|Sounds like you have the primary IDE controller disabled or not in use. I believe Dell require the boot device to be the Master drive on the primary IDE channel. |
Your motherboard should have a blue socket for the primary IDE channel. Use that connection. Dell likes to use CS so use it but have the hard drive connected to the end of the cable. When using CS the end of the cable is automatically the master.
CS only works with 80 wire cables. If your cable doesn't have colored ends (blue, grey, black) then you are using a 40 wire cable and CS won't work.
As far as accessing a recovery partition goes, that is the purpose of making the restore CD set. In case the hard drive needs to be replaced those disks should be able to setup a new drive just like the original.
You need to use a restore set for that model computer. Hardware would be different otherwise.