Dallas you really shouldn't need to install Win XP or any virtual OS just to run an mp3 player. Technology in this world today is such that you should and can find exactly what you want with whatever configuartion you want. Almost. I mean there's people who don't know the difference between Windows and Google.com who use mp3 players.
all iPods run with iTunes. I am not the biggest fan of iTunes and the way it syncs data.. it works really well with music and movies and you can buy things off iTunes and load them up on your iPod. So it takes care of everything and unfortunately or fortunately it is the standard/best out there so you'll have tons of help/instructions and support if you ever don't know how to do something. Also the quality is assured. You can't go wrong with it.
That said, if you don't need to fit into the mainstream apple mania then you could save yourself a lot of money and buy any of many mp3 players out there that are just as reliable and much easier to use. I used to have a sony walkman ( and older version of this: http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Walkman-NWZS545BLK-Video-Player/dp/B002IPHA1W/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1291924175&sr=8-9
) and never had a problem with it. Unlike iPods, it was very easy to drag and drop and create folders just like you would in an external flash drive. And you could drop pictures and music and videos and purchased songs (purchasing songs is up to you though, no connection to purchasing songs with the mp3 player in this case) and anything very easily. Definitely compatible with Windows and any computer really, no extra software needed (unlike iPod which, without your iTunes installed on your computer and even that if its not customized to how you like it, is a pain).
and those kinda mp3 players are plenty and from known brands too (Sony, Samsung etc etc). I have always been tempted by this one, and I definitely trust Sandisk as far as quality goes: http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Sansa-Video-Player-Black/dp/B000VM8EDW/ref=dp_cp_ob_e_title_2
Hope it helps and let us know what you are deciding on!!
Edit: I didn't read your beginning message at all Dallas. Apparently there are ways to make your creative zen work with windows 7 but it seems like a hassle. (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/360898/how_to_make_the_creative_zen_micro.html?cat=15
That said, installing a virtual windows xp isn't bad. What version of win 7 do you have?