After looking into it further, I decided I was going to try VirtualBox instead of Hyper-V, since Hyper-V requires running Windows 8 Pro (= $100 upgrade per computer). This article outlines the method I was going to try using VirtualBox:
Then I notice at the end of the article that the company offers a service where they let you use their virtual machines for this exact purpose at a cost of $6/month. If it works, it's a sensible model, as the cost of VM's could be amortized over a user base. They offer a free trial, so I'll probably try it. I don't know if that particular company will do a good job at it, but if not, maybe some other company does. If it turns out to be too laggy, though, it won't be worth it. In that case, having some kind of in-home "server of virtual machines" that could be shared among all the home's computers would perhaps make more sense than putting VM's on every computer, and it would likely minimize the lagginess. In theory, Microsoft wants an additional license for every virtual machine that runs Windows (even if the host computer already has a license for windows!), so the cost of spreading it around could be quite high, though lagginess close to nil.
Anyone here tried doing that? I don't imagine it would be much different than connecting to a remote desktop using XVNC or the like.
P.S. When I put ESET Internet Security (which used to be known for its low impact on performance) on the little Zotac box, the browsing speed slowed down noticeably. So, I would guess that was the difference all along. You guys are right: running naked is a lot faster!
Edited by NeverDie, 05 January 2015 - 12:56 PM.