Steve September 16, 2020
how-to-run-multiple-instances-of-a-windows-program

As a Windows user, you may often need to run multiple instances of a program. These should be able to operate separately, and if needed, under different accounts. There are a few ways you can run another instance of the same application. The following guide illustrates a few of these methods with an attempt to explain which would be preferable for a specific kind of program.

1. Just Relaunch the Program

The most native method to run another program instance is to simply relaunch it while it’s open. This works best for browsers, Microsoft Office applications, and Windows utilities such as Paint, Calculator, WordPad, Command Prompt, and even third-party software.

There are many different ways to relaunch the program. From the Start menu, you can search for and click the program to be launched again. It can be executed using a simple click or through the Administrator mode. If the program, such as a browser, is pinned to the taskbar or saved as a desktop short, you can click it as many times as you want to open multiple instances.

Windows Instances Start Menu

Alternatively, you can use or Ctrl + N to restart programs such as a Microsoft Word document.

Windows Instances Ctrl N

You can also use Shift + mouse-click together to relaunch multiple program instances from the Taskbar window.

Windows Instances Shift Mouseclick

2. Launch Using Run Box in Windows 10

Another way to launch a Windows program is to use the Run Box window, which can be accessed from Win + R. First, trace the program’s .exe file location and copy the entire path.

Windows Instances Program Path

Then, type the following into the Run box to open a new instance.

"Program Path" /secondary
Windows Instances Run Box

3. Use Windows + Shift + Taskbar Number

One of the fastest ways to restart a program instance is to identify its numerical sequence from its corresponding position in the taskbar. You need to determine the required number from “left” to “right,” as demonstrated here for a Paint file.

To open a new instance, use the following keyboard shortcut: Win + Shift + Program’s Number on the Taskbar.

Windows Instances Number Windiws Shift

4. Use the Program’s Web Browser Version

Using the above methods, it is difficult to relaunch the programs from the Microsoft Store. These include applications such as Skype, WhatsApp for Desktop, Zoom, and many others. If available, you can run multiple instances using the program’s web browser version. For Skype, a new version can be easily accessed from web.skype.com. You may use different Skype accounts or the same one in the desktop, as well as the browser.

Windows Instances Web Browser Skype

One way to get even better results is to use the browser’s “incognito mode.” As shown below with Skype, you can run three or more instances of a program that are easily accessible on the Web.

Windows Instances Anonymous Browser Skype

5. Relaunch Program as a Different Windows User

You can relaunch the program as a different Windows user from the Administrator. From the Start menu, go to “Settings -> Accounts -> Family & Other users.” Here, you can add a family member or “someone else on this PC.”

Windows Instances Add User

If you choose the latter option, you can use either an Outlook ID or declare that “you don’t have the person’s sign-in information.”

Windows Instances Sign In New Account

Now, add a user without a Microsoft account to proceed. Alternatively, you may create a new Microsoft account.

Windows Instances User Without Microsoft

Give a username and password to this new local account. Answer and save the security questions.

Windows Instances Create Account

As shown here, a local account has been created. It can be easily removed from this window.

Windows Instances Local Account

Go to the program on a desktop, hold the Shift key, right-click and select “run as different user.”

Windows Instances Run As Different User

Enter the credentials that were used to create this local account. This would then help you run the program separately from any other instance as an Administrator.

Windows Instances Credentials Different User

Some applications are designed to prevent multiple users from accessing it on the same device, especially premium software with limited licenses. If none of the above methods work, you can also set up a virtual machine and run the application from within. Here is some of the best virtualization software for Windows you can try.

Related:

Sayak Boral
Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over ten years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

Is this article useful?

Read More