If you're capturing from a tape-based camcorder, you should capture over FireWire.
For hard drive camcorders, you'll need to use the Media Downloader built into Premiere Elements to get the video files.
Current computers can usually capture with no special set-up. Although Vista can use a bit of tweaking, as you can see if you click on the FAQs listed to the right of this forum.
If you've got a second hard drive, you can get the most efficient capture by capturing to it rather than your C drive.