Quote Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
1) I don't think my cpu supports hw virtualization.
I don't know, but you can find out easily. Run VirtualBox, create a VM, and start to run it (even if there's nothing to run). If it starts, you can virtualize.

However, if this is an old computer, I would seriously consider dual-booting instead of using a VM. The systems will run much faster.

Quote Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
2) Anyway, I ordered a 2 GB ram module to replace the 1 GB in the machine, which will bring it up to 4 GB, so that may help.
If you dual-boot, that will give you nice fast system.

Quote Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
However, I think I have the old Win XP discs from my previous laptop, a Compaq from 2003. I could try that if Vista is too slow?
You certainly could. XP would run very fast on 4Gb. Many people prefer XP to Vista, but the problem is that XP will not be supported much longer, so Vista is probably a better idea.

Quote Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
4) Whatever Windows version I use, will I need to to all the updates/service packs? just once, right?
Yes. Just do the usual updates. If you have broadband, it will take you an entire day (Microsoft's "clever" idea to do updates in many stages). Without broadband, it will take even longer.

Quote Originally Posted by Fungus View Post
5) Also, would I need to or should I install anti-virus, firewall, and anti-malware on the windows VM?
Yes, indeed. I would simply go with the standard Microsoft Security Essentials, which works well and fast; it includes the firewall and anti-malware. You could go for other proprietary systems if you prefer, but I have found Security Essentials to do the job.

If you are running behind a router, that will give you extra protection.

If you decide to use a VM instead of dual-boot, once your Windows VM is set up to your satisfaction, snapshot it. That will allow you to regress quickly should it become infected.