You can try running your win apps under wine, it may or may not work. Wine is not an emulator, but work well with some apps. Go to www.hine-hq.org
and look at their list of known good apps.
Of course, VM Ware will do exactly what you are thinking about, but it is not free. You can find them at: http://www.vmware.com/
Just sort of an observation on this one. Maybe you will get comfortable with Linux in time and won't need windows.
I hope you enjoy your Mandrake experience!