Having trouble with 2nd hard drive

I'm having trouble with a 2nd hard drive I installed, Western Digital Caviar Black, 1TB. here's the gory details.
What gets me is that it's the third drive I've had in the last 2 months.
It started about 6 weeks ago. My computer (Dell XPS 400, Windows XP) started acting up and I traced it to bad sectors on a second drive I installed last summer -- a 750gig WD Caviar Black. Western Digital replaced it after the diagnostics tool said there were many errors.
Installed drive #2 (also took the opportunity to format and reinstall windows on primary drive) --- after 2 weeks Windows wouldn't even boot up with drive #2. Would runstart chkdsk and freeze. Again, the diagnostics tool found many errors. Western Digital replaced this drive as well with a 1 TB unit.
OK..... are you with me so far??
I managed to retrieve all my important data I had stored on drive #2 by booting up on an Ubuntu live CD and transfering it to C:\ drive. Well, in the process, I lost all my Windows user preferences. (did Unbutu do this?) At this point, my computer was practically useless. Every other program I installed wouldn't work and the ones already installed wouldn't work.
Now at this time, I installed drive #3---- the 1 TB, transferred a bunch of data to it, and did the format thing and re-installed windows again.
Windows seemed to be working, but chkdsk would scan drive #3 at startup, correct errors, delete index entries, sort index $I30, delete corrupt attributes and orphan files...... the whole nine yards, but windows would start.
So I once again retrieved as much as I could from my backed-up data, (this time with windows), some of it was corrupt, but not all. Straight up data files seemed ok. I also need to add that the Western Digital diagnostics program found no errors. I've run the extended test at least 3 times and each time it says no errors.
Bear with me................ it's almost over!
I formatted Drive #3, and everything seemed ok, until last night...........
The problem is updating a game (medieval total war 2, if it matters) with a patch. The installer says it can't find a particular file. After many attempts and uninstalls and re-installs, the problem persisted. The game is on the second drive. A quick search reveals that this is a common problem with this game. But after 1 more uninstall and a re-install, this time to my primary hard drive, everything goes along without a hitch.
So I said all that to ask this:
Could all the trouble I'm having be caused by something other than a bad drive? Why does the game install fine on one drive, but not the other?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Wow, that's one list of woes! Do you have a set of powerful magnets that you play with by your computer? Not seriously - but, again, wow.
    It seems to me that if the game problem that you mention is caused by bad path finding code or something like that, the reason that it was fixed finally was that the updater was only looking on the primary drive for the file. This would explain why it would work once everything was on C:. I don't know anything about the game, so this is just speculation.
  2. Ok, the second is now saying that several programs and downloaded files are corrupt and chkdsk hangs in the 5th phase. Again, the diagnostics program says NO errors.
    After a little investigating I noticed the second drive's transfer mode was PIO and couldn't be changed to DMA.
    Opened up the BIOS. After poking around, I noticed that a second CD ROM I have wasn't enabled (did I mention I was having a little problem with my second CD ROM?) so I enabled it, and VIOLA! I could change the second drive to DMA.
    AS the second drive was still acting squirrelly, I'm in the process of formatting it as I type.
    Could it be that the drive in PIO all this time just screwed it up?
    Oh, and it wouldn't quick format. I forget the exact message but it was something to the effect it was just unsuccessful.
    Got about another hour to go to finish formatting. I'll try a couple of programs on it to check it out.
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