Start multiple instances of an application in Windows 8

Problem

Windows 8 runs non-Metro applications in the desktop. By default, if a second instance of an already running application is started by typing its name and pressing Enter, Windows 8 just switches to the already running application. For example, if you have one window of Notepad open, running Notepad again from the Start screen by typing its name and pressing Enter switches you back to the Notepad window already open.

Solution

To indicate to Windows 8 to open a new instance of the application, use Shift + Enter instead of Enter.

Tried with: Windows 8 Pro

9 thoughts on “Start multiple instances of an application in Windows 8

  1. Works with some, but not with all– Chrome is the offender I’ve found so far. But Chrome behaves poorly already in its handling of new instances; in either Windows 7 or 8, clicking on a quicklaunch icon to run Chrome will regularly throw up a new Chrome window behind some other window and without the focus, so you have to switch to it to start typing. So Chrome itself might be the culprit when shift+Enter fails to launch a new instance.

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  2. Odd. Windows 8 x64, Chrome 24.0.1312.57 m, Chrome already running in one or more windows, hit winkey, type “chrome”, then shift+enter, just re-activates one of the already-open Chrome windows for me, and I’ve never yet seen it do otherwise.

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  3. Alas, Joe, that may be the problem for some, but for me Chrome is already running in desktop mode, and it insists on launching straight back to the already-running instance no matter how I launch it from the start page (short of right-clicking then going way down to the bottom of the page and clicking “open new window”).

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    1. HKCU reg tweak does not work in Windows 8.1 apparently (well not for me anyway!) . But I’m happy with Shift+Enter, so thanks @ashwin for the tip!

      Daz, UK.

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