How to run multiple instances of a Windows program

As a Windows user, you will often need to run multiple instances of a program. These should be able to operate separately and, if necessary, under different accounts. There are several ways to run another instance of the same application. The following guide illustrates some of these methods by trying to explain what would be best for a specific type of program.

1. Simply restart the program

The most native way to run another program instance is to simply restart it when it’s open. It works best for browsers, Microsoft Office applications, and Windows utilities like Paint, Calculator, WordPad, Command Prompt, and even third-party software.

There are many ways to restart the program. From the Start menu, you can find and click on the program to relaunch. It can be executed with a single click or via 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.

Start menu for Windows instances

You can also use or Ctrl + NOT to restart programs such as a Microsoft Word document.

Windows Ctrl N instancesWindows Ctrl N instances

You can also use Offset + mouse click together to relaunch multiple instances of the program from the taskbar window.

Windows Instances Shift MouseclickWindows Instances Shift Mouseclick

2. Launch using Run Box in Windows 10

Another way to start a Windows program is to use the Run Box window, accessible from To win + R. First, trace the location of the program’s .exe file and copy the full path.

Windows Instance Program PathWindows Instance Program Path

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

Windows instances execution areaWindows instances execution area

3. Use Windows + Shift + Number from the taskbar

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

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To open a new instance, use the following keyboard shortcut: To win + Offset + Program number on the taskbar.

Windiws offset of the number of Windows instancesWindiws offset of the number of Windows instances

4. Use the web browser version of the program

Using the above methods, it is difficult to relaunch programs from Microsoft Store. These include apps like Skype, WhatsApp for Desktop, Zoom, and many more. If available, you can run multiple instances using the web browser version of the program. For Skype, a new version is easily accessible from web.skype.com. You can use different Skype accounts or the same on the desktop as well as the browser.

Windows Skype Instances Web BrowserWindows Skype Instances Web Browser

For even better results, 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 anonymous browser Skype instancesWindows anonymous browser Skype instances

5. Relaunch the program as a different Windows user

You can restart the program as a Windows user other than the administrator. From the Start menu, go to “Settings -> Accounts -> Family and other users”. Here you can add a family member or “someone else on this PC”.

Windows Instances Add UserWindows Instances Add User

If you choose the latter option, you can either use an Outlook ID or declare that “you do not have the person’s login information”.

Windows Instances Sign In New AccountWindows Instances Sign In New Account

Now add a user without a Microsoft account to continue. You can also create a new Microsoft account.

Windows Instance User without MicrosoftWindows Instance User without Microsoft

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

Windows instances Create an accountWindows instances Create an account

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

Windows Instance Local AccountWindows Instance Local Account

Access the program on a desktop, hold down Offset , right-click and select “Run as different user”.

Windows instances run as different userWindows instances run as different user

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

Windows Instance Credentials Different UserWindows Instance Credentials Different User

Some apps are designed to prevent multiple users from accessing them 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 inside. Here are some of the best virtualization software for Windows that you can try.

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Sayak Boral
Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over ten years of experience in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise computing, OSS / BSS telecommunications, and network security. He has written for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, the Internet, hardware guides, browsers, software tools, and product reviews.

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