Toshiba Satellite Hangs on BIOS Splash Screen
Posted on October 25, 2013
Recently I had a Toshiba satellite laptop that got stuck on the splash. The on-screen options are the F2 for setup and F12 for boot menu. I pressed the F2 key and waited and waited, nothing. Restarted the laptop and pressed the F12 key and waited and waited, nothing. A little background on the computer, I recently reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled windows. The laptop seemed to work fine for a few weeks then it started to act up. Before I formatted the drive I ran the short test on the hard drive and it came up good. There where a few bad sectors on the drive, but the drive passed. I tested the drive using Disk in Fedora and the Toshiba BIOS diagnostic tool.
Based on my research it could be several different components causing the issue. In each test please note that pulling the power means unplugging the computer and removing the battery. If you simply unplug the laptop, the battery will provide plenty of power. Also you want to remove all devices that are connected to the computer (USB, network etc) and make sure there is no disk in the DVD/CD drive.
Test 1: You want to purge the computer of all power. Shutdown the computer, pull the power cord and remove the battery. Next press the power button for 30 seconds. I have don this a million times and never once has it solved anything. But it’s in the tech manuals for most computer so I do it.
Test 2: Test the memory. Pull the power. Locate the RAM cover, typically it’s located in the center with one or two screws and a place to pry up the panel. Remove the screws and gently pry off the panel and remove all the RAM, then put them back and power up the computer. Next test on the memory is to remove all but one stick of RAM. Typically there are two, if you only have one, don’t worry too much about it just yet and go on to Test 3. If you have two sticks pull the power and remove one stick of RAM and power the computer. If that does not solve the issue, pull the power and replace the stick of RAM that is installed with the RAM that was left out and power up the laptop. If you have a different compatible stick of RAM use try using that. RAM does go bad, it’s not often, but it does. Note: There has to be at least one memory module installed otherwise the laptop will not power up.
Test 3 : Test the DVD/CD drive. Most of the time there are two screws that hold drive into place. Pull the power and turn the laptop over to remove the one/two screws that are near the drive and slide the drive out. With the drive removed power up the computer. If this solves the issue, the DVD/CD drive is shorted and you can replace it or get a cover that covers the hole.
Test 4: The hard drive: Even if your drive has pasted the hard drive test, this will mostly be the culprit. Pull the power and turn the laptop over to remove the one/two screws that hold the drive cover on. Typically this is one or two panels that are located on the front edge of the computer (furthest away from the screen) With the cover removed most drives simply slide out with the help of a small plastic tab located at the back of the drive. Sometimes there are two screws holding the drive in place. If you see two screws facing upwards remove those two screws before pulling on the plastic tab. With the hard drive removed power up the computer and see if it will get past the BIOS flash screen and throw an error telling you that there are no bootable device available. Before you run out and get a new drive you will want to test the drive one more time, by pulling the power then install the old drive again. The issue can be caused by a poor connection between the hard drive and laptop. Power it up, if things work, it could be temporary so backup your data and make recovery disk if needed. If the recovery media fails, you may want to contact the manufacture about getting a set of recovery DVD. In the event the hard drive was the issue and the laptop is under warranty I would call in a failing hard drive as soon as possible.
While this was my experience with a Toshiba Satellite, the procedures are the same for almost every laptop on the market. For this particular “Out Of Warranty” laptop I upgraded the drive from a 5200 rpm factory drive to a Samsung Solid State drive, it’s considerably faster and does not drain the battery as fast. Samsung Electronics 840 EVO-Series 120GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal Solid State Drive
Just a quick update, I have Ubuntu installed on the new Samsung 840 solid state drive and thought I would add a quick review.
Hard Drive Installation: ATA Samsung Solid State Drive 840 EVO 120GB
There were no issues with the drive fitting or sliding into the drive port. Everything lined up perfectly. I had read a few issues with some of the other SSD brands that where too thin and caused the drive to have problems lining up with the SATA port. Another interesting things if the drive is actually 120GB or 120,034,123,776 bytes. Most conventional hard drives will register less than the advertised size.
OS Installation: Ubuntu 12.04.03 LTS on the Toshiba Satelitte L775-S7248:
Booted off a USB boot drive. The installation was a bit quicker, but the much of the time was transferring the data off the USB drive and downloading the updates and language packs. The complete install took 36 minutes which the bulk of the time was used for the downloads. The wireless card was recognized and worked prior to the install, so the driver is included in the OS. The web cam also worked without issue. These are typically the problem areas with Linux.
The length of time it takes to power up and boot to desktop averaged just about 12 sec. The boot time is markedly faster with the SSD drive. A complete reboot from desktop to desktop is about 24 seconds. Applications open considerably faster as well. I also noticed the laptop runs much cooler. The only downside is the total amount of storage space, the SSD drive is only 120GB which is much smaller when compared to the standard 500GB or 1TB drives. Since this is not a primary computer and does not need to store a lot of pictures or video, the size should not be an issue. If I need more storage I would use a networked storage or portable hard drive for storage.
Over all very satisfied with the upgrade and would recommend a Samsung SSD drive for anyone looking to bump up the speed of your computer.