How to Open Multiple File Explorer Instances in Windows 10 & 11

When working with multiple folders, opening them in multiple windows helps. Here’s how to open multiple file explorer instances in Windows.

In Windows, if you have ever tried to open multiple file explorer windows, you will quickly know that there is no visible option or way to do it. For instance, if you click on the file explorer icon in the taskbar twice, it will just open the file explorer and minimizes it. The good thing is that there are quite a few ways to open multiple instances of the file explorer in Windows 10 and 11.

I will list a few of the common methods to open multiple file explorer instances to get you started. Follow any one of the below methods, and you will have any number of File Explorer windows as you need.

Note: The methods and steps shared below work in Windows 10 and 11 operating systems.

Table of contents:

  1. Use a keyboard shortcut
  2. Shift + Click on the taskbar
  3. Right-click on a folder in file explorer

Use the keyboard shortcut to open multiple File Explorer instances

The easiest way to open second, third, or any number of file explorer windows is to use the good old keyboard shortcut.

Related: 50 Must-Know Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts

To open multiple File Explorer Windows, press the Win + E shortcut. As soon as you press the keyboard shortcut, Windows will open a new instance of the File Explorer.

You can do it however many times you want. For instance, to open three File Explorer windows, press the keyboard shortcut three times.

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Keep in mind that when you press the keyboard shortcut, a new file explorer window will open to the default page: i.e., Quick Access or This PC.

2. Shift + Left Click to launch multiple File Explorer windows

An alternative method is to use the shift-click method. This method is handy if you are a heavy mouse user or don’t like the keyboard’s awkward file explorer shortcut position.

To open multiple file explorer windows using the mouse, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on the File Explorer icon appearing on the taskbar. This action will open a new file explorer window with its default page: i.e., Quick Access or This PC.

The good thing is that you can use this method to open multiple instances of any application as long as it supports opening multiple instances.

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3. Use the right-click option to open a folder in a new window

Sometimes you need to open a specific folder in a new window rather than a new file explorer window with its default page. This method is beneficial when you don’t want to navigate the target folder manually. Thankfully, opening a folder in a new window is pretty straightforward.

To open a folder in a new window, right-click on the target folder and choose the “Open in a new window” option. After selecting the option, the folder will be opened in the new window.

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(Optional) Change File Explorer’s default page from Quick Access to This PC

In Windows 10 and 11, the file explorer opens to the Quick Access page by default. The quick access screen gives easy access to your recent folders and files. If needed, you can change the default page from Quick Access to This PC. If you are wondering, This PC page lists all your drives and partitions front and center. This means that all your drives and partitions are a single click away.

To change file explorer from Quick Access to This PC, we will use the folder options tool. So, open the file explorer, click on the “View” tab, and click on the “Options” button. This action will open the Folder Options window.

In Windows 11, click the “Menu” icon (three horizontal dots) on the top navigation bar and choose “Options” from the extended menu.

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Choose “This PC” from the “Open file explorer to” dropdown menu in the folder options screen. Click “Ok” to save changes.

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That is it. From now on, whenever you open the file explorer, it will open to This PC.

If you like this article, check out how to clear the file explorer address bar history and remove the 3D Objects folder from the File Explorer.

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