When I was working I used BCB6 and was quite proficient. I wrote (over a number of years) a complete schools admin program. Now that I have retired I'd still like to carry on at home doing my own thing. I am aware of the existence of MinGW, CodeBlocks etc but I'm also well aware of my head being pretty much locked into the Borland way. I'd appreciate any advice on which set of tools to set up for home use given that I absolutely don't want to end up with creating windows the long way!
C++ is those languages which have power but for simple things, it take a long time but for complicated things it pretty hand-on approach and ready-made functions in Windows API make it easier. But there are number good C++ UI drag'n'drop tools available. The best being QT.
QT is excellent for these sorts of things, MFC is a pretty decent programming toolkit with UI development automation by VS (Visual Studio). I personally suggest QT as compared to MFC as it is quite old and too difficult to skin or make application interface look awesome or professional.
Therefore QT is a excellent choice.
Next, as for general purposes - if you are planning on seriously developing apps in home VS would be good investment to make as it is equipped with majority of productivity tools & best debugging tools available commercially in the world.