Abort, Retry, Fail

Subject: Abort, Retry, Fail
From: Steve Owens <uso01 -at- EAGLE -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 1994 14:23:54 +0700

> These three words have stumped me more than once too. I noticed
> different software will cause my computer to Abort or to Fail differently.
> Perhaps this shows the programmers aren't even clear just what these
> two words mean, or maybe it is an internal structure thing.

> In any case, I think Retry is clear enough. Does anyone disagree?
> [...]

> What does this mean? I think Abort includes an implied Restore,
> because it will ignore data that has already been sent. Fail
> is a mystery, but probably does not include a Restore.

This message ("abort, retry, fail?" commonly encountered when
you try to do something with a disk on an IBMpc compatible) is one of
my favorite pet idiocies of MS-DOS.

The real catch-22 is when you stick a disk in your drive and
try to change to it - if the computer can't read the disk, it starts
giving your the abort/retry/fail message. Unfortunately (at least on
most MS-DOS machines I've encountered), if you actually switched to
that drive by entering "b:<return>", "abort" gets you nowhere
(apparently it sets your current drive to "b:" without checking to see
that it can read).

You have to fail, then enter a new drive letter to switch to.
However, the prompt doesn't tell you anything about this (neither the
abort/retry/fail prompt, nor the prompt you get after choosing fail).
The one time I tried (exhaustively) to dig up information on this
prompt from IBMpc docs, I got nowhere.

(My favorite idiocy from the Mac, by the way, is that it will
let you eject a disk by selecting the disk icon, and then pulling down
special, eject. The disk icon is left on the menu, so you can hand that
disk to your friend who's leaving for France or wherever. A half-hour
later you accidentally click on that icon, and it pops up a message to
insert the disk - a message with no obvious escape. I suspect they've
changed this part of the OS for System 7.)

Steven J. Owens
uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com

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