It certainly can be done with VNC. The problem you're having is that it won't work the way other services do, because it ought not to be run as root. Add:
su myuser -c vncserver
to your /etc/rc.d/rc.local file, and make sure you've run vncserver as that user once before (or it will prompt for a password and die). However, if you've got a headless box, I'm assuming it's a server of some kind. Frankly, you don't need
pretty graphical interfaces for a server. All running X and vncserver will do is increase the install size ridiculously and (debatably) slow the machine down.
As for using SSH and PuTTY, it's very simple.
- Run system-config-services / ntsysv and tick sshd.
- Run system-config-securitylevel / system-config-securitylevel-tui and open up port 22:tcp.
- Download and unzip PuTTY from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~s.../download.html onto the Windows machine.
- Run PuTTY, and connect to your box with your usual name and password.
Alternatively, you could use Tunnelier
. A nice SSH client, but it's non-Free (but doesn't cost money). Its installation procedures are fairly self-explanatory, and even the [strikethrough]least[/strikethrough] lower end of the mediocre range of computer-literate of users should be able to manage it.