How should I partition my drive to make migrating from Windows Vista to Windows 7 easier?
October 7, 2009 10:37 AM   Subscribe

PartitionFilter: I just got a new machine with Windows Vista with a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it comes out. I'm planning on doing a fresh installation of Windows 7 when I get it, but in the meantime I'd like to get settled in Windows Vista. Is there a good strategy to partitioning the 640GB HD so I can migrate with ease? Was thinking of having two partitions, one for OS, one for Program Data / Storage, and then wiping the OS partition when Windows 7 comes through. Advice?
posted by miasma to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
That wont work. Your programs wont work because they'll be missing their registry settings, amongst other things after you upgrade. Some will work, but generally, complex apps in windows arent mobile.

If you like you can create a partition for your profile, but if youre doing an inplace upgrade then Win7 will see it and use it regardless. Frankly, Id just use one partition and do the inplace upgrade. I forsee a lot of situations where the people who wrote the installer didnt care about profiles and data on different partitions.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:48 AM on October 7, 2009

There is probably no point in keeping the application data separate (c:\program files\). most applications/games will need to do registry stuff and wont work unless they are installed.
posted by Iax at 10:50 AM on October 7, 2009

This is what I do. It works well. It's not really that different from having the apps/profiles installed to and running from a network drive.

Some things to bear in mind :

1. You will need to reinstall the programs that you use.

2. You will need to be mindful of files that get put places you don't expect them to (i.e. apps that use the all users profile to store data, saved games, or what have you). And some apps hate being installed anywhere but "program files" and will use that directory for settings and stuff anyway.

3. Because of 1&2, it's probably best just to make the OS partition large enough to support the installation of those apps that won't play along. 30 is enough, but 48 gigs is ample. More is better since you dont have to be so neurotic about it.

4. You have to make double sure that apps install where you tell them to.

5. when you reinstall the OS, the permissions on the secondary partition need to be fixed. You'll have to grab ownership of them and set them manually. This isn't too difficult, however.

6. This works really well for some apps though (games in particular) - WoW for example keeps all of my setting between installs and all I have to do is fix the registry to point to the app location.

The biggest pain is just having to pay more attention to where things are and what the defaults are. Some apps will be really well behaved and others just don't like it much.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:13 AM on October 7, 2009

Windows Easy Transfer is meant to migrate from Vista to Windows 7 and according to my colleagues works pretty well. Do look into it.
posted by oxit at 11:31 AM on October 7, 2009

Well as long as you install windows 7 in a seperate partition as vista you can use easy transfer manager to transfer everything over then use the windows 7 built in disk utilities to make the old vista partition part of the windows 7 one again.
posted by majortom1981 at 11:41 AM on October 7, 2009

Rather that using partitions I always have separate drives in my systems for data vs OS+Programs. Makes life a lot easier.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:57 AM on October 7, 2009

The division you want is not between OS and programs, but between programs and data. Put all your documents, pictures, videos, music, and so forth in the second partition, and then after reinstalling your OS and apps, just go into the options and point to the correct locations. As damn dirty ape said, there's no way to get out of the re-installing for anything that uses the registry, sorry.

Don't forget less obvious stuff, like browser bookmarks and the database for your music management software, and .ini files with lots of settings you might not remember (some things you can't actually change the location of, but back them up on the data drive).

Searching on "backup data partition" should get you a few more things to put on there.
posted by timepiece at 7:43 AM on October 10, 2009

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