Answer for:

XP home second disc not recognised

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My reading of the question is that the machine boots just fine off the 180GB drive when it is the only drive plugged in. That rules out the MBR. Also it sounds like he's been using the XP installation on the 180GB drive for a while so he definitely won't want to format the drive.

As below, I agree that leaving the cables as they are when both drives detect and changing the preferred HDD to boot from in the BIOS is the correct way to proceed.