Before starting a install, make a list of your hardware when you are logged into winduhs. Check this list with the hardware compatibility list available at your distribution's website. For example to find the hardware compatibility list for Red Hat 9, go to google and use the search string "Red hat 9 hardware compatibilty list". Most of the hardware should work right away, however sound may be a problem.
After installing, get a good book on running Red Hat . i recommend seeing http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/linux/RHL-9-Manual/
for some really good manuals.
Ideally, I just want to be able to log in thru windows, have a few drives mapped to my PC based on my login name, and have a printer attached as well.
What you are looking for is Samba. You have a managment tool for it known as samba-swat (available in Red hat 9). However, to use it, you have to be proficient in using Linux. So I suggest, get the Red hat manuals, do some "self help" and try configuring Samba on your own. When you are stuck, post a question here and somebody is sure to answer.