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To install ext3 support, download the patch for 2.4 kernels from Andrew Morton's ext3 for 2.4 site.

NOTE: There are quite a few patches available and it is recommended to download the correct patch against the correct kernel version. Also, have your kernel source ready to be compiled with ext3 support.

Now copy the patch over into the untarred kernel source directory, in this case it's usually /usr/src/linux/, and apply the patch as stated:
    gunzip < ext3-2.4-x.x.x-x.gz | patch -p1
Your kernel is now patched and ext3 support an option you will need to enable when creating the config file. You can either use
    make config or make oldconfig (if you have an old config file you wish to use)
and specific 'Y' to ext3 support.

Install and reboot into the new kernel to make sure that your kernel boots up without errors. Once this is done, you may now convert your ext2 partitions to ext3.

Additional information can be found here - Using the ext3 filesystem in 2.4 kernels by Andrew Morton.

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