Using a spare partition to install programs

I am running 3 computers with dual boot using XP pro and Vista Business.  I have been receiving help as to how I can share documents and other things between the OS's and I really like the simplicity of it.

Can I do the same with programs?  Could I make a partition lets say e:/programs and then install a program to there and be able to use it both in Vista and in XP?

I have noticed I can run certain programs that were installed in XP, just fine from Vista, other programs give me errors if I try and launch the exe from XP partition.  Would installing software on this extra partition solve that?

Also would there be any side effects so to speak?  Now I know installing programs creates registry entries, and Im sure xp and vista regs are not swappable, but what if I installed the program to e drive under xp and then installed it to the EXACT same location but installed it under vista?  that should give me the necessary files in the registry but still save me overall disk space from having to install it twice correct?

Common programs I use are:

Office 2003
Macromedia Studio 8
Alot of Citrix programs like citrix presentation server
some VPN programs like mysabre

Anyway I saw some posts talking about installing programs on a seperate partition, and since Im currently getting help on setting up emails and docs on another partition I thought Id explore this possibility.

Thanks in advance for your time,

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Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
No you can't You will have to install the programs on each machine, this is becuse the programs will also add some files (typically in the "Common Files" and /or System32 folders) and make changes to the registry.
With some programs it is possible to install it on a partition and run it on both XP and Vista, but the programs you use most install things in both registery and System32 folder. So just like KCTS stated above here. Its not possible.
Just re-read the post, i misread a thing:
You have 3 machines and all 3 run both vista and XP dual booting, Correct?

Then you can try to double install the programs. But i'd recommend making a backup first since i personally never did this before. I'd say in theory this would work. But you never know how it will go when you actually take it into practice.


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scottrill2Author Commented:

All 3 machines are dual boot XP and Vista, and all 3 machines are mainly for business use so they have essentially the same software on them.

The only machine really different is mine.  Has alot of games on it.  I am a semi avid gamer, so my machine would actually benefit the most if this is possible.  Heck just crysis takes up 6.5 gigs, but some of our business programs take up a decent amount of space, I have a mapping program that takes up well over 15 gigs.

I completely understand about the registry settings, thats why I asked if it would work if I installed it under both OS's just in the same spot on a non OS partition so that the bulk of the files overwrite themselves.  On that mapping software mentioned above, only 8.3mb gets installed to common apps, Id rather install an extra 16mb than 30 GB.

I am thinking about reformatting and reinstalling anyway, so maybe Ill set up a couple extra partitions like e:\shared programs
f:\Vista programs
g:\XP programs

And that way if I find a program that doesnt like being shared between the two OS's, I could still install it on a seperate partition and keep the os partition small and clean.

Any other thoughts?

Thanks as always,

Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
Why not set up a Virtual PC and try it on that
Ok, in Theory this would be perfectly possible Scott.
However keep in mind this is still Microsoft and something might happen ;)

If your going to reinstall anyway then try the double install before you format it.
That way you'll figure out if it is possible with the programs you want to have dual booted.

I hope this awnsers your question.
scottrill2Author Commented:

I have installed a few GDS programs, Diskeeper 2008, DVD editing software, and for good measure I installed timeshift and Steam, my steam directory alone was 21 gigs, to have to install that twice wouldve sucked lol

All programs are working fine under both OS's, each install went smooth as pie, creating necessary registry data, common files etc..

KCTS, The virtual PC looks very interesting, but in talking with my help desk for the VPN we use I was told that Virtual PC would not authenticate clients for some reason.  He said they tried to implement another virtual PC emulation software (dont remember the name he used) and got limited success, but in the end decided to scrap emulation, and just wait until vpn software becomes compatible with Vista/ie 7 etc..

Its ok though, this solution we came to will work for me, since Im sharing all the documents and programs between the two OS's, all Im really losing is the space of the Xp installation which is minimal.

Thanks both of you for your help!!

You're welcome.
Glad to see the double installation worked.
Currious though, did you have no problems at all with double installing Office 2003?

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