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Where to start?

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Can someone explain in plain English what is meant by the .NET Framework? Or
what it entails? I'm new to programming and have downloaded the free copy of
Visual Basic Express, and the various study materials keep's making mention
of it but I'm still a little foggy on the concept. Also I'm wondering what
is the difference between VB.Net and Visual Basic Express? Is the express
just a scaled down model or is it another language entirely? And lastly even
though I've already started looking into VB Express is this the best place
for a rookie to get started or should I be starting with some other language?

Thanks for your time, sorry for being lengthy.
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Dot net Framework is a set of code which resides on the Windows OS, and
is meant to be a part of the Windows OS.

Which means a certain amount of runtime code which are deployed along
with each application, are already available in the OS.

Technical details can be had from any good book.


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