Here is where to go and what to do to get the proper version.
Like the Apache friends page says here: http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp-windows.html
Download older versions of XAMPP (even the "old" WAMPP) directly from Source Forge.
The older files are here:
Go to XAMPP Windows and click to open the dropdown
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the 1.7.0 dropdown
Open the dropdown and select the first file which is named xampp-win32-1.7.0-installer.exe
Completely remove the XAMPP version you currently have including any directories. and then install this version.
The 1.7.0 version is the version I'm using without problems. It uses php 5.2.8