I am wondering if you have successfully installed XAMPP 1.7.2 with PHP 5.2 installed manually?
I have the same problem. I need Mercury to run as service in my windows 2003 server as well as tomcat. If I use XAMPP 171, mercury is not a service. If I use XAMPP 172, PHP 53 is a problem for Drupal 6.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Please reply to my email: paramajaya at gmail.com
BTW, you can download all previous version of XAMPP at http://sourceforge.net/projects/xampp/files/
All the best and thanks