Hey, guys. I guess it's true people only come back when they need something...I'm about finished attempting this
I'm going to give the full history of my issue. It's possible only the end result is relevant, but maybe something of interest will come up.
I decided to get Windows 8, at the same time going for a new Solid State Drive to supplement my current large hard drives. I got one that would be big enough for the OS and maybe the games I play the most, but I would still store most large items on the other drives.
I just installed the SSD today, then Windows 8. My first attempt at installing W8 came out strange. I unplugged my USB key (instead of an install DVD) restarted, and made sure to go into BIOS and tell it to try the SSD before my old hard drives. I restarted...and the Windows 7 boot screen started coming up.
I thought it was strange it wasn't booting to my SSD (to finish W8's installation) so I did so directly from the Boot Menu. This resulted in a very bad-looking error, indicating it couldn't boot on that drive. I restarted again. This time, in an effort to isolate my installation, I temporarily unplugged the SATA cables from my other two hard drives, so that they would not interfere, and there would be fewer complications. This time, everything went fine. I installed again from the USB key, and then completed installation onto the SSD. I then shut down my computer completely, plugged the two HDD's in again so they might be detected as "new"...
---TL;DR HISTORY ENDS HERE---
Now, I'm in Windows 8 again. The good news is, I know I can see all of my hard drives in the BIOS. The cables are connected fine, and I'm betting I might be able to boot into Windows 7 again if I switched the boot order back. However, not only are my drives not visible in Windows Explorer, but I can't even see them in Device Manager while in Windows 8.
One of the two drives had an installation of Windows 7 on it. I'm thinking it's possible that this installation is using NTFS to somehow encrypt my user files on that drive, but that doesn't concern me so much; I may end up cleaning out that drive, or even reformatting it entirely. But the other drive (F: ) was only ever used from fresh, with folders added to the root for my video files. I really see no reason that should be inaccessible, and mostly, I really don't understand why neither is visible in Device Manager.
AHCI comes to mind as a possible culprit; I installed Windows 7 without it, then later successfully enabled it with a registry tweak (and a change in BIOS). I wouldn't expect this to affect the F: drive, though.
Any suggestions would be appreciated! I hope I haven't made a duplicate thread.
EDIT: Well, this is strange, but the issue -somewhat- resolved itself. For anyone googling this, here's what I did from here:
-Started up with only the F: drive plugged in (which had no OS on it). This was detected in Disk Management, so I assigned it a drive letter.
-After fooling around with just that, and since my case was open, I decided to try plugging in my original Windows 7 drive with the computer on. Plug-and-play is a feature of AHCI, so I was reasonably sure my computer wouldn't explode.
-After my computer somewhat-disappointingly didn't explode, I was able to use that drive too. I then restarted, thinking this was only a temporary victory, but everything then seemed to be in order.
I am a Microsoft apologist, machinima animator, anima machinimator, machinima apologist.