Ok - good news/bad news.
Good news - the ms dos/flash solution worked and bios is updated to the latest, greatest (a04 to a17 so it was quite a jump)! There were no SATA drivers for the hard drive that I am using so nothing else was loaded.
Also, I was able to see the hard drive now in the 'partition section' of the software install.
Bad news is I still can't install Win 7. I am getting this error: 'this computers hardware may not support booting to this disk. Ensure that the disk's controller is enabled in the computer's bios menu.'
This hard drive is 'on' in the bios so I'm not sure what else to do in bios. Suggestions or thoughts?
I really appreciate your help!