Windows 7 Launch Multiple Program Instances Shortcut

June 22nd, 2010 by jason Leave a reply »

I don’t pretend to know all of the Windows keyboard shortcuts but I do maintain an arsenal of frequently used aka useful ones.  Here’s one that I discovered by accident which is helpful for applications which multiple instances can typically be spawned simultaneously.  Applications like the vSphere Client, PuTTY, Remote Desktop Connection, Command Prompt, maybe a web browser if you dislike browser tabs.

The shortcut:

With one instance of the desired application already launched (and visible on the Windows 7 taskbar), SHIFT + LEFT MOUSE CLICK on the application on the taskbar:

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VIOLA!  An additional instance is spawned:

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I’ve found immediate use for this with launching multiple vSphere Client instances.  Sure I have these frequently used applications pinned to my taskbar for one click launch efficiency but when the application already has one instance launched, the target to click on is ergonomically larger and thus easier to find.

This UI enhancement may also work with Vista.  I didn’t use that OS long enough to find out.  I’m not sure if Microsoft has an official name for this technology – surely there must be an acronym for it.  I’ll pay attention during the “Windows 7 was my idea” commercials as this was obviously someone’s idea and this trick could surface there.

ps. On the subject of Windows 7 enhancements.  While I do like and use the feature where an application is snapped to one of the four edges of the screen, at the same time I’ve developed a phobia about carefully navigating my mouse while dragging an application where I DO NOT want it to snap and take up a huge chunk of display real estate.  I’m passive aggressive particular about the dimensions of my application windows relative to everything else in the shared area.  The four edges of a Windows 7 display have tractor beams and when your mouse comes close to the edge, it sucks you the rest of the way in and before you know it, an app is maximized.  I’d bet *nix people don’t have these types of issues.



  1. Greg says:

    That’s nice. I generally just right click the icon in the taskbar and there’s an option to open it again in another instance. Also for me, the snipping tool has to be one my most used on a daily basis, so gload that is there now.

  2. Louw says:

    – *nix people had this problem but it was years ago with the advent of Compiz/Beryl aka “wobble”

    – Real *nix people dont have this problem because they use the commandline

    -Real *nix people have this problem but recompiles the GUI to not suck your Windows to the edge

    Louw aka “Louw-and-behold”

  3. You can also right-click, the vSphere Client, and select “VMware vSphere Client” to spawn a second instance. 🙂

  4. Michael Armstrong says:


    You can also do this if your mouse has a scroll wheel with a button.


  5. Stephan says:

    also handy: ctrl-shift-click