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Windows 7: Can I install an OS on an internal HD being used for files externally

17 Sep 2014   #11


One should never expect to install Win7 onto a partition with files and have those files remain intact. The installer will format the partition even if you don't if its correctly booted for the install, and if run from an OS it will wrap up any files on C into a windows.old archive or overwrite them if installed to another partition.

There are several ways to access files on the separate data partition. This is popular now that backup imaging of C is an efficient replacement for reinstalling the OS. If you keep your files on a data partition linked to the OS, then if C ever becomes irreparable you can reimage it from a stored backup image in 20 minutes and your latest files will all be waiting and current in their own backup partition.

To link your files from the newly installed OS there are two ways to do this. You can move the User folders to the data partition as shown in User Folders - Change Default Location, or you can simply right click each User folder already on the Data partition to add it to the related Library - Include a Folder then set that folder as the default save folder for that library: Library - Set Save Folder.

I use the former method so that I can also sync to my other devices and backup my User folders at the same time as shown in Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with OneDrive . But if one wants to use WIn7 backup imaging then use the latter method since it will want to include the data partition as part of the image because it contains system User files. An alternative imaging app with more flexibility is Imaging with free Macrium.

Feel free to ask back any questions since this is best to fully understand ahead of time.

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 Can I install an OS on an internal HD being used for files externally

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