welcome to the forum.
There is a really cool piece of software out there in various versions that might be *close* to what you're looking for. It's an OS emulator. The application software and the OS itself doesn't even know it's running *on* another OS.
You mentioned that the machines don't have drives, so this isn't exactly what you want, but consider its virtue for trying out stuff before you commit...
For Windows, there's " Virtual Box " and Microsoft has their own (which I'm wondering is a 'clone' of Virtual Box) ... but I don't remember what it's called.
On Linux, check out " QEMU "
You can run any OS directly from an ISO without installing anything other than the Virtual Machine (the correct name, I think, for and OS Emulator). The only tricky part is creating the Virtual Drives and getting the OS to talk to the peripherials via the emulator, which controls everything the 'hosted' OS sees. The drive thing really isn't so much tricky as it is spooky, because you have to have confidence that the drive you've "created" and are about to PARTITION isn't really a drive at all, but a FILE that is used by the Emulator to mock a drive. The file is on your host OS - just a big binary file, the emu takes it a presents it to the 'hosted' OS as a drive.
I have had up to 20 different OS on one laptop using this technique, running Virtual Box on XP, sp2 and sp3. The laptop has not crashed yet ... knock on silicon. Even had four going at once, talking to each other via sockets - three hosted talking to each other and to the host OS.... ran dang slow, and the memory gage pegged red, of course <G>
If you want some assistance on setting this up and trying it out, I'd be glad to help here, with the caveat that I might not be able to respond for several days at a time (duty calls, you know).
You will find, I think, that this forum is one of the best Linux places around.
Howard in Florida