How many programs can I run at once?

With Windows Vista Starter, you can have up to three programs open at the same time. For example, you can run WordPad, Paint, and Calculator at the same time. If you try to open a fourth program, you'll see a message telling you that you already have the maximum number of programs open.

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Do multiple instances (copies) of the same program count toward the three-program limit?

No. A program is counted only once toward the three-program limit no matter how many instances of the program are open. For example, you could open three instances of WordPad, two instances of Calculator, and four instances of Internet Explorer without exceeding the three-program limit.


  • To open a second instance of a program, start the program while one instance of the program is already running.

What counts or doesn't count as a program?

Most of the programs that appear on the Start menu under All Programs count toward the three-program limit. Opening the following items does not count toward the program limit:

  • Folders, such as the Documents, Pictures, or Music folders

  • Windows Sidebar

  • Windows Help and Support

  • Control Panel items (the items you see when you click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then click Control Panel)
  • Dialog boxes

What if I want to run more than three programs at once?

To run more than three programs at once, you'll need a different edition of Windows Vista. All other editions of Windows Vista, including Windows Vista Home Basic, allow you to run as many programs as you want.