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

24 Sep 2015   #51

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)

I might be too late to contribute to this thread, but I have a dual-boot machine and I have no problem with sharing data files between the OSes. Moreover, I have never bothered with moving C:\Users\... files, syncing, sharing and so on. Heck, I even have search completely disabled on my machine since I have no need for it whatsoever.

The simple answer about using same data files between the two operating systems is to put those files onto a separate drive. In a dual boot scenario I'm thinking three separate drive (physical drives, not partitions). One for one OS, one for another, and the third one for data. I would keep all Windows-created folders where they are. Who said that my stuff has to be in C:\Users\username\Documents? I never put anything there. If y files are in H:\files\ then this can be accessed from any OS. You probably want to set security settings such that the said folders can be accessed by "everyone". On a single-user machine that's not a problem.

This completely solves the problem of accessing data. If you want to run the same program in both OSes, then clearly you would have to either set them up separately, or point the program to store configuration files, etc. on the separate data drive rather than in the default location. There are some programs that won't allow that, but I personally either don't use such programs, or use them on a single OS, or if absolutely necessary, just set them up twice.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2015   #52

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit

Separate partitions are sufficient.

Here is my setup (I have no issues reading files):

Multi Boot computer - how to keep data and programs in sync-hdd-setup-2015-09-25-.png

Multi Boot computer - how to keep data and programs in sync-hdd-setup-2015-09-25-macrium.png
The Linux Distros that I've tried can all read Windows files without requiring any additional tools.
Windows can't read Linux file systems without additional tools.

If you need to read files (e.g. documents, music, pictures & videos) in Linux and Windows, you need to use a HDD/partition file system that they both understand (e.g. FAT or NTFS).

You can get tools for Windows that will allow it to read EXT file systems, but the two I tried didn't impress me.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2015   #53

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

Thanks folks

This problem has actually been solved already, though. HereŽs what what I went with for disk / partition layout:

Multi Boot computer - how to keep data and programs in sync-partitionlayout.jpg

Note, this is a laptop PC, with only a single HDD, so multiple drives, one for each OS and one for data, was not possible.

I needed to sync Documents because of some programs storing profiles and settings there. Since moving and merging both OS' documents folder into one on the data partition was no problem, I also did so with Music, etc. I could store those files elsewhere, but i works (for me), so I use it

Also, since both OSes on this machine are Windows (7 and 8.1), no problem whatsoever with file system incompatibilities

Now, to the backup plan.

After thorough consideration, my data does not change so much every day that I need daily backups. Not doing those will also keep backup size down a little, or extend the time span for which individual backups can be kept without increasing the disk space requirements - a nice side effect.

That said, IŽll be doing a full system image every three months, keeping the most recent two of them plus the first one ever done. Differential backups will be created once a week. That should give reasonable security at a reasonable space requirement.

Some folders will still need special backups, which will be done by Hardlink backup (specifically, my game content collection and video / picture archive). Those will follow not be created on a scheduled basis, but manually when necessary.

All image backups will be saved twice, on different external drives. The game content collection I talked about is included in the image backups, so it will only be backed up by hardlink backup to one drive. The pic and video archive is already located on an external drive, so it ca only be backed up to the other external one.


Cheers, Markus

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Multi Boot computer - how to keep data and programs in sync-partitionlayout.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec


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

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