OpenSuse format new external hard drive USB ext3 permissions

we inserted a new 750G IDE drive in an existing USB chassis today; previously, we had used Knoppix as it had qtparted all set up to format previous drives; they are then left as root owner, and group root and no access to others; we use Gnome;
using gtparted today, we had a successful ext3 format, but had the same outcome with root; I committed what will be condemned as one of the worst crimes in linux; logged out of the user gui; logged in as root; right-clicked on the drive; selected permissions; added “users” to the group, and allowed create and delete on the files; closed the icon; and logged out of root, and back in as user; we were then able to copy files to and from the drive; I could “chown” on the CLI, but sadly, the above mechanism worked quickly, and seemingly, well;