You Don't Have to Use Microsoft Solutions
If you don't like the Microsoft solutions, you can use the free and open source application called VirtualBox, sponsored by Sun Microsystems. It offers USB and shared folder support as in Windows Virtual PC, but doesn't require Windows 7.
VirtualBox is multi-platform; you can run it on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris/OpenSolaris. It lets you can create a machines and hard drives using wizards similar to Microsoft's Virtual PC applications.