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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Unhappy Can My Dead Laptop Be Resuscitated?

    I'm going crazy without my main PC,but I've delayed posting this for a couple of days because I've been trying to decide where to post. I don't know if my problem is a Linux problem, a Windows problem,a hardware problem, or strictly a user problem. (Moderators, if there's a more appropriate forum, please feel free to move this.) (I apologize for any typing errors; I'm typing this on an old PC with a horrible keyboard.)

    I have a brand-new Toshiba P55-A laptop that I bought from Toshiba just two months ago. One of the first things I did was to partition my hard drive using EASEUS Partition Master, to keep my data separate and to allow me to install and dual boot a couple of Linux distributions. I have partitioned my drives many, many times, on multiple systems, going all the way back almost 20 years to PowerQuest's PartitionMagic software, so I felt pretty comfortable with the procedure. However,I'm embarrassed to admit that I was totally unaware of the new partitioning format using GUID Partition Tables. Nevertheless, my partitioning seemed to work.(I did lose Toshiba's recovery partition, but this didn't concern me too much because I thought I could use external recovery media.)

    In addition to moving my data to its own partition, I also installed Ubuntu(current version) in its own partitions.

    Unfortunately, it didn't take long before I started running out of space on my C: drive and had to expand it (again using EASEUS). I hadn't created any new Linux files, so to make things easier, I decided to delete the Ubuntu partition. I couldn't remember how I had set it up, so it's possible I deleted the wrong partition (but I don't think so).

    When EASEUS was done expanding my C: drive, it rebooted,and this is where the trouble started. Instead of booting into a GUI boot menu that had allowed me, up until now, to select from Windows or Linux, it brought up a GRUB command prompt (the Linux boot manager). Sorry I don't have a screen shot and can't give a detailed description because I can no longer get to GRUB. I do remember that it had a brief description saying that line editing was possible.I was able to list commands, but couldn't see anything that would help me with my dilemma.

    So I called Toshiba's warranty support. They reminded me that I could get to a boot menu by holding down the F12 key while powering on. This brought me to a menu with the following choices: HDD, ODD,USB, LAN,and Setup. Under Toshiba's guidance, I went into Setup and made some changes, I think ending up with the default settings. I then changed the boot order to USB-->ODD-->HDD-->LAN and rebooted, hoping to reinstall using the system recovery image on USB that Toshiba had provided me. However, I was prompted to press a key to boot from the optical drive (not the USB drive), which was empty. I put a copy of Parted Magic in the drive, changed the boot order so ODD came first, and rebooted. This time, however, I was not prompted to boot from the optical drive. Instead,I got this message:

    Intel UNDI, PKE-2.0 (build 083)
    For Atheros PCIE Ethernet Controller v2.1.1.2
    Check cable connection!
    PXE-M0F: Exiting Intel PXE ROM.
    Reboot and Select proper Boot device
    or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key.

    Pressing a key with boot media inserted just resulted in the same error message being displayed again. I tried rebooting numerous times with various boot orders, and this menu continues to display no matter what I do.

    After talking to three different software and hardware techs at Toshiba, they decided that the USB recovery media wasn't being recognized and they're sending me a replacement. I don't think that is the problem, though, because the DVD drive isn't being recognized either (or the hard drive,for that matter) -- and I was able to list the USB files on another PC.

    It appears that the system is trying to boot from the LAN, regardless of what I tell it to do.

    Is there anything I can do, or am I going to have to send the laptop in to Toshiba? I'm sure that because I messed with the partitions this wouldn't be covered under warranty and I would be charged for the repair.

    Thanks VERY much for ANY suggestions you can give me.

  2. #2
    Platinum Lounger
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    The network boot menu always pops up when the PC can't find any local boot media, hard disk, DVD or USB. It also pops up if you ask to boot from LAN, obviously.
    Your situation sounds like a controller failure on the PC as no external boot devices are recognised and that is a straight warranty job. To confirm your bootable media is OK use another PC and attempt to boot from the media, preferably use a bootable CD as that will work on every PC.

    cheers, Paul

    p.s. Did you image the hard disk before you modified the partitions? Always provides a good recovery point.

  3. #3
    Silver Lounger
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    It sounds as if the F12 key is now multi-purpose on that machine whereas you used to have something like F2 for Setup (BIOS) and F12 was for a one off boot order change.

    In Setup is there an option to turn on USB Legacy or UEFI/BIOS USB Drive ?

  4. #4
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    Yes, absolutely, I backed up first. Fortunately, my data isn't at risk.

    So you think it's strictly a hardware failure and nothing to do with my partitioning? I hope you're right - - it would be a relief, as much as I hate to give up my laptop to Toshiba for two weeks.

    Thanks a lot for your help.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    It sounds as if the F12 key is now multi-purpose on that machine whereas you used to have something like F2 for Setup (BIOS) and F12 was for a one off boot order change.
    It appears so. I don't know if this is a UEFI thing or a Toshiba/AMI thing.

    In Setup is there an option to turn on USB Legacy or UEFI/BIOS USB Drive ?
    Yes, it does, but of course changing its value makes no difference now.

  6. #6
    4 Star Lounger Coochin's Avatar
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    magicspeller

    Re your #1 post. I am a fulltime computer consultant/technician.

    I have struggled several times now with UEFI settings for both desktop PCs and laptops. Most times I could not boot from CD or DVD until I disabled the "Secure Boot" feature (I also seem to remember having to enable a Security setting something like "allow booting from legacy devices" before booting from CD/DVD/USB would work.

    If you persevere with the UEFI settings you might succeed in getting it to boot from your HDD again.

    What types are your partitions? I.e.: are they all MBR, all GPT, or a mixture? As I understand it booting from an MBR partition under UEFI with "Secure Boot" enabled is unlikely to work.

    Stick with it cobber!
    Last edited by Coochin; 2014-07-03 at 23:15.

  7. #7
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    Hi, thanks for the reply. I could never stand to be without it for that long, though. I ended up sending it in to Toshiba and, to their credit, they got it working free under warranty (of course, I don't know what they did) with all my data intact, even though the problem description on the paperwork that came back said something like "user error."

    I have no idea what types my partitions are. How can I find out? Obviously, I need to be updating my knowledge base....

    Do you know of a site that does a good job of explaining all this?

  8. #8
    Silver Lounger
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    I don't think we would have gotten that sort of service from Toshiba here in the UK as warranties don't normally cover software - perhaps they value the US market more than the UK, but I think you have definitely gotten a result there.

  9. #9
    4 Star Lounger Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magicspeller View Post
    Hi, thanks for the reply. I could never stand to be without it for that long, though. I ended up sending it in to Toshiba and, to their credit, they got it working free under warranty (of course, I don't know what they did) with all my data intact, even though the problem description on the paperwork that came back said something like "user error."
    Count yourself very lucky that you got it back free-of-charge "with all my data intact".

    Any time I have sent customers' computers back for warranty they have *always* been returned without the customer's data. In all cases, especially those involving HDD failure the computer is reset to factory defaults meaning all user-data is gone. Even when the cause was not HDD failure but motherboard failure the user-data was still absent and the computer was reset to factory defaults. I am not pointing at Toshiba here, same thing with all the other brands, especially laptops.

    I have no idea what types my partitions are. How can I find out?
    Boot from your EaseUS Partition Master disk - it should show you the types of the partitions you have on your HDD.

    Do you know of a site that does a good job of explaining all this?
    Yes. www.google.com - but you need to use it intelligently.

    The problem you have is *not* that you don't know - it is that you somehow haven't been able to find out what the cause of the problem was.

    Confuscius said: "any problem once correctly understood is already half-solved".

    When you use Google to look up technical problems you need to use the "Advanced Search" functions and think about what to enter in the various text fields, etc.

    At present Google's "Advanced Search" functions seem to be unavailable until after you have done a simple search.

    For example: if I wanted to find out about "partition types" I would initially enter exactly that in Google's "Search" box and press "enter".

    When I did this just now Google returned almost 120,000 results (yikes!). You can usually then use the "Advanced Search" functionality to narrow down on exactly what you want to find out about. How to access "Advanced Search"? Google used to have a link at to top of the browser window, but lately has been hiding it elsewhere (might vary according to which browser you use).

    In my IE11 "Advanced Search" is accessed by clicking on a square icon made up of nine black squares - somewhere near the top-right of the browser window. You'll just have to play around with it.
    Last edited by Coochin; 2014-07-04 at 04:59.

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