We have a (public-use) Mac (running 10.6), which also has Linux installed on a separate partition. After every reboot, the first person who logs in gets a message "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer," and is asked to initialize, ignore, or repair. We don't have ext3 drivers installed on the Mac side, and we don't want them installed. But we also definitely don't want someone to hit "initialize" and wipe the Linux partition.

Is there a way to tell the OS to never even try mounting it?


You can add the noauto option to the appropriate line in /etc/fstab to prevent the system from trying to automount the drive. The file may be empty. You would add a line like this:

UUID=<your-drive-UUID> none hfs rw,noauto

replacing with the UUID of your drive, which you can find using diskutil info </path/to/drive> as well as in the drive information GUI. You may also need to replace 'hfs' with 'ext3'.

After saving the file, the system will no longer attempt to mount the drive during the boot process.

More information here.

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