How can I get BIOS to detect HDD?

By WyattT ·
I am trying to put together a new computer for my grandparents. I have a couple old Dells and 3 old HDDs along with all the other parts needed. The First Dell I tried to make work did at first. I had XP installed and everything was working great. When I went to plug in their old HDD to grab all their stuff off it would not want to boot to the new HDD and kept trying to boot up their old one. I later learned that the old HDD was clicking and very soon afterwards died.

This is where it goes bad. In trying to just hook up the new HDD again the BIOS would not detect it. I took it back home and used another HDD on the computer. This worked and I reinstalled windows XP on it. Again, I was going to try to recover some data off the old HDD, but when I plugged it in the computer kept trying to boot to the old HDD no matter the jumper settings or BIOS boot order. So i unplugged the HDD and like some dirty magic this HDD would not be detected by the BIOS. So I tried things like taking everything not needed out, different PSU, different RAM, different cable, different power plug, tried to reinstall winxp but the windows cd couldnt detect either, tried booting into ubuntu live, fdisk and other hdd diags could not detect the hdd. Both of the HDDs worked on a different computer when I hooked them up with a usb adapter and I was able to access and alter with no problems.

After a while of that I decided to just use the other old dell that I had. The same problem followed. The BIOS could not detect the HDDs. I had to use a 20 pin PSU instead of a 24 pin (which is what the mobo has) but as I understand it that only powers the pcie so that should not be a problem. The HDDs all spin so they are getting power

The last extra HDD had been broken for a while and gets blue screen anytime windows install is attempted. I hooked it up just to see if it worked. This HDD WAS detected by the BIOS and I was able to begin the install but it quit out as it has done.

I usually can get these problems but I am now stumped on this one. Any suggestions I can try would be fantastic because I am out of ideas. I'd list specs but as I said this has been attempted on two different computers. The only thing in common is that they are dells but the mobos on them are different, they are about 4 years apart in age, and of course the HDDs. Even different cpu type and ram type.

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