Yes, you could us a VM, but...
A lot of us don't want to run in VM, especially with regards to scanning where color fidelity is of the utmost importance to a photographer. VM's usually runs it 16-bit mode, whereas Windows outside of the VM run in 32-bit. That makes a big difference in your color profiles. Sure, you could do some editing in Photoshop or the likes, but as the saying goes - garbage in = garbage out.
Sometimes cheap doesn't mean quality. I'm not advocating spending $40 or $80 dollars on a program just for the fun of it. I personally think it's ridiculous that some have to go this way because of lack of OS or 64-bit support, but it's an alternative that might save money in the long run as this would be cheaper than replacing your scanner.
Also, Vuescan isn't just a driver, it's a very good scan program that supports a wide range of scanners and is constantly updated. It also provides a lot more options and optimizations than the usually shipped software that comes with the scanner. So in addition to getting a program that works on the OS, you get more features. But, like I say, try the trial version first, if they don’t like it, look for another solution, such as a VM.
As I’ve said In the past I’m not advocating Vuscan to make someone rich, I personally don’t use the program myself, though I’ve had it since 2002, I prefer the software shipped with my scanner, but that’s me. I advocate it as an alternative to a non-working environment, and probably cheaper alternative to replacing the scanner. Is it cheaper than a VM…no. Is it effective…???
I'm not against using a VM and some may want to go that route, that's also an option. The solution I provide doesn't require a VM environment and/or new learning curve.
My two cents