> > I would say grab both and give them a try and see what you like.
> Thanks but I don't think I'm cut out for it. I can't even get the build tools
> installed and updated without running into errors.
Do not get too discouraged! A good way to work around issues like that is to create a VM using virtual box. Then use the snapshot system built into that. That way you can break things and try things out. If it does not work it is dead easy to reset to a known working state. It is also interesting to learn how to fix without really breaking anything valuable. I use it all the time if I am experimenting with software that has the possibility of messing up your computer.
For VSCode I personally use the .zip version. You unzip it into a folder and it is pretty much ready to go out of the box. Then use the built in 'store' to find plugins. If I remember correctly there is a .vscode folder it creates in your user folder and that holds all of the plugins and data there may be something in appdata but I have not had to reset one yet. I think if you mess it up you can pretty much delete/rename those two folders and start over. Of course you may want to try that in a VM first.
For Visual Studio it is much more of a classic windows program. It installs dozens of packages, SDKs, framerworks, etc. There is an all in one uninstaller out there that removes everything about visual studio from your computer. I have had luck with it in the past. The downside is likes to remove the CRT versions that some games like to use. So you may need to reinstall them. Usually they are found in the game install or from the MS website.
Also sometimes the docs do not always match up to the version of visual studio that is out there (I assume mame is up to date). One project I mess with assumes visual studio 2015. So you have to kinda roll with the 4+ years of updates that MS has put into its tooling and some stuff moving around and changing. I use visual studio community 2019 right now. The install system is different and what the SDKs do and what checkmarks to put when installing can be interesting.