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Computer reboot and doing blackscreen at unexpected times


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#1 recklessdog

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:48 AM

So my computer is
TOCHIBA Satelite Pro A300-01V SYSTEM UNIT
MODEL NO. PSAG9C-01V00Y
and I have ubuntu 12.04.

I started this topic: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic474480.html

Two main problems:
1.My computer will reboot witout being asked to (just sudden restart witout any kind of warning).
2. It can also make a one-color screen (it may be blue, rose, white, gray or black) and refuse to react (sound has stoped too, it seems inactive, I have te reboot it so it works again).
Both can happen when I'm active on the computer or when I'm afk at really unexpected times.

At fist, I trough it was malwares, but I and Gringo (the tecnician that helped me on the forum) ended up saying that the ploblem wasn't malwares at all since we tried everything, but then I don't know what it is.

I fianly erased my windows vista and instaled ubuntu. But I still basicaly have the same problems than on windows (a little less worse than on windows but I feell it's getting worse with time). (so it's sure it isn't malware, virus or anything like that, right? It's something related to hardware)

It seem logical to me that the RAM is malfunctioning. Because I know vista uses a lot of RAM so that would explain why ubuntu was functioning a little bit better. But I'm really not an expert so I would need someone's advice before trying on changing the RAM. Also, when I will buy the RAM, can I change it myself? I don't want to brake something.

Edited by recklessdog, 06 December 2012 - 04:50 AM.


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#2 James Litten

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

When I see a Toshiba Satellite with weird problems, the first thing I check is for a BIOS update.

Do you know what version your BIOS is?

To see what the latest version available is, go here and have it detect the computer or type in your serial number.
http://eu.computers.toshiba-europe.com/innovation/generic/SUPPORT_PORTAL/

If your version is older than what is available, try updating. Follow the instructions carefully. A BIOS update has little margin for error.

James

EDIT: I did not find your model at the eu link above but found it in Cananda here...
http://support.toshiba.ca/support/isg/center/en/index.asp?s1=Notebook&s2=Satellite%20Pro&s3=A300&s4=PSAG9C-01V00Y

Looks like the BIOS update is made to be done from Vista so I'm not sure how you would do it from Ubuntu :(
Maybe you can contact them if it looks like you need an update.

Also, note that you do not want it to lose power in the middle of the update or it will brick the laptop so try to do it right after starting it since you have mysterious power outages after it runs for a while.

Edited by James Litten, 06 December 2012 - 01:25 PM.


#3 recklessdog

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:48 AM

Yeah I don't find the update with the site you gave me.

I found that:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=318789

Flashing Bios. Is that what we need to do? It looks delicate and I'm scared to bleep up the computer by doing it wrong.

It isn't true that my computer don't reboot right after I start it. It can reboot anytime let's say for two hours it will reboot every 10 minuts, then for 2 other hours it will not reboot at all, and so on, but I never know when it's going to be okay or not. It could happen while I'm writing this.

#4 James Litten

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:05 PM

You will see it if you click the drivers tab on the second link I posted...
http://support.toshiba.ca/support/isg/center/en/index.asp?s1=Notebook&s2=Satellite%20Pro&s3=A300&s4=PSAG9C-01V00Y

You should see this entry...
2/24/2010	BIOS Update (Windows Installation)	Toshiba	Windows Vista 32bit	2.20

There are two problems though.

1. They only appear to have an update for Windows or DOS. The DOS one requires your laptop to have a floppy drive which I doubt that it does. The Linux fix that you linked to also seems to require a floppy drive for the safest method suggested in that thread.

2. Your computer randomly reboots and the readme for the BIOS update specifically states...

You MUST have the AC Adapter connected to your notebook prior to updating the BIOS. Failure to do so, may cause damage to the notebook if the notebook loses power and fails to complete the update process.

In the event of a power loss during the BIOS update process and your notebook no longer works, you will need to have your computer serviced by a Toshiba Authorized Service Provider (ASP). For an ASP location, please visit the Service Locator on this site.


If a client brought this to me to fix...
I would make sure that it was not already version 2.2 (if it is then the BIOS does not need to be updated and the problem must be something else)
I would probably hook up a USB floppy and make the DOS disk from the download.
Boot to the floppy and leave it set for an hour just to make sure that it isn't rebooting.
Do that more than once to be sure.
If it is not rebooting in DOS then I'd proceed with the update.

I can't advise you on what to do but that is just what I would do. It is still dangerous and if I screwed it up, I'd send it to Toshiba to get it fixed. I'd make the client aware of this possibility first of course.

James

#5 recklessdog

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:58 PM

Well, I was thinking about that and I think it's a good idea even if there is risks. But I have a few questions.

I don't see the entry in your link. All I see is that.

Also by floppy, is a usb drive okay?

How much time does the update take usualy? it's a 1,8 Gio RAM and Pentium® Dual-Core CPU T4200 @ 2.00GHz × 2 Processor. because if it's more than 1 hour I doubt it will work.

Today I let my computer on the setup screen and it didn't rebooted a single time, so maybe it's different when it's updating Bios but there is still hope. I will buy a cooling engine, just to make sure the heating of the computer don't favorise a reboot.

Thanks for your help.

#6 James Litten

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:20 PM

Hi

Near the middle of the page is a
Drivers
link. Click that to see the list of driver updates including the BIOS update.

Can you see if your BIOS is already 2.20 or not?

If that computer can boot from USB devices then a USB floppy drive should work.

Typically, a BIOS update takes less than a minute.

James

#7 recklessdog

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:05 PM

Oh okay I found it. It's the file under the link: "BIOS Update (Windows Installation)" ?

Yes it can boot from usb, that's how I instaled Ubuntu.

My bios was 1.8 when I cheked in the setup menu.

It seems that if I let my computer off for a few days without using it, it reboot much less. So I will try to let it off for a few days just to be sure. (I'll chek my mails on another computer meanwhile)

Thank you.

#8 James Litten

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:05 PM

Let us know what happens. The information may help others :)

James

#9 recklessdog

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 06:27 PM

Okay so It didn't worked on ubuntu so I have to install DOS, but DOS is so complicated, I don't even know if the instalation is done. I got freeDOS. I installed a partition but it act like nothing is installed. Will need to chek what I did wrong.

Edited by recklessdog, 17 December 2012 - 06:27 PM.


#10 James Litten

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:03 PM

Hi

I don't see a DOS version on that page, just the Windows one. You should contact Toshiba support for more information. Maybe they can give you something that will work in Ubuntu.

If they have a DOS version it will help you create a floppy disk that you can boot from to update the BIOS. You do not need DOS to use it, just a floppy drive and a blank floppy disk.

James

Edited by James Litten, 17 December 2012 - 07:04 PM.


#11 Alex-C

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:21 PM

What you describe makes me think that the problem may be overheat affecting the GPU...

Maybe you can use memtest+ to test the RAM and at the same time check if the computer is overheating anf if the problem with the colors still occurs...

Edited by Alex-C, 17 December 2012 - 07:23 PM.


#12 recklessdog

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 01:46 AM

Alex: I do the memtest+ everyday. In fact, what I forgot to describe is another weird problem. When I turn my computer on, it refuses to boot (I see a blackscreen with the little white line flashing at the top left corner, and it reboot after a few seconds). When it boot again, it ask between 5 choises the two main being ubuntu or memtest+, I choose the memtest+. I wait until the test do 1 pass, sometime 2, and it never find an error, but at least when I reboot it again, ubuntu can boot. Should I wait more? How many pass should it do? It seem that once it did 1 pass, it's doing the same thing again so there is no point of waiting more.

James: Humm, okay I will call the Toshiba support tomorow.

#13 James Litten

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 10:29 AM

Hi Recklessdog

When I first found the page, I read the readme file next to the entry for the BIOS update. It describes the instructions for doing it in Windows or in DOS(floppy boot disk, DOS not required).

It turns out that they just posted a generic readme file there for BIOS installations and in actuality the program that the readme file is attached to only works when run from Windows.

I apologize for thinking that a DOS one was included but Toshiba made it look like it was.

James

#14 recklessdog

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:33 PM

Shouldn't I use Wine or an windows emulator?

#15 James Litten

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:37 PM

Hi

I'm afraid that I don't know if that would work. This is the first time that I've encountered a BIOS update that requires that it ONLY be run from Windows. It seems to defeat the purpose of a BIOS update being needed by the user because a system has become unbootable or has trouble running Windows as is often the impetus of a user seeking out a BIOS upgrade.

There are few things that you can do to a computer with software that can make it be destroyed. Over 20 years ago I worked with a group who investigated ways to destroy a computer or cause it to catch fire by using software. We found a few neat tricks :) This information was taken VERY seriously and great care has been applied to preventing situations where software can completely and permanently cripple a computer.

A BIOS upgrade is one of the very few areas left that is prone to this level of destruction (though they can't cause fires LOL). So I always approach them with great care.

Since the BIOS upgrade option has become complex for us, perhaps it would be prudent to attempt to test the RAM first before attempting a creative upgrade solution.

Here is the site for Memtest86+ which will allow you to create a bootable CD that you can boot from and run an exhaustive test of your RAM to see if there are any problems there...
http://memtest.org/

And here is the FAQ about using it...
http://forum.canardpc.com/threads/28864-FAQ-please-read-before-posting

Let us know if you need more specific instructions or if you have any issues running it.

Naturally, we'd be interested in hearing the results of the tests :)

James




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