I read a post about dual installing different versions of windows in order to use some older software/programs. All of the games I am planning on playing are XP compatible. So, should I look into dual installs or just run win7 in XP mode? I have a few XP keys from older systems but I do not have an XP install CD.
The XP mode in Windows 7 won't support 3D gaming. There isn't support for 3D APIs like DirectX in the XP mode virtual PC. More background on Win 7 XP mode
You can get many XP games to run on Windows 7 using the Program Compatibility Wizard and Compatibility tab or by using the Applications Comparability toolkit (advanced computer skills might be needed for best results). Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.6
There is a problem with some XP games that use a 16bit installer program which will not run on 64bit Windows 7. Those 16bit installers will run on Windows 7 32bit.
And of course doing a dual boot Win7 / WinXP is always an option. And it's not that difficult to setup and run. Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP Method1: When XP is Installed First
Method2: When Windows 7 is Installed First