Physically swapping external HDD between XP and Win 7?


T

Teflon

I have an external NTFS HDD containing my music library that is
connected via USB to an XP Pro SP3 machine. Bought a new machine with
64 bit Win 7 Home Premium.

Can I unplug that HDD from the XP machine USB port, plug it into the
Win 7 machine's USB port and have it be recognized and accessible by
Win 7?

If I then disconnect that HDD from the Win 7 machine, plug it back in
to the XP machine, would it still be accessible by the XP machine?

i.e., can I physically swap a USB connected HDD between XP and Win 7
machines and have it work on both?
 
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P

Paul

Teflon said:
I have an external NTFS HDD containing my music library that is
connected via USB to an XP Pro SP3 machine. Bought a new machine with
64 bit Win 7 Home Premium.

Can I unplug that HDD from the XP machine USB port, plug it into the
Win 7 machine's USB port and have it be recognized and accessible by
Win 7?

If I then disconnect that HDD from the Win 7 machine, plug it back in
to the XP machine, would it still be accessible by the XP machine?

i.e., can I physically swap a USB connected HDD between XP and Win 7
machines and have it work on both?

This is the only thing that might worry me a tiny bit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_restore

"Changes made to a volume from another OS (in case of dual-boot OS scenarios)
cannot be monitored. Also, a compatibility issue exists with System Restore
when dual-booting Windows XP/Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista or later
operating systems. Specifically, the shadow copies on the volume are deleted
when the older operating system accesses (and therefore mounts) that NTFS
volume. This happens because the older operating system does not recognize
the newer format of persistent shadow copies."

Now, since your disk is a "data-only" disk and not an OS, losing any Restore Point
data in the System Volume Information folder, probably isn't a big deal.
You probably weren't relying on that in the first place.

What I did, in a situation where WinXP might occasionally see Win7 C:
drive (OS drive), was to disable System Restore on the WinXP system entirely.
So that, when a "stranger" drive shows up, like the Windows 7 C: drive,
WinXP won't be mucking about with the System Volume Information on it.
That's so I could rely on the Windows 7 disk to continue booting,
when it's shoved back into its computer.

To test this, you could:

1) Place a single file on the USB drive as a test. Plug into WinXP
to test it. WinXP will make a System Volume Information folder if
none is present.
2) Now, take it back and forth a couple times, and see if either OS
is pissed, about something overwriting or making inconsistent,
the stuff inside System Volume Information on the USB drive.
3) Once the scheme proves trustworthy, put your gigabytes of data
back on the drive, and begin to actually use it.

I don't expect there will be a problem - I only copy/pasted this
text to make you aware of one component of the partition, where the
two OSes weren't designed to get along. (I mean, how stupid is this?
There must have been some other solution they could have used.)
It should only be a serious issue, if you put the Windows 7 C: partition,
into the WinXP machine while WinXP System Restore is still enabled.

I would even have accepted as an answer, a setting for WinXP,
where only the WinXP C: was monitored, and you could have it set so that
it would *never* abuse a stranger disk. But that doesn't exist
either. If a stranger disk appears, WinXP will play with it, before
you have a chance to stop it. The only way to stop the abuse,
is to turn off the System Restore on WinXP entirely. Which is
what I did, for safety sake.

If the partition type is FAT32, Windows 7 probably will not
try to do any System Restore stuff (because I don't think the
VSS it uses to do that, works with FAT32). But that is a
pretty crappy solution as well, as FAT32 has a 4GB individual
file size limit. For a decent sized USB storage device, I'd
much rather have the relatively unlimited NTFS flavor.

So anyway, I'd give it a test run first, before exposing any
data for which you have no backups. I don't think anything
will happen, but test first.

*******

Another thing that can happen, is you get some kind of
"access denied" error. In such a case, use a search
term such as "Take Ownership", to find a recipe so you
can regain access. There are a ton of web pages, like this one.

http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/take-ownership-of-file-or-folder-windows-7-vista/

Paul
 
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C

Char Jackson

I have an external NTFS HDD containing my music library that is
connected via USB to an XP Pro SP3 machine. Bought a new machine with
64 bit Win 7 Home Premium.

Can I unplug that HDD from the XP machine USB port, plug it into the
Win 7 machine's USB port and have it be recognized and accessible by
Win 7?

If I then disconnect that HDD from the Win 7 machine, plug it back in
to the XP machine, would it still be accessible by the XP machine?

i.e., can I physically swap a USB connected HDD between XP and Win 7
machines and have it work on both?

Yes, I do it with data disks all the time. Untold others do it, as
well.
 

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