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Toshiba Satellite Laptop Won't Start

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Hi folks,

I have a Toshiba Satellite laptop for about 2.5 years. Yesterday, it got slow, and I tried to restart it multiple times. For most of the day, it wouldn't start, but then it did. When I got past the password/log in screen, and I tried to open IE, it froze. I tried to restart it again, and now I get a message "media test failed" and something about "adapter cable." I tried shutting down the adapter and restarting it, same result. I tried plugging a cable from the laptop directly into the adapter, same result. Now I cannot even get the laptop to start. Any suggestions? I am desperate as I am sending resumes and I need this laptop to work.

Thanks a bunch!
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I tried shutting down the adapter and restarting it, same result. I tried plugging a cable from the laptop directly into the adapter, same result.

Adapter for, or attached to what?
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Hello SpywareDr,

Thank you for taking up my question. I should explain better: I tried connecting the laptop to the modem for our DSL, by cable, but the laptop would not start. I also tried shutting down the DSL modem, waiting 10 seconds and restarting it, in the hopes that the laptop which had been off during that time, would pick up the signal and pass this media test. I also noticed that when I put in the restore cd and tried to do a system recovery, I got a new error message: HDD cannot be physically found, or some such. I wonder if this means that I have to replace the hd of the laptop? This was my first laptop, and I used it to browse the net, do email and as a wordprocessor (most of the time). Do you have any suggestions?

Thank you in advance,

When you see an error on bootup that contains "PXE", (such as "PXE-E61 Media Test Failed, Check cable"), it means the computer cannot find a local, bootable device (such as a hard drive, floppy, CD, USB key) to boot up an Operating System from. So, it is next trying to boot up using something called the Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE). PXE allows a computer to boot up from a server on a network through the computer's network interface card (NIC). However, if you haven't previously setup your computer and your server to allow your computer to do a PXE bootup from your server, that too, of course, will fail. At this point, with absolutely nothing to boot an Operating System from, your computer has no choice but to display an error and give up. :)

Here's another way to put it ... Your computer is designed to look for, and then boot up (and run) an Operating System (OS).

So, on bootup your computer checks to see if there is a bootable floppy.
If none was found, it will then look for a bootable CD/DVD.
If none was found, it will then look for a bootable USB key (flash drive).
If none was found, it will then look for a bootable partition on a hard drive.
If none was found, it will then try to boot via PXE.
If that too fails, it has no choice but to give up. :)

(Note that the exact order, and which devices to check can usually be altered in the CMOS/BIOS Setup).

So what does all this mean in your case? The hard drive has failed and your computer canNOT find anything to boot up from. And, without an OS, it is pretty much useless.

Solution: Replace the non-working hard drive and install an Operating System in a bootable partition on it.
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Hello Doc,

Thank you very much for the detailed and understandable (for a nontechie person) reply.

You're welcome. :)

I wanted to ask you some follow-up questions:

What steps do I need to take to replace the hard drive?

Physically? In most cases (with a laptop), you simply remove a screw or two, slide out the old hard drive, slide in the new, and then replace the screws. But, that's the easy part. Installing/configuring the Operating System (and then updating it), installing/testing all of the required drivers, installing & updating all the anti-virus/-malware, etc. can take hours. It's not that it's really hard to do, (in most cases), it just tedious.

Is that something that is sold in office/electronics stores, such as Best Buy?

Yes. Or online at places such as Newegg.com, TigerDirect.com, etc.

Should I look for a particular brand/model/make?

Seagate and Western Digital are both good. What you really need to look for is the same type such as SATA or IDE etc. As far as the capacity goes, buy as much as you can afford.

I am not sure if these terms are correct, as I have never had to replace a hd myself.

Do you have a 'geeky' friend close by that would be willing to lend a helping hand?

My second question is about the bootup partition on the hd: is this partition something I have to set up when I replace the hd or does it exist on the hd at the time I install it?

Hard drives come 'bare', (so that you can install any Operating System you like). And yes, you (someone) will have to completely 'set it up'.

About the OS: do you recommend that I use a particular OS? My mom has win XP home edition on her desktop pc (a dell), and I used to have win vista home edition on the toshiba laptop. I do not have any reinstallation disks for the win vista other than the recovery disks. Mom has her reinstallation disks for the win xp home edition, including the disks for all drivers, utilities, tools, etc. I wonder if I can use one of these options above (recovery/reinstallation disks) instead of buying a new OS disk from an office/electronics store.

Recommend installing the same Operating System (Vista). The reason is simply because of the drivers you'll need to get things like Audio, Video, Touchpad, Ports (USB, etc.), webcam (if any), etc., all working once again. Since all of these items were (presumably) working before, we know that Toshiba has all of the necessary drivers available for your particular laptop and Windows Vista.

Thank you very much again,

Ellie a/k/a Paperclip

In your particular case, you might consider simply taking your "Toshiba Satellite laptop" and your "win vista recovery disks" to someone like Best Buy. That is unless you have a 'geeky' sort of friend that would be willing to help. :)
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