As proof I'm still relatively inexperienced, I booted my Ubuntu 8.04 fileserver without two drives that normally reside in a four-bay hot-swap SATA device and then spent two days trying to figure out why I was getting dropped to the shell with instructions to "manually repair filesystem." I finally realized that simply replacing the two missing drives resolved the problem.
Anyway, I have no real need to use the actual hot-swap ability, but I do want to be able to change drives around as needed (with the machine turned off) without different configurations causing a problem on boot up.
I have UUID entries for all HDDs in the fstab:
UUID=xxxxxxxxx / ext3 relatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1
UUID=xxxxxxxxx none swap sw 0 0
/dev/scd0 /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec,utf8 0 0
UUID=xxxxxxxxx /mnt/sdb1 ext3 defaults 1 2
UUID=xxxxxxxxx /mnt/sdc1 ext3 defaults 1 2
# /dev/sde1 THIS IS REMOVABLE DRIVE
UUID=xxxxxxxxx /media/sde1 ext3 defaults,relatime 0 2
# /dev/sdd1 THIS IS REMOVABLE DRIVE
UUID=xxxxxxxxx /media/sdd1 ext3 defaults,relatime 0 2
Drives sda, sdb, and sdc are "permanent" while sdd and sde are removable.
I'd like to configure the fstab such that the system will mount removable drives it recognizes when they're present, but not stumble when they're not.
Any advice appreciated!