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How To Run Two Microsoft Teams Desktop Instances With Two Different Accounts

4 min read

Microsoft Teams, in this time of remote working, has become critical in collaboration and communication. It’s far more efficient than emails, more collaborative than Sharepoint alone (Team’s backend is Sharepoint BTW), and easy to use. It’s not without its flaws and annoyances. There are two ways to use Teams, through a web browser and using the desktop installed application. The desktop install has all the functionality and is required for sharing screens.

Microsoft is a fantastic software company but some of their design decisions are questionable for usability especially if you need to have multiple Microsoft accounts. You may have a work one, a personal account and if you are like me and work as a consultant have accounts through your client’s infrastructure. If you need to use Teams for two different areas, personal and work, you run into a major annoyance and it comes down to how Microsoft handles accounts. On Teams mobile it works flawlessly, on the desktop not so much.

One of the most requested, if not the #1 requested, Teams feature is to switch between accounts on the Desktop app. In many situations, you have a corporate account and another account personal, client, whatever that you want/have to use as well. The current option on the same computer is to use one account in a browser using the web version (limited functionality) and the other in the thick client (desktop app).

 

I ran into this obstacle multiple times and found it very limiting and frustrating, so I hunted around and found a solution to use the desktop app twice using two different accounts with no overlap or conflicts.
The solution is not that smooth but it was easy to set up and it works.
Here’s what you do (you will need a local admin account on your PC allowed to create new local users) –
  1. You need to create a second Windows account on your PC, this can be a local account and make sure Teams is installed in that account profile.
  2. In Windows search just type ‘add user’
    1. In Other Users click ‘Add someone else to this PC’
    2. Add an account without a Microsoft account, local user, Standard account is fine.
  3. After you are done, login with that account.
    1. A trick in Windows 10, login with the username as <computername>\<username>
    2. It will say enter Email but use the computername\username format to use the new local account.
    3. To find your computer name type ‘about’ in the search, Click About Your PC, look at Device Name.
  4. The new account will login and load like a brand new user.
  5. All you need to do is verify Teams is accessible in that account profile, you dont need to login to Teams with anything. If Teams installed for All Users it will already be there. If not, re-download it and install it.
  6. That’s it, Logout. You won’t need to login with that account again but it will need to exist so don’t delete it.
  7. Log out of that new account and log back into your normal account.
  8. You now need to create a CMD file. Use the code below. Copy and paste that into a blank text file and save it with a .CMD extension. This will the shortcut you use to lauch the second Teams instance.
  9. Double click that CMD file to load the second instance of Teams.
    1. Initially, it will be logged in to both instances with the same account (it was for me).
    2. In the second one, Sign Out
    3. Sign in with your second Teams account.
  10. Now you have two desktop instances of Microsoft Teams running with two separate accounts.

Cut And Paste – No Need To Change Anything

@ECHO OFF
REM Uses the file name as the profile name 
SET MSTEAMS_PROFILE=%~n0 
ECHO - Using profile "%MSTEAMS_PROFILE%" 
  
SET "OLD_USERPROFILE=%USERPROFILE%" 
SET "USERPROFILE=%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\CustomProfiles\%MSTEAMS_PROFILE%"   

ECHO - Launching MS Teams with profile %MSTEAMS_PROFILE% 
cd "%OLD_USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Teams" "%OLD_USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Teams\Update.exe" --processStart "Teams.exe"

Now, in a nut shell what you just did was create a new account that created a new Windows profile. The CMD file launces the second Teams as a second profile instance. That way the two don’t conflict under the same profile. They don’t share files, don’t cross over and allows you to keep both up and use them independently at the same time.

I have been using this setup for a few weeks and have not run into any problems or conflicts. It’s been great.

Microsoft needs to take what they did on the mobile app and put in easy account switching in the desktop app for everyone.

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