I finally got through to Canon support and went through the usual re-installation on drivers, checking of settings, etc. I spoke with them twice before, eventually, they upgraded my complaint so that it would be dealt with within the UK and not in Bombay (I’m not opposed to outsourcing per se, but I generally feel that you get a better response from someone in your own timezone and not from somoeone sat at their desk at 2am local time).
On Friday afternoon, a Canon tech person called me and we went through the problem. Unfortunately, I could only spend about 45 minutes with them, as I had to get a train to The Smoke to meet with a bunch of weirdos in a pub. We walked through uninstallation and reinstallation, twice, without success. We also verified that everything was working properly. We left it that he would call me back today (as of 3.30pm, the phone remains silent) after he had investigated the problem further at Canon Tech Guy HQ UK. But his last words were "nope, I’ve not come across that problem before", which did not fill me with optimism.
The current situation is this – I can install my new Canon MP600R multifunction on my old XP laptop with the supplied driver and get them talking to each other via USB or via WLAN, both to print and to scan, which is lovely. I can install the downloadable Vista driver (from the Canon website) on my new Vista laptop and get the laptop and multifunction working with the printer driver over WLAN only, not via USB (I have to use the Add Printer function in Control Panel because there is no USB functionality)- and the scanner driver works not at all. I’ve checked the obvious – the USB port is functioning and I have used the same cable that I used for the XP machine, so I know that is ok. Am I missing something?