|Microsoft do a Free download of Visual Studio Express. It is restricted as to what it can do but it is a good learning tool for the novice. You can do everything except compile the programme into an application. |
It contains all the current Visual Studio application VB , C++, C# ,etc. You can work out what is right for you before you start spending serious money on a full blown application suite which can be expensive.
VB is a good place to start as it is relatively easy to learn. You can use it to learn some of the basic principles of programming, principles that will apply to whatever language you are using. You will learn why in come circumstances VB is better than C++ while in other circumstances C++ is the better choice.
Edit: Having just looked at your specs, you are going to be a bit pushed with a Pentium II and Visual Studio. To find something that will run adequately on a PII you are going to have to do a bit of searching for legacy applications like VB6 or Turbo C.