I fixed the problem with my new hard drive. When I installed my hard drive controller, Windows XP detected it and installed it without even a hitch. This, unfortunately, gave me a false sense of security. I knew that the controller supported large hard drives (that’s why I bought it), and Windows knew exactly what it was, so why worry. I actually tried to download and install the latest driver from the manufacturer’s Web site, but I had no idea whether or not it had worked (the controller seemed to work as always).
Someone suggested that I make absolutely sure that I had the latest driver for my IDE controller card, so I went back and looked into it in more detail. Using some kind of Windows voodoo I found the driver information, and the version number did indeed look old, so I told Windows to update the driver and pointed at the driver I had downloaded. It told me the driver that was already installed was the best of all possible drivers. I uninstalled the driver completely and reinstalled the device. Windows still used the old driver. So I told it to update the driver, and then told it exactly which file I wanted to use. At that point it warned me that I was begging for disaster by not installing a driver that was on the special list of drivers that Microsoft has endorsed, but I ignored that advice, installed the new driver, and everything has been peachy since then.
Seems like a lot to go through to put in a hard drive.
And the thing that really kills me is that Knoppix, a Linux distribution, managed to autodetect my new IDE controller and install it properly with no intervention on my part at all. This despite the fact that the hardware maker doesn’t even provide a Linux driver. Astounding, really.