Cancel or Abort?

A colleague of mine raised an interesting question regarding our installation – what’s the difference between ‘Cancel’ (e.g. in ok/cancel message) and ‘Abort’ (e.g. in an ‘abort/retry/ignore’ message)?
Turns out that there is a logic behind this, one I was using without thinking about:

  • ‘Abort’ means to stop the process since an error occurred (e.g. inadequate disk space, missing prerequisites, problem registering a DLL etc.)
  • ‘Cancel’ means to stop the process since the user wants to (e.g. in the user interview dialogs, during file copying, etc.).

I wonder how many people actually distinguish between these two…