I got a funny toshiba laptop to fix…
Its only 1 year old, but has spent most of its life in “storage” (police evidence). Client has only just got the laptop back.
Client doesn’t have anything important & doesn’t mind a reformat.
First I boot a knoppix CD & it works fine & sees the HD
So I repartition, reformat, reinstall XP, & all seems to work fine.
Next day, the laptop is back… won’t boot again.
I try installing knoppix to the HD, & it also works fine
But client says it still doesn’t boot… the bios doesn’t seem to detect the HD.
I look at it & sure enough, it tries to boot from floppy, & the CD, but the HD doesn’t even show during the POST screen… I go into the bios & it doesn’t show the HD either… curious.
After a reboot, the HD is detected & it tries to boot… So I give it another reboot & then re-install win XP.
A few reboots later, & I notice that the HD doesn’t show up again…
The web gives no hint of a cause.
I flash the latest Toshiba bios (its no help)
I decide to swap HD with the one in my ibm laptop.
Wow! Taking the HD out of the Toshiba is not for the faint hearted! I have to almost dismantle the entire laptop, just to get to the HD… take the screen off, the keyboard, a bit of plastic above the keyboard (which makes load cracking & snapping noises… very unnerving).
Anyway, the IBM detects the toshiba HD every time (after 11 reboots).
The toshiba detects the ibm hd every time also…
So, put everything back (snap, crackle, pop, crunch!), & then I’m back to square one.
I suspect it could be a bootup timing problem (bios checks for HD, but HD isn’t ready to (or is too slow to) respond… by the time the HD is ready, the bios has moved on to other things…
I’ve go nothing better to do, so I boot the laptop about 100 times… I notice it detects the HD about 4 or 5 times, and the “detections” seem “clustered” ie 2 detections in a row.
I give the client his options:
1) keep the laptop always running… if it switches off, you need to reboot until it detects the HD.
2) Get a new HD, but no guarantee that the new HD will work any better (I suspect a non-toshiba HD has a good chance of working)
He decides to go with option 1)
Update 01/10/2005: Client eventually got a flat battery & was unable to boot again. He went & bought a new hdd & an external usb enclosure & is now happy.