..when you boot up and the partitions are gone and no partitions found, corruption to the partitions, loss of info can in fact happen.
Make no mistake, I agree with you which is why just myself alone running into this lately on every pc, is very unusual to say the least. If i had a nickle for every drive I put in, took out, formatted...never had this strange problem. And I was just about to post an update on my son's pc which I put the 30 gig samsung in, he runs XP pro, would not detect at all until I restarted umpteen times. It is now detected but i wonder for how long. This is in my old Athlon which I have changed drives\other parts in for the past almost 8 years and never had a free\new formatted drive NOT get detected once booted but yet recognized by the bios. The jumper is set to slave, the 200 gig to master, have done this many many times on this machine. I kept reseating, etc...but if recognized in bios then I would assume it's somewhere into the OS that this problem is occuring. On my wife's hp, which has 80 gig maxtor, 30 gig maxtor, the drive was no longer detected (30 gig) even after being in here and recognized already, I finally got it recognized but did NOT lose info on this one. I think the neighbor did have partition magic or something on that order as he mentioned it but I saw no sign of it being installed. May have booted with the disk that way.
Either way, the drive still dissappeared.
And just to be clear, I ASSUME my reseating the jumpers etc...(which I am clearly starting to doubt)...fixed it as it was recognized after. And please understand, I limited the actual events by quite a bit so it was a quick explanation. I was throwing a typical troubleshooting tactic at the postee in hopes it may work.
I also had to keep restarting the system\systems with the CORRECT jumper settings numerous times, and WITHOUT making any other changes to the jumpers, etc...and FINALLY they would be recognized. I just put a hard drive in a Win ME older Bell with no issues at all. Just for the record, while I may not explain things in words very well, i do know what i am doing. I told my wife a couple of weeks back that NEVER have I had SO much trouble with dual booting, simply adding a slave drive, drive not being detected, etc..I mentioned after all the hd installs I have done, this has never happened.
Please understand, I am not saying this a big XP conspiracy here, but either with the new anti-piracy software etc...perhaps something is detecting or conflicting with extra drives on the systems and eventually knocks them out. And as you said, IF jumpered correctly, you should not have a problem, well, that's what I always thought as well but that's NOT the way it has been lately.