Jack it's a very rare occasion that I would plug a Camera into my pc, would normally use my card reader.
My wife recently bought an Olympus compact to take on a mini holiday (my DSLRs are to big for her) This camera takes the XD card, I hate these silly little things, my arthritic fingers just cannot handle them, so I put in a 2gb card knowing that she would not need more memory than this. On her return I just plugged the camera into the USB port and downloaded without software and without problem.
I also did the same for a friend who brought around an Fuji compact, saying she could not download the photos. I plugged the camera into the USB port of my Vista Ultimate machine, and again downloaded the photos without any problem.
So a relatively new Fuji and a new Olympus work ok without any special software. For the Fuji I used the import function of Picasa2, for the Oly I used lightroom