Ok... the kernel thing is tricky, although it is not that difficult to compile a new one. Most stock kernels that I know of probably have fat32 read support though. What distro and kernel are you using (check with uname -r at the command line), and what format is your windows partition (fat32 or ntfs)?
Assuming that you have read support for that partition type in your kernel, do this as root:
1) Add a line similar to this to your /etc/fstab:
/dev/hda1 /mnt/windows ntfs noauto,users,ro,umask=0222 0 0
Where the first part points to the name of your windows partition, the second points to the directory you are going to make in the next step, the third is the file system type of your win partition.
2) Make a new directory /mnt/windows
chmod 755 /mnt/windows
My memory is a little hazy on this, you might have to do that in the opposite order.
Hopefully after this you should be able to use the command:
to mount your windows partition and then be able to navigate and use files in it as you would normally. Note that you won't be able to change them unless you alter the umask setting in /etc/fstab. If you get any errors post them here with specific error messages.