.
We used to have external software such as twinsplay, cachemywork and smartclose which somewhat do the job for us back in Windows 7 era. As Windows advances, most of these software has stopped developing and updating, thus, they won’t work in Windows 10 or 11.
For me, I would just hibernate my computer whenever I want to switch it off. It doesn’t use power which means you can completely cut off the power source. It would be similar to Shutdown. However, the resume process may take some time depending on how fast your hard disk is. If you have a SSD or M.2 drive, it would certainly help speeding up the wake process drastically.