There's no good reason to remove expansion cards...Win2k is smart enough to find functional drivers for them during install unless they're really obscure. It sounds like your new HDD may be non-bootable (Win would detect this before beginning write install, and conceivably would hide under a rock as you've described) : re-format it using fdisk (bootable floppy) and make sure its set to master and is the only drive in the machine when loading the Win2k CD?
My Win2k Tiger has been flawless - it's on a Seagate HDD led by an Adaptec (I know, I know)LVD SCSI.
Schiller: "Against human stupidity even the gods contend in vain"
Nietzsche: "Against BOREDOM even the gods content in vain"