Partition disk for dual boot Windows XP and Windows 7 (shared documents)


I wish to dual boot Windows XP and Windows 7.

I wish to have my documents available from both OSes.

Do I create a single partition and it just works?
2 partitions, one for each OS?
3 partitions, one for each OS and one for the "my documents"?

I used 3 partitions, one for each partition and one for docs which is mapped as a separate drive. Works perfectly. The only think you need to do is hide the other OS partition, ie for Windows XP, hide the Windows 7 partition. You do this from partition manager.

Best Answer

I think you will indeed need a third partition, that would be the easiest.

Windows XP will see Windows 7 partition without problem, so you could use the Win7 partition for your documents. However, unless you change the system partition letter for Windows XP to something else than "C:", you won't be able to access it from 7, as it will mask it, to make the system believe it is actually on the C: partition (even if it is on another), and therefor you won't see the Windows XP one, under 7.

Note that my point of view is based on what I experienced after trying the beta of Windows 7. this behavior could have changed since, or there can be workarounds.

Depending on what you need the dual boot for, you can also consider installing Windows 7 as the main system, and installing XP on a virtual machine, which would probably make document sharing even easier.