First install XAMPP which will install Apache, MySQL , PHP on Windows XP
Download the installer from Source Forge https://sourceforge.net/projects/xampp/
Version I have installed: xampp-win32-1.7.3
To get it up and running in Vista, do the following:
Disable WWW service as this runs on Port 80 by default which Apache needs. Check that no other service/application is listening on Port 80. From the command prompt use nestat –ao to do this.
What didn't work in Vista..
Editing the httpd.conf file in the Apache ..\conf directory and set 'Listen' to 8080 and 'Server Hostname' to localhost:8080. i.e change the port settings for these two entries. In XP you just need to change the Listen entry's port settings to 8080 if you already have IIS running on port 80
Use XAMPP Control Panel (apache friends version) to restart Apache and ensure that the services you want are running.
(to be continued)