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You can of course do the reverse (if you must!): run XP as your primary OS and Linux in VMWare.
Virtualization is the only way to go unless your machine is too slow to be able to handle it.
Haven't tried Vista, but I believe you need at least 1Gb just for Vista to run, so calculate at least 2Gb on the host machine before trying.
I guess I should investigate vmware. It'd be nice to do my scanning while keeping my other linux stuff still running.