thanks for your efforts and sorry for me not coming back to you sooner.
do you get a similar message if you open a command prompt (Start > Run > cmd), change to the PHP directory (cd E:\xampp\php) and try to run "php.exe -v"
No, I got the same message that I got on my attempt to run setup_xampp.bat: "The system cannot execute the specified program." And it doesn't matter whether I execute php.exe with or without the -v switch. And the shitty thing with the message is that it won't tell me why.
If this fails, you may need toe VC9 runtimes from here: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/de ... px?id=5582
Why would I need that on the virtual, but not on the real system (where xampp 1.7.7 runs)?
I feel we must concentrate on the simple fact that
xampps with versions 1.7.4 and older run on both my real and virtual system with no extra settings (meaning beyond what is currently installed) required to meet either,
the xampp 1.7.7 must have an "extra" or "addon" compared to 1.7.4 that prevents 1.7.7 from running on the virtual system.
There must be a way to find out, just what this "extra" or "addon" is and what runtime environment it requires, regardless of real or virtual system.
From what I figured out so far: The setup_xampp.bat (which is exactly the same for all mentioned xampp versions) calls the php.exe which runs the install.php. And this install.php is too complex for me to understand, let alone find that particular difference that prevents version 1.7.7 from running as desired. And who knows what other in this matter significant changes are added elsewhere. I don't exclude the possibility of a bug entirely.
sylviaEdit, some time later:
it's me again.
I followed your link, installed the runtime environment and, indeed, that did the trick.
But how did you come to know about this issue?
This page http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp-windows.html for example does not state any system requirements. Searching "system requirements for xampp 1.7.7" in Google didn't result in anything useful.
Now I think I know, why xampp 1.7.7 worked right away on my real PC: It is because there the runtime environment was already installed. But I didn't do it delibaretly, it must have happened when I installed VPC2007. Apparently, older xampp versions don't require such a runtime installation.
If you or anyone else have no further remarks, I would like for someone to mark this thread as solved, because I don't know how and where.
Thank you very much for all your help.