Generally, drivers for Vista will work with Windows 7, but as you have found, that is not always the case. Options are limited;
1] Try Vista drivers on a Win 7 system and see if they work
2] Wait for the manufacturer to supply drivers.
3] Don't use that hardware with Windows 7.
You can try Microsoft's Windows 7 Compatibility test and see what results you get. it works for device drivers as well;
About permissions. I never had a problem with Vista permissions, and I don't with Windows 7. But they are both different to Windows XP and before. For example both Vista and Win 7 make extensive use of "Junction points". These are legacy shortcut folders that are included for backward compatibility with older OSes, where older software requires folders that no longer exist on Vista and Win7.
For example, Documents and Settings no longer exists, but some older software still needs that. Also My Documents, My Pictures, My Music etc have been replaced by Libraries. The Junction points for those exist simply to point to the new libraries and they don't hold anything useful in them. So attempting to add files to Junction Points doesn't work.
Also, permissions has hardened under Vista and Win 7 to help elevate security, and even though we are using Admin capable accounts, we don't have access to everything. That is by design.
I hope that helps.
I have 2 questions:
In general, can Vista drivers be used in Windows 7? I notice some of my equipment has drivers for Vista, but not W7. Is this because the manufacturer simply has not got around to producing W7 drivers?
Permissions - Is there a way to take ownership of the entire hard drive? It seems like every time I turn around I have another folder that will not allow me to interact without changing the permissions.
Is there a control to set ownership for the hard drive by default?