I know exactly what you’re going through 😉
Convert to ext2/3 and then your slug will be rock-solid-stable.
Besides, you can add a small FAT partition and host fs-driver.org’s win32 ext2/3 drivers on there. Or, these days, just download them on-the-fly.
I’ve done so myself a couple of times, it works without a reboot in windows 🙂
Just be sure to unmount the drive in windows, or else the poor guy will have a “phantom” drive letter sitting around when you unplug the HD.