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How can I get BIOS to detect HDD?

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"Never give up until you can't think of anything else to try" - in this case a cheap PCI expansion card would give you some new IDE ports to try the disks on. I don't think you mentioned whether you tried these two "questionable" drives in another computer - possibly because you don't have another machine with an IDE controller - so this is where I'd start. Stands to reason either the disks or IDE controller are faulty - but if a CD or DVD works the chances are it's the disks. Could be the faulty older disk caused some damage to the newer ones... twice...

So your other option is to try another HDD in the machine. Another (relatively) cheap part - together an IDE controller & a 160 GB IDE disk should set you back around $60 - not trivial, but a lot less than a new computer. And you will have some spare bits afterwards, for the next time you have to troubleshoot!