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I have a notebook hard drive that was formatted with Windows 7. Should I be able to read it on a Vista machine?

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Yes, NTFS is readable all the way back to Windows 2000 Service Pack 3*. Some of the newer extensions are incompatible with the older OSes, but you should have no problem on Vista.

Have a look at the Wikipedia article for more information. It's quite helpful in explaining the different versions of NTFS.

*NTFS was around on older versions of Windows, but depending on the version, would not be accessible.

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Yes for vista Maybe for XP, the 4k drive sectors could cause issues with xp and earlier os's just depends on the type of drive. As Randolph said for NTFS some new features could cause issues. –  Kendrick Jul 22 '12 at 4:06

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