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Toshiba model Satellite A205, model PSAF3U-0NROOV laptop problems

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by klem kedidelhopper, Nov 4, 2012.

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  1. For the past few months the lithium ion battery on my wife's computer
    has been losing it's capacity. Now it's gotten to the point where it
    won't keep the computer running more than a few minutes in the event
    of a loss of AC power. Up to this point this hasn't been a problem
    because my wife never really takes the computer out of the house. A
    few weeks ago she started asking about getting a new battery. (You
    never can predict these things), and so I investigated this. I knew
    I'd have to make some kind of arrangements eventually, but truthfully
    with Batteries Plus asking 79.00 and the cheaper online offers
    questionable at best, I haven't been eager to jump into this, so thus
    far we haven't done anything.

    The other day she told me about a new problem that she'd been having
    with the computer over the previous two weeks or so. It seems that
    every so often instead of the computer going through post and then
    booting up, a few seconds after you attempt powering it up a blue
    rectangular box pops up with a black screen behind it. Inside the box
    is an "enter password" message. Neither of us have ever seen this box
    before, nor do we have any idea what "password" it's looking for. (Our
    usual ones don't work). I tried removing AC power as well as the LI
    battery for a few days but this had no effect.

    Toshiba has a 24 hour tech line that if you're lucky enough to connect
    to a intelligible person might be of some help. So I called them. The
    Indian girl seemed knowledgeable, I could understand her, and she
    suggested that the message was asking for a "CMOS" password, which she
    said someone must have put it into the boot sequence. I've never heard
    of anything like this and I told her that it was not possible that
    anyone in this house could have installed this into the computer. I
    know that I didn't, and I'm only slightly more computer literate than
    my wife, which is not saying much.

    The tech suggested that we will need to reset the CMOS by pulling the
    internal battery. According to her, the battery could be defective as
    well. Now I can certainly pull the battery and replace it as well if
    need be, however I have my doubts about that being the cause of this.
    This laptop is not that old and I have to question if this is what the
    problem actually is. If it is in fact a dead CMOS battery, why would
    it lock me out of BIOS? And if it isn't, why did it happen in the
    first place?

    Unbeknownst to me my wife has stored all the Grand Children's pictures
    on this computer with no backup anywhere else. So if anyone has any
    rabbits they might be able to pull from their hat, I'd really
    sincerely appreciate any advice. Thanks, Lenny
     
  2. Guest

    Be careful in there. Look at the harddrive and see if it is a Western Digital. (I know it sounds a bit off but it's true that it is possible)

    The reason for that is that some WD drives do all the sudden start asking for a password. It happened to me. All I did was enter setup one rime to seeif I could disable the webcam (I thought it might be the source of anotherproblem). At this point if all it says is enter password, it might be a HDpassword. You have no way of knowing unless you have seen that password box on that unit before. If you want some info on it just google for "WD1600BEVT password". Those drives were used in Toshiba laptops as well as my Gateways.

    There is a procedure you can do on a Toshiba that fixes it but it won't work on a Gateway (lucky me), however it invloves copying and pasting some code from a website and then making a bootable CD or thumbdrive and all this crap.

    I found this is a common problem with the 160GB models but nothing indicates that it is exculsive to them. There's no reason it should be.

    At any rate, if you can get the thing to boot, get a bunch of thumbdrives and get every picture and everything backed up ASAP. I mean do that first. If it boots, leave it running and turn off the power saving so it doesn't shut itself down. After you have the backup, see if it does have that type ofdrive and let me know, I'll see if I can find the code and the instructions again.

    However beware, I do not know if recovering the drive with that method saves or destroys the data.

    J
     
  3. Guest

    "My customers reaction is often
    something like... right, any new laptop except Toshiba"

    I remember in the real old days they had some code you had to copy to a floppy to reset the password. It makes sense they just don't do tht anymore. Think there's any chance of getting a procedure like that some other way, like by figuring out the chipset or somethng ?

    I hope it's not too stupid a question, I am not quite a guru. My advice here is based on personal experience. HA, I won't nut another Gateway after this, I found all kinds of things out about these things after while. For one- seriously substandard sound. I tried plugging it into a decent amp and speakers and UGH. Terrible. Then I find out that there is no preset "flat" on the EQ, I had to set it manually ! The camera software sucks ass and what's more that HD password issue keeps it from booting any other media just being there. I even excluded it from the boot menu and it still won't boot past it. GRRR. (supposedly that is not true of the Toshibas with the same problem)

    Actually while you're here, just what kind of laptop would you recommend ? Maybe an Acer or something ?

    J
     
  4. nvic

    nvic Guest

    Acer bought Gateway in October 2007. Gateway, eMachines, and Acer are
    all the same thing, and pretty much all of their models are flimsy
    junk. Also stay away from anything made by Toshiba, the power jack
    breaks on most of them...I've seen 22 Toshibas in the past year for a
    variety of problems, all but 3 had a broken jack.

    Look at reviews if considering Sony. The high end stuff is quite nice,
    but quality of the lower-end stuff seems to vary by model.

    I personally like the HP Probooks and Dell's Vostro and Latitude
    stuff. They're a bit more expensive (and things like a webcam are
    often extra, these are mostly sold as enterprise units), but many
    models from those lines can take a serious beating. Many models will
    probably obsolesce before they break. Also, at least in my experience,
    they came with limited bloatware that actually uninstalled cleanly, so
    you don't have to format as soon as you get it.
     
  5. Guest

    I looked for a model number Jeff and it is A205-S5804. And it appears to beone of the models covered by the procedure under the first link that you sent me. I thought that it was interesting that pulling the CMOS battery as one guy had tried) didn't help at all. This automatically created password shit reeks of "virus", and certainly must be a nice little money maker for the dirt bags at Toshiba. Almost like the bastards designed it to do this. Thanks a bunch guys, I'll get into it this week and let you know if it worked. Lenny
     
  6. Guest

    http://www.IrisVista.com , a website dedicated to Toshiba laptops,
    is great for repair information. Iris refers to Toshiba's awful
    Ask Iris help database at their website and is what their level 1
    and maybe level 2 tech support have to rely upon for all their
    information. If you want real help from Toshiba for their hardware,
    ask for level 3. OTOH their software tech support seems decent.

    I also have an A205, and it's not difficult to remove the hard
    disk to make a backup with a desktop machine or with a SATA-USB
    adapter:

    http://tinyurl.com/mmhl7o

    http://www.irisvista.com/tech/laptops/toshiba-satellite-a205/laptop-disassembly-1.htm

    Remove the screws from the lid on the bottom that covers the hard
    disk, then slide the disk toward the edge of the computer to
    disconnect if from its SATA data and power connectors. Pull up
    on the flexible plastic strip to remove the disk. Clone it to
    another notebook hard disk, in case the original disk fails.
    Notice the disk is set inside a metal cage, and you'll need to use
    that if you replace the disk in the laptop, or else the disk will
    flop around inside and maybe even unplug itself.

    There are cheaper sources than Batteries Plus, like almost every
    place except Toshiba themselves. OTOH be careful about buying
    really cheap laptop batteries because some of them don't contain a
    temperature sensor to tell the computer when to stop charging but
    instead they have a fake sensor (fixed resistor) that makes the
    computer charge at a low current forever, rather than stop when
    done. That can be really bad with lithium batteries, which are
    particular about how they're charged.

    If the Toshiba doesn't grossly lose track of time, then I seriously
    doubt its internal CMOS battery is bad. OTOH if you do replace it,
    be sure to get a RECHARGEABLE lithium battery for the CMOS because
    there are non-rechargeable lithiums that look just like it and even
    have the same cable attached.
     
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