How to install and format new firewire hard drive
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Here's a good older, but still worthwhile tutorial on setting up a new firewire hard drive.

Step one: install drive into firewire enclosure, and plugin to system. Or if it's an all in one firewire external unit, plugin to system.

It may or may not be necessary to reboot the first time, I think it is, but I'm not sure.

If in doubt, run this command:
:: Code ::
$ cat /proc/scsi/scsi
# this will give an output like this
Attached devices:
Host: scsi0 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
  Vendor: ATA      Model: ST380817AS       Rev: 3.42
  Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI SCSI revision: 05
Host: scsi2 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
  Vendor: ATA      Model: ST3160827AS      Rev: 3.42
  Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI SCSI revision: 05
Host: scsi3 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
  Vendor: ATA      Model: Maxtor 6Y120M0   Rev: YAR5
  Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI SCSI revision: 05
Host: scsi4 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
  Vendor: Maxtor 6 Model: B200R0           Rev:
  Type:   Direct-Access-RBC                ANSI SCSI revision: 04

If your new drive is listed, you can proceed to the next step. If it isn't, reboot, and it should be listed, if the firewire unit is plugged in and powered up.

Now you can use the partitioning tool of your choice, fdisk, cfdisk, parted, or qtparted/gparted to create your partition. After that, you can use mkfs to create a new file system.

Since I am going to use this as an external backup drive, I decided to format it with ext3 [that takes advantage of the available windows 2000/xp ext2 driver, so windows can also read the external drive if necessary.

:: Code ::
# mkfs -t ext3 /dev/sdd1
mke2fs 1.39-WIP (31-Dec-2005)
Filesystem label=
OS type: Linux
Block size=4096 (log=2)
Fragment size=4096 (log=2)
16777216 inodes, 33553760 blocks
1677688 blocks (5.00%) reserved for the super user
First data block=0
1024 block groups
32768 blocks per group, 32768 fragments per group
16384 inodes per group
Superblock backups stored on blocks:
        32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632, 2654208,
        4096000, 7962624, 11239424, 20480000, 23887872

Writing inode tables: done
Creating journal (32768 blocks): done
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done

This filesystem will be automatically checked every 24 mounts or
180 days, whichever comes first.  Use tune2fs -c or -i to override.

Now it's ready to mount after adding an entry in /etc/fstab
:: Code ::
/dev/sdd        /var/bu         auto    noauto,users    0       0

change /dev/sdd to fit with your current system, of course.

then, to use it, I ran:
:: Code ::
mount /dev/sdd1 /var/bu

and the new drive is available and ready to go.

[note: I discoverd that on older firewire external drive enclosures their ide controller may not support > 137 gigabyte drives. If that's the case, you either have to replace the unit, or research to find if there are any workarounds. My suspicion is that there aren't.
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