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I have an unusual scenario & problem:

  • I have three operating systems installed on a laptop: Windows 7, Windows 8 Developer Preview and Windows Vista.
  • I have a partition for each operating system and 4th one where data is stored, so that it can be accessed from all operating systems.

Now, I have the following need:

  • I want Windows 8 and Windows Vista to access all partitions except the Windows 7 one.
  • I want Windows 7 to NOT be able to access all the other partitions except the one on which it is installed.

How can I "lock" Windows 7 from writing or accessing the other partitions? Also, how can I "lock" the other OSes from writing or accessing the Windows 7 partition?

share|improve this question
Is it also fine just to hide/dismount it in the other OSes? – Jens Erat Oct 25 '11 at 19:30
If you are using different users in the various OSes, you can probably accomplish this with permissions. A bit of background on what exactly you are trying to accomplish might help someone provide the right solution. – MaQleod Oct 25 '11 at 20:19
I use so many Windows versions for professional purposes. The Windows 7 installation, I want to use it to test antivirus software, play with viruses, do research, etc. The other OSes are used for other purposes. That why it is important to have this isolation. – Corporate Geek Oct 25 '11 at 20:27
Encryption would prevent the partitions from being read or intelligently modified by any OS that doesn't have the keys, but nothing can stop one OS from deleting or damaging the other partitions. Have you considered running virtual machines instead? – Harry Johnston Oct 26 '11 at 1:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Boot each Microsoft OS, and start up the Disk Management utility (Start / Administrative Tools / Computer Management).

For each volume/partition that you do not want that Windows version to access, select it using a right click and choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths". Select "Remove", and the partition will no longer have a drive letter. You will have effectively disabled access to that partition for that version of Windows.

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Excellent! It works. I am familiar with the Disk Management utility and have used it many times. However, I never noticed the Remove option you mentioned. It's hidden away and it should not. It was really useful. Thank YOU! – Corporate Geek Oct 26 '11 at 13:27

You can lock the other partitions by simply by dismounting them. OSes just see partitions like disks. How do you prevent an OS from writing to your flash drive? Don't plug it in in the first place.

Plus, each OS will remember which disks you decide not to mount.

No OS can lock another OS out of a partition. It is a simple violation of nature since each OS is a distinct entity that is unaware of the other OSes. And it should be that way.

share|improve this answer
How do you dismount a partition in Windows? – Corporate Geek Oct 25 '11 at 21:47
Start->Right-click My Computer->Manage->Disk Management->*select disk to hide*->Right-click->Change Drive Letter and Paths->Remove->OK – Canadian Luke Oct 25 '11 at 23:14
or type disk management into the start menu. You should get a "Create and Format partition" option. – surfasb Oct 26 '11 at 4:05
Thank you very much for all your useful advice. I really appreciate it. – Corporate Geek Oct 26 '11 at 13:27

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