Just drag and drop in Explorer. If you get an 'access denied' error message, google VISTA TAKE OWNERSHIP and do what the hits say to take ownership.
You'll have to manually redo your settings. But that is much less work than retyping all your documents and retaking all your pictures.
Recently installed new HDD in laptop. Would now like to copy files and settings from old HDD which is now in a sata casing. O/S on both drives is Vista. Can I do this without having to purchase some costly software?