Wouldn't it be easier to order the new laptop with Windows 7 Profesional, which allows you to install XP on it to use XP mode?
You would then be able run your older programs, without the need for dual booting, extra drive or partitions.
If you can't get it with Pro preinstalled, you can use the Anytime Upgrade from Microsoft. It's about $90 from memory.
Yes maybe. I didn't think of that however there is one video editing program I have been using for years which doesn't even like that set up and the forums suggest that the dual boot is the only way to do it.
I think the laptop comes with 7 Home Edition so I guess I will upgrade anyway so I can get used to it, even though I will do the dual boot for XP Pro.