Samba, as you are probably aware, is (from the man
The Samba software suite is a collection of programs that implements the Server
Message Block (commonly abbreviated as SMB) protocol for UNIX systems. This
protocol is sometimes also referred to as the Common Internet File System (CIFS).
For a more thorough description, see http://www.ubiqx.org/cifs/. Samba also
implements the NetBIOS protocol in nmbd.
Virtual machines, on the other hand, support complete operating system installations that run "as-if" installed directly on a server.
With virtual machine software installed on a Linux host -- such as VirtualBox
-- you then install, say, Win7 as a virtual machine. You can also install other operating systems as additional virtual machines on the same Linux host and start and use any one (or more, depending upon your available RAM and disk) as if you'd booted them from a server cold start.
Although I favor a "clean," from-scratch, installation of Microsoft software, it is possible to copy an existing Windows installation (using freely-available software from VMware) that "virtualizes" the installation and makes it possible to simply load the virtualized copy into a virtual hard disk and away you pretty much go.
Fact is, if you install VirtualBox
on a Linux host, then install Windows as a guest operating system, you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish any difference in performance (well, maybe a little) or capabilities. Too, you can "snapshot" a virtual machine so that when Windows craps its pants (which you know it probably will), you can in a minute or two be back up and running (that's kind nice, eh). Sorry, I've had too many bad experiences with Microsoft for far too long...
Anyway, I can highly recommend VirtualBox and
Hope this helps some.