Posted 31 August 2011 - 02:17 PM
Apologies if I've posted this in the wrong subforum.
I have a Toshiba Portege that runs Vista. A few weeks ago, I installed new Synaptics touchpad drivers. Everything seemed normal, but when I restarted the computer as directed, it froze on the black screen that says "Toshiba - Leading Innovation." I had to shut it off by taking the battery out and unplugging it. I spent an hour or two restarting it over and over, only to have it freeze every time. Then, on one of my startup attempts, I got a different screen - something about my computer being unable to start up properly and repairing the problem. I followed the prompts and was able to get onto my Desktop. I figured the problem must be related to the new Synaptics touchpad driver, so I did a system restore to get rid of it. I thought the problem was solved.
Last night I installed a webcam driver. A while later, I installed FinePix Viewer. FinePix Viewer installed successfully and prompted me to reboot, so I did. I ran into the same problem I described above - the screen kept freezing at startup.
Things I tried:
1) Waiting to see if the laptop was just taking longer than normal to start. Nope: definitely frozen.
2) Unplugging the laptop, removing the batteries and then holding the power button down for several minutes. Didn't help.
3) Tapping F2 as soon as the computer started. It would sometimes beep and say loading, please wait, but would then freeze.
4) Tapping F12 as soon as the computer started. Same results as tapping F2.
5) Tapping F8 - nothing happened.
6) Unplugging and/or plugging in external devices such as my mouse and webcam. It didn't seem to make any difference.
7) ALT + CNTL + DEL - at first it did nothing. On later attempts, it would send my laptop into or wake it from sleep mode.
8) Trying the computer with either the battery or the power cord (rather than both) - no luck.
9) Unscrewing the cover on the back and blowing out dust/dirt...didn't help.
After 4 frustrating hours, I gave up for the night. This morning, I tried starting the computer about 6 times. I noticed that the lights on Caps Lock and F11 flicker when it's starting, which I don't remember happening in the past. On my last attempt, those keys stayed lit up, so I pressed them both at once. That jolted the computer into action and it started normally, as though nothing had happened.
The short term problem is fixed - now I have an opportunity to back up my photos and documents, which is a big relief. I'm scared to shut the computer off, though. I intend to avoid doing so as much as possible, but I know eventually I'll need to reboot to update a crucial security patch or antivirus program. I've tried searching Google for possible solutions to my problem, but I haven't had any luck. I'm making this thread on the off chance someone might know what's causing this (and ideally, how to fix it).
Here's the kicker: I can't do any repairs that require the CD drive. I have all the CDs that came with my laptop, but the CD drive has been broken for a year or two. I haven't had it repaired because I rarely used it anyway, and also because I don't want to put any money into this laptop. Its touchpad sometimes stops working for weeks or months at a time and it's looking pretty...well-used. I'd rather put my money toward a replacement laptop when the time comes, but I'm hoping I can continue to use this one for a while first.
If anyone is familiar with the issue I'm having and can shed some light on what's going on, I'd appreciate it. I'm reluctant to do any troubleshooting that requires rebooting the computer (sorry, I know that limits the suggestions you can make - I just feel that I shouldn't press my luck now that the laptop finally started up again). Thanks for reading.