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How can I get BIOS to detect HDD?

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robo_dev

First of all, are these SATA or IDE devices?

Since they are older, I would assume IDE.

My first guess is that you have a power supply that is not putting out 5V to the HDD connector. In order to be recognized, the drive needs +12 to spin up the motor and +5 to power up the electronics. The jumpers have to be correct as does the IDE cable type, and the cable cannot be plugged in upside-down.

your blue-screen install issues are either that the hard-drive-controller drivers are not on your install CD, as is common with SATA drives (need to use Dell install CD or do F6+floppy thing), or you are trying to boot an installed copy of XP which has the wrong hard-drive-controller drivers configured in it.

My guess is that the reason you are struggling with boot order is that the IDE cable is a 'cable select' cable, and you are trying to use the primary/secondary jumpers on the drive. A cable select-IDE cable has some conductors cut off.
http://unixwiz.net/techtips/ide-cable-select.html