One alternative to setting up a development environment from scratch or using a virtual machine is to use one of a couple applications that let you install Drupal like a desktop application. This is probably the most rapid way of getting started working with Drupal.
One choice is Bitnami, which allows you to install Drupal plus the entire Apache, MySQL, and PHP stack. Here's a video on how to use Bitnami to install Drupal on Mac or Windows.
Another is Acquia Dev Desktop, which also installs the entire stack, but with the Acquia version of Drupal which includes some of the most common contributed modules and some pre-configuration.