Can I plug an XP hard drive into a Vista machine and access the data?

Computer noob here.... my wife's comp mobo just kicked the bucket.... she has data on the hard drive she wants off. She was running XP on her computer, and I"m running Vista 64 on mine. Can I just take her old hard drive, plug in the sata drive and boot from that hard drive?

Thank you for your time.
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  1. Better yet... is it possible to just turn the drive into a backup drive without reformatting it and losing the data? Best case scenario would be that I could just boot into my main drive with vista 64, but that I could see all the data on the XP drive.
  2. If you are lucky it might boot in safe mode but it will probably hang while trying to load windows. You can boot from your hard drive with her hard drive in there too on another port and then nab the stuff off of it.
  3. your second post came in while I was replying - yea, boot from your drive with her's in there as a second drive - no reformatting needed. Vista SHOULD see the drive and install it OK.
  4. SHOULD is right. I built a system for my sis and installed her old XP HD into it w/o a reformat. it worked swimmingly for 4 mos, then all of a sudden (boot drive) "Hardrive C is not accessible" errors, then crash. Wouldn't start in safe either. I reinstalled V64 onto the old XP drive after backing up the files and got the machine back running. Here’s what was odd, once the machine was working, it recognized the C drive, but still could not access it. I was able to run scan disk and able to perform a windows backup. However, the OS would not allow access to the drive. Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. I've been searching forums all over, but I can only gleam a hint of what may of happened, but nothing concrete anywhere. I'm blaming it on my niece who's a limewire freak and assuming it was a virus. Whatever.
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