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Old 25th April 2010, 04:23 PM
billwww Offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 85
Problems with Toshiba bootloader

I just purchased a Toshiba T135D-S1325. This is the 13.3" laptop with a Neo X2 processor and ATI 3200 graphics. It came with Windows 7 home premium 64bit. Before doing anything else, I used Parted Magic to shrink the Windows partition to create 160gb free space for fedora. I decided to set up Windows at that point before installing Fedora 13 beta. Unfortunately, Windows wouldn't start. I got Toshiba to tell me how to do a restore, but the restore apparently hung up. Eventually I got into the Windows task manager and stopped a repeating cycling of bootups.

Well, this isn't about Windows 7, which I did get working. When I tried to install F13beta from DVD (a usb DVD drive), I discovered the original partitions had been restored and there wasn't enough space to install Fedora. I reformated the drive again and began the installation (with help from the f13 beta repository). The installation was going slow (I have a slow DSL connection), so I went to bed. In the morning, I found a black screen with a circling busy symbol (ala ubuntu) in the middle. I couldn't get out of this and had to physically restart the computer.

Fedora13beta wouldn't start. Instead I got the Toshiba startup screen. I immediately stopped that so Windows (or the Toshiba restore sector) wouldn't load. The f13 DVD recovery mode just starts the installation program again when I bypass the Toshiba startup. Parted Magic shows the linux partition created by f13 is still there.

Apparently, the Toshiba bootloader cannot be bypassed in normal startup, and it has no provision for adding another operating system. I decided to try to find other information before proceeding at this point, but this is all new stuff. Any ideas would be appreciated. I'll probably try recovery again or reinstallation--or f12.


---------- Post added at 07:23 AM CDT ---------- Previous post was at 06:28 AM CDT ----------

I've been thinking about the ubuntu busy cursor on the apparently frozen screen. Why ubuntu? This is a computer with windows and (possibly) fedora installed. Where would an ubuntu cursor come from? It's the round one that looks like a spinning disk with fading dots (as opposed to fedora's oval spin around an arrow and win7's spinning color circle).

Could Toshiba'a restore program be running ubuntu? Has source code been published if that's the case?

Old 25th April 2010, 06:06 PM
stoat Offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 7,548
Re: Problems with Toshiba bootloader

Originally Posted by billwww

Apparently, the Toshiba bootloader cannot be bypassed in normal startup, and it has no provision for adding another operating system.
Hello billwww,

It's true that computers sometimes have a "special" master boot record that is required for some "special" function. For example, Dells used to have (maybe still do, I don't know) a system restore function that was invoked by pressing certain keys at the boot splash screen. And installing GRUB (or anything) in the master boot record of such a computer would break that special function. Even though the special function was busted in those cases, GRUB still worked fine to boot the operating systems. However, I don't know about your Toshiba and such a thing.

I also don't know what to say about the Debian-style cursor throbber that you described.

Some ideas to consider. Restore (or re-install) Windows 7 and get the system settled down. If the partition layout will allow another partition, then shrink an existing partition by a modest amount that will still be suitable for your storage and work requirements (a default Fedora installation will easily still fit in 10 GB). Then install Fedora but choose the boot loader option to install GRUB in the first sector of the Fedora boot partition (see the "Change device" button in Anaconda). Then configure the Windows 7 boot loader to boot Fedora. Many people use the free utility EasyBCD to simplify the job of configuring Bootmgr.

Another idea that may help is to install Fedora from only the disk(s) to speed the installation. The default installation usually can be done with only the first two CDs of the CD set (and of course, the DVD). The LiveCD will install a small system that can be built up with yum. Anyway, you can update and install things from the repos after the installation.
Old 26th April 2010, 09:33 PM
billwww Offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 85
Re: Problems with Toshiba bootloader

Hello Stoat

Thanks for your help. I don't do this often enough to remember the details, but I did manage to get f13beta installed on this computer. I hadn't gone far enough in the recovery process. Grub was installed and offers the choice of fedora 13 or windows 7. Unfortunately, selecting windows only gets a message that the windows loader can't be found.

I discovered the source of the ubuntu-like cursor--fedora 13 has apparently switched to that from the oblique spinning cursor of fedora 12 and earlier.

Since the wireless card is not detected by fedora, at this stage there is no wireless support. I really don't want to learn more windows procedures, so I decided to restore the computer and give it back to the vendor (I have a few days left to do so). I wanted a neo x2 processor which has more power (though lower battery life) than the Intel atom. It's also 64 bit. Newegg had an Asus with a neo processor and no os (perfect for installing linux). I was a good price too, but it was single core and had a smaller screen size (12 in.), a smaller hard drive, and less ram.

I tried to restore windows using the technique Toshiba gave me (removing battery, holding the power button down for ten seconds, plugging in the line cord, then holding the zero key down while starting the computer until a series of beeps occurs). This did not do what it did before I installed fedora (because of grub, I suppose). Instead it allowed me to enter windows, which then ran some diagnostics. It still won't run windows from grub normally.

I know I ought to accept the challenge to make this pretty laptop work (it's red), but I don't really want to support hardware manufacturers who make it difficult to run linux. I heard a rumor that Toshiba makes their computers sold in China compatible with linux, but not the ones for sale here.

I guess I'm going to uninstall fedora and send the computer back. Bye, Ruby.


Last edited by billwww; 26th April 2010 at 09:35 PM. Reason: corrected spelling, added details

bootloader, problems, toshiba

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