How do I make my SATA HD Bootable?

I recently home built my own system. I had a lot of problems initially, but got most of them fixed. I still have a coule though.

Here is my system: (from memory, so apologies if I get a typo)
Intel Q9550 Quad Core processor
750W Power supply
NVIDIA 790i Motherboard
4GB OCZ DDR3 RAM (2 2GB Sticks)

1) Every so often, the computer locks up and I get a pattern across the screen, kind of a diagonal repeating distortion. Only solution is to reset/reboot

2) When I power off, the computer goes to the screen that says "It is now safe to power off the computer" but won't automatically power off on it's own. Thinking this must be a BIOS setting.

3) This is the most pressing, I can't for the life of me, get the SATA HD to boot. I can see it in the BIOS just fine, I can see it as a secondary to my old IDE HD I have that already has WINXP on it, but I simply can't make it boot without the IDE installed. I don't want the IDE in there at all if I can manage it, I need it elsewhere.

a) The BIOS, no matter how I set it up, insists on putting the IDE first, so the SATA is always D:
b) DOS boot disks don't see the SATA at all
c) If I try to install the OS without the IDE installed, it says it can't find a place to put the Swap file, and quits
d) If I try to install the OS with the IDE installed, the boot files go on the IDE, and Windows goes on the SATA
e) my OS Disk is not bootable, and don't know how to make it so, it's an upgrade copy, not full version. (I have FULL Win98, and Upgrade WinME disks)

Is it just me, or as the technology gets more complex/powerful/faster it gets harder to boot up and install the OS that first time. Maybe my methods are just out dated, any ideas?
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  1. Are you running WinME and then upgrade to XP?
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