Windows Vista - Can a second Vista install be put on another partition then treated like a new C drive

Asked By Jason Wade on 03-Mar-13 12:48 AM
I have been looking into partitioning my hard drive.  I've not done this before, but the how to doesn't seem that difficult to find (some google searches led me to ways to use Vista to do this).

But I was considering doing this in hopes of installing a second copy of my operating system on what I have believed (of partitioning) to now would be effectively treated like a seperate hard drive.  This was in part as a "last hope desperate" effort to escape a persistant problem I've been unable to fix for quite a long time without reformatting the drive and losing all that is on it.

The persistant problem is my inability to install service pack 1 (which prevents 2 as well).  That issue led me to repair install and then use of the scannow tool.  The log in there identified two files that simply refuse to be replaced during the repair install.  I had thought it because of a corrupt sector on the harddrive, but a check of drive for errors did not reveal any.

I stopped trying around the point that the next step was messing with the registry because I don't know what to do in there and don't wish to cause worse problems by guessing.  All I could think to do without reformatting and losing everything was to halfway start from scratch, doing a fresh install to a second partition, and moving things one by one to it.

But an article I found about whether to partition claimed that a number of programs may insist on installation to C drive, and that even if they didn't, it may make entries in the registry which would remain on C.  I don't know if you could remap and thus call your new partition C and circumvent the issue that way or not.  Essentially, I don't know enough to say whether my idea (basically a dual boot that treats the new partition as C) is possible, practical, or isolated enough that if it were some kind of virus damage, the original couldn't reach across partitions to do the same to my new installation.  In other words, if the whole concept is feasible at all.

So my first question I guess is if a true installation of the operating system can be done to a second partition.  As in second registry which that copy of the operating system would use instead of the original on C.

Second, is a remapping (renaming essentially, right?) of the partition letters to make a new C possible?  Is it necessary?

Finally, isolation.  Can any program run under either operating system from either partition see the other partition and access it?  If so, does such cross partition access require cooperation (read as permission) from the user.  More to the point, can you prevent cross partition access, effectively isolating the two installations from one another?

Any help clarifying these matters would be greatly appreciated.