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Can anyone explain how to install multiple instances of Windows 7 so that both instances are isolated from each other?

I have a new computer with two partitions on the same drive. One partition is for work (coding, graphics etc), the other partition is for home usage (web surfing, occasional gaming etc).

I would like to set this up so that the home partition will not have any rights to the work partition. Other than installing Windows 7 on both partitions what steps could I take to restrict access to the work partition from the home partition?

The main idea is that the home partition will run less secure software and is not as trusted as the work partition. Therefore it should not be able to modify anything except itself.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I believe the only way to do this is with encryption. You may want to look into TrueCrypt.

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Full disk encryption of your "work" partition is the only way to keep the "home" partition from accessing it. Alternatively, switching hard drives, or virtualizing your "home" system inside the "work" one. – afrazier May 18 '11 at 14:03
@afrazier right, the drive that is encrypted will not be accessible by any other drive. If both are encrypted neither should be able to access the other unless it is mounted. – Jeff F. May 18 '11 at 14:08
@afrazier I do have a second hard drive bay, I was hoping to install a small SSD drive for dedicated swap - However I could use this for a second OS drive. Will this give me greater security over two partitions on the same drive? – Payson Welch May 18 '11 at 14:27
@Payson Welch Encryption security will not be an issue. Check out… – Jeff F. May 18 '11 at 14:29
@Payson: You'd have to physically disconnect the "work" drive, if it's not encrypted. That's what I meant by "switching hard drives." Otherwise it provides no more security. – afrazier May 18 '11 at 14:37

With two drives you could disable one in the BIOS before booting. With partitions I don't think you can isolate them as you want to. Another option is putting one or both setups in a VM which would allow you to run both at the same time, but there's a performance hit for that route.

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