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I'd try running a virtualized XP unless you need something that talks to specific ports. Most pc's don't use the serial port or printer port now anyway, or even have one, so that would be the only instance when you might want to run straight from a partition with XP rather than use a virtual machine. I'm real happy with VirtualBox (free) but you may want to check out Microsoft's Virtual PC which is also free. They also have an XP Mode / virtualization for Windows 7 Pro licenses.