I have a desktop with an Intel DG43GT chipset - with a DVD writer and a 320 Gb SATA hard disk.
I removed the DVD writer and connected a new WD 1Tb SATA hard disk and could use it under Windows-7
In the process, discovered that I am unable to activate all 4 (Four) on board SATA ports - only 2 get activated; and so cannot use 2 SATA Hard Disks + 1 DVD Writer, together
I browsed the net and found a couple of BIOS settings and updated them, but still cannot get all 4 SATA ports to get enabled.
PS: Screen shots of my BIOS are attached.
You should change the ATA/IDE mode to Enhanced (or Native), cause in Legacy mode you are limited to 4 ATA devices, half of whose can be only IDE devices. Although current Windows installation may not survive such a change in BIOS.
First of all, a side note: *always* enable S.M.A.R.T.; this allows drives to provide predictions for impending failures.
Next, you didn't specifically say what happened when you plugged in both HDDs and the ODD. Do all three devices show up or only two of them? You also didn't say whether you tried using different port combinations. Try using ports 1, 2 and 3 rather than 0, 1 and 2 and see what happens.
I just plugged in a new SATA cable (with locking latch) into one of the empty SATA ports and rebooted ... all drives (DVD writer and the 2 hard disks) were auto detected.
In windows-10 (which I did not have to reinstall),
Started "Computer Management" and assigned the DVD writer a drive letter - that's it - everything working as a charm.