I have a dual-boot configuration: Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I need to create a similar setup on both OSes, so that I do my work, testing, benchmarks and everything else on both operating systems.

Therefore, I want to have the same setup when it comes to my libraries/user folders: Documents, Music, Pictures and Video. I have a 1to1 relationship between libraries and user folders. For example: the Documents library points to the Documents folder and nothing else.

I want both the admin account on Windows 7 and the admin account on Windows 8 to access them with full permissions.

What I have done so far was to:

  • modify the permissions in Windows 7 and make sure my user account has full permissions;
  • login to Windows 8 and give full permissions to admin user account used on that OS.

The trouble is: each time I login to Windows 7, it seems to forget that my user account has full permissions. Then, I need to take ownership of each folder, in order to use it.

When I log back to Windows 8, it never has issues remembering permissions and I can access these folders without trouble. However, when I go back to Windows 7, I have the same troubles again and need to take manual ownership of these folders.

How should I setup the permissions so that I have access to these folders from both OSes and admin accounts?

Do I have to change some security policy in Windows? If yes, which? I can't find one relevant to my problem.

Update: I have noticed that this problem is fixed in Windows 8 Release Preview. Apparently, it was a bug relevant for Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

  • Are you point to the documents folder in the Users directory, or some random folder at the root of the hard drive?
    – MBraedley
    Mar 8, 2012 at 13:22
  • These folders are on partitions away from the System drives of each OS. I have drive C: for Windows 7, drive D: for Windows 8 and three other drives where these folders are stored. Mar 8, 2012 at 18:16
  • Have you relocated the standard Users directories to other disks? If so, this can be very touchy. Do you have any problem when using normal (non-special) folders between both OSs ?
    – harrymc
    Mar 14, 2012 at 15:46
  • Yes I did. I have the following setup: Windows 7 on C:, Windows 8 on D:, then E: drive for the user folders that have been moved there. So, both Windows 7 and Windows 8 point to the same E:\Documents, E:\Music, etc. Mar 14, 2012 at 19:44
  • Can you answer if you have the same problem when using normal (non-user) folders between both OSs ?
    – harrymc
    Mar 14, 2012 at 20:51

2 Answers 2


You need to grant permissions to the Everyone group to your folders.

The problem you are running into is the local accounts on one OS install are unknown to the other OS install. Without a bridging entity, for all intents and purposes, the OS has no idea that the other OS exists.

Another solution that will mitigate this is to join computers with a domain controller.

By taking ownership of the folder, you are only furthering the problem.

  • So... log in to each OS, assign full permissions to the Everyone group and see what happens. Mar 8, 2012 at 18:14
  • You only have to assign full permissions from one OS.
    – surfasb
    Mar 8, 2012 at 21:02
  • I am afraid that doesn't work. I go to Windows 7, add Everyone to the list of groups with permissions, assign full permissions to the group, on each of the folders. Then, I go back to Windows 8 and use these folders without issues. When I go back to Windows 7, I have the same problem. The permissions are gone. :( Mar 14, 2012 at 9:36
  • Are there any policies Windows enforces to make the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos folders private/protected from access from other users and OSes? Mar 14, 2012 at 9:37
  • I tried also assigning permissions to the Everyone group in both OSes. It still doesn't work. I need to change manually the permissions each time I login to each operating system. :( Any other ideas? Mar 14, 2012 at 10:32

User folders are somewhat special, and Windows is very protective about them. Your problem might be that user accounts are different between the two OSs, so you should only use known accounts that are hopefully common to both.

Here is some procedure that might work, in the hope that Windows 8 has not loused up too much the compatibility of permissions. I have not tested it, so be careful.

Logged-in as administrator, go to the Users folder that you have on the other disk and in its Properties go to the Security tab and then Advanced/Edit and :

  1. Ensure that Administrators (with s) is the owner
  2. Give Everyone and Users total permissions
  3. Delete all other accounts
  4. Check "Include heritable" and "Replace all existing permissions".
  5. Press OK and answer Yes to continue.

Make a note first of the existing permissions and make a backup copy of the folder, in case this fails.

  • This works only for a short while. I make this change and everything is fine in both operating systems for the next reboot or two. As soon as I start using in Windows 8 apps that access files from these folders, something changes and, when I get back to Windows 7, I'm without permissions again. For example, if I play a song from the Music library/user folder in the Music app, the next time i boot to Windows 7, I have lost access to it. :( Mar 20, 2012 at 14:57
  • What's even stranger is that this problem never happens the other way around. No matter what I do in Windows 7, in Windows 8 I will never have issues. Only when I get back to Windows 7. Mar 20, 2012 at 15:02
  • 1
    This seems then to be related to some change in Windows 8. I think that unfortunately you are on your own, at least until Windows 8 comes out and the nature of these changes is better understood. In the hope that this is a bug, you might report it to Microsoft (Windows 8 is not yet finalized).
    – harrymc
    Mar 20, 2012 at 15:27
  • Thanks for helping me out. To you @harrymc and everybody else who tried. :D Mar 20, 2012 at 15:34

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