How To Quickly Open Multiple Windows for the Same Application

It can happen that you quickly need open more than one window of the same application. It can be any application: a Windows application such as Windows Explorer or Internet Explorer, or a third-party application like Mozilla Firefox. Opening multiple windows is the same as running multiple instances of the same application. Let’s see how this is done.

How to Open Multiple Instances of the Same Application

First, open the application which you want to run in multiple instances/windows. It doesn’t matter how you start it: from the Desktop, Start Menu, Taskbar or from the Command Line.

Once it is opened, you will see its icon in the taskbar. Press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard and click on its taskbar icon. One click opens a new instance. Two clicks opens two new instances, etc.

Tip from a reader: If you have a mouse on which you can use the scroll wheel as a middle click, you can simply make a middle click on the application icon from the taskbar and obtain the same result.

Multiple Windows/Instances

To exemplify this, I created the screenshot above to show how the taskbar icon of Windows Explorer evolves.

How to Open Multiple Instances with Administrator Permissions

In case you need to open multiple windows of the same application, but with administrative permissions (the same as making a right-click -> Run as administrator), the procedure is the same. Only what you need to press on the keyboard changes.

Press and hold the CTRL + SHIFT keys on your keyboard and click on the taskbar icon of the application. This will trigger also an UAC prompt.

Applications for Which This Does Not Work

This trick works for most applications. However, applications which do not allow users to run multiple instances of them, won’t open more windows/instances of themselves even with this trick.

Some examples I encountered are the following: Winamp, uTorrent, messenger applications and the Control Panel in Windows. Also, if you are using versions of Windows older than Windows 7, this will not work.


The tip shared above was included also in a broader collection of tips we published quite some time ago. If you are interested about other good tips, don’t hesitate to read this article: Taskbar Productivity Tips & Shortcuts and some of the other articles recommended below.

About the Author: Ciprian Adrian Rusen
I love technology and I work in IT for more than a decade. I am the co-founder of Digital Citizen and its chief editor. Alongside my work as an editor, I am also an author. I have written and published 7 books, most of them about Microsoft products and technologies. They are translated into more than 12 languages. In 2014, I have been recognized by Microsoft for my technical expertise and involvement in the community with the title of Microsoft MVP - Windows Consumer Expert.