I think Ubuntu is fabulous. It detects hardware and enables network connections so you can shoot files off to another remote system. This is really handy.
Once it boots up cd to the root directory:
Create a mount point like hd:
Mount the drive with something like:
mount /dev/hda1 /hd
Normally the partition type is detected automatically but if it's not then the above command is something like:
mount -t reiserfs /dev/hda1 /hd
Of course if you have want to mount a different partition it's just:
mount /dev/hda2 /hd
Once a mount point is used you have to either create a new one or free up the old one before making another mount:
This unmounts your hda1 partition from hd if you did what I decribed above.
Another issue you can run into with distros like Ubuntu is that it requires sudo because there are no root logins. Just do a:
sudo su -
This will give you the necessary access to get your business done
Let us know if you need more help.