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Lion customizations: Resume

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Resume is one of the new features Apple introduced with OS X 10.7 or Lion. Resume remembers the state of an application when you Quit the application, or even when you've logged off. Resume tracks and remembers the windows you had open, the arrangement and positioning of the windows, and even where your cursor was. Resume does this by creating special folders in the user's Library folder.

It can be terribly convenient to be able to Quit an application or log off, and resume exactly where you were the last time.

But it can also be a bit of a problem; imagine if you're working a sensitive document for work, and you happen to shut down without closing that file. The next time you log in, that file may pop up in the application's window. The potential for inadvertent information leaks, or simple public humiliation, are potentially huge.

There are three built-in ways to control how Resume works in Lion. The first involves telling the application to Quit without saving the Resume state.

To Quit an application without saving its Resume status:

  1. Quit the program while pressing the Option key.
  2. Either press Option-Command-Q, or by press the Option key while choosing "Quit" from the Application menu.
  3. The standard "Quit" menu item changes to "Quit and Discard Windows."
  4. The next time you launch that application, you'll be starting fresh. Keep in mind that some applications' local preferences have a setting for what to display when starting.

Quitting an application by using the modifier keys allows you to control the Resume behavior on an case-by-case basis.

The second method involves turning Resume off completely for your account, via the System Preferences. This method turns off the Resume feature in all your applications permanently, unless you reverse it.

Turning of Resume in System Preferences:

  1. Open System Preferences (under the Apple menu).
  2. Click the General tab.
  3. Two-thirds of the way down on the General tab, uncheck the box next to "Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps.

Note: When you set the System Preferences to not restore windows, if you Quit an application using the modifier keys allows you to restore windows on an application-by-application basis.

The third built-in method of controlling Resume is to log off an account and uncheck a setting in the log off dialog window.

To Log Off and Temporarily Turn off Resume:

  1. Log off your user account in Lion.
  2. You will see a dialog window that asks if you are "sure you want to quit all applications and log off now."
  3. At the bottom of the window is a check box that beside the label "Reopen windows when logging back in."
  4. Uncheck the box if you do not want Resume to remember your windows when you log in the next time.
  5. Click the Log Out button.

This last method only affects Resume behavior the next time you log in. You will see this dialog every time you log off.

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