I'd like to install FreeDOS manually, copying the files to
D:\fdos\bin and doing a "SYS D:" to get around this problem. How can
I easily get the \fdos\bin directory created without also writing a
bootsector to C:?

That is not possible, because we want to guarantee that the system boots.
If C: already contains an operating system, we'll now create a proper dualboot system.
The config.sys is also written to be put on C:, with references to your D:

If you put the files on another partition than C:, we don't know what you're intending:
*boot FreeDOS from C:, but run programs from D:
*boot the other partition, and let it become C:

I can only recommend to use a tool (I hope our FDISK allows it) to set the correct primary partition active before running the FreeDOS installer.
If you wait another day, you can try the updated FreeDOS distro, as I'm releasing that today.

SYS D: should still be possible, but SYS C: has also been done, though.
Can you describe a bit more about why you consider this a problem? Then I might try to work around it in a future release.


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