|The parallel port card must be recognized properly.|
Look in Device Manager - Ports to see if it has been.
Even if it has been recognized...
DO NOT plug the PCI card into the last of the PCI slots closest to the center of the mboard. That PCI slot usually shares it's IRQ with the video, and in that case any card except a PCI video card is likely to not work properly in that slot.
If you look in the mboard manual for the model, the info about which slots share an IRQ with what is usually in that.
Otherwise, if you have several PCI ports other than that one, you could try it in other PCI slotts
A parallel connected scanner may NOT be not Plug-n-Play detectable. (Parallel connected printers certainly aren't. ) In that case, you need to select it manually in Control Panel - Add New Hardware, if Windows has the drivers for it built in, or you need to follow the directions for installing the software for it, and have the software for it if that's required .
"the computer 'installed' the zip drive as drive F"
All drive letters in the operating system are for logical drives.
You can change the drive letter assigned to any logical drive, other than the one Windows boots from, to any drive letter that is not being used between C and Z (and including Z) , in Disk Management.
(Control Panel - Classic View - Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Disk Management).
If the letter you want to use is presently being used, assign the drive that is using it to another drive letter to free up the one you want to use.
"my front panel multi card reader is having I/O failures and none of the card slots work."
If it's built into the case, you probably have it plugged into a header on the mboard.
Some mboards have identical headers for both two USB ports and one Firewire port - e.g. 9 pins on a double row of 5 positions, the missing pin in the same place. Make sure that you DO NOT have the card reader connected to a Firewire header !! If you do that, the Firewire circuits and the card reader, and possibly the mboard otherwise, will be damaged in a short time !
Check the pinouts of the USB header it connects to in the mboard manual to make sure the wiring from the front card reader is is connected to the right pins.
What each pin is used for on the USB header, and what each wire is for and in what position it's on on a one piece connector from a USB device was never standardized, and the USB pinouts of the header on the mboard you're using now may not be the same as on the other brand's mboard.
If it's an external card reader plugged into a front USB port, the same things apply for the wiring of those USB ports and the header pinouts on the mboard.
If you have the USB ports connected to a Firewire header, there is no problem until you plug something into the mis-wired USB port , then the sxxt hits the fan !