There is a bit of a misconception with calling it Visual Basic
. I've been using Visual Basic for 13 years in its different versions. People call VB.Net Visual Basic well there is a slight resemblance but that's all. You can download Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition
free of M$.
I don't know of anywhere you can download VB6 for free so if you want to try this then your best bet is to search eBay.
The original VB came in 7 different versions the last being VB6, its been going for 17 years so it can't be that bad. To me its the easiest programming language to learn. I've tried VC++ and I can't get into it. Because its been going for 17 years then you'll find a lot more support e.g. forums, downloads etc then you'll find for VB.Net. But if you've never done any programming before then you have to start somewhere.
The other drawback with .Net is you can only make programs that will run on Windows NT and not for Windows 9x/ME.
Windows ME (spare computer)
Windows XP 2002 Professional SP3 (desktop computer)
Windows 7 Professional SP1 32bit (laptop computer)
Windows 8 64bit spare drive for laptop computer