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The bios will detect the harddrive. Just start linux, and partition your harddrive (or partition your harddrive, and start linux ). You can mount it as hdb, instead of hda for you first harddrive. Example:
mount hdb1 /mnt/some_kind_of_folder_which_must_exist
All supported filesystems (that is ext2, ext3, reiserfs, even FAT32 and maybe NTFS) will work. If you also have a windows installed I would advice formatting it FAT32, so windows can easily acces that partition. If you don't, choose reiser or ext3: they're journalling filesystems, and will reduce the risk of loosing data or getting a corrupted filesystem. Reiser is also very good with small files (fast acces and little waste of diskspace)
Of course, one other option would be to see whether you have files you can safely delete. My point is that you may not need another disk, maybe youv'e got 5G of data (or whatever) that you no longer need. If so, you may not need a new drive today. Keep in mind that drive prices drop constantly, and if you can wait for another 4 or 5 months, you can probably either save $$$ for the same size drive you're considering, or spend the same $$$ and get a bigger drive. Just thought -- J.W.
if you're gonna set the filesystem in linux, don't forget to do a "mkfs", which is the command that actually makes the file system. For example, after you partition the hd (in one big partition or several little ones), you have to run "mkfs" once. After that, it's easy to mount 'em.