I have a Raspberry Pi.

Can I use it as two different computers with two different SD cards?

It is like, one of sd cards will have Raspbian and the other have Arch OS.

  • Obviously, yes (though not at the same time) – Dmitry Grigoryev Jan 12 '17 at 9:31

You can use your Raspberry Pi with different SD cards and thus different Operating Systems in turns. Obviously you will have to power down the Pi and physically change the SD card first but other than that there is no problem with this approach.

The only possible issue is the wear of the contacts of the SD card and the card slot on the Pi, i.e. the number of mating cycles. Unfortunately it is hard to tell without knowing the model of the card slot on the Pi. Some vendors of such microSD Memory Card Connectors report guaranteed mating cycles of 5,000 to 10,000 (to give a ball-park number here). For the old models of the Pi that used a standard SD card (not microSD, like the Pi3 and the PiZero) issues with the card connector have been reported - but the microSD connectors seem to be more reliable.

Bottom line: you're most likely fine to repeatedly change the microSD card to switch your OS.


I have 5 Pi and 10 SD Cards. These can be (and are) interchanged.

There are a few limitations (some OS will not work on older Pi) but there are few limits unless you do silly things like set static IP addresses.

A few things like ssh are dependent on MAC and keys, but none of these will affect boot and basic operaton.


I had the same question. You might give BerryBoot a try, as well.

I found this article which talks about it, albeit from a Pen Testing perspective: https://null-byte.wonderhowto.com/how-to/boot-multiple-operating-systems-raspberry-pi-with-berryboot-0177483/

Apparently you can use NOOBS also to install multiple OSes: https://startingelectronics.org/tutorials/raspberry-PI/multiple-OS-booting/ if separate cards is not an option.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.