Okay, I feel like a total moron, because I should really know how to do this, but I don't. I've been using Ubuntu for ages, but recently switched from using it only on secondary machines to using it full time on my primary box. I've got two external USB hard-drives that used to be on my main Windows box, both formatted to NTFS, which Ubuntu finds and mounts without any problem. However, they mount read only.
I tried reading the ******* manual and searching for an answer, but nothing I found worked. I tried remounting R/W at the command line, I tried changing the mount settings in the properties, I tried downloading the special NTFS configuration tool, but none of it has worked. I'm rather fed up with NTFS, to be honest, so I'd like to move the files onto my main hard-drive, reformat the drives to something Ubuntu can read (and, if possible, Windows, though that's less important to me now), and then move my files back on them.
The problem I run into is that I don't know how to do it safely, or which format to choose. I've seen people recommending FAT32 as well as EXT3, but I have no idea which one to choose. I've also seen people recommending ways to format, but it's all of the "use this" variety that leaves out the "oh, and here's how you do that" part. I'm terrified I'm going to overwrite information that's really important for me to keep.
I'd be eternally grateful if someone could recommend which format to use, and then give step-by-step instructions for how to do the reformatting safely. Since HowtToGeek usually has such great tutorials, I thought I'd have a better chance getting something I can use here than in the Ubuntu forums. Please and thank you.