How can I start a program installed on a different operating system?

Pranay June 17, 2011

How do I start programs installed on Windows Vista in one hard drive from Windows 7 on a different hard drive?

  1. Irfanfare
    October 25, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Thanks Pranay, for asking this question. Same problem here, have Win7 HP, Win7 Ult and Win8 Preview on 3 drives of same pc with Office10 installed on HP and Ult. Desperately want access to Office Apps using Win 8 as I have precious little space left, moreover I don't think they shall permit same Office key to install on 3 Windows, even if the pc is same.

  2. Jack Cola
    June 18, 2011 at 6:30 am

    It is possible if you have Windows 7 and use Windows XP Mode as a virtual machine. If you install the programs in the Windows XP virtual machine, you will be able to access in Windows 7 start menu

  3. Bruce Epper
    June 18, 2011 at 4:24 am

    If it is a portable app, you can just locate the executable on the Vista hard drive (provided you have permissions to read & execute the program) and double-click on it to execute it.  If you are attempting to run a standard Windows program such as MS Office, this method won't work since it also installs a boatload of DLL files into the system folders and sets up hundreds (or thousands) of entries in the registry that your Win7 configuration will not have access to.  The only way to use these programs under Win7 as well as your Vista boot config, you will need to install the app under Win7 too.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Hello, I do not think you could do what you want in a dual boot configuration.  The reason for it not being possible is because when you boot on a dual configuration, you could only start either Vista or Windows 7.  In order for you to start a program installed on a different harddrive and a different os would be if both operating systems were on and you have the correct permissions.  Mind you, you could probably access files on the other operating system not running as long as the Computer recognizes the other drive/operating system and you have the correct permissions.  You could probably see the User folder between computers. 

  5. Joseph Gorman
    June 18, 2011 at 2:06 am

    You should be able to navigate in Windows Explorer to [Vista Drive]/Program Files/[your program] and start the executable file in that folder (it varies by program). Note that more complicated programs may - and probably won't - work because they need data to be in your registry. 

    You can find a more detailed explanation of a similar scenario here:

  6. Tina
    June 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm


    I assume you are dual booting Windows 7 and Windows Vista. What you want to to do is access programs installed under the respective other operating system, e.g. access a program installed in Windows Vista while you are booted into Windows 7. Is that correct?

    Or did you install one program using a virtual machine? Please update us. Thank you!

    • Pranay
      June 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      Yes, that is exactly what I want to do. I have all my programs installed in Vista but I want to run them in Windows 7 too.

Ads by Google