|Not unusual for the drive to be j: if you have a card reader or other devices installed while you install xp. It is always best to remove such devices when install xp and add them back afterward.|
"All i want is for my computer to boot up from the IDE drive and be able to back up my files to the SATA drive."
Easy. Remove all other drives/etc except a cd and install from scratch. The sata as the only boot drive. Then set the ide as boot and use the sata for storage. YOU WILL NOT BE BOOTING THE SATA FROM THE IDE.
Then if you need to do recovery you set the sata as a lone drive again and it will boot. It will contain what ever you stored there. But since the sids are different between the xp installs you will need to take ownership of those storage files as the sata boot administrator before you can access them.
Google taking ownership of files for more info.
Additonal reason for this setup is lets assume your present boot ide dies. You remove it from the system. Given your present config of sata on j: with the ide gone it won't be j: and won't boot until you get another ide in place like it exists now.
"I don't understand why XP won't boot given the drive has nothing on it and connected to a different port."
Eh? both the ide and sata have xp boots on them right? What connections, type of drive does not matter. It is boot order which also determines drive letter assignments.
I would suggest you read up on multiboots. Not to do one but how and why they work. It will clarify for you why your setup isn't working as you desire.