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Up until this morning I could run several Windows Explorer session at the same time, but we have just had an "upgrade", and now, selecting Start->My Documents just restores focus to the existing Windows Explorer session. Does anyone know how to get more than one Explorer window simultaneously?

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I think Florin's answer is great. Worked for me instantly. But, if you have the energy i'm curious if you tried MSalter's answer? and it may help others too to know if that one worked for you. –  barlop Feb 25 at 13:38
@barlop, I tried setting "open each folder in a new window", and it didn't make any difference. –  Brian Hooper Feb 25 at 13:54
In my experience, it only focuses My Documents if you haven't navigated away from My Documents in the old window. If you open My Documents, then open a subfolder in that window, then hit the shortcut for My Documents again, it should open a second window (granted it's been years since I've XP'd). Win+E is a great solution which I thoroughly abuse –  Ross Aiken Feb 25 at 17:19
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6 Answers

up vote 26 down vote accepted

I'm on Windows 7 but selecting My Documents also brings focus to the already opened one. I can open a new window with enter image description here + E.

Also, holding down Shift and clicking on the window in the taskbar brings up a new window.

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@DaveRook I think he knows that hence his words "I'm on Windows 7 but" Note the word "but" that he used, and the words before the but. And philosophically, if you think about it, it's not necessarily the case that just because an answer is something a person thinks works for one version of windows it won't work on another, especially for something like a keyboard shortcut. it would help if it works for windows 7 and if it were the case that the same happens to apply to XP, and he thinks it works for 7 and that it might possibly work in XP. That is entirely reasonable. –  barlop Feb 25 at 11:20
WindowsKey-E does the trick. –  Brian Hooper Feb 25 at 11:35
A middle click on any icon in the start bar also opens a new instance. –  Dracs Feb 26 at 1:20
+1 for the Windows key image –  jay Feb 26 at 2:42
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In Explorer, press Alt to get a menu bar. In the Tools>Folder Options dialog, there's an choice: "Open each folder in the same window" (your current setting) or "Open each folder in a new window" (your old setting)

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Probably a better answer than mine! –  Dave Rook Feb 25 at 11:17
@DaveRook Why "probably" - you can test it easily. The option exists in Windows 7. Try it and see if it works for you. It didn't work for me. The option is identical in XP and Windows 7. Perhaps you can say what it does when you try it but it doesn't alternate between letting you open a new instance of explorer, not for me anyway. Maybe it does for you? but you can test it. –  barlop Feb 25 at 11:28
@barlop: If it doesn't work for you, we're probably trying to solve different problems. –  MSalters Feb 25 at 11:35
@MSalters well i'm testing the folder thing(but also looking at the launch process option), they might interact i'll do some more tests. and there may be a difference if for example one is opening a window for a folder that is already open. there are a few variables. it may be a bit fiddly, making a few changes I got it to work but what the causes are is another matter. –  barlop Feb 25 at 11:40
Note the Questioner's comment, your answer did not work for him either. And trying it just now with a few other possibilities, it didn't work. This proves my point that at best it's fiddly and/or unreliable, or it doesn't work at all. –  barlop Feb 25 at 14:01
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On Windows 7 and 8, if Explorer is pinned to the taskbar, a new window can be opened by clicking on it with the middle mouse button.

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If you mean how to open the same window multiple times, then you can simply press CTRL + N. Or, click on File -> New

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You are wrong. If you try the option in my answer you see it alternates between creating a new instance of explorer.exe and not doing so. And -1 for spreading FUD by suggesting it was a virus and potentially wasting the questioner's time energy and wherewithal by running an anti-virus scan. –  barlop Feb 25 at 11:25
@barlop While I agree with this being FUD, I don't believe that running a virus scan is a waste of time. –  Mr Lister Feb 26 at 9:45
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You have to select the option in tools...folder options about multiple explorer windows. "launch folder windows in a separate process"

Then it will work.

That will alternate between opening an ew explorer instance and not. You can do task manager,.new..explorer.exe OK and it will open a new instance of explorer.exe

I have tested it. It works in Windows XP and Windows 7. That is the option you want. But i'd be interested if MSalter's option works for you too, do comment(on his answer or mine or your question).

It may be that MSalter's is what you're looking for, opening different windows, but i'm currently finding that I always get different windows. Like if I do start..run.. then type one folder name and press ENTER. Then do start..run.. and enter another folder name, they open in different windows always.

Update- this may be a bit fiddly. as the option MSalter mentioned is probably relevant as this one may be relevant. There may be differnces whether that same folder is already open or if it's a different folder you are opening. Certainly the above covers for an instance of the explorer process, and that may have an impact. i'll have a further look as this may potentially be a bit fiddly. Though for sure it's either MSalter's option or the option I mention here, or a mixture. Though I see Florin mentions a solution too.

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You want to use the "separate window" option, not the "separate process" option. Selecting "separate process" only affects the internal behavior; if it is unchecked then folder windows may pop up faster and use less system resources, but if it is checked, then if one crashes it won't crash your whole desktop. –  Jason C Feb 26 at 3:28
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one possible solution might be opening notepad, pasting this code, and saving the file as, for example, multiexplorer.bat, and then executing it (by double clicking on the saved batch file)

@echo off
title multiexplorer
set /p length=number of file explorers to start: 
for /l %%a in (1,1,%length%) do (
start %windir%\explorer.exe
set length=
title %comspec%

this code (or newly created batch file) lets user start as many windows file explorers (explorer.exe) as they want by prompting (asking) for the number

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err no, see, first he isn't trying to create multiple explorer.exe instances necessarily. He just wants multiple folder exploring windows. Furthermore, if you try to create another instance of explorer.exe you will see that usually you can only create one, that is the default anyway. Unless the "launch folder windows in a separate process" is ticked in tools..folder options. –  barlop Feb 26 at 19:44
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