So my main concern is Linux working properly with the drive ...
This is really
easy, and a good thing for a "newbie" to get to grips with.
Do as previously suggested: install your new drive, and format it to FAT32 using win (you should find that easy enough, although I forget the windows commands now...). Now would be a good time to put some files on your new drive, so there's something to "see" from linux later.
Now boot to linux.
You need to create a mount point for your new drive:
Open a terminal, and become root
give root's password
Make a directory to mount your new drive:
Make the directory accessible to everyone:
chmod 777 /mnt/newdrive
Use whatever editor you like to edit the file /etc/fstab eg:
Add the following line, as a line on its own:
/dev/hdc1 /mnt/newdrive vfat iocharset=iso8859-15,codepage=850,umask=0 0 0
Note: "/dev/hdc1" may need to be changed, depending on how you physically
installed your drive (ie which cable it is on, & whether master / slave)
If you are not sure which device is your new disk, the command fdisk -l
(that's "minus Ell" not "minus one") will list the available partitions, look for the one that is listed as FAT32.
Save the file /etc/fstab and exit your editor.
Issue the following command to mount all the devices mentioned in fstab (including your new drive)
If you don't get any error messages, all is well.
Exit from your terminal (ie close it)
Navigate to /mnt/newdrive
with your file browser. Your files should be there. In the future, your new drive will always be mounted automatically at boot time.