I believe 32-bit windows can only use up to 2gb ram
No, it can address up to 4GB (have a look at this topic http://www.technicaltalk.net/index.php?topic=725.0
) - however the processor also needs to address everything else too within this limit (including the 512 MB video memory Adam says he has.) Still, I am surprised it is as low as 2GB, more commonly you hear about 2.5 or 3GB memory available.
Sam's teach yourself c++ in 24 hours
I think I have that book somewhere too! I have not really ever used it, I have found internet based tutorials easier to follow. Have you got any other programming experience? I would definately suggest sticking with it as its a worth while activity... we all learn differently, so if the book isn't working for you get another!