Since I now have 2.5GB of RAM to play with, I've tried my hand at VirtualBox and installed Windows XP in a virtual machine. I must say it runs smooth. It's faster than Windows XP on actual hardware! >_>
Admittedly, I've only gotten Python & VirtualBox Additions installed at the moment but even so it's faster than an equivalent install on actual hardware. Maybe if I tried booting XP now it'd be a different story but I doubt it. I've given the virtual machine 512MB RAM (same as my native XP had before my memory upgrade) and it's performing far better than expected.
Right now I'm installing some updates. I'll be slowly bringing this machine up and running so I can do testing of various Windows specific Python experiments without rebooting.
Oops... looks like installing Windows updates wasn't a good idea. Rebooting after installing updates gave me a nice little BSOD. Ouch!
Thankfully, I saved a snapshot earlier so it was simple to get things back on track without too much trouble.