hmm, ok, Id first focus on using one computer.. just so we can get full details.
id recommend the mac, as that requires no extra software to be installed. (so cannot have conflicts with old software installed) , once you have it working there, then you know the hardware is ok, and try again on windows.
what version of macOS are you using?
also make sure you do not have anything connected to the axoloti, via usb or soldered to its gpio, whilst testing.
did you try the following:
you need to be very sure you are holding S1 whilst you power up the axoloti 0 if you do this, and the leds flash, its likely you didn't keep it down. (it can be tricky as its a small button )
when you do this , if you go to the menu, board->select device, you should see a DFU board listed.
if not, then try another usb cable - this has been the issue for a lot of new users.
(esp. on mac where software doesn't really come into play)
Id say its unlikely theres a hardware fault with the Axoloti, as @johannes has a test rig to test before shipping, but also has to install the firmware before shipping ... and i dont think many have been damaged in transit.
(that said, Im only a user, that has helped on the forum - Johannes is the only one who knows the full support history)
(also the so called 'DFU' mode is not actually axoloti software, its part of the STM32F4 boot code, hence its impossible to 'accidentally' make it unavailable - hence why its the 'fallback route')