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I'm planning to have a dual-boot on my computer. I have 2 physical hard drives, one 500GB and one 2TB. What I want to do, is have a dual-boot setup (2 partitions, both 50 GB) for Windows 8 and Windows 7.

But will I be able to access the 3rd partition on the disk, or the other disk from both OSs? In this case, it would be really useful to access files and install programs, because I could use them on both OSs, as long as I have the same registry keys.

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What registry keys are you mentioning and why? I don't think Windows 7 and 8 will allow you to have a common Program Files folder... –  HaydnWVN Jun 12 '12 at 8:59
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3 Answers

As long as the hard disks are formatted in a way that both operating systems can read it, absolutely. I'm not quite sure if Windows 7 can read Windows 8 volumes, but both operating systems should read your 2TB disk and third partition just fine assuming it's formatted with NTFS. Both operating systems will have complete access to both drives and can format them, partition them, etc.

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Both operating systems can probably use the 3rd partition, although user permissions can become a real pain. Be careful to set the permissions on the common partition only to Everyone, in the hope that the Everyone account is common to both OSs.

You cannot install one product in the 3rd partition for both OSs : Each OS has its own registry and local user files and in addition the installed files may be owned by incompatible accounts. So such a setup is impossible.

Only in very rare cases, meaning for very simple products that don't have an installer (are of the copy-and-use type), and which don't use the registry or local user files, can this work.

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Both OSes will able to read each other and also entire hard disk partitions as well. Just in some case if you have installed Windows 7 first then sometimes you would have to take ownership in Windows 8 to access it.

I'm saying it on the basis of using XP and after that installing Windows 7. Whenever I tied to access the desktop files of XP from Windows 7 I had need to take ownership of the files and sometime it mess up with the things with old OS.

However I have not experience with Windows 8 but I'm pretty sure that this feature also available there. But reading the partition and other files is as it as in your old OS(Windows 7).

If I'm not getting you wrong then you want to install the program on third partition as well from both OSes as well but you will not able to access program from them.

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