Regarding the MS install issue, one could do something like format with FreeDOS format, then use FreeDOS sys to install MS-DOS files/bootsector via its /UPDATEBS (and obtained by its /DUMPBS, winimage, any other bootsector extracting program, or even from a disk image), etc.

Yes, that's the bit we're trying to get working, but I don't see how these ideas can work? I'm not saying they won't work, I'm just saying I don't see how at this point in time - see each idea in turn:

1. WinImage will be running on Windows, and the boot sector will be for a floppy or have geometry of the drive in your windows computer? It doesn't know you're suddenly going to try and write it to a brand-new hard drive under FreeDOS?!

2. /DUMPBS, yes but where will we get the BS to dump? Chicken and Egg?

3. "Any other bootsector extracting program", yes but extracted from where - we can extract from a floppy to get "geometry independent" Microsoft boot sector, but will this be any use to us for a 2Gb FAT16 hard drive?

4. "Even from a disk image", yes but all hard disks have different geometry so how do we know it will work perfectly for all future hard disks?

It seems we need SYS (or FORMAT) to be able to read a boilerplate Microsoft boot sector somehow supplied by the end user, add geometry information and write it to the partition in question. If a floppy can be used as a base, this should be quite easy, but if it can't I don't see how we can generate a compatible boot sector.

One thing that's probably not been discussed thus far, is that as far as I know, you can also use FAT32 with Win95/98 boot sector under pure real-mode Microsoft, and Windows will _still_ install correctly WITHOUT the dual-boot issue...so perhaps this is the route to pursue - it avoids all the legacy FAT16 stuff. It also gets round issues such as IO.SYS having to reside in a certain location.

So all we need to do is:

1. FD FDISK (FAT32 partition and make active)
2. FD FORMAT FAT32 (/a to get 4k cluster size)
3. FD SYS (tell it to grab Win9x boot sector from user)
<SYS gets drive size and writes geometry accordingly>
4. Start Windows Installer and off it goes


(except I'm not the one who has to write the program)

Gerry Hickman (London UK)

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