|There were some drivers on the emachine support page. I can't remember if installing those was what set up the readers or if it was upgrading to sp2 and sp3. Seems like your vista would see them OK though.|
I'm not sure but I think the readers are passive device, that is they have no electronics to get 'fried'. It's the USB port that does all the work.
You can get USB plug in card readers at walmart and just about anywhere that carries digital photo stuff. So, yeah, it's not a big deal if the built-in ones don't work. It would just be more convienent if they did.