The easiest way to do this is use EasyPHP, a package that bundles all the software you need into a single Windows application. Here are the steps from start to finish:
Firstly, if you have ever installed MySQL before (even as part of another package), uninstall it all, delete all the MySQL files and make sure you delete c:\my.cnf and c:\windows\my.ini.You might want to do a search and delete ANY file called my.cnf or my.ini.
If you've ever installed PHP before delete any files called php4ts.dll from around your Windows directory, as well as any files called php.ini.
Download EasyPHP from here: httphttp://www.easyphp.org/telechargements/dn.php?F=easyphp1-6.php3 (approx 10 Mb)
Run the downloaded file: easyphp1-6_setup.exe. The installation process is in French but is otherwise much like installing any other Windows program - I advise accepting the defaults and letting it all install. Note that "Suivant" means Next.and "Oui" means Yes.
At the end of the install leave the checkbox selected to "Lancer EasyPHP" (Start EasyPHP) and hit the 'Terminer" button.You might be taken to a information web page which you can safely ignore.
If all went well - congratulations! Apache, PHP and MySQL are all installed and running! You should see a black E in your toolbar tray. You can right click on it to get a menu which will let you control the running programs, but you won't be needing that for now.
The next thing you need to do is to set up a database for Moodle to use. Using a browser, go to httphttp://localhost/mysql/ (note the final slash).
If asked for a username, use "root" with a blank password. You should see a phpMyAdmin web interface that allows you to create a new databases and user accounts.
Create a new database by typing "moodle" into the field and hitting the "Create" button. That was easy!
You can also create a new user to access your database if you want. This can be a bit tricky for a first-time user, so you might just want to use the existing user "root" with no password in your Moodle config for now, and fix this later.
You're ready to install Moodle! Download the latest release of Moodle from httphttp://moodle.org/download, then unzip the archive.
Copy your moodle files into C:\Program Files\EasyPHP\www. You can either copy the entire moodle directory (ie C:\Program Files\EasyPHP\www\moodle) or copy all the contents of the moodle directory. If you choose this second option then you will be able to access your Moodle home page using httphttp://localhost/ instead of httphttp://localhost/moodle/.
Make a new empty folder somewhere else for Moodle to store uploaded files in, eg: C:\moodledata
Go into your Moodle folder. Make a copy of config-dist.php, and call it config.php
Edit config.php using a text editor (Notepad will do, just be careful that it doesn't add unwanted spaces at the end).
Put in all your new database info $CFG->dbtype = 'mysql'; $CFG->dbhost = 'localhost'; $CFG->dbname = 'moodle'; $CFG->dbuser = 'root'; $CFG->dbpass = ; $CFG->dbpersist = true; $CFG->prefix = 'mdl_';
And put in all your file paths $CFG->wwwroot = 'httphttp://localhost/moodle'; // Use an external address if you know it. $CFG->dirroot = 'C:\Program Files\EasyPHP\www\moodle'; $CFG->dataroot = 'C:\moodledata'; Save config.php - you can ignore the other settings if there are any.
You're nearly there now! The rest of the setup is all web-based. Visit httphttp://localhost/moodle/admin/ with your browser to continue the setup via your browser.