XAMPP is a suite of programs, none of which was written by members of this project OTHER than the installers and configuration files
. Apache comes from the Apache Software Foundation, MySQL from Oracle, PHP from Zend and PHP.org, Perl from Perl.org, Mercury form another source. Every one of them has its own support infrastructure, just like SMF, and for any "non-make-it-work-as-a-suite" questions, their documentation, mailing lists and forums are the ultimate resource. For the support VOLUNTEERS here, we help you fix XAMMP
and make it work. Sometimes we tell you fix-its for Perl or PHP or MySQL, but that's an add-on and we choose to do it.
Now - What was your question??? Install exact copy of SMF? RIGHT? Where would you expect to get that question answered? on an Adobe Forum perhaps?
BECAUSE we know nothing about SMF. There's no way for us to know what the contents of that database backup are, or why its failing. It could
also be a MySQL or phpMyAdmin problem. It could be a file format problem.
You stated the real problem right here:
I put all my old files in there but I just get an error that it cannot connect to database. I'm assuming this is because I don't have the old database info for the "new" database. Do I just export the old database and import it to the new local database? or am I going to have to edit other files too?
The answer is you have to make a portable backup of the MySQL files that support SMF. That may be built into SMF - I don't know. What format will it be - I don't know. I WILL bet that on the SMF site is either a Codex article or Forum answer that tells you the straight skinny, And surely no one HERE is an expert on SMF "or am I going to have to edit other files too" How would we know? SMF, on the other hand WOULD know.
I told you exactly how to get around that phpMyAdmin limitation (provided you have a true MySQL backup), and what I thought the order of steps should be and what the problems might be. what else would you like?
If there's a flaw in phpMyAdmin or MySQL - we can't fix it... If you can browse and edit your databases, then its connecting correctly, that's our part of the deal. - Can you do that (browse your databases)? I have no idea, but I am guessing the answer is yes, as you seem to have been able to get into phpMyAdmin. If you can use phpMyAdmin, and 'see/edit your databases' - then MySQL, phpMyAdmin and XAMPP are ALL working.
I told you how to make a manual restoration of data, and you will have to learn how to do these things if you want to keep a server running When I say COMMAND LINE Interface, I mean get to the OS Prompt, Command Shell, aka the DOS Prompt, little black box? Its something often needed to fix things.
I'm not going to get rude here, but I have to point out that your lack of knowledge is not my or any of the other volunteers' issue. You don't know what something is, do what I do, read up on it. That is how I learned just about every answer I give here - test, it it doesn't work, find out why.
You chose to 'run your own server' - there is a minimal level of knowledge needed to get there. Being able to execute a program for the Operating System prompt surely is part of that.