The setup was relatively painless. After considering all the options on all the machines lying around, I finally picked up a low-cost Maxtor drive at Staples, and popped it into my main workstation. This is the machine with the video card with 128Kb, and a DVD drive, and 2 gigs of main memory. I assigned this drive a permanent drive letter F.
Unable to boot VISTA from the DVD drive (I could have probably swapped cables to allow the DVD to be the master device intead of the slave on that channel)…I ran the installation from within Windows XP, and directed the install program to install on to the new drive F. This would have worked also if I had repartitioned the existing drive and assigned a drive letter to the extra partition, so if you have the space…20 gigs minimum, you might consider that route.
The only uncertainty was whether the Vista install program would modify the master boot record to allow dual booting. It did….and now when the machine boots, a screen comes up allowing to boot either a “legacy Windows system”, or “Microsoft Windows”
One remaining issue: I have a dual monitor setup using an ATI Radeon 7000 as the secondary monitor. Can’t get this one going…yet, at least. And I can’t connect to my shared laser printer. (which is, um, serious…).