the likely reason they do not work is some hardware Incompatibility....check the HCL to see if you have any hardware that could be the gremlin.
Moving on, it it probably better if you are new to linux, to first try out a live cd....a system that runs in memory and does need to install...this can also be used to detect your hardware in linux terms eg lspci will list your pci devices as detected.
to be rude it is not clear if you used skills to format and partition that second drive....you can use a live cd to do that as well.
if you have broadband....dsl....fast internet...etc...you can download live cds free of charge...you have to burn them as an iso image and not as a single data file onto the cd.
let us know if this interests you.
are good starting points.