I deleted the partition using the Win7 install disc. But if you read below you will see that this did not seem to work as well as I had thought.
Today I reset all of my BIOS settings and it took care of the disappearing interface (apparently it had something to do with a floppy controller for a floppy that didn't exist). I told you before that I had deleted a second partition on my hdd and created a 'clean' hdd with only one partition. Once I got the disappearing interface thing to go away, I was able to boot from the CD and then reconnect the hdd. I rescanned and lo and behold the original two partitions were back! These were named "system" and "primary". At this point I probably should have stopped and consulted you, but instead I reformatted again and deleted the second partition. This left me with one large partition named 'primary'. The Win7 cd still wouldn't let me do anything, so I created a partition of 100 gigs, leaving me with this partition and one other. I still couldn't do anything, so I rebooted, but this time I left the hdd attached, and IT BOOTED UP FROM CD!!! I got kind of excited at this point. In addition, when I got to the win7 screen where it asks where you want to install, it did not tell me that my hdd would not work. Hooray!!. I picked the first partition and the install began. After 30 seconds it stopped and said: 'Windows cannot install required files. The file may be corrupt or missing. Make sure all files required for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error code: 0x80070017". When I click 'OK', it pops up ''D:\Sources\DU.DLL is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error. Try installing the program again using the original installation media or contact your system administrator or the software vendor for support." I then tried to install it to the other partition and got the same responses.
If I get an IDE to USB adaptor can I completely format my hdd using a laptop runing XP Pro? Should I just break down and buy a new hdd? Thanks again for your help.