I am a PCLinuxOS newbie.
I have must use several windows programs: Medical, Taxes, Radio Scanner and purchased Bible study programs.
I installed Wine and VirtualBox on my machine. I installed a Windows XP machine (would prefer a windows 7 machine but did not see that choice.)
VirtualBox allow you to install Win7 (both 32bit and/or 64 bit), it have even option for Windows 8, just be sure to have installed the lastest version: VirtualBox 4.1.8.
In my view your best choice is VirtualBox, will provide you a real Windows, the only exception are the graphics performance, whenever you would need 3D capability.
Be sure to ave installed the "Extensions" in VirtualBox, and later to install the "guest additions" on each guest machine.
About the serial (RS-232) ports, VirtualBox allow you to configure two ports, just be sure that:
1) the serial ports are effectively working in linux;
2) configure specifically each port in guest settings, as I believe you card is using "non standard IO port addresses".
In the course of program installations I hit the install program selection in Dolphin. I was surprised when 2 icons appeared on my PCLOS desktop, a program Icon and a link. I clicked the program Icon and the program ran.
If I can install a program and it runs in WINE is that a preferred choice to using VirtualBox?
If this is in the wrong place point me to the right place.
PCLOS is a KEEPER!
Wine generally is much more difficult to configure, in my view should be suggested only for programs already known as working on Wine, the website provide a compatibility list: http://appdb.winehq.org/
An additional note about the RS-232/USB convertors, be careful because sometimes they are not fully transparent, or may not provide a full RS-232 compliance, your mileage may vary, the additions of the MULTI I/O card should be preferred.