As Ceelight says, more details are needed.... I'd like to help him to analyse the error.
Oh, and that "crystal ball out of order" line..... HAHA!
I really liked that. It goes into my collection of quotes. I could re-use it in similar situations when trying to trouble-shoot over the phone, lol.
Ensure that the OS is win2k/XP/2k3, and that you're logged-in with admin rights.
Well, you could tell us what happens, by doing this:
1. Go into "\xampp-installed\apache\" folder.
2. Run "apache_installservice.bat"
3. What does it say? Does it finish execution without errors?
If it does finish without errors, then henceforth you don't need the XAMPP CPL. Apache will run as a service - it will start right when you start your PC. If you need to start or stop it, you can do this:
1. right-click "MyComputer", click "Manage".
2. In left-panel, go down to Services... >> Services, and click it to get a list.
3. You should now see Apache2 listed there. You can start/stop it from there.
If apache is not listed there, it means some files are either configured wrong, or corrupted.