Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Dual-Boot Vista/Windows 7: Sharing Folders & Programs?

16 Feb 2012   #1

Vista Home Premium-32 bit and Windows 7-64 bit
Dual-Boot Vista/Windows 7: Sharing Folders & Programs?

My laptop came installed with Vista Home Premium – 32 bit, which was at the end of its cycle. It has worked very well, runs very smoothly, and I like it. I also have the full-version of Windows 7 Professional – 64 bit and have dual-booted it along with Vista. My goal is to be able to use either operating system with both having access to folders, files, and programs stored in a central location. I installed the MiniTool Partition Wizard to repartition my hard drive, then installed Windows 7 in order to experiment a bit.
Here is what the first partitioning (which I know is not correct) looks like in order of appearance:

Vista boot view:

Local Disk (C)
117 GB free of 265 GB
Expansion Drive (D)
156 GB free of 465 GB
1.24 GB free of 10.8 GB
DVD RW Drive (F)
Windows 7 (G)
7.18 GB free of 22.0 GB
My Passport (H)
381 GB free of 465 GB

Windows 7 boot view:

Windows 7 (C)
7.17 free of 22.0 GB
Local Disk (D)
117 GB free of 10.8 GB
1.24 GB free of 10.8 GB
Expansion Drive (H)
156 GB free of 465 GB
My Passport (I)
381 GB free of 465 GB
DVD RW Drive (F)

What (if possible) would be the process so that I can use either OS to access my folders, programs and such? I wish to alleviate having to download duplicate programs, or having to duplicate my “Users” folders and files for Windows 7. I also want to keep the factory installed RECOVERY (E) partition where it is. Would I need to do a clean install of Vista, then reinstall Windows 7? I have spent hours reading various forum threads and tutorials yielding very mixed opinions, so I felt that it would be prudent to ask for suggestions which address my particular situation.

In a nutshell, can I put Vista and 7 on two separate partitions, everything else on a third, and have either OS be able to access all of the data from the third?

Thank you for your valuable time,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

What you want to do is not possile, because the apps would need to be installed under both OSes to get registry settings correct. There's little need to actually dual-boot anymore, so what is it you are trying to accomplish? Why not just run Windows 7 x64 and virtualize anything else you need?

The purpose of dual-booting, when it was still relevant, was to keep the systems isolated from each other for testing purposes or backwards compatibility. What you seem to want breaks the very point of dual-booting.

My solution is to keep things simple, aka K.I.S.S. Just use one host OS, and if you burn your recovery disks, you can do away with the recovery partition as well. It doesn't make sense to store your backup/recovery method on the one part that is most likely to die.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Feb 2012   #3
Microsoft MVP


Until you delete Vista you can add each of its User folders to the related library in Win7: Library - Include a Folder - Windows 7 Forums.

This functions the same as clicking on the User folder and displays all of the Documents, Pictures, Videos, etc from both OS's at once.

When ready to delete Vista follow these steps to recover the System boot files into Win7 by marking Active and running three separate Startup Repairs, recover the Vista HD space if desired: Partition Recover Space Used by an Older OS
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Feb 2012   #4

Vista Home Premium-32 bit and Windows 7-64 bit
Reasons for Running Vista and Windows 7

Thank you for the suggestions. I should get those reading this up to speed with the story in brief: I went from the Apple Macintosh world (G4) to the Windows world with my current HP laptop (G60-235DX). It came installed with Vista Home Premium 32 bit - Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU T4200 @ 2.00GHz, 2000 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s) - (now SP2, BIOS version F.65, and all driver and Windows updates) and other factory programs which I like to use from time to time. I know that XP still has a legion of loyal fans, and that Vista's early missteps doomed its "first impression" giving it a bad rap, but Vista was my first Windows based OS and want to keep part of my PC as it came from the factory. I treated my vintage muscle cars the same way - leave them the way the factory made them, except for updating items which were technology restricted (bias-ply to radial tires, shocks, rubber to poly bushings, points to electronic ignition, etc.). I simply like the way Vista looks and functions compared to Windows 7, especially for my routine daily use, but I need Windows 7 to utilize the 8 GB RAM (presently 3 GB), and more properly utilize my audio and video editing software, e.g. Adobe Premiere requires a 64 bit system to operate. Nutshell - I like Vista and need 7.
With that said, I have everything backed up to external drives and discs. Here are some other things that I read about, but am not sure how, or if they would apply to me:
1. What is the "virtual machine" option and how would I run Vista with it? Would I simply boot W7, then run Vista from there?
2. How do I do a "full image" of Vista and put it into W7?
3. How should I repartition my HDD - currently at 3 partitions?
Someone from Microsoft suggested that I set up data folders on a separate partition and download programs for both OS, but I am not sure how much space to allow for on each OS. I'm not even sure if I can go more than 3 primary partitions without having to use a logical drive .
I apologize for the length and I do value the time and advice of those here. It is very important that I do not mess this up.
Eric :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dual-Boot Vista/Windows 7: Sharing Folders & Programs?

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Running dual Boot w/ Vista and Win 7, question on running programs
Greetings, New to the forum! I recently installed Win 7 on a second Hard drive. Is it possible to run the programs I had installed on the Vista Hard drive? Both are HD's are still installed. Thanks, Brad
General Discussion
Removing Vista from Dual-Boot System Vista + Windows 7
Hey guys, I've been looking through the forum and found some similar posts, but wanted to make sure that I understand everything before actually proceeding. I have a HP HDX 16t which came with Vista Home Premium 64 bit. I used the Windows 7 Upgrade Disk to do a clean install of Win7 on a new...
Installation & Setup
Windows Vista and Seven dual boot...... programs?
Okay so I set up a new partition on my hard drive to boot Windows 7 from, so that I could have both Vista and Win7 on my laptop. However, is there a way that Windows 7 can use all of the programs and files I already have in my Vista partition? I can manually go over and start them..... but they...
Installation & Setup
Sharing Paritions/Files with Vista Dual-Boot Configurations
So, I have three partitions: Vista, Win7, and a Storage Partition. It seems that Windows 7 and Vista are fighting over permissions to folders I'd like to share between then. So, for the Win7 Documents library I added the Documents partition that I use for Vista. Sometimes I get a message that I...
General Discussion
Any way to transfer programs from Vista to 7 after dual boot install?
Noob here, obviously .. But I installed Windows 7 64 with the dual boot option, and have Vista 32 as my regular OS. Is there any way to transfer the programs from the Vista partition over to the Win 7 partition without re-installing each and every program? On a related note - is there a...
General Discussion

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 18:52.
Twitter Facebook Google+