I've been working on used computer equipment. Used, because either I'm too cheap to buy new, or we don't have the funds available. Take your pick, both apply. Not all of it's used, actually, the hard drive I'm installing is brand spanking new. I succeeded in installing it, jumpers set properly, cables connected, and the box hangs on startup at Autodetect Hard Drive.
Now, the drive that came out of this box was around 8 Gb; not mine, it's a used, remember? The drive going in is 40 Gb. The system had Win 2000 running on the old drive, and the installation software (booting off the CD-ROM) found the drive and configured it. No worries. But each and every time it boots up (before formatting new HD or after) it sits there on the "Autodetect Hard Drive" message.
At least this isn't a mission critical machine... for me. Then again, define mission critical. If the machine is for the Other Half, SWMBO, but it won't find the HD?