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How to run multiple VLC player instances on Windows 10

Media players normally only run one instance at a time and this makes sense. No one can play two different audio files or video files at the same time and still understand what’s going on. People don’t listen to two songs at once, and no one watches two movies side-by-side. That said, if you need to compare videos, playing them side by side is one way to do it. The only thing you need is a media player that can run multiple instances and VLC player is just the app for the job. By default, you cannot run multiple VLC player instances. You need to change two settings to enable it.

Multiple VLC player instances

Open VLC player and go to Tools>Preferences, or just tap the Ctrl+P keyboard shortcut to open the app’s preferences window.

Select the Interface tab and look for the ‘Playlist and interfaces’ section. Here, there are two settings that you need to change to run multiple VLC player instances. The first is the ‘Allow only one instance’ setting. Make sure that this option is NOT enabled.

With this option disabled, each time you run VLC player from a shortcut or its Start menu/apps list tile, it will create a new instance of the app.

The second setting is optional and should only be enabled if it fits how you plan on playing media. It’s the ‘Use only one instance when started from file manager’, and again, this needs to be disabled. When it’s disabled, each time you select and open a video from File Explorer, it will open in its own instance. If this option is enabled, each time you open a new file from File Explorer, it will run in the same instance. This means that playing a video will stop the current one.

The second option is something you want to be careful with. It’s useful but it can also lead you to have one too many instances of VLC player open at once. Managing them might be difficult, and eventually playing too many media files may slow your system down until you free up resources.

As for audio, the audio will of course play for all videos and it will be sent through your sound device. There’s no way to route the audio to two different devices when you’re using the same app. The volume controls for each instance will be separate so you can change volume levels for the various videos you’re playing if it helps you work more effectively.

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