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With the auto option, the device will be mounted automatically (at bootup). auto is the default option. If you don't want the device to be mounted automatically, use the noauto option in /etc/fstab. With noauto, the device can be mounted only explicitly.
I've reading about the chmod command and tried using that, but that has not worked. I was wondering if it might be because there is a dynamic section to /etc/fstab... maybe I'm making it more complicated than it is though.
Ya, your fstab file does have two sections (static and dynamic)
As far as I know the users option is just for allowing the user((s)) for mounting((unmounting)) the device/partition, otherwise the two sections are basically the same.
I mean the file does not actually have two sections it is just for the convenience for the users to identify devices they can mount/unmount
Also I noticed one thing that your original fstab file contains a noauto option for /dev/hda1 and /dev/hdb4. Shouldn't these be auto.
Do you explicitly mount these partitions after booting and then try writing to them?
Also in my first post I gave the following line :
/dev/hdb4 /mnt/hdb4 ext3 noauto,users,umask=000 0 0
Sorry I mentioned the noauto option by mistake.
/dev/hdb4 /mnt/hdb4 ext3 users,umask=000 1 0
Can you write to /dev/hda1 ? as a normal user.
Can normal users write in their home directories (/home/<normaluser>)?
Sorry, I don't think I will be able to help much. I am still a n00b myself.
Here's a piece of extra information that may be useful :
You need not reboot your system for the change to take effect, just make the Linux system aware about the modification you have made to the /etc/fstab file. This can be accomplished with the following commands:
[root@deep] /#mount -oremount <partition>
Hope that helps...
keep me posted if ya find any solution