Prevent Auto-Connect on Restart/Login

Is there a way to prevent the Windows Tailscale client from auto-connecting on a system boot/login? I use Tailscale on my system as an outbound client only when I need to, and it conflicts with some other stuff I also run at times. Would be nice to not have to remember to turn it off every time I boot my system.

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You could try to disable the autostart option

Sure, but that is not quite the same. I would also like it to start disconnected. If killing it was the only way to disconnect there would not be a menu item to disconnect

you could always create a batch file with ‘tailscale.exe down’ and drop it in the startup folder. (type shell:startup or shell:common startup in Windows File Explorer).

If you need help creating the batchfile, let me know. You also might be able to create a scheduled task on ‘shutdown’, but I haven’t looked to see if that is possible.

This way, the client is still running, just not connected.

I too, like @emorgoch, have been wondering about this - the option to start Tailscale disconnected - for my workflow on my Windows computer. It would be great if it was a feature/option in Preferences, but until then, please @muzicman0, share your batch file expertise.

open notepad and paste in:

set delay=10
ping localhost -n %delay%
tailscale down

Save that file as “tailscale_down.bat”. Be sure it is not “tailscale_down.bat.txt” (to save as a .bat in Notepad, change the file type in the save dialog to ‘All Files’, or better yet, use Notepad++ instead).

Once saved, move the .bat file to your startup folder. There are 2 folders options, 1 for just the current user, and 1 for all users (choose either one, but not both!). Open your file explorer, and in the address bar, type either “shell:startup” or “shell:common startup” and press enter. Copy the .bat file into that directory, and when you reboot, it will run on user log in.

[EDIT: the ping command in the bat file is simply to insert a delay to be sure the Tailscale process has already started]
[EDIT 2: Tailscale will technically still start connected, but will disconnect within a few seconds after login]

I also want to voice my request for having an option “connect on launch” that can be disabled. I have the same problem as others, that tailscale can break some of my other networking when it’s unexpectedly running, and I only want to connect at certain times. (It’s really confusing when Windows wants to reboot for some updates, and then all of sudden I have weird network issues. “OOoh, never mind, it’s just tailscale autostarting again.” :grimacing: )

Thank you, @muzicman0, especially for the timely response! Your solution worked without issue!

I was unaware that BAT files are a way to run terminal commands in Windows; thank you for increasing my knowledge. I am an enthusiastic user of AutoHotKey (AHK), and I use an AHK script as a kind of boot-up sequence when I log into to Windows, to automate some of my repetitive tasks in the morning. I was able to incorporate what you taught me into my AHK script. I am proud of this solution, but it is still worth mentioning that this really should be a built-in feature in Tailscale.

I can post my AHK script if anyone is curious, especially since it can run the terminal (Command Prompt) hidden. Thanks again, Tailscale community!

Glad I could help!

I completely agree.