Currently I am using Windows Vista Home Premium as an operating system and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional (student edition) as my compiler. By student edition I mean I got it from Microsoft Dreamspark to get free Microsoft programs because I am a student. I was wondering, is this the best compiler for C++? Also eventually I may not have access to the Dreamspark website (not sure) what freely available C++ compilers are there available, I used to use DevC++ by Bloodshed, but a lot of their packages aren't downloadable any more. I just want to know what type of options that I may have in the future.
My personal recommendation is Visual C++ 2008 for large projects, MinGW 3.x for quick tests, and MinGW 4.x for large projects when VC++ has compatibility problems with some compiled library (rare, but happens occasionally).