Continuing on the escape menu
This menu is apparently inevitable. The installation process
shows this menu regardless of what you choose on the preceding menu.
E.g. after the previous tests, I created and formatted a new
~120MB partition just for FreeDOS. Then I rebooted from the FreeDOS
CD. When the "choose a drive" menu came up I chose C:. That took
me to the *same* menu that I got to when I pressed Esc on the
"choose a drive" menu (during the earlier tests). Oh well.
I've already reported on options 3, 5, and 9. So now I'll
report on what happened when I tried some of the other options on
2) Create boot floppy
Doesn't work. At least it doesn't write any files to the floppy.
The only error msg that I noticed was "can't create COMMAND.COM".
But apparently it fails to write *any* files to the 1.4MB
diskette in drive a:. The diskette was still completely empty
1) Configure install
This seems like a better place to ask the user which drive to
install FreeDOS to. Is it possible to do that here (instead of
More on this submenu later.
7) MS style Fdisk
Is this pgm necessary? IOW is it likely that a person, who was
only familiar with MS Fdisk, would be unable to figure out how to
use either XFdisk or SPFdisk?
8) Command prompt
4) Format disk
Works, but... The problem is that the FORMAT cmd's safeguard (of
requiring the user to type Y, E, and S) may mislead the user.
AIUI, if the user enters *anything* else, the pgm's response
does *not* indicate that anything is wrong.
E.g. if the user just types Y and presses enter, then the pgm
accepts that response (as a *refusal* to allow the format to
proceed) and ends. Then the menu is redisplayed. But to the
user, that may look like a successful format. Consequently, the
user may have no idea that the FORMAT pgm has not done *any*
There's more that I want to say about this menu besides these
reports about the individual options on it. I think that this menu
can be improved in several ways. They are:
a) Make the option to "continue installation" obvious.
IMO the words "configure installation" don't make that obvious.
But at least that is the *first* choice on the menu. That part
b) Reduce the number of items on the menu.
It is my firm belief that, in general, users are afraid of
reading. When you present them with a long menu, their eyes
start to glaze over. Worse, rather than reading through all
those options, they will read maybe one or two of them, skim the
rest, and then guess. Not good.
IMO nine menu choices is *way* too many. I try to shoot for
three items on a menu. Four or five is sometimes OK (if the
associated text looks short). Anything over five is risky.
Further, I believe that, for each extra menu item over two, you
lose another segment of your audience to guessing.
And time limits don't help the situation.
c) Put several of these items on a "contingency" menu.
The Fdisks and FORMAT (and maybe the command prompt) should not
be needed if the user chooses one of the target drives on the
menu. So put those menu items on a separate menu that is only
invoked if the user balks at the choice of drives offered.
d) Break out the "configure installation" menu into a series of
menus that the user is forced to go through.
Most of these choices are easy choices (e.g. what language do you
want, color or monochrome, etc.). Answering them will help raise
the user's comfort level with the installation process (by asking
him (or her) questions that he *knows* the answer to).
Also, I didn't test it but, I get the impression that there are
two separate language settings - one for the language to use
during the installation process and another for the language that
FreeDOS is supposed to use after installation. Is this true?
If so, then the menus should probably make that distinction
e) If possible, avoid asking the user about disk sets, base install
vs. full install, source or no source, etc. E.g. AIUI for the
base cd (without source), there isn't any choice to be made, is
there? If so, then asking the user may needlessly confuse them
by making them think that they have a choice when they don't.
I'm assuming that the installation pgm can determine what's
available (to be installed) based on the contents of the CD. Or
is that not feasible?
I'm going to stop testing the install process now because I'm
getting impatient to actually install the software.
... time passes ...
I got through the rest of the installation process and it seemed
to work. Afterwards I did a "sys a:" to the same floppy disk that
"Create a boot floppy" failed to write to earlier. Then I booted
the PC from that diskette. That worked too.
That's all for now. HTH.
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