|my instructor mentioned something about using G++ to compile the programs for grading. Idk what the heck that means |
If that is what your instructor has specified, then that is what you should use. Aceix
has given you great advice there.
First realise that there are compilers and Integrated Development Environments (IDE). The VS IDE uses only it's compiler and not anything else.
The thing is there are so many environments IMO that are much better than VS. Specifically in terms of the compiler it uses.
Firstly is compliance with C++11 - VS is way behind others in this respect.
Next is, IDE's like Eclipse, Codeblocks, Qt Creator, KDevelop etc that can use a variety of compilers like gcc (Gnu Complier Collection - g++ for C++ programs), Clang (has beautiful easy to understand error messages, and has been the leader in terms of compliance with C++1y). As I understand it Mingw is a minimal implementation to allow one to use the gcc compiler on Windows, while cygwin is more an emulation of a Linux environment which has all kinds of good stuff(chrisname
did an excellent post on this recently) . Personally I don't bother with emulation software, just get an extra HD and install the real thing (A version of Linux) on it. The KDevelop IDE can compile dozens of different languages & scripts, as long as a compiler for that language is installed.
Some compilers are limited to just C & C++ , while others can do multiple languages: gcc can do C, C++, C#, Java, assembler, even various incarnations of Fortran !!
There are versions of Eclipse & CodeBlocks that work on Linux - I have them as well.
Good Luck :+)