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How to run two instances of Photoshop simultaneously?

Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2017

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Hello,

I have Photoshop CC 2018 which I use for most of my work. But I also have Photoshop CS6 so I can use some of my old plug-ins that are no longer compatible with newer versions of Photoshop.

I'd like to have both open simultaneously so I can easily copy and paste layers back and forth to run plug-ins on without having to close and open Photoshop twice every time I want to make a change to an effect (which takes a good couple of minutes every time!). But when I try to run Photoshop while another version is running it won't start.

I have 64gb of RAM so I certainly have the resources to do it.

Is there a command-line switch or some other way to run multiple instances of Photoshop simultaneously?

Thanks!

Thanks for your replies everyone. The issue is that Photoshop creates a systemwide Mutex that other instances check for prior to running.

After toying around with it all night, I have found a solution, through a program called Sandboxie. Sandboxie is used to run programs in isolated "sandboxes," to protect your system against malware or other unwanted changes. It adds an item to the Windows context-menu for exe files, "Run Sandboxed." If you right-click Photoshop and "Run Sandboxed," it prevents Photoshop from seeing the Mutex created by other instances, and yet copy and paste still work between instances.

This seems to be the best solution for now. Hopefully Adobe removes this Mutex in a future version.

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How to run two instances of Photoshop simultaneously?

Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2017

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Hello,

I have Photoshop CC 2018 which I use for most of my work. But I also have Photoshop CS6 so I can use some of my old plug-ins that are no longer compatible with newer versions of Photoshop.

I'd like to have both open simultaneously so I can easily copy and paste layers back and forth to run plug-ins on without having to close and open Photoshop twice every time I want to make a change to an effect (which takes a good couple of minutes every time!). But when I try to run Photoshop while another version is running it won't start.

I have 64gb of RAM so I certainly have the resources to do it.

Is there a command-line switch or some other way to run multiple instances of Photoshop simultaneously?

Thanks!

Thanks for your replies everyone. The issue is that Photoshop creates a systemwide Mutex that other instances check for prior to running.

After toying around with it all night, I have found a solution, through a program called Sandboxie. Sandboxie is used to run programs in isolated "sandboxes," to protect your system against malware or other unwanted changes. It adds an item to the Windows context-menu for exe files, "Run Sandboxed." If you right-click Photoshop and "Run Sandboxed," it prevents Photoshop from seeing the Mutex created by other instances, and yet copy and paste still work between instances.

This seems to be the best solution for now. Hopefully Adobe removes this Mutex in a future version.

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Oct 30, 2017 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Oct 30, 2017

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I think a Mac maybe able to.  On Windows the way Photoshop is programmed only one version of Photoshop can be run at any  given time.  Perhaps if you enable Windows 10 Pro Hyper-V you could run a second version in a virtual machine.  I wrote MAYBE have not rum any virtual machine in years. Never use Windows 10 Pro Hyper-V.

Enable Hyper-V on Windows 10 | Microsoft Docs

If you can I would expect Photoshop performance  would suffer some...

JJMack

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Oct 30, 2017 1
Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2017

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Thanks for your reply - I'm on Windows 10.

A virtual machine won't let me copy/paste layers, will it? I'd have to save PSD files and transfer them to/from the virtual machine repeatedly. I also will need a license for both Windows and Photoshop on the VM, so an expensive endeavor.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Oct 30, 2017

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I have never tried to see if I could have two users sign in to Windows and switch between them and have different version of Photoshop running on each.  I have switched between two user ID on windows. But never tries using Photoshop on both user id at the same time. Copy and Paste will not work between user ID but you can past data via a file you paste into and save sor the other user ID can get the data.

JJMack

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Oct 30, 2017 1
Engaged ,
Oct 31, 2017

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Yes, MAC absolutely can run two instances of PS side by side. I have 2017 and 2018 installed because of the healing brush bugs in 2018. They can both be open at once.

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Oct 31, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 30, 2017

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I never tried this on a PC but on Apple I have run 3 versions of Photoshop in a classroom at the same time with the same user ID.

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Oct 30, 2017 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 30, 2017

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Like the others have said, it can't be done with Windows, which is a pity.  What plug-ins do you use CS6 for?   If it is a Flash/HTML5 thing then CC2014 will run the old plugins.  Still far from a solution, but you'd have a few more features and less need to close and swap versions.

The sort of things I miss are the Trevor Morris Dmonzon Tools panel

Some of those can be duplicated with CC2018 with the likes of our Chuck Uebele's Space Equal which I use a lot.  Thanks for that Chuck 🙂

If there is no fix for other favourites, then you might get some interest in the scripting forum.  Tell us what you are missing, and you just never know.

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Oct 30, 2017 2
Community Beginner ,
Oct 31, 2017

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Thanks for your replies everyone. The issue is that Photoshop creates a systemwide Mutex that other instances check for prior to running.

After toying around with it all night, I have found a solution, through a program called Sandboxie. Sandboxie is used to run programs in isolated "sandboxes," to protect your system against malware or other unwanted changes. It adds an item to the Windows context-menu for exe files, "Run Sandboxed." If you right-click Photoshop and "Run Sandboxed," it prevents Photoshop from seeing the Mutex created by other instances, and yet copy and paste still work between instances.

This seems to be the best solution for now. Hopefully Adobe removes this Mutex in a future version.

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Oct 31, 2017 0
Engaged ,
Aug 13, 2020

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Windows ver 1909 and onwards now includes "Windows Sandbox" as a feature (has to be enabled)  Just waiting to restart PC but I'm keen to see if I can run Photoshop in these instances.

 

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/windows-kernel-internals/windows-sandbox/ba-p/301849

 

Regards, 5Diraptor - "If the design isn't about the dream, it's meaningless"

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