So there I was trying to install PHP 5 on a sparkly new laptop running Windows 7, without the foggiest idea how to make PHP get along with IIS 6.1. Although I had setup PHP plenty of times on Windows XP, IIS 6.1 had a new look that was a bit daunting, so it was off to Google for a step-by-step guide. I ended up finding something better than that.

There’s a friendly blogger named Don Raman on Microsoft’s dedicated IIS forums who explains that Microsoft now has a nifty tool called the Microsoft Web Platform Installer. Although this little package (weighing in at 2 MB) is meant primarily to help you set up ASP.NET and such, it can also set up PHP, fully automatically. It configures IIS, downloads PHP (with all the usual extensions), installs it, and you’re good to go.

There’s only one tiny drawback: the Platform Installer installes PHP 5.2 (in my case, PHP 5.2.18), even though PHP 5.3 is already out. No matter – with the PHP 5.3 MSI on hand, simply uninstall PHP 5.2, install PHP 5.3, and you’re done. You’ll have to specify the extensions you want manually, but that is probably a good thing. I didn’t even need to restart IIS.

Find Don Raman’s relevant blog entries here: