Re: Mysterious Hard-drive problem
Be careful with that harddrive - don't use it for too long, and get everything from it you can IMMEDIATELY. It's possible that it got jostled or repositioned and that is causing it to work now. But before I answer your second query, a little background...
Once, my father's storage drive (a trusty five year old 20GB WD Caviar) bit the dust. I popped it in the freezer in an attempt to restore his data, and lo and behold, it worked perfectly. I advised him to backup his data anyways, because I had a funny feeling it would poop out again.
One month later, it did. He never backed up, and no means affordably accessible to us could recover the data. He lost everything - including some files that were essential to his classes (he's a college professor).
Moral of the story: when in doubt, throw it out (after you've gotten everything you can from it).
Now, the usual suspects for BIOS are F1, F2, and DEL - you should be able to change the boot order from BIOS. If that fails, try F12 too - I've seen a few use that.