Paul: Since my main system is the Linux box, which has the multiple desktops, I am able to run the Windows VM continuously on one of the desktops, and it is just a matter of dragging with the mouse to move between desktops. I can set a recording to run in Windows, move to another desktop and surf the net with Firefox until the Windows program needs my attaention again, drag into the Windows screen and deal with the matter, and then either do something else in Windows, play a game on another Linux desktop, continue surfing, or whatever.
As I'm a little aged, and not very quick witted, I should mention that my main game playing is limited to Freecell! I sometimes try Forty Thieves, but very seldom get near the end. Also Shisen Sho, though I don't break any records there.
The feel of the system is just as though Windows is another running program under Linux, and I can multi task, just as I could with any other programs.
The Windows VM can read files from the Linux file system and vice versa as long as a shared file folder is set up when setting up the VM. The Windows VM can access the USB, the Printer, the serial ports, the internet, other machines on the network, just as though it were a separate box.
I know VMWare are supposed to be the bees' knees for virtualisation, but I'm perfectly happy with Virtualbox. The Windows VM is sufficiently sandboxed so that I'm fairly clear of nasties - I use Linux for most of my surfing - and if a program crashes the Windows, or it freezes, or any of the other BSOD events occur, I still have a running machine, and merely have to call up Virtualbox again, and restart Windows. The best of both worlds:)