I am using Ubuntu (Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS 64-bit) with the Gnome desktop environment.

My issue is that in the Activities menu, when searching for and selecting certain softwares (like Videos), if an instance of that software is already open, clicking on it won't open a new instance (new window) but will redirect me to the already open one. Right clicking on the icon and selecting "open a new window" does exactly the same.

I'm guessing it is a configuration setting in a a file like dconf that screws it up, but can't find where it is and haven't found a single thread describing my issue.

(Interesting to note that, I am able to open a new window of a given application if that one contains an option to open a new Window itself like Firefox or VS Code)

Does anybody know the answer ?

  • To be clear: the left-click behaviour is the default for GNOME. However it might be possible to change the behaviour as you prefer. The "open a new window" not doing what it says, sounds like a bug - but on apps which don't implement "open a new window", it is unlikely that you can change the behaviour.
    – sourcejedi
    Jun 21, 2018 at 13:42
  • I think you might be able to configure it following these instructions : askubuntu.com/questions/125243/…
    – sourcejedi
    Jun 21, 2018 at 13:44
  • The bug part is fixed in some more recent version of GNOME. For example, on Fedora 28. Videos does not let me open more than one window - but once I have opened one Vidoo window, the "New Window" menu item no longer appears :).
    – sourcejedi
    Jun 21, 2018 at 13:47
  • 1
    Yeah, my issue was currently for "Videos", I made a mistake (which i'll edit right away), not all applications behave like this. After doing what you linked, I now get the same behavior as when right clicking and selecting "New Window". I see the "buffering" icon for several seconds then nothing. But ok, this is not a bug then thanks for the enlightenment.
    – Atralb
    Jun 21, 2018 at 13:52
  • Open one instance as admin ( right clic), and another as usual, it helped me
    – Jcatalan
    May 4, 2021 at 15:57

3 Answers 3


On Gnome Shell, you can simply open a second instance of the application by opening it with:


Some application might not support this as they can only work with one instance

it seems if the application do not support multiple instance you can run it as a different user. This user will need to have the proper authorization. All the information here


Found : Videos doesn't support more than one instance.

Thanks for the help guys.


Afaik running as other users helps. As superuser just like that: sudo app &. As another user sudo -u username app & one need to give username permission to use X display, e.g. xhost si:localuser:username (from https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/223952/446998).

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