If you're like me and keep old laptops around the house that are wannabe time-capsules, I've recently started converting the physical operating systems onto virtual machines that I can run from a PC emulator.
The concept is called P2V (Physical To Virtual) and has been made simpler over recent years. My favorite tool for this purpose is provided by VMWare at http://www.vmware.com/products/converter
It is a freeware tool, albeit you have to provide an email address to access the download page. What I like about the tool is the fact that the most difficult steps are automated. All one needs to do is installing, convert and run the new virtual machine through a wizard-driven menu with a few clicks.
Being a VMWare tool you'd think that it restricts running the virtual image to their line of products. However, I was able to use VirtualBox to run and see my old Windows 7 booting and running from a virtual machine.
Very nice, to be able of preserving the old look & feel, the apps, documents and working environment in such a quick manner as hardware moves forward.