The only thing I want SDL for is just fullscreen mode and vsync, nothing else. I attempted to get SDL started but I only get a "fatal error C1083: Cannot open include file: 'SDL.h': No such file or directory" message. Comment out the include and everything runs as expected. It's as if SDL is unknown to VC++ 2008 Express. Where exactly should this file (and other related things be)?
From there, all I need to do is define an SDL surface with SDL_Surface then use SDL_SetVideoMode to get fullscreen and vsync - 1024x768 at 32-bit color is widely supported and thus not an issue.