I ripped out Apache, PHP, MySQL, and phpMyAdmin to give XAMPP a try. BIG MISTAKE.
XAMPP 1.7.0 distributes WinMySQLAdmin, which when clicked in the XAMPP Control Panel does nothing but create a pop-up error message every ten seconds or so. Not only is WinMySQLAdmin not functional as an admin tool, it's very annoying and takes some work to get rid of. (Feels like a virus to me.)
XAMPP will get around to fixing this "in the next release," but I've seen support chats from a year ago that this was a problem. I don't expect it will be fixed in the near future, so I've given up on XAMPP. It's unfortunate that "Beginning Joomla!," published in 2007, recommends XAMPP.
Good bye XAMPP.