In general, when we use our Windows computer we usually use a single instance of the same program. However, there may be situations where we want to run several versions of a program. These versions can work separately and even under different accounts. For those times when a single running copy of an application is not enough, there are different methods that will allow us to run several instances of the same program.
From its oldest versions, Windows allows us to open several copies of the same application at the same time. And, with some exceptions, most programs will allow us to run several instances at the same time. There are even different ways to open the same program.
Do all applications support multiple windows?
Being able to open several windows of the same application may be of interest to us in certain circumstances. For example, if we have the WhatsApp application installed, we may want to open it twice to be able to log in with two different users. However, although most programs allow you to run multiple instances at the same time, there are others that are not supported.
Applications that we can use on a daily basis such as Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Office, will allow us to open several instances, while others that we can use in our day to day such as Steam, GIMP, Dropbox, Skype or Spotify do not allow these multitasking. Neither will UWP applications downloaded from the Microsoft Store allow us to open several instances of the same application at the same time.
Ways to open the same program several times
Next, we are going to see the different ways we have to be able to open the same program several times, in cases where it is not enough to have only one copy running.
Run the same program multiple times
The simplest method of running two or more instances of the same program is simply to run it multiple times while it is open . This does not work equally well with all programs, being especially suitable for browsers, system utilities (Paint, Calculator, Command Prompt, etc.) or with Microsoft Office applications.
It is possible to use a shortcut on the desktop to run the program as many times as we want, opening a new window each time. We can also search for the program from the Start menu and click on the program again to start it, being able to run with a simple click or as Administrator. It is also possible to use a keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + Shift + Click”, simultaneously holding down the “Ctrl” and “Shift” keys while clicking on the open application icon on the taskbar. Each click will reopen the application in multiple instances.
To open a second window of certain open applications, it can be done by holding down the “Shift” key and clicking on the icon on the taskbar . Alternatively, we can restart programs like Microsoft Word by pressing “Ctrl + N”.
However, running the same program twice is not compatible with some applications so other possible solutions will have to be sought.
Open a program from another user account
Every time we open an application, Windows creates a new process for that program in our user account. Therefore, if we have more than one user in our system, we can use the same program with a different user. This is something that we can view from the “Task Manager”, by pressing “Ctrl + Shift + Del” and clicking on the “Details” tab. In the column “User name” we can check which user started the process.
Create a new account
So that it is not necessary to have to switch between accounts, we can run the program with a different user, while we remain in our current account. We can create a new user from the “Settings” section, pressing “Windows + I”. Later we enter the section of “Accounts” and “Family and other users”. Here we click on “Add another person to this team”.
Then we click on “I don’t have this person’s login information” at the bottom. Since it is not necessary to have a Microsoft account, we click “Add a user without a Microsoft account” and set a username and password. If we do not establish a password, the function of running another instance of the program with this account will not work, so it is important that we fill it in and do not forget these login details.
Duplicate program with another account
To open a program again from another account, we must search for it using the Start menu and right-clicking on the application. Later we choose “Open file location” which will open it from File Explorer. Next, we hold down the “Shift” key while right-clicking on the program, which will open a context menu with more options. Here we will select “Run as a different user”, which will open a login window to access the other account. Once logged in with our username and password, the application will launch with the new account.
Use SandBoxie Plus to open the program in an isolated environment
Another option that we have to open applications several times is to use software like SandBoxie Plus. It is a sandbox for Windows that allows us to run applications on a system isolated from our computer. It is mainly used to test downloads that may be unsafe in a controlled environment, but in this case we can also use it to open several versions of the same program.
To do this, we must start by downloading the latest version of Sandboxie Plus from this link and install it. Once finished, when we right-click on a program from the File Explorer we will see an entry called “Run Sandboxed”, as long as we have enabled it during its installation.
As in the previous case, we must look for the application that we want to duplicate in the Start menu. Subsequently, right-click on it while holding down the “Shift” key and select “Open file location”, so that it is displayed from the File Explorer. Next, we right-click on the application and select ” Run Sandboxed .”
The program will run again and will appear on the taskbar with a yellow outline around it when we hover the mouse pointer over the window. It is important to know that before closing the application we must save the changes we make because when closing Sandboxie all the changes that have not been saved will be lost.