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The magnetization states and the reversal mechanisms of 30 nm thick NiFe full and slotted rings, with outer and inner diameter of 1400 nm and 600 nm, respectively, are analysed by magneto-optical Kerr effect and in-field magnetic force microscopy. The evolution of the magnetization configuration is investigated as a function of the applied field intensity. Both the measured hysteresis loops and the MFM images are satisfactorily reproduced by a combined micromagnetic and analytical approach, showing that the presence of the slot in one arm of the ring forces the system to undergo a transition into a flux closure vortex state of well defined chirality. Both the reversal mechanism and the field range where the vortex exists are influenced by the aperture angle of the slot.