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In more detail:

Is it possible to have one partition that is accessed by both my Windows XP and my Windows 7 partition on which all my programs/games are installed? Will it work for all programs/most of the programs? Or is it a bad idea all over?

The overall setup would then look like this:

C: Win XP

D: Win 7

E: Shared partition w/ programs

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2 Answers 2

It might work for some programs, but has a real potential to cause great trouble.

There is no problem with installing in both XP and Win7 a product into the same disk E. However, the problems I can see are :

  • Some installations will install only the software that fits your operating system. This means that one installation may destroy the other.
  • Some applications keep their data and settings in directories such as C:\Users on the boot disk. You would then have separate directories, for example for saved games, and would need to find where they are and to always juggle copying files between the two systems.
  • Products that use the registry might experience problems, since each Windows version has its own registry.
  • For very large products that modify heavily the system, such as Microsoft's Visual Studio, there is also the chance of breaking the system, thus requiring the reinstallation of both Windows 7 and XP.

In short, there is a good potential for big headaches, and you would need to find out the hard way for which products this common disk scheme works or not.

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So, for games that store their saves in the "native" game folder, it should probably work most of the time. Or are registry entries important for games? –  ptikobj Mar 26 '11 at 18:28
    
That depends on the game. Almost all games are non-portable, meaning that they use the registry when installing. Whether this matters or not is again a question of trying and seeing. Most games have very aggressive copy-protection schemes which might not work in such a setup. –  harrymc Mar 26 '11 at 18:45

Yes, it would work. It is good that you format the Partition in the NTFS Format for best Compatibility. In case that you will use same programs on both OSes, you must notice that you have to install them on both. It may be possible that they would run without installation, but it is not recommended.

I hope i could help!

mitsosc

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