Problem with Toshiba laptop

Discussion in 'Computing and Networks' started by beenthere, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. beenthere

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Just had out exchange student (now in university) bring his Toshiba Satellite laptop. It looks normal at boot - splash screen & will go into setup - but after a few seconds of the porgress bar, the screen blanks, except for the mouse pointer.

    The pointer is always responsive to the glide pad, and the secondary keys seem to work (contrast adjusts at least), but that's all. No desktop or background ever appears. The backlight is on.

    If it stays on long enough, the Vista screen saver starts up and shows on the screen. Pressing a key or moving the mouse blanks it, but the screen just goes black with only the mouse pointer.

    I can boot with an XP disk and everything looks normal. Is this some weird problem with Vista?
     
  2. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    A couple of questions:

    -Is it an OEM version of Windows (i.e. shipped with the laptop), or a full version?
    -Has it ever worked?
    -Have you recently updated drivers for the laptop?
    -Do you get the task-options menu if you select Ctrl+Alt+Del?
    -Does right-click display the context-menu?

    Dave
     
  3. beenthere

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

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    It's OEM, worked for 6 months. Can't say about updates. No mouse or keyboard activities bring anything up. It doesn't help to start in Safe mode (you get that option).
     
  4. Dave

    Retired Moderator

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    The first thing I think when I hear about display problems on Vista (of any kind) is botched updates to graphics-drivers, many problems on this front where the Vista drivers are untested/incompatible/rubbish. Can you look in safe-mode at the Device Manager and see if and when an update to the graphics card driver was made. If it was recent, and there is a roll back point, try it and see if you can boot to Vista normally. (You can always roll the driver forward again if there is no problem).

    I think it is worth eliminating this common problem on Vista before you try a few other suggestions I may have. Sadly the 3rd party developers have been a little late to the party with issuing compatible Vista drivers.

    Dave
     
  5. beenthere

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

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    No luck - the frustration is that the display is blank, even in safe mode. Just the mouse pointer visible. The screen saver coming up is a head-banger.

    I am going to grab the Ultimatebootcd tomorrow and see if there are any tools that might be useful. It's under warranty, so a return is also likely. I'd just like to know what the cause is.
     
  6. mentaaal

    Senior Member

    Oct 17, 2005
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    Do you have an operating system disc with you? You could try getting windows to repair itself? Although in truth it doesnt really sound like that could help. When you say the secondary keys work... do the regular keys work? Do anything like shortcuts work? I have found before, i have had system boot problems but using the windows + r to bring up the run command allows me to type in explorer.exe which opens the explorer. This sometimes works if the explorer didnt open for some strange reason.
     
  7. beenthere

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

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    The cute part is that the HD has a recovery partition, but doing anything with only a mouse pointer visible is a bit difficult. Oh, for XP instead of Vista.
     
  8. Dave

    Retired Moderator

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    Yes, the recovery partition is the way an MS OS is shipped as OEM versions these days. When you get the BIOS screen and press F8 (as if going to boot into Safe Mode) is there an option to Repair Your Computer there (or similar)? This will launch the recovery console from where you can either run the Microsoft Windows Repair Environment (MWRE) or reinstall the entire OS. The former will hopefully allow you to repair the damaged OS component (which still sounds like a graphics driver issue). Can you boot to the MWRE?

    Dave
     
  9. beenthere

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

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    Ill see later today. I'm getting the Ultimate boot cd loaded down right now. I want to use it to investigate the video hardware & such. If drivers are available, I may put it back to XP.

    Just to make life more interesting - if safe mode, the mouse pointer is the only thing visible. After long enough, the Vista screensaver runs. When I press a key to exit the screensaver, the four corners show the safe mode notice for just long enough to recognize what they are. Then it's back to pointer on black.

    Just have to admire MS for a reliable product.
     
  10. Dave

    Retired Moderator

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    Based on the above I can't help but think its an issue with Windows Explorer since its a missing explorer view and the UI-interpretor seems to be in order (responsive mouse). It still recommend using the MWRE - if it is an explorer anomaly then I would expect this to pick it up.

    I have found it be pretty good, but that is a personal experience. If it is a graphics driver then MS can't really be held responsible, it is the hardware manufacturers responsibility to get Vista drivers running and stable - afterall they had a good 3 years to get it right. The new Explorer does have its moments though!

    Dave
     
  11. beenthere

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

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    Well, the Ultimate CD works great, and would doubtless fix any problem with XP. But it does prove there is no hardware problem in the laptop.

    There are many tales of similar woe on the net. Too bad I can't get anything to bring me to a screen where I can try some of the cures. Don't think it's the ATI driver, as coming up with 640 reso still leaves a black screen. Now called the black screen of death, as differentiated from the BSOD.
     
  12. Dave

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  13. beenthere

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

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    I'm beginning to think it may be a rootkit. The integrety of the HD checks fine. The issue is a bit cloudy, as the stuff on the CD is all XP, so I am a bit hesitant to do much other than look at the system.

    However, when I try to run regedit or msconfig from the C: drive, I get a message that neither are legitimate Win32 applications. That, plus the erratic but lengthy HD activity when booted up in Vista makes me suspicious.

    There are many postings on the net about black screens in Vista, but none seem to match up with my problem. Even an F8 recovery to last good state boot still leaves the display black - except for the mouse pointer.

    The remaining pouse pointer reminds me of another rootkit I came across. With that one, pressing Controll made a beep. So did pressing Alt. But pressing Delete made a raspberry and locked up the computer.
     
  14. Dave

    Retired Moderator

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    Ignore, I misread you.

    I wouldn't worry about heavy HD activity in Vista, the OS is designed to populate as much of the free memory as possible in order to improve responsiveness. Therefore if the system has 1GB or 2GB of memory, Vista will try and populate a good portion of that with applications that you use often in order to speed up execution times. Plus Vista is a beast so it thrashes the swap a lot, particularly if you only have 1GB of RAM.

    I'd still try and boot a live session from the Vista disc.

    Dave
     
  15. beenthere

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

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    So would I, but there isn't one. Toshiba wants you to supply the disks and have the computer generate the system restore on your time. The kid didn't take the time.
     
  16. Dave

    Retired Moderator

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    If you can't boot to the MWRE then I'm afraid it could be a lost cause. I too have looked around MS TechNet and the PC forums, most put it down to either graphics drivers or, as in the example previously, the HD.

    Bang on XP, recover the lost files (if possible) and get him to get in touch with Toshiba for a Vista disc.

    Dave
     
  17. beenthere

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Well, a bit of perseverance paid off. It seems that the "missing disk" may be had from this site - http://neosmart.net/blog/2008/windows-vista-recovery-disc-download/. This lets you boot up a Vista installation and do a bit of recovery.

    The most interesting thing I learned is that the two times I tried a system restore using the F8 key did not work at all. The Vista recovery disk let me pick a date to restore to, and the laptop came up working. It may be that one of the updates that got installed was a bit less functional than intended.

    Toshiba Tecras let you make a full set of recovery disks - actually 2 DVD's and 2 CD's. I looked on the Satellite, but found no such utility.
     
  18. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Glad to hear it came up good in the end. Have you traced the problem to a particular issue? Try Start > type "Reliability and Performance Monitor" (without speech marks) and see if it indicates any conflicts.

    Dave
     
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