kuki you need to change the disk organization in the [SATA] grouping to AHCI
Kuki, when I followed those directions, apparently nothing happened. But it actually did. I was looking for a [SATA] setting to appear, and didn't notice that a [VMD] setting had done so.
Someone from the ACER forum told me about that, and it turned out to be the solution. It's an Intel protocol that needs to be disabled in order for drives that are NOT the primary Windows drive to be listed in the boot options page, and to be exposed to OSs other than Windows.
FINALLY I was able to get Solus installed on that 500GB drive, make it the first entry in the boot order, and successfully booted into Budgie.
The only problem now is that Budgie can't access the WiFi radio. I've ordered a dongle from Amazon, and with any luck I'll be able to update that machine tomorrow. Hoping it will work with our current kernel. The item description says it works with Linux kernel up to 4.4.3, but I'm hoping that's just old advertising data.
Why ACER feels it's necessary to hide that setting and require a secret keypress to expose it is beyone me!