Ok this is a bit complex - I run an OS volume on a machine that is a Hardware RAID controlled RAID 10 full of SSDs. This is also then backed up to another drive.
I am interested in installing some programs (mainly games) to a completely separate SATA internal SSD. In principle I know this won't be a problem, as the game files will just install to the SATA internal, and the OS on the RAID 10 will just call that data and run the game program.
What I AM concerned about though (something I always, always consider before hand given a bad data loss history) is what this will mean if any of the drives "die" and I have recover.
1. I know that installed programs, regardless of where the bulk of their files are actually saved, write some amount of data to the OS volume - in addition, I am fairly sure they edit the registry log of the OS to provide data pointers, and other meta-data that sits completely outside the program installation and the OS 'shortcut' to the installed data files.
2. When (rather than if) the OS volume FAILS (in my case its a RAID volume, but that shouldn't matter as the OS thinks its one disk anyway, so for these purposes it might as well, I believe, be considered a single SATA drive), I will have to rebuild it - presumably once the OS is either rebuilt or restored with an image, etc., the meta data written to the registry will be retained as well, allowing the program installs on the SATA internal to run.
3. Additionally, if the SATA internal drive were to FAIL, I'm wondering whether that will produce any issues for the OS volume, since assuming I get a new drive, and reinstall those programs, there will be 'leftover' registry files and probably residual other files on the OS which correspond to the new installation - I'm wondering whether there will be an installation conflict (or if the program will simply overwrite without incident).
4. Any other problems viz. backup and restoration that might be caused by having programs installed outside the OS volume that I can't think of?
If your RAID array fails, you'll have to reinstall all programs no matter where the bulk of the program files may reside, and frankly, if your array dies I would think this would be pretty low on the list of things to be worried about.
If the secondary drive fails, you still have to reinstall the programs, but it'd effectively be as if you were installing them for the first time, but it shouldn't have any impact on the RAID array unless you make the rather ill advised decision to have programs that are essential to the running of the OS installed on that secondary drive.
People like to make a lot to do about the Windows registry, but it's really little more than a flat file database for metadata. Having "orphan" entries are not going to cause problems for the computer. Like any other database, the system will just ignore any data that isn't the specific data it is looking for. This is why registry cleaner programs really do little but feed/assuage people's OCD tendencies. At most you're sacrificing a few bytes of storage space, a few bytes of RAM, and maybe one or two clock cycles while the system sifts through the excess data. The effects are so minor that they are below our ability to perceive them directly.
So, go ahead and set up the system you're thinking of, and don't worry about it. If the array dies, you have to reinstall everything. If the other drive dies, you have to reinstall everything that was on it, but the rest should be fine. Pretty simple and straightforward.
Thanks!!! It is unspeakable awesome to have an official ASUS representative giving me sophisticated answers to complex data management questions like this!
For the record - in 2008 I had a 4-year old Asus motherboard chipset fan die, which put my computer out of operation due to rising temperatures. I called Asus and within 2 days they had sent the exact replacement fan to me for the cost of shipping - loved it!
I still use mostly Asus mobos on many of my 30+ machines! Customer loyalty indeed sir!