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Outlook is designed to be a single-instance application. There's an unwieldy trick to get more than one that may, or may not, be useful.

I need to open more then one instance of Outlook at the same time with a different profile on each instance. Can this be done?

Yes and no. But most probably no.

Outlook is a single instance application so for any user session you can have one - and only one- instance of outlook running.

There is a 'trick' you can play. Windows XP will allow you to stay logged in as one user while logging in as another. Select Logoff and then Switch User. The first account remains logged in while the second account logs in as well. Each of these users can have their own copy of Outlook running. The caveat of course is that they must be different user accounts on the machine.

Article C1978 - June 2, 2004 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

November 8, 2004 7:07 AM

Can I use my one copy of Outlook 2003 on more than one computer?

Lloyd Lawrence
July 6, 2005 4:58 PM

just look at the command line that launches outlook from your shortcut. Take out the /recycle switch at the end of the command line.


August 30, 2005 8:49 AM

Can I create more than one account on Outlook. For instance, I have two coaches, in the gym, using one computer. They both need to be able to access their mail account. If this can be done, How?

August 30, 2005 10:02 PM

Sounds like you want to create multiple profiles. In Control Panel, Mail, select edit profiles and create a new one - so you end up with one for each coach. And have it ask which profile to use each time you start outlook.

September 13, 2005 10:13 AM

Can I set up my Pc to do the converse of "Can I open more than one instance of Outlook at a time?". That is, how can I prevent opening a second MS Outlook window on my PC (or any other Windows app for that matter). This occures when I click a tray or desktop icon a second time by accident.

September 14, 2005 8:51 PM

Not really. It's something that each application has to handle itself.

October 6, 2005 5:45 AM

use the /recycle command line parameter to prevent outlook opening another instance of outlook. You can remove this if it is already there to allow multiple instances.

I did some tests with various switches including /profiles and /profile to load two instances with different profiles however it would appead that you can only have one profile at once open.

You cant switch profiles using these either.

March 29, 2006 1:15 PM

This can be done with Outlook 2003.

We have many people at the site I support who want the same functionality.

Simply right click the Microsoft Office Outlook icon on your desktop and select create shortcut. You can even drag it down to the taskbar to make it easier for them to click when OL is already open.

Click the shortcut to your hearts content and open as many instances you like.

Now, the caveat here is if you delete the original OL icon, you will have to use the control panel to access the mail Properties. No biggee.

Mal Colley
April 5, 2006 7:24 AM

Each time I click on MS Outlook it opens a new instance of MS Outlook even though I have added the /recycle switch. Could you advise how to ensure only one instance, please

April 25, 2006 5:35 AM

I've got this happening as well. I'll come in in the morning, log in, click the icon to start Outlook....suddenly I might have 3 instances of my Inbox pop up at the same time.

July 12, 2006 10:08 PM

how can i switch a profile in outlook 2002 without quiting outlook and reopen choosing a profile i wish to open

July 12, 2006 10:16 PM

I don't believe you can. You must restart Outlook to change profiles.

David Adams
November 9, 2006 1:45 PM

I am running a program called "True Launch Bar".
It has a plug-in called "Mail Monitor".
If you set mail monitor to use Outlook as your mail reader, it will lauch a new and simultaneous instance of outlook without loging off and on. Appaently as many as you want. Is there a way to keep outlook from launching more than once? Perhaps in the registry?

Jim Macemon
February 1, 2007 9:13 AM

If someone has sent you a meeting request that you have not answered, you can click the "calendar" button (right side of upper bar) and that will open a second window that has full functionality. This second window will usually reopen if you allow Windows to close Outlook on shutdown and it is able to do so successfully.

Jim Macemon
February 1, 2007 9:17 AM

You can also right click on Mail, Calendar, Contacts, etc (bottom right side) and select "open in new window"

April 17, 2007 2:14 PM

Is there a way to have OL running with a specific profile... and also be able to open TASKS with a separate profile.. essentially, adding another TASKS Section to use..

April 25, 2007 4:40 AM

I made a copy of outlook.exe (OL 2000) named outlook2.exe. But outlook2.exe would use the same profile as the aleady started outlook.exe even with the /profile parameter.

April 27, 2007 10:14 PM

it is possible to see two person profile in one outlook express.let suppose that i have open outlook account with one user the left panel it shw inbox of this user only.i have to configure the outlook in such a way that when i open outlook with a specific account person .in the left panel it show the inbox of other user and that user can i configure this in outlook express.waiting for reply

michael low
June 17, 2008 1:13 AM

u can emulate outlook by installing emclient, run outlook and emclient concurrently, can have one profile running on outlook. a different profile running on emclient. emclient have email function, calendar, tasks..

August 15, 2008 6:28 AM

It is possible to get two accounts running using the ExtraOutlook program found here: It includes the story of how they found a way to get two separate instances running with different profiles.

January 27, 2009 4:16 PM

Using the ExtraOutlook program works very well. Thanks!

May 5, 2009 1:34 AM

Create some accounts on youre pc then in the run prompt type runas /U:\ "%outlookdir%\outlook.exe"

is youre hostname
the account name
%outlookdir% is the full path to youre outlook installation

the more you make you might need to create a new profile if you have not opened outlook before

Bill Siebert
October 8, 2009 5:22 AM

I have a user that cronically has multiple session of outlook open at one time. Yesterday she had 32 individual session open. It there a way to only allow one at a time?

Nigel Shepherd
November 22, 2009 11:26 AM

I think the following will not allow different profiles, but it is a neat trick;
To open several Outlook windows with one click, just copy the following content into a .txt file (named eg Outlook3noTile.vbs -the .VBS tail is important!)
Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
WshShell.Run "outlook.exe /select ""outlook:Calendar""",1,false
WshShell.Run "outlook.exe /select ""outlook:Inbox""",1,false
WshShell.Run "outlook.exe /select ""outlook:Contacts""",1,false
Wscript.Sleep 15000
Set objShell = CreateObject("Shell.Application")

July 7, 2010 7:52 AM

You can open multiple instances of Outlook by removing the /recycle from the short-cut you use

IE: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\OUTLOOK.EXE" /recycle

right click the shortcut>properties and in the 'Target' box, remove the /Recycle part and select 'Apply'

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