Booting different OSes from expansion-slot drive?

Forgive me if this has been asked and answered. Is it possible to install different OSes on different expansion-slot drives, set the BIOs to boot to a specific slot first each time, and swap out the expansion slot drives before booting? So I could have one with one flavor of Linux, one with another?

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I just tried an experiment and pulled my expansion (250GB) card with Manjaro on it. I have the following installed on my SSD:

  • Windows 11
  • Ubuntu 21.10
  • Fedora 35

After pulling it before booting, it just doesn’t appear in the boot (F12) menu, of course. Presumably whatever you have on the second expansion card you swap in would appear, and you could boot to whatever system’s on it normally.

Admittedly, my setup is somewhat non-vanilla, so assuming you’ve got only one OS (say, Windows) on your SSD, I don’t see any issues.

If you have multiple OSes on your SSD including Linux, you’ll want to make sure your bootloader is kept as tidy as possible. I have Grub (x2) with the notable discrepancy of showing Zorin as being on my expansion card (where I’d previously tested it out, before wiping it in favour of Manjaro).

When I select my expansion card from the F12 menu, I get a different (Manjaro) bootloader; when I boot from SSD I get the one Fedora put in place. I’m too lazy to fix it at the moment as I’m still largely experimenting (and use Windows and Fedora as my mains).

Certainly would be cleaner with Windows (SSD) and my Linuxes on separate expansion cards, no bootloaders to deal with.

Hope that sort of makes sense.

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