I've got myself Photoshop cs6, and I like its new features. However, I'm also making heavy use of Photoshop plugins, and many of those aren't yet compatible with the new Photoshop . I'd like to be able to start Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS6 at the same time. My PC certainly has the capacity to do that. However, once I start Photoshop CS5, I can't start Photoshop CS6, and vice verse.

I know that this is possible to do in principle, because I've configured my PC so multiple users can log in and work at the same time, and I've tried to start multiple instances of Photoshop via remote desktop, which worked

I've tried starting Photoshop with

runas /user:photoshop "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6 (64 Bit)\Photoshop.exe"

to no avail. It still just gives focus to Photoshop CS5, which is already started.

I'm doing this on windows 7.

How do I trick Photoshop into starting 2 instances of itself at the same time on the same windows desktop?

  • 2
    Photoshop has code that prevents a user from starting multiple instances of Photoshop. The reason your remote connections work is because the same user is not starting those instances. The other instances are not even visible to the other users.
    – Ramhound
    Jun 18, 2012 at 17:36
  • @Ramhound so why didn't runas option work? Jun 18, 2012 at 17:46
  • is there any option is photoshop settings that allows multiple instances...many programs have that kind of settings.. Jul 13, 2012 at 5:51
  • you could try renaming photoshop.exe?
    – roryok
    Aug 2, 2012 at 8:50
  • @roryok: I've renameb photoshop.exe to photoshop_5.exe and tried to start it together with photoshop.exe (that would be cs6), with no effect. Photoshop 6 did not start Aug 2, 2012 at 16:10

2 Answers 2


It's not exactly what you are looking for, but you could use a virtual machine to run the second instance of Photoshop. And with VirtualBox's Seamless Mode, it would seem that you are using only one desktop :P


Create new user on your computer, then Windows-> Shut Down -> Switch user Start second version of Photoshop

Virtual machines, additional computers with KVM switches, "sand-boxed" copies of the app and the like may allow you to circumvent the party line of Big Brother from Adobe

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