Installing Windows XP on a USB

I need to boot and run XP and a software application from the USB drive (USB 3). My system is Win7 64-bit and I need to run a 32-bit system to load and run Siemens PLC (programmable logic controller) software. I have a legal copy of XP Pro 32-bit installed in a VMWare virtual machine on my Win7 laptop and have the install disc (also have Ubuntu 10.04 installed as well, and may have to go the Linux route - but, that seems pretty arduous for a Linux newbie like me).

I can install and run the required Siemens software in the virtual machine with XP. However, to load the PLC configuration onto an actual PLC, you plug the Ethernet cable into the PLC and the software uses the Ethernet port as the comm port for the PLC. This doesn't work in virtual machine mode. I believe this is due to the fact that the Ethernet port is still controlled by the Host OS (Win 7) and Win7 isn't giving it up. So, I need the entire laptop to be running XP with the Siemens software

I have a 32 GB USB 3 drive for this purpose, already formatted in NTFS. I will only booting XP from the USB on my laptop which already has a legal copy of XP Pro. Any good insight or links to a how-to for this process?
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