I have always used RTL8187L chipset devices, no matter what brand they are, as far as they have the rtl8187L inside...They work out of the box as far as HDD install and Live DVD...VMWare?..It should work in theory.
Like forrest gump said: "VM and USB installs are like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get"...
But again, "on paper", "Theorically", rtl8187L based devices should "work out of the box" in VM or USB...I always try to avoid those installations.
I know it works when using HDD installs or DVD Live..
If I'm about to spend money, I do not want to waste it or waste my time trying to get the device to work..., I go for the sure thing...Alfa 500, Alfa 1, or any device with rtl8187L inside..You could also pick an atheros chipset, but first read compatibility before spending money.
This is my very own personal opinion, at the end, you have the last word.