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Currently I have two hard drives in my system. The secondary drive is not attached. I just tried plugging in the white cable and the power cable into the second hard drive.

After I do this and turn on my machine, the boot up screen does not detect a primary master nor slave drive but detects my two optical drives!

Obviously when the boot sequence doesn't detect any hard drive it fails to load and some screen with Novelle comes up asking me to hit the HOME key to load from C:/ drive. Nothing happens when I hit the HOME key.

After I turn off my PC and unplug the secondary hard drive does the main drive show up when booting and I can load Windows XP once again.

Why can't my BIOS detect any hard drive when I plug the second one in and how do I actually use get the second one to show up on my system while booting from the main drive?

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An alternative to jumper settings as Gui pointed out, is to simply use the cable select method. Using one cable, the master and slave can be chosen depending on where you connect each drive. The far end of the cable will be the master and the mid-connection will be the slave.

Example (colors will differ):

enter image description here

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setting both drives to CS usually involves jumpers as well... but i'd try Cable Select first, and only try direct master/slave jumpering if that doesn't work for some reason. – quack quixote Dec 6 '09 at 15:37

You're probably with both drives set up as masters. Try leaving just the secondary drive connected and see if the system recognizes it. If yes, then that's the cause. You'll need to change the small black jumper to set it as slave.

If it doesn't work, then your cable may be faulty. Try a different one, or connecting to a different motherboard if possible.

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