Can you boot off of a MicroSD card?

Presumably the card is presented as a USB mass storage device, but I thought I’d double check here first.

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I am not an expert but I believe it will depend on whether the firmware permits it. I had a Dell XPS 13 which had a setting in the BIOS to allow booting from it’s MicroSD card slot and it worked. I used it to boot MiniTool Partition Wizard to allow me to change the partitioning on my primary drive. So TL:DR, yes you can but either Framework or someone who has already received theirs will be able to confirm.

We haven’t tried it (that I know of), but it should work the same as any other USB flash drive.

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Following:

Would Love to have this option to multi-boot for work. Being able to run something like Windows on the internal and dual boot to Kubuntu, Kali, Elementary, etc… on a MicroSD would be amazing.

Mine is on order to be shipped in the 3rd batch. If anyone would test and feedback that would be amazing…

Thanks

I plan to try this today if I get any time at all. I’ll reply when I do.

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OK, the answer is definitely you can. It is a little slower than I’d like, but I was relatively easily able to install Lubuntu to a crappy 128gb micro SD I had lying around, and it worked better than expected. Even encrypted the install. I’m liking this idea, if for no other reason than to try out different flavors of Ubuntu.

Give it a try for your use case. I don’t think that Windows would work very well off of this, but who knows, maybe LTSC will.

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You’re awesome. Thank you for testing it. Definitely great to hear.

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Note that the MicroSD Expansion Card also handles UFS Cards, which are much faster, especially at random read/write. That will probably a deliver a more usable OS experience.

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I had planned to try it anyway, but thanks! Glad I could give a little back to this astounding community.

I have done all of my OS installs via boot from sdcard.

Update: I grabbed a UFS card and tried it: crazy how little latency there is. I tried Lubuntu again thinking that it would be fastest, but it was so much quicker than the SD card install, I’m going to try Ubuntu MATE, which is my primary daily driver flavor. I suspect that it will work really really well. Still a bit of a novelty, but hey, I’m a tinkerer at heart.

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@N.P - did you need to load any drivers for the card to be recognized? I picked one up, and it is not seen in linux (Pop!_OS) or Windows. Looking into if I need to load drivers in either or both cases.

I didn’t, ultimately, but I did have a bit of trouble initially which I can’t really explain. In Ubuntu 21.04, it just works. The card is recognized and can be formatted and all, but when trying to install Lubuntu, I couldn’t get it past the stage where you tell it which drive to install to. It only allowed me to choose manual partitioning, which I attempted, but couldn’t get the “Next” button to become enabled. I tried a few other things, and then decided to just partition it and format it again to one big drive, restarted the process and then suddenly it let me proceed. Can’t explain how what I did changed anything from the first time, but it did finally work.

This is really cool. After reading this I couldn’t resist buying a couple UFS cards to go along with my MicroSD Expansion Card :slightly_smiling_face:

Now I have Ubuntu installed on a UFS card!

Note to self: avoid pulling out the card the operating system is installed on while the laptop is sleeping :rofl:

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I just received my Framework laptop and wow… I am really satisfied with the build quality. Unfortunately I am not able to install an OS as of yet. I’ve created a bootable image on a MicroSD card and tested the MicroSD card on an old laptop to make sure it will boot to it and it does boot. My Framework laptop will not recognize the bootable card. Any thoughts or insights? Thank you in advance!

Forgot to add - The error is Default Boot Device Missing or Boot Failed. Going to verify that the HDD is installed correctly.

Checked the HDD and verified all connections. Still not booting from the MicroSD card using the MicroSD card reader. :crazy_face:

@C_Sullivan , If it’s anything other than windows, disable Secure Boot in the bios and try again.

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That did it! It is now booting from the SD card.

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Yet another user base for the Snack Drawer :slight_smile:

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