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See the Apache AllowOverride and Options directives. You will need to set the FollowSymLinks Option, and set AllowOverride to allow both Options and any other functions you want to support, such as FileInfo.
If you are just experimenting and have no great security problems or multiple "users" to deal with, then set AllowOverride all and Options FollowSymLinks.
Also, you'll need to set the name of the htaccess file to "htaccess.txt" or similar in order to get along nicely with Windows' file-naming conventions.
# AllowOverride controls what directives may be placed in .htaccess files.
# It can be "All", "None", or any combination of the keywords:
# Options FileInfo AuthConfig Limit
The all directive allows all directives to be placed within an .htaccess file
about line 328 you will find:
# AccessFileName: The name of the file to look for in each directory
# for additional configuration directives. See also the AllowOverride
# The following lines prevent .htaccess and .htpasswd files from being
# viewed by Web clients.
<Files ~ "^\.ht">
Deny from all
AccessFileName defines what the access filename will be ...I imagine you can name it anything you want but .htaccess is the norm.