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Windows 7: Multi Boot computer - how to keep data and programs in sync

20 Jun 2015   #11
MarkusGE

Win7-64 Home Premium single boot / Win7-64 Professional & Win8.1-64 dual boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Macrium is still free. Macrium Reflect Free [...]
If you know where to search...

I re-checked, the link in the tutorial is obviously outdated (maybe it should be updated?) and the free version is mentioned nowhere on their homepage. Anyway, thank you for correcting me and posting the link


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
[...] I did not say you can move everything except AppData. I said that what works without problem is to move the specific User shell folders such as Documents, Pictures, Music, etc. Move the files in them when prompted to do so and it will complete the move. User Folders - Change Default Location

In rare cases a User folder will lose its Shell status (icon on folder) or Location tab confirming its Shell status. This can be sorted by the steps in User Folders - Restore Default Location - Windows 7 Forums. [...]
Well, OK. Thatīs a limitation to what can be moved, but that needs to be cross-checked with what should be moved.

My stated goal is to sync data and programs (with settings) between the OSes to the largest extent possible. But that does not mean everything has to be shared. In essence, after cross-checking, I will be fine if Contacts, Documents, Downloads, Links, Music, Videos, Pictures could be shared between the OSes (AppData would be great to share, but what ainīt possible is impossible).

Those seem to be folders that just contain data and no OS-specific information. Please correct me, if Iīm wrong.

Thank you for also posting the "undo" tutorial. I hope I wonīt need it, but who knows?


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
[...] I link the User folders into my OneDrive folder across all my devices so that they are kept sync'd. This has worked fine for me although went buggy a few times when I tried to link Windows 10 folders into my Windows 7 Dual Boot when I should have just had them sync via Onedrive, but I had a small SSD for both and wanted to easily share. I think that problem can be avoided by using a Data partition as you plan. [...]
I have read about Win7 going "crazy" when changing files in itīs home partition while using Win8. Iīm trying to avoid that by using that shared data partition, and having each foreign OS partition hidden (in Win7, the Win8 partition has no drive letter, and vice versa). That way, inadvertently producing a mess as you dod should be prevented.

At this point I have to thank you again - you mentioned data linking, which I would not have thought about at all! More on that at the end of this post.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
[...] Moving the User profile can cause complicated problems that are difficult to sort out. I asked the tutorial author about it a year or more ago and he said he no longer recommends it.
OK, so Iīm pretty much ruling that option out now, after so many warnings and so little specific info - I think, after all, itīs scaring me off



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GokAy View Post
Quote:
Some programs do not create registry entries (e.g. portable programs) do not write to registry. Can those programs be shared across OSes without
problems?
They can still create folders and some config files in AppData. Not all do this of course.
Another limitation to syncing, of course, but since my stated goal is to try and sync things to the largest extent possible, this will simply fall in the range of not possible, then (except if the idea outlined at the end of the post works).


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post
You could use "portable" versions of your software (assuming they are available) to get around possible Registry issues.

Thank you for the tip. Planning to do that wherever possible


___________________________________________________________________


A totally new idea to sharing info in AppData between OSes (thanks to gregrocker for mentioning file linking )

Could I create a directory junction from Win7īs AppData folder to my Data partition, and from there to my Win8īs AppData folder (and the same vice versa) to synchronize the contents?

Cheers, Markus


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
20 Jun 2015   #12
gregrocker

 

You can try it, but I would expect problems. The reason is that app data is OS specific.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2015   #13
MarkusGE

Win7-64 Home Premium single boot / Win7-64 Professional & Win8.1-64 dual boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
You can try it, but I would expect problems. The reason is that app data is OS specific.
OK... so linking AppData folders completely that way will be now good.

What a bout a strip-down version of linking just the subfolder of AppData, specific to programs?


Thereīs also one question not answered above: If I move my Documents folder from C:\users\markus\Documents to, for example, D:\Documents, will installers of programs that put stuff into Documents recognize that folderīs new location?

Cheers, Markus
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

21 Jun 2015   #14
gregrocker

 

I would not mess with the AppData folders. There is really no reason to do this. No one has every complained about them taking up too much space and if they do then I'd get a larger drive.

I've told you all that I would move. The rest is modding the OS files which only leads to problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2015   #15
MarkusGE

Win7-64 Home Premium single boot / Win7-64 Professional & Win8.1-64 dual boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
I would not mess with the AppData folders. There is really no reason to do this. No one has every complained about them taking up too much space and if they do then I'd get a larger drive.
Itīs not about space problems, but about applications and what they store in AppData (OpenRails Train Simulator, for example, stores all itīs save files there - though those could be manually ported by built-in program functionality, which is a tedious process, however).


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
[...] I've told you all that I would move. The rest is modding the OS files which only leads to problems.
OK, Iīll find a way to live with that, then


One questions is still not answered, though: There are programs that put some files in subdirectories of C:\Users\%CurrentUser%\Documents. If I move said directory to. for example, D:\SomeFolderPath\Documents, will those programs and their installers find the Documents folder in the new location?


Cheers, Markus
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2015   #16
MarkusGE

Win7-64 Home Premium single boot / Win7-64 Professional & Win8.1-64 dual boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
[...] I did not say you can move everything except AppData. I said that what works without problem is to move the specific User shell folders such as Documents, Pictures, Music, etc.
This page contains a full list of user shell folders that can be moved: How to Move Windows 7 Personal Folders Like My Documents to Another Drive | Gizmo's Freeware

Cheers, Markus
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2015   #17
gregrocker

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MarkusGE View Post
One questions is still not answered, though: There are programs that put some files in subdirectories of C:\Users\%CurrentUser%\Documents. If I move said directory to. for example, D:\SomeFolderPath\Documents, will those programs and their installers find the Documents folder in the new location?
Cheers, Markus
I've never had any problem with a Program not finding moved User folders.

Since you like to experiment you could try moving the Appdata and even merging it for both operating systems as a test bed to report back here the results. Just be sure to save a system image of your install before making the modifications.

Yes this is not the ordinary advice given consumers here, but this is also the forums where most of the repair regimens for Windows 7 were originally tested and developed. So I don't want to discourage that for someone as curious as you are.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2015   #18
MarkusGE

Win7-64 Home Premium single boot / Win7-64 Professional & Win8.1-64 dual boot
 
 

Thatīs good news


Since this was my last question so far, a big Thank You to all who have helped me with this, and a special Thanks to you, gregrocker, for your patience

Iīll post back if everything worked out the ways described.

Cheers, Markus
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2015   #19
gregrocker

 

Thank you Marcus, for reminding me of our forums' own brilliant youth, just as I was becoming an old scold too set in the ways that "work best."

I've asked in our lounge for others who might want to observe and perhaps join in on your experiment. There's more that can be done in that area.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jun 2015   #20
MarkusGE

Win7-64 Home Premium single boot / Win7-64 Professional & Win8.1-64 dual boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
I've never had any problem with a Program not finding moved User folders.

Since you like to experiment you could try moving the Appdata and even merging it for both operating systems as a test bed to report back here the results. Just be sure to save a system image of your install before making the modifications.

Yes this is not the ordinary advice given consumers here, but this is also the forums where most of the repair regimens for Windows 7 were originally tested and developed. So I don't want to discourage that for someone as curious as you are.
I obviously missed your editing of your post - when I looked at it before I replied, I just saw the first line.

Thus, my reply of posting back was actually meant at reporting if everything securely possible worked out.

However, I am going to do at least one experiment for sure: Installing programs to my D: drive, first from Win7, then from Win8, both times to the same folder path.

As for the other experiments, Iīm not sure. Since merging user profiles is not recommended anymore, because it has obviously already led to problems, Iīm not sure if I will try that. And aside from that, there is only one more possibility to merge AppData, and that is with junctions.

This latter idea is only a theoretical possibility, because I have never used junctions so far, even though I have a handy feature extension installed to Windows, called Link Shell Extension (download Index of /nt/hardlinkshellext), which facilitates all kinds of linking operations in Windows.

Iīm sure I will at least try linking progra-specific subfolders of AppData acrosss OSes, but if I will try merging the complete AppData folder is yet to be decided.

After all (which I havenīt told so far), Iīve been messing with this new computer for nearly two months to get the dual-boot config to work, whereas I initially planned to have this whole machine up and running (completely customized to my needs, too) within two weeks. So, if Iīll take any extra miles that I could do without is questionable currently.



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Thank you Marcus, for reminding me of our forums' own brilliant youth, just as I was becoming an old scold too set in the ways that "work best."

I've asked in our lounge for others who might want to observe and perhaps join in on your experiment. There's more that can be done in that area.
I can be a real PITA (sorry for using that word, but it best describes what Iīm trying to say) when I have the feeling, something could be possible, but there is not enough info already readily available - thatīs why I keep asking

WRT to monitoring the experiments - well, see the above WRT what experiments Iīll do and which Iīll probably let be. Be assured, though, that whatever I try, I will post the results here.

Cheers, Markus
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Multi Boot computer - how to keep data and programs in sync




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