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I had to power cycle my Macbook Pro by holding down the power button after it locked up.

When it restarted, it reloaded all the apps that I had been running before, which took a long time and was completely unnecessary.

Is there a way I can prevent it from reloading the previously running apps?

I'm running OS X 10.7.

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Holding the shift key down at login should prevent apps from relaunching for that login.

If you want to permanently prevent apps from reopening, you can quit all apps then lock the*.plist file found in ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/

This plist keeps a list of open apps, and any apps that are in that list at logout will be launched again after login (assuming the checkbox is ticked to do so, as it always is by default). If you quit all apps, then lock that plist, it's list of apps will always be empty, so even when that checkbox is ticked, there will be no apps in the list to relaunch.

Unlocking the plist will return it to normal behavior.

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This works. @Avalanchis you should accept this answer. – Neil Sep 8 '15 at 9:00

Go to System Preferences/General.

Un-click the box "Restore windows when quitting..."

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That'll prevent an app from reopening windows when it starts, but it's completely separate from the feature that reopens apps at login. – Gordon Davisson Sep 21 '11 at 16:01

What you are looking for is to disable ApplePersistence feature, which can be done with:

defaults write -g ApplePersistence -bool no
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