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How to disable multiple instances of an app on Windows 10

Apps can limit themselves so that you’re only able to run a single instance of them. Generally speaking, apps that only run a single instance do so based on their nature. Some apps do not need to run multiple instances. Other apps such as browsers, video players, word processors, etc., need to run multiple instances, and they do. That said, if you want to limit an app from running multiple instances, you can. Here’s how you can disable multiple instances of an app on Windows 10.

Disable multiple instances of app

In order to disable multiple instances of an app on Windows 10, you need to install a free app called SingleInstance. Go ahead and download, and run the app.

The app, by default, has one app pre-configured and that’s the Calculator app on Windows 10. You can remove it if you want but it’s instructional in the sense that it shows you how to add an app.

Enter the name of the app that you want to disable multiple instances of. For apps like Notepad, you can just enter Notepad.exe but for other non-stock apps like Chrome, you will have to enter the complete path to the EXE.

As for the Response time, you can leave it set to 1 but, 0 might be a better option. The response time is how long the app takes to detect if a second instance of the app is running and then closes it.

SingleInstance doesn’t disable an app’s ability to run multiple instances. That isn’t possible without modifying the app itself. What it does is, if it detects more than one instance of an app running, it closes the second instance.

Generally speaking, users prefer apps to be able to run multiple instances but sometimes, the feature back fires. If you accidentally open a file twice, chances are the changes you’re making to it are overwritten or lost. In this case, it’s probably a good idea to disable the second instance from running at all.

We should mention that some apps have the built-in option to disable multiple instances. VLC player does but this is a rather uncommon feature. Regardless, you should check if the app you want to disable multiple instances for has the option built into it. If it does, use it instead of a third-party app. The built-in option will always work better than an external solution will.

We tested this app with desktop apps but it seems that UWP apps don’t generally run multiple instances. If you happen to have a UWP app that can run multiple instances, you can try to limit it by adding the path to the app’s shortcut to SingleInstance.

1 Comment

  1. How to add the path of any program in this. Can you give example of EXCEL.EXE how to add its complete path in this utility.
    I tried to add C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\EXECEl.EXE but it didn’t worked for me.

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