Microsoft Introducing Multi-Instance Support for UWP Apps in Windows 10

Posted on February 23, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Windows 10 with 30 Comments

With the release of Windows 10 version 1803, Microsoft is introducing support for multi-instance apps to the Universal Windows Platform. A couple of stock Windows 10 apps (e.g. OneNote UWP) already support multi-instances, though version 1803 of Windows 10 will enable users to use multiple instances of third-party apps at the same time.

Multi-instances of an app will work as different processes, allowing users to work on them simultaneously — so if one of the instances crash, the others will continue to work. Enabling multi-instance support on existing UWP apps isn’t too difficult for developers, although more complex apps would require some additional tweaks to work suitably. For example, if you are editing a text file using a UWP app and you have multiple instances open, opening the same exact text file again will bring up the existing instance instead of creating a new instance. To make sure all of this works properly, developers will need to make a couple of changes as Microsoft engineers demonstrated in the latest Windows Community Standup earlier.

Support for multi-instances is a big step forward for the universal Windows Platform. Any modern apps like Microsoft’s own Office Mobile suite should include multi-instance support from the get-go, but the limitations of UWP has so suffered prevented developers from doing so. The release of Windows 10 version 1803 changes all of that, and we may soon start seeing some advanced UWP apps now that the platform also supports console applications.

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Comments (33)

33 responses to “Microsoft Introducing Multi-Instance Support for UWP Apps in Windows 10”

  1. Chris_Kez

    I sometimes have the feeling that there are more Microsofties working on this than there are actual developers who can and will take advantage of all of this stuff.

  2. Edward Grego

    If UWP is dead (as Paul has stated and most would agree), why does this matter in the least??

    Seriously, why is MS waisting resources on a dead platform?

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to Edward_Grego:

      Because it’s the API that will be used for most OS-internal tools going forward. If you think the shell will ever be non-native code, you’re nuts! Even if developers never use UWP (some will), Microsoft will be transitioning their first party native software in Windows to this more modern API.

    • mrdrwest

      In reply to Edward_Grego:

      Because Win32 is a tried-true-capable-proven HOT MESS!!!


      It was created over ~25 years ago and has been extended with bolt-ons, cat guts, and chewed leaves.

    • gregsedwards

      In reply to Edward_Grego:

      Unsurprisingly, it's a bit more nuanced than that. UWP isn't just one programming platform. It's an ecosystem that encompasses UWP apps, but also bridges that can be used to package other types of applications (Win32, iOS, etc.) apps so they can be managed through the Microsoft Store. In that sense, UWP continues to adapt as new technologies emerge. One of those is progressive web apps, or PWA. As Paul has stated previously, PWA is likely going to become the next dominant app technology. And the truth is, yes, PWA probably going to prove far more popular than Microsoft's UWP. Whether it's so popular that Microsoft just abandons UWP remains to be seen.

      But my understanding is that features like the one described here will apply to all kinds of apps coming into the UWP platform, including PWA. The app manifest really explains to the OS how the apps should work and what features it should make available. So for instance, being able to target multiple instances will be crucial for opening multiple PWA Twitter windows at the same time.

      It's important that Microsoft continue to develop UWP as the interface between diverse apps of all kinds and it's own core OS.

  3. ZeroPageX

    I'm looking around for the UWP console app support, but I'm not finding any articles. Where was this mentioned? That is quite interesting.

  4. TheJoeFin

    These three changes to UWP are a big deal for more powerful apps. I wonder if this is the ground work first party Windows applications need to transition to UWP *cough* file explorer *cough* just a thought. Also with deep file access and console app support more of the headless parts of Windows could become UWP based.

  5. darkgrayknight

    Just waiting for the multiple monitor support for a single UWP app.

  6. gregsedwards

    I never could figure out why OneNote can do multiple windows, but not the other Office UWP apps. It's one of the chief reasons I can't use Excel Mobile as my daily driver. I need to be able to open multiple workbooks at the same time.

  7. Maktaba

    They’re still working on UWP? Somebody please tell them it has been shelved and is being replaced with PWA even as we speak.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Maktaba:

      UWP is a Windows 10 specific platform while PWA purports to be cross-platform ("purports" being the key word) so the connection is tenuous. If PWA ever pays off for Microsoft, it would be by making it easier for them to develop applications for multiple non-Windows platforms. Replacing their Win32 programs with PWA version would be only a step down and there's no viable Microsoft mobile platforms or devices that don't run Win32.

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