Since the hubbub about incompatibilities between Nikons NEF codec in Vista and Photoshop, Microsoft has taken the automatic link to the Nikon codec off line.
In the mean time Nikon has issued new version in an attempt to address the compatibility problems with NEFs whose tags or metadata gets modified in Vista's Photo Gallery or Windows Photo Info.
But files modified by Nikon's new 1.01 NEF codec are still broken for me in Photoshop Bridge CS2.
Opening the modified NEF files works fine with PS CS2 Adobe Camera RAW, Lightroom or Photoshop CS3.
It seems that Bridge (CS2 at least) doesn't actually use ACR for thumbnails and previews. Nikon's tweak didn't fix the problem for Bridge so it may still be broken in other RAW handling software too.
I don't like or want Nikon writing to my NEF files. But it's nice that I can see NEF thumbnails in the Explorer and Photo Gallery.
If you mark NEF files as read-only then the Nikon codec doesn't modify them.
The other main problem for me is that Vista doesn't see the tags in XMP sidecar files. Also it may be possible for Vista's search to find tags in XMP sidecar files since it's just XML. I've found that Lightroom can associate sidecar files with the correct NEF files (although it gives you an annoying dialog each time you try to open a file from the Explorer that is already in your library). Bridge CS3 Beta 2 does not seem to be able to associate XMP sidecar files with their NEF files.
I'm seriously considering integrating DNGs into my workflow as this would eventually allow me to see and search for tags in Vista or WDS under XP. But Adobe's DNG codec for Vista and Photo Info is not ready yet.