Ok, it seems for me you did installation good. If Apache service is running (like you said) as "apache.exe" in memory, everything should go well.
I may suggest 3 things to debug your problems:
1) Try to run adaware, spybot to be sure there is no spyware that may block localhost on internet explorer. I Suggest also you try with Firefox http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/
just to be sure it's not virus or spyware.
2) If this is not working, try on another computer. Unistallation is really simple, so you wont overload the other computer. If you get same problems on another computer, mabye the problem is not with the program, but with your manner of installing it.
3) If it works an another computer, then, mabye reinstallation of windows on your computer may be imposed...
If none of these steps work, I'll be unavaible to give more hints! Also, you could ask to a friend to try it, or doing it by a professionnal.
P.S. I've installed it on a very old computer (500 mhz, 128 mebs of ram) on windows Xp Pro and it's working like a charm. I Have PHP, Mysql, Perl and html working on it. Took me like 1 hour to configure with xampp. This program is really nice.