Does running an OS from an expansion card impact performance?

I would like to install one OS (probably pop!_OS) on my internal drive and another (probably Windows 11) on an expansion card.

But I’m wondering, would this would impact performance for the OS installed on the expansion card, in comparison to dual booting on separate partitions on the internal drive?


Why not Windows on internal and Linux on external?
Linux is SOOOO much nicer about booting from USB, MMC, and externals.

other then that, i suspect it will work. Speeds on externals is lesser ofcourse, but that also leads me to suggest external encrypted linux on USB / External framework drive.

its how i will be booting me. 10 on internal WD SSD, Parrot on External framework SSD


I was hoping for Linux to be my main, everyday OS, and only use Windows for things I absolutely can’t do on Linux. That’s why I was hoping to install Linux on the internal drive–for superior performance and larger storage for my everyday OS.


@Raph, I am running this exact setup. You have to jump through some hoops to put windows on the expansion card. I followed the steps in the link n my post in this thread: Windows Refuses Installation on Storage Expansion Card - #6 by lbkNhubert

I also set up refind as the boot manager. Every time it restart in windows I do need to go back into the bios to set the manager to refind, which is mildly annoying but not the end of the world. I also have the same windows setup configured as a vm for when I am in Pop!_OS.


@IbkNhubert That’s excellent, thanks for sharing. How has it performed on your end having windows on the SSD expansion card, with boot times and general performance?

I intend to run linux on the internal and windows on the external as well, and don’t mind if there is performance costs, but I would just like to see where to set my expectations.

Hmmm. I was sorta doing things ad-hoc, so I can’t be specific about anything other than the results.

I used a program called Win2USB to put a copy of Windows 10 on an SSD that’s external to my FW Laptop. FAIAP it should be no different than a Framework 1TB expansion - USB-C cable into a USB-C expansion.

I installed a few Linux distros - just playing around - on the internal SSD and eventually ended up (for now - still playing) with Fedora 35 beta.

Laptop boots into a Linux menu, defaulting to Fedora, with Windows Boot Manager a few entries down. Select it and Windows comes right up.

Is that about the setup you’re looking for?

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@Dan_McCarthy - I haven’t used windows heavily, but it has been fine when I have done so. I did upgrade it to windows 11, I wasn’t sure if the upgrade would balk since it’s on an expansion card, but it went ok. I did have to downgrade the wireless driver to an unofficial one to get it to connect on the 6ghz band hopefully a fully supported driver comes out some time soon.

I personally just run a Windows 10 VM and a Linux Pop! VM on my Windows 11 install using Windows Hyper-V and have had no issues so far (Except Pop! tends to just take the maximum ram dynamically allocated each time and seems slightly slower then the Windows 10 VM that has less threads and memory assigned?.. but that could just be because Windows is optimized for Windows :stuck_out_tongue: ).

As for performance on an expansion card… of course it would be slower than the internal nVme… but the speeds on that USB-C connection (according to Crystalmark) are still faster then say an SSD on a SATA connection so it wouldn’t be anything to noticeable… Especially if your talking certain Linux distros as @Kirk_Eby mentioned… but this is just my option… I haven’t actually tried it yet since I only have a 1TB expansion card right now and it’s full of Steam games… maybe when I get another expansion card… any word on a 2TB one? :open_mouth: