Windows 7 / XP file system compatability issues?

I'm wondering if it's possible to install and setup WIndows 7 on a mutil-boot system with XP so that all files and folders are accesable from Windows XP.

I have a dual boot system (XP 32 bit and XP 64 bit, on separate hard drives) with three 2TB hard drives, 5 partitions each for a total of 15 partitions, 6 of which are actually used (OS, applications, data), with the remaining used mostly for backup purposes (also swap files, tmp files, and temporary instances of raw video files before processing).

I have system restore turned off. I perform backups by doing the equivalent of a drag and drop copy of all files and folders (including hidden and system, but not volume id or recycler folders) from one of my "active" partitions to a folder in a large backup partition (I use windiff to verify afterwards). To backup the partition with XP 32 bit on it, I do that while running XP 64 bit and vice versa. I can quick format and drag and drop copy to restore any of these partitions without any issues (except for a minor issue with \windows\installer folder where it gets emptied by any update activity, but is fixed by doing a second restore).

I'm considering going to a tripple boot system, adding Windows 7 to a partition on the third hard drive. My main concern is what impact this will have on the remaining 14 partiions and compatiblity with XP. I realize that one change to NTFS partitions by Windows 7 is multiple restore poitns, but I plan to disable system restore (if this is possible with Window s 7). I'm also concerned that Windows 7 might affect folders on the 14 existing partitions by adding access rights info to those folders, which would prevent me from accessing them from XP. My other concern is the ability to backup and restore just the partition with Windows 7 on it. My drag and drop method would require that none of the files or folders on the Windows 7 partition be protected from access via Windows XP. If this isn't possible, my next concern is being able to restore individual files from a Windows 7 type (image?) backup.

I realize this is an unusual situation, but if anyone here can help me with information about XP / Windows 7 file system issues, I would appreciate it.
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  1. First you are using backups wrong. You don't backup files to the same drive and just in a separate partition, you need to copy the files to a separate drive. If that's what you are doing, great, if not, change it. The only thing copying a file to another partition will save you from is if you saved an edit you did not mean to, or deleted a file. But most backups you want around if the drive crashes, which a separate partition won't help you with.

    As far as sharing files between the 2 OSes go, I'm sure you will have user rights issues. You'd need to add Everyone to the user rights for the directories to make sure everything is seen by both sides.
  2. 15 partitions!? I have a headache just from reading this....

    You can make Win7 dual-boot with XP easily enough. Typing Xp 7 dual boot into Google will get you all the answers you need. I have serious doubts about the complexity of your setup though. Why all the separation?
  3. Both Windows 7 and XP use NTFS and they can read each other's file systems - so what you're proposing should work (although I agree with the other posters that your configuration seems way too complex).

    The biggest issue I'm aware of between Windows 7 and XP concerns the Volume Shadowing service and shadow copies on the drives. Windows 7 / Vista provide for up to 512 different shadow copy instances, but XP only provides for one. When you boot your system with XP it will silently delete all but the most recent shadow copy from every NTFS volume that it mounts. This can cause issues with Windows 7 facilities like backup and system restore.

  4. I'll agree...the purpose of a backup is to be able to restore in case of some OS or hardware failure...certainly the same drive won't prevent data loss if you hard drive fails.

    I don't understand why you can't have the same "Data" partition for all instances...seems like you should be able to share that (I've done it with Win7 and XP dual boot before)>
  5. Quote:
    same drive
    As mentioned in my first post, I have 3 hard drives. Each backup is from one drive to another. I also have a 4th external hard drive that I use to backup important data.

    share same data partition
    I already do that. I have two "data" partitions, one is mostly downloaded data for program installation or updates, the other is true data, videos, music, documents, source code for programs, zips of savegames, zips of old files (some go back to CP/M days), ...

    15 partitions
    Some of those are unused. This is a new system with 3 TB drives. I got these drive mostly for the transfer rate speed, not the size. The extra paritions allow me to alternate backups on partitions located on different hard drives. By separating OS and applications, the OS partition is small, so if there's an issue, the recover time to restore the OS partition takes less time.

    user right issues
    How do I avoid user right issues if I'm sharing files / folders between Windows 7 and XP? I doubt I can add users from one OS to the other. Currently the XP users (my wife and I) are administrative level. I plan to do the same for Windows 7.

    system restore
    I have that disabled. I rely on the manual backups I do instead.
  6. If you assign rights to "Everyone", both OSs should should see it. You can test it with your dual boot system now. If both XP setups can see it (although they are both XP, the user accounts are totally different from a security standpoint), Windows 7 can see it.
  7. if you have a partition that is seperate to the os's


    win7 is on partition a

    xp is partition b

    data is on partition c

    they should both be able to see partition c and have no porblems

    anyway it dosnt matter if this breaks system restore in the last 10 years ive tried system restore and it never works properly

    better to do a partition image

    dont bother changing the settings after you create a partition it should be seen by both os's as default

    (the partition will act the same as a usb stick, just because you use it/ formated it in one os dosnt mean you cant use it in another)
  8. I do recall trying to help someone recover files from a Windows 7 system by moving their hard drive to an existing XP system and some of the folders on the Windows 7 partition could not be opened with XP. I don't know if the folder settings could have been changed prior to trying to access them from XP to avoid this problem.
  9. Another thing you might consider that could make the setup significantly easier...have you looked at virtualization?

    Is there a reason you need to dual boot? You have some items that only work in XP, or you do some development that you like to test?

    If you have decent hardware you ought to be able to run a VM of one of the other OSs and not have to worry about all the drives and partitions etc. You could back up the VMs as disk images or even as snapshot...there are free options available - VMware player, VirtualBox, etc.
  10. huron said:
    Another thing you might consider that could make the setup significantly easier...have you looked at virtualization?
    My initial usage of Windows 7 would be a couple of games, and virualization would interfere with performance.

    huron said:
    Is there a reason you need to dual boot?
    I mostly use XP 64 bit to backup XP 32 bit, but I occasionally use XP 64 bit to program in 64 bit assembly, using Visual Studio (I use VS2005, but I think VC++ express (free version) will also work).

    huron said:
    not have to worry about all the drives and partitions etc.
    As long as Windows 7 doesn't modify the existing partitions other than the one Windows 7 is installed on, I should be OK. If I need to "undo" Windows 7, should be able to use dskprobe from XP's support tools to backup the partition sector and the master boot record in the C partition. The rest of the C partition is just files which I can backup via file copy.

    I'm waiting to get more info on this before I consider buying Windows 7. I also need to decide if I want to install 32 bit or 64 bit. I've read there's some issues with Windows 7 and some video codecs, but I could just boot into XP to do my video stuff.
  11. I don't think I explained this clearly.

    With virtualization, you could power up the VM with XP or XP x64, do your work in it, then shut them down. They will only use resources while they are active. They won't impact playing games in Win7 while not powered on.

    I assume this would be acceptable, since you aren't playing games while programming in your other OSs now, right?

    No worries...the decision is yours...just trying to present something that may be workable and possibly more convenient. Do whatever you feel comfortable doing...good luck.
  12. huron said:
    With virtualization, you could power up the VM with XP or XP x64, do your work in it, then shut them down.
    Currently I'm using XP x64 to backup the XP partition and vice versa. Also I'm using video conversion and rendering applications (like Adobe Premiere) where some of the video codecs don't work in 64 bit mode, and lastly some games that won't run under Windows 7, so using VM for XP or XP 64 bit isn't an option at this time.

    My goal here is to transition from a dual boot system to a triple boot system wihtout affecting the existing partitions (other than the one I install Windows 7 into). Initially, Windows 7 will be the least used OS on my computer. There's no rush on doing this though, so I may just decide to wait until a later date when I have more info on the potential issues before deciding to add Windows 7 to my system.
  13. hang-the-9 is right there is an issue of right protection...make it to everyone and you will be able to access data from both the OS easily also backup your data in separate drive otherwise there could be a issue you may lost your data....
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