Configuration File (php.ini) Path: C:\WINDOWS
Loaded Configuration File: (None)
This is what evreyone with this problem is reporting. Further, I find out that (this in the installation documentation) C:\Windows is the default directory where PHP looks for the php.ini file. However most agree that it is not wise to place the file in the Windows directory, but to leave it in the PHP direcory and put the PHP directoy in the PATH via enviromental variables.
Secondly, the Directive in the httpd.conf file
is supposed to point PHP to look for the file there. That is it's purpose.
It is now my conclusion, and that of others, that this problem is a PHP bug.
Evidence of this is that some have reported that after struggling with this for a long time, things have mysteriously started working, and they don't know why.
I have also read on other forums, that installing WAMP makes no difference. Many have reported this problem with that installation as well, and also on iMac installations.
I should also point out that there is nothing wrong with the instructions in Kevin Yank's book. They are right from the PHP installation guide bundled with the software.
Summary: PHP is not loading the custom php.ini file, which means that it loads none of the extensions you have set, and therefore, neither Joomla, phpMyAdmin, nor any other program that requires PHP and MySQL to communicate, will run.