It was really straight forward to setup side-by-side Windows 7 and Vista on the same computer, simply put them on separate hard-drives (either physical or separate partitions). Installation was no troubles, and I was happily booting between them back and forth as needed, until I hit a snag last night, MAJOR SNAG!!!

I guess Vista didn’t shut down properly or something, so in the next reboot into Windows 7 it detected problems on my Vista hard-drive and decided to “Fix It”. I was not really concerned, since Windows 7 surely knows how to read/fix Vista partition — OR DOES IT!? An unsettling “Replacing invalid security id with default security id for file” messages popped up, and kept going for thousands of files.

Long story short, after it finished, Windows 7 gave me “Access Denied” error when trying to view Vista drive, and even Vista itself couldn’t boot — just goes into black screen. So much for thinking that Win 7 chkdsk was smart enough to not break Vista partition.

Well, here is how I managed to dig myself out of this, and it wasn’t easy! Boot into Windows 7, right click on the Vista drive (E:\ in my case), and choose Security. First, you need to change Ownership to something public, I decided to change it to “Everyone”. Apply that ownership to all sub-dirs/objects also, obviously. Once you take ownership. Click on Security tab and reset that also, again, I did Everyone Full Control and added Guest full control. Not super secure, of course, but that is old partition I am transitioning away from, so I gather it’s good enough. Voila, after that everything is fine. Although, I did notice that if I “push” files from Vista into Win 7 file system, sometimes they come out with “funny” security. It was just one occurrence, but…

Overall I am still loving Win 7, it’s fast and stable, but I guess I should accelerate my transition away from Vista.