This night I have tried to install Apache and PHP on a Windows machine with Vista. I thought that it will take just few minutes as it usually takes on Ubuntu, but it was not. I wanted to install the Apache to the default location (C:\\Program Files/Apache Software Foundation/Apache...). The reason for this was that NetBeans is looking in the default instalation location and if exists, then it offers in new project wizards etc.
So I downloaded the msi installer of Apache and run it. The installation executed nice and correctly. The Apache was running and the url http://localhost shows known page It works! .
But when I tried to copy a file to the document root or create the project from NetBeans inside document root, then it failed. OK, it will be due to a rights permitions, I thouhgt. I noticed that htdocs folder is marked as read only. I opened the folder properties and uncheck the Read Only checkbox. Windows displayed nice progress bar that showed the progress of setting read only attribute to false for all files in the folder as fell. So I tried to copy a file into htdocs folder. It failed! The folder was still marked as read only. Hmmm, strange Windows didn't inform me that the previous action failed. So I tried to change the read only attribute for Program Files and all subfolders in Apache folder. The same result. Still were read only, even that Windows showed the progress bar, no failed message.
Now was the time to use Google:). It was surprising for me that many people had exactly the same problem as I. Some of them give up and recommend to install back Windows XP. But then I have found the solution. On Molecular Sieve blog is an entry with steps how to solve the problem. Big thanks to author for this.
After applying the steps I can copy files and create project in the document root of Apache, which is installed in the default location. Still the folders are marked read only, but write in the folder is possible :).
During this exercise I found a few interesting information. Like that the msi installers install the applications as SYSTEM user, which is something like root user in linux. After the installatin the Apache is running with all priviliges as SYSTEM user has and the php and other cgi scripts has also rights of SYSTEM user. Is not very save to expose such Apache publicly. You can find at internet steps how to solve it.
What is your experience with running Apache, XAMP under Vista?