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I am about to take delivery of a new laptop with a 750GB HDD. I will be using Win7 as the base OS (as a "real" installation, direct to the tin). The base install will probably have Visual Studio installed for dev work.

I also want to add 2 bootable VHDs, one for a "fresh" win 7 install (allocating about 128GB), and an install of the preview of Win 8 (about 100GB).

I would also like (if possible - I'm not sure if it is) I'd like to allocate a chunk of disk (probably a separate partition - maybe 100GB) as a shared data drive.

My questions are :

  1. Can I have a shared partition that is avaiable to all the OSs by creating a separate partition?
  2. What is the best order to install VHD OSs? I'm thinking 7 then 8 to take advantage of the W8 boot Manager
  3. Should I go the whole hog and install my dev instance of Win7 in a VHD as well, and do away with a base "on the tin" install?
  4. Are there any pitfalls to this approach that I'm not aware of?
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up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. Yes you can, and it doesn't have to be a partition , it can be a separate vhd

  2. win 8 would have to be your base install in order to take advantage of the win8 loader. Note that you will still get it on the 8 vhd

  3. Yup, it sounds like you'll be hopping back and forth so why bother with a base install

  4. Other than about a 3% disk performance degradation none that I am aware of.

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Thanks for the answer, Jim. Quick clarification on point 2, though. I thought the Win8 installer set the BootLoader, and that it sets itself up even if you're installing to a VHD (source =…). Is that not the case? – ZombieSheep Jan 26 '12 at 12:22
I suspect that's an artifact of the way he installed it. I don't think wim2vhd has that effect. – Jim B Jan 26 '12 at 14:16
Great - thanks for your help. – ZombieSheep Jan 26 '12 at 14:41

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