> On Jun 18, 2016, at 7:20 AM, Eric Auer <e.a...@jpberlin.de> wrote:
> […]
> I think this was part of the FreeDOS 1.2 discussion before, but
> how about detection whether a harddisk is "totally" empty before
> showing the question how to install? I agree that for people who
> made a totally empty virtual PC image a minute before installing
> FreeDOS, it would be easiest to just let the installer throw one
> standard DOS partition on that "disk" without asking the user to
> make many decisions on partitioning and formatting. But for the
> users who do NOT have a dedicated harddisk for DOS, it is scary.
> Cheers, Eric

During the discussion of version 1.2, this was my interpretation of 
how this should be handled and what was implemented when the 
user installed FreeDOS in normal mode. Having a failed install (by 
not booting into FreeDOS) was unacceptable behavior. Therefore, 
the installer would normally backup and then over-write the boot
code during installation. This action can be overridden if advanced 
mode is used during the install. There were many pros and cons 
to this being the default action.

The installer will not destroy partitions. Basically, this is what 
happens in basic normal mode (excluding question prompts
and lots of other stuff):

* Installer Boots.
* Installer tries to create a RAM drive for temporary data storage.
If that fails, the installer falls back to “dumb” mode.
* The installer checks if there is a drive C: visible to FreeDOS. 
If does not find one, and that drive is blank it will use fdisk to 
automatically partition the drive in "smart" mode. Otherwise, if
there are partitions existing on the drive, or it cannot figure 
out what should be partitioned, or if it is in “dumb" mode. It
will launch fdisk and let the user deal with it.
* If fdisk was run, reboot.
* Installer reloads.
* Installer performs all of the above checks again, this time
it finds a drive C:.
* Installer checks if drive C: can be read by FreeDOS. If not, 
it will format it.
* …….. Much later.
* The installer transfers the system files and overwrites the
boot code. 

Advanced mode, provides these capabilities:
* never auto-partition 
* option of long-slow formatting.
* installing to drives other than C: (configured as C: for booting)
* not transferring the system boot files
* not over-writting the boot code.
* lots of other stuff.

The FreeDOS 1.2 Preview releases contain several boot images.
ISO, Small USB and Big USB. There is lots of software for 
burning the ISO to a disc. Using a Mac or Linux machine, it
is also very easy to put either USB image on a flash drive.
This can be done by just using:

sudo dd if=FILENAME.IMG of=/dev/MEDIA

There are additional dd options. Some, that can be used to 
greatly speed up the process. But, that is all that is really needed.

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