Basically, I want to be able to run Windows XP as the host OS (for a few processor-hungry apps) with the driver for ethernet (and thus access to the internet) disabled. However, I want a guest operating system in a virtual machine to be able to access the internet - taking direct control of the ethernet hardware, and using its own drivers. The guest operating system would be some relatively lightweight version of Linux.
One reason for wanting this is to be able to uninstall firewall and some other security system from Windows XP, since it should have no internet (or other) connectivity and should therefore be pretty secure without that drain on resources. There should therefore be no virtual network connectivity between guest and host either. Some kind of shared folder support would be appreciated, of course.
Is this possible? If so, which virtual machine software can support it? And is there any free-as-in-beer VM software that can do this.