When creating the FreeDOS 1.2 installer, this subject was one of the things that was in the back of my mind. All of those computers, ones that ship with their only installed operating system being FreeDOS. Yes, I do realize that mostly they are sold outside of the United States as low cost options. And, users will only be installing a copy of Windows or Linux onto them. But, I figured there may be some people that get them to run FreeDOS. So, I kept that in mind while designing how the installer handles certain things. Nearly always, attempting to maintain an OEM PC compatibility and extensibility. I knew it should work. But, I was very busy prior to the 1.2 release and never got around to testing it. Immediately after the release, I wanted to relax a bit.
Anyhow, I didn’t get around to testing it until just now. LOL! It is AWESOME!
So, here is the quick way I made an OEM PC style setup with FreeDOS 1.2.
Create a USB stick using FD12FULL.img
Boot that stick on the PC.
When the installer launches, select language then Return to DOS.
run “FDISK 2”
Create your FreeDOS Recovery Partition. I used 1024MB
Exit FDISK and reboot.
When the installer launches again, select language then Return to DOS.
run “format D: /q/u/v:FD-RECOVERY"
run “XCOPY /E C:\*.* D:”
run “sys D:”
run “FDISK 2”
Activate the Recovery Partition on D:.
Create the users big main FreeDOS partition. (Do not activate it)
Shutdown and clone the drive a couple million times.
Once done, it has a couple really cool effects.
The first time the PC is booted, the user gets to install FreeDOS. They even get to pick their language settings their install. Afterwards, when the system reboots, it boots into their install. Drive C: is that big User partition and D: is the Recovery Partition. The Recovery Partition has all of the packages released with 1.2. So, FDIMPLES can be used to install and remove more packages with inserting additional media. Also, if they choose, an OEM vendor could even add additional packages for networking and sound that could be automatically installed.
The was only one issue of note that I found. If the user wishes to reinstall over their existing install using the recovery partition, they need to change their active partition using FDISK to the recovery partition. Otherwise, sys file transfer fails. It actually has to do with force updating the MBR code and not the simple sys transfer. This problem can also be avoided by running FDI in Advanced mode and “Not transferring the system files”. But, it is easier to just re-activate the Recovery Partition and reboot.