ext2 is no good if you have a power failure or kids get to your reset button and do a hard reset, you'd be better off using ext3 whcih is basically ext2 with journalling functionality. THat's what I use and have never had a problem, works a treat. The other major one for consumer PCs is ReiserFS, it's newer than ext whcih you may prefer and I've never tried it so I can't really comment but I know I've seen a few threads about here with reiser-related problems.
There are also things like XFS and JFS but they're more aimed towards the server market where high throughput is important and for systems with much more RAM than the average home PC has to play with.
I'd say swap to ext3 -
mke2fs -j /dev/hda1
which as you can see is very easy and leave it at that but I'm sure other people will come along with their views