I successfully completed the update from Xampp 1.7.1 to Xampp 1.8.2 today.
On the older version, I could see that PEAR was active. I do not see it now but the verbiage said it was included.
The php.ini file has this line:
include_path = ".;C:\xampp\php\pear"
On the old version, there was a pear.ini file and I don't see one in the php folder on version 1.8.2. I copied in the pear.ini file from Xampp 1.7.1 to the php folder of Xampp 1.8.2 and it still does not display as if it is installed when I bring up http://localhost/xampp.
What needs to be done to enable pear? I found no threads relevant to my current version of Xampp.