You at my uni?????
if so aint steve matthews a prat..?
anyway. linux can access windwos filesystems, just as unix can. Linux is intended to absolutely everythign unix can, and does a very good job of it.
Now... you start posting dumb questions here and i'll track you down in COA lab and pull your nipples off! ;-) That's assuming you're at this uni, and doing cs... but then i can't really imagine Cov uni having a bbc micro, let alone Sparc machines, albeit 270mhz things.
anyway as for downloading stuff, residences are throttled, so i personally use mimosa, topaz, primrose etc to wget any big things and then ftp it back.