This forum saved my butt a couple of days, going for the hat trick!
At any rate, I was succefully able to compile NTFS read only support (as write access for NTFS has a bad rep) using 'menuconfig' from the terminal (not aterminal window, but in a gui-less tty) where I was unable to do so using xconfig.
On my ThinkPad I was able to get NTFS working just fine. But for some reason I was not able to assign read permission to my user account. The only way to access it is as root.
To assign read access to my user account, I tried issuing a change mode command by typing 'chmod 444 c_drive' which is the folder I had the c:\ drive mapped to.
What I get when I try this (and a couple of variations) I get the following error message:
chmod: changing permissions of `c_drive': Read-only file system
Also, I was able to comile NTFS read only support into my kernel on my home desktop machine, and I have an entries in fstab for the partitions I'm trying to mount and the directories they are mapping to. But, when booting up, I get error messages (on the desktop, not the laptop) complaining of a "bad superblock or are you trying to mount too many filesystems?" On that machine I have an msdos partition mounting successfully.
Does anyone recognize this error or know what it means? Is there any problem with mounting both MSDOS and NTFS partitions on the same machine? I tried removing the entry for the MSDOS partition on that particular machine and it didn't make any difference and the partitions I'm trying to mount are not working.