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This is a simple thing that has been bothering me for a while now. When you try to open a second "Computer" window (the place where you can see all your hard drives, cd drives, memory devices, etc.) via the start menu, you just get redirected to the one that is already open.

Is there a way to prevent this? (that is, actually open two "Computer" windows?)

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If you have the "Computer" window open, and try to open a second, you will be redirected to the first. However, if you change to a different folder, e.g select the hard disk, then click "Computer" again, it will open a second window. You can then browse back to "Computer" in the first window, giving you the same view in both windows. – Gavin Coates Jan 19 at 13:11
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That was what I did so far, but I still do not understand why they would prevent you from doing it the easy way=) – flawr Jan 19 at 20:34
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Its the same for opening a folder. If you click a link on the desktop to a folder twice, it will only open once. I guess its to remind you its already open, and not clutter the screen with multiple identical windows – Gavin Coates Jan 20 at 10:40
    
Out of curiosity, why is this bothering you? I mean why do you need two "Computer" windows at the same time? if you don't mind answering. – Farid Nouri Neshat Jan 23 at 13:33
    
I use this when I have to move some files between different memory device (external and internal hard drives / memory sticks / sd cards etc). I usually open two windows with splitscreen ([win]+[left] / [win]+[right]) and copy/move the stuff I want. I think that is just the simplest thing to do when you need a good overview of your locations. And I do not get why anyone would restrict that (without at least having a switch to turn that restriction off.) – flawr Jan 23 at 13:52

12 Answers 12

up vote 61 down vote accepted

The simplest way is to press Win+E (thanks @Abraxas), or Ctrl+N whilst in the Computer explorer window (Or any explorer window you wish to duplicate). You can also click File -> Open new window (This is in Windows 10, the option may be slightly different in Windows 7)

Alternatively, if you wish to do this by a shortcut, set up a shortcut that opens explorer.exe /n, or if you specifically want to open Computer, set the shortcut to %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n /e,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}, depending on the behaviour you want. This will always create a new window.

enter image description here

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@Abraxas Added and credited, forgot all about that one as I usually just hit Ctrl + N from wherever I am :) – Jonno Jan 17 at 11:09
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Right click on the icon in the taskbar and clicking on Explorer is also a way. Works with every application that just brings the current instance in front, I think – Kimmax Jan 17 at 14:05
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You can also hold shift and click the icon in the task bar. – Patrick Stephansen Jan 18 at 8:49
    
There is no menu entry for opening a new window in Explorer windows in Windows 7 (and the menu bar is hidden anyway unless you press Alt). – nekomatic Jan 18 at 9:26
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I almost always just middle-click the icon on the taskbar with the mouse. – aryn.galadar Jan 18 at 23:43

Click with the middle mouse button in the taskbar on a Windows Explorer button.

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Seems to be a shortcut to my answer. Nice :) – Filip Haglund Jan 17 at 12:02
    
Can you confirm that clicking both left and right simultaneously is a standard way of simulating a middle mouse button? If so, you might want to add this info for the many users that have a two-button mouse (or touchpad). At least, it works this way on my laptop. – Matthias Jan 17 at 22:21
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@Matthias - Not on my copy of Windows 7, although it may be because the 'simultaneous click' shortcut is disabled on a 3-button mouse, and I don't have a two-button to test with. – Robotnik Jan 18 at 2:04
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it's probably the mouse driver, rather than windows, that does this – Filip Haglund Jan 18 at 6:39
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This takes me to my Libraries instead. – Pyritie Jan 18 at 14:39

Quickest two ways:

Win+E that will open up a new explorer window.

or

Middle-click on the Explorer in the Taskbar

or

Ctrl+N when in an open explorer window

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If you're going to put your toe in the shortcut world.. here's all the other Windows 7 ones: lifehacker.com/5390086/… – icc97 Jan 17 at 13:43
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Heh, you should check out some of the new ones for Win 10 @icc97 the win+ctrl+d and win+ctrl+left/right are super exciting to me – Abraxas Jan 17 at 19:05

As a general answer of how to open a new copy/window of any program in the taskbar that is already open, right-clicking the icon and clicking the name of the program works.

Example: right-click the Chrome icon, select "Google Chrome" and a new window of Chrome pops up.

Some apps simply don't allow more than once window open at a time, such as Spotify.

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... and middle-clicking the icon is exact equivalent of this. – gronostaj Jan 17 at 23:05
    
@gronostaj Not exact. Middle-click opens a default folder. Right-clicking gives you a context menu which allows you to select a folder to open. You can pin commonly-used folders to this list. Recently-used folders also show up. – reirab Jan 19 at 22:21
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@reirab, I meant that clicking the app name in right-click menu is exact equivalent of middle clicking the icon. – gronostaj Jan 19 at 23:03
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Or hold SHIFT while clicking the icon on the task bar – Robin Kanters Jan 21 at 9:55
    
Nice! Since I don't like scroll-clicking, shift-click will be my default from now on. You should add it as an answer! – Filip Haglund Jan 21 at 9:57

A shift+left click on an explorer icon on the taskbar can do the trick too ;)

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shift + left click on the Explorer icon in the taskbar opens a new File Explorer window showing Libraries in Windows 7 Enterprise SP1 – Underverse Jan 19 at 23:30
    
This works in Windows Server 2012 R2. It also works for the PowerShell taskbar icon. In addition, CTRL + SHIFT + Left Click opens the Explorer (or task bar) in Administrator mode – Underverse Jan 19 at 23:34

This isn't a direct answer, but my force-of-habit is to open the first Computer window, then navigate to the desktop folder, then open another Computer window, switch back to the first window and navigate back to the Computer view via the tree-view.

But WinKey+E, as suggested by the others, sounds much better!

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Note that this answer also works for any other double window of a folder (while everyone else's responces are specific to the Computer view). – January First-of-May Jan 18 at 22:03

As mentioned in a previous answer by @user2002402, holding shift and clicking the application icon on your task bar will attempt to launch another instance. This will work with most applications. This is especially useful for Remote Desktop Client and Putty; where the instance is usually a session, and new instances are difficult to otherwise launch from within those applications. It is also available in Windows 8/8.1/10 and corresponding Server products.

Once the new Explorer instance has started, you can of course navigate to Computer if not already there. Of course, this doesn't answer your real question about preventing the default behaviour, which @Jonno's answer addresses.

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I use Clover, which gives tabbed explorer windows. You can open multiple windows for any location (CTRL + T gives a new tab which defaults to My Computer).

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  1. Open the first window, drag it to the left edge to fill half the screen.

  2. Right click on "Computer" icon in the left panel of that window, select "open in new window"

  3. Drag that window to the right edge.

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You could really delete steps 1 and 3. – Scott Jan 19 at 22:32

Also, if you organize the taskbar, you can use WinKey + number 0-9 to activate that position (1 closest to the start-menu and 0 being 10).

You then combine this with the shift-key to get a new instance of the app of your choosing or leave out the shift to just get focus to that app.

Or add the control key for admin in cmd for instance.

On another note, for some apps that does not allow more than one window by default ... have you tried launching the app from the command line for instance using mpiexec -n 2 the_app_I_want_more_of? Trick works for me, ymmv depending on app.

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Just hit CtrlN on the existing Computer window to open another one. You can also click with the middle mouse button MMB to open a new Explorer window to its default location.

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Or hou can install Q-dir from software.com for free. Than you have the opportunity to set your screen to your liking and change it with a mouse click! And match more. 1-2-3-4 in every size!

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Please read How do I recommend software for some tips as to how you should go about recommending software. Provide at least a link, as well as some additional information about the software itself, and how it can be used to solve the problem in the question. – DavidPostill Jan 23 at 17:50

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