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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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7.2.4 EXT3 filesystem ( > 2.4.17)

Enabling a journaling filesystem with the EXT3 FS involves the following steps using a Debian precompiled kernel-image ( > 2.4.17) package:

     # cd /etc; mv fstab fstab.old
     # sed 's/ext2/ext3,ext2/g' <fstab.old >fstab
     # vi /etc/fstab
     ... set root filesystem type to "auto" instead of "ext3,ext2"
     # cd /etc/mkinitrd
     # echo jbd >>modules
     # echo ext3 >>modules
     # echo ext2 >>modules
     # cd /
     # apt-get update; apt-get install kernel-image-2.4.17-686-smp
     ... install latest kernel and set up boot (lilo is run here)
     # tune2fs -j -i 0 /dev/hda1
     # tune2fs -j -i 0 /dev/hda2
     ... For all EXT2 FS's converted to EXT3
     # shutdown -r now

Now EXT3 journaling is enabled. Using ext3,ext2 as the fstab "type" entry ensures safe fallback to EXT2 if the kernel does not support EXT3 for non-root partitions.

If you have previously installed a 2.4 kernel and do not wish to reinstall, perform the above steps up to the apt-get commands, then:

     # mkinitrd -o /boot/initrd.img-2.4.17-686-smp /lib/modules/2.4.17-686-smp
     # lilo
     # tune2fs -j -i 0 /dev/hda1
     # tune2fs -j -i 0 /dev/hda2
     ... for all EXT2 FS's converted to EXT3
     # shutdown -r now

Now EXT3 journaling is enabled.

If /etc/mkinitrd/modules was not set when mkinitrd was run and you would like to add some modules at boot time:

     ... at initrd prompt to gain shell (5 sec.), type RETURN
     # insmod jbd
     # insmod ext3 # modprobe ext3 may take care of everything
     # insmod ext2
     # ^D
     ... continue booting

At the system boot screen (dmesg), "cramfs: wrong magic" may appear but this is known to be harmless. This issue has been resolved in Sarge (2002/10). See https://bugs.debian.org/135537 and the EXT3 File System mini-HOWTO or /usr/share/doc/HOWTO/en-txt/mini/extra/ext3-mini-HOWTO.gz for more information.

Some systems are reported to experience severe kernel lockup if EXT3 is enabled but I had no problem (as of 2.4.17).


Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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