running windows on a virtual machine for portability in case my laptop goes bellyup

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http://askubuntu.com – I work as a software consultant who works primarily in the windows environment. My laptop is my lifeline and I can ill-afford any downtime if it goes belly up. Somebody suggested running windows in a virtual machine in Ubuntu, and should my primary laptop goes down, take the VM file to my backup machine and viola! I am in business. But a lot of posts about the setup I am looking at point to significant performance degradation which I can't afford with a memory hog that is Visual Studio. I am open to ideas. (HowTos)